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Ruddigore combines that witch’s curse with a triple-reverse love triangle, with an abbreviated half-twist, that helps put the comic in comic operetta. Director Jeffrey Madison forgoes the overture, moving the explanation of the witches curse up to be the show’s prologue. This allows Christa Schulz’s Dame Hannah to delightfully go all expository all over the place.
Tolstoy once wrote: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” However, he never said anything about what crazy families are like, an omission that playwrights George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart explore in the charming You Can’t Take It With You, which opened Thursday (February 9, 2017) night at the Duluth Playhouse. Today these characters are quirky but quaint, and their eccentric behavior is more endearing than embarrassing, at least until you get all of them in one room at the same time. Above all, they are just so kindhearted, which may well be what dates the play more than anything else.
When Green Day played “American Idiot” at the MTV Europe Music Awards last November, Billie Joe Armstrong changed the last line of the opening verse to “subliminal mind-Trump America.” If you get the point of that change and endorse the sentiment, then you are going to love the stage musical version of “American Idiot” that opened Thursday night at the Underground. If you are insulted by that line, then you should probably avoid this punk rock diatribe.
The play adapted from Roald Dahl’s book was on the Playhouse stage, but it was also underground because when you looked straight up from your seat all you could see was brown butcher paper. That is because we were in the burrow where this family of foxes lives, which meant wide-eyed kids were walking into about the biggest set design the Playhouse can possibly pull off.
This dream will do. As advertised, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, directed and choreographed by Michael Matthew Ferrell, is far and away the most original vision of a musical to grace the Duluth Playhouse stage in the 10 years I have been paid to pontificate on local theatrical productions.
Among the costume suggestions that came along with the scripts for The Lion King Jr. was a tip about using a paper plate to make the face of a lion. Um. That’s not quite the vision director Kate Horvath had for the Duluth Playhouse’s Children’s Theatre production of Disney’s popular coming-of-animal-age musical. She had a bigger idea — something that more closely matched the long-running Broadway show.
La La Land opens with an improbability: A ramp that connects two major highways in Los Angeles was shut down to film singer-dancers performing “Another Day of Sun.” The colorfully clad characters leap over barriers, tap dance on hoods, spin on roofs while seemingly stalled in traffic.
“It’s fantastic. It’s filmed in one take,” said Topaz Cooks, a stage manager at the Duluth Playhouse who worked on a recent production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. “It was so impressive — that’s what blew me away.”
After that, not so much, she said.
I could start this off with the usual critic-speak about Pulitzers, Tonys, Oscars, Broadway, Jimmy Stewart-this, Lionel Barrymore-that. Instead, I’m going to cut to the chase: You Can’t Take It With You, opening this weekend at The Duluth Playhouse, provides a more palatable alternative to the daily news and will boost your faith in humanity, if only for too short an evening.
It’s been about a decade since Michael Hasenmueller, his father and his brother took a road trip from Eau Claire, Wis., to Chicago so his brother could audition for “The Voice.” Hasenmueller claimed space in the backseat of a Pontiac Vibe. The driver’s side window didn’t roll down, so he was on toll booth duty, he recently recalled. Otherwise, he settled in with an old-school CD player and queued up his brother’s copy of Green Day’s “American Idiot.”
Attention, filmmakers: Are you sitting on a mini-movie? The Duluth Playhouse is now taking submissions for the 12th annual Short Shorts Film Festival, which is open to pros and amateurs from anywhere with a piece that is five minutes or shorter.
A musical about murderers — both failed and successful, a personal photo project that only exists on social media and the release of Bob Dylan covers by local musicians are among the list of the top events from 2016 — as solicited from local artists, entertainers, and organizers. The News Tribune annually asks creatives to talk about the best of the best people and events — preferably something they were not involved with creating.
Playhouse Brings Popular Comedy You Can’t Take It With You to Main Stage (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)
Playhouse Kicks Off 2017 with Road Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’ (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)
Playhouse to Reveal New Vision of ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)
Cult Classics and Rock’n’Roll at Duluth Playhouse Through Halloween (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)
Duluth Playhouse opens new season with fast, physical comedy (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)