Press Room

For press inquiries, please contact Ashlee Hartwig (Duluth Playhouse Marketing Director) by emailing ahartwig@duluthplayhouse.org or calling 218.733.7577.

SHOW REVIEWS

REVIEW: La Cage will win your heart

  • Musicals are often about falling in love but rarely about being in love. La Cage aux Folles,  which opens April 20 at the Playhouse, is about the latter. There is something wonderful about seeing two people so deeply in love, and even with all the hysterical drag queens running around on stage, ultimately La Cage aux Folles is all about heart.

REVIEW: Clown Bar is giggles and groans galore

  • For the next two weekends, the Underground has been transformed into an actual Clown Bar, which makes perfect sense since the clown noir comedy Clown Bar opened there Thursday night (March 30). Patrons can purchase “insult beers” from the caustic bartender, Shotgun McGhee (Nathan Payne), and assorted drinks that you can apparently order “extra funny,” delivered by Petunia (Cheryl Skafte), a tart-tongued, bubble-blowing waitress.

REVIEW: A ruddy good time to be had at Ruddigore

  • 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.

REVIEW: Classic comedy charmingly captures a simpler time

  • 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.

REVIEW: American Idiot punk rocks the alien nation

  • 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.

REVIEW: There’s a lot to dig-diggitydig about Fantastic Mr. Fox!

  • 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.

REVIEW: Joseph delivers promised bold new vision

  • 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.

REVIEW: There’s much to ‘Hyde’ in the Underground

  • In the tarot of horror literature laid out by Stephen King, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson represents the hidden beast within, whose totemic form is the werewolf. But the intriguing drama directed by Jonathan Manchester that opened Thursday night [November 10] at the Underground tells the old tale anew by revealing that the beast within is legion.

REVIEW: Playhouse cast milks big laughs from farce

  • The Duluth Playhouse once again opened its new season with a farce on Thursday night, Ray Cooney’s It Runs in the Family. Throughout the evening, director Robert Lee’s cast demonstrated an amazing ability to milk bigger laughs than what was warranted on the printed page. Really big laughs.

 

THE PLAYHOUSE IN THE NEWS (PRINT)

When play is work and work is play (4-14-2017)

  • This March the Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theater ran Disney’s The Lion King Jr! The 16 performances sold out before the show even opened. “That may have to do more with the reputation of The Lion King,” humbly admitted Kate Horvath, the play’s director, “than the fact that we are awesome.”

Playhouse season includes NorShor premiere (4-13-2017)

  • The Duluth Playhouse will introduce its new mainstage with a popular who’s-your-daddy ABBA-rific musical, according to the theater’s 2017-18 season announcement.

The 10 Best Place for Live Theater in Minnesota! (4-9-2017)

  • Minnesota is a hotbed for live theater. Rumored to have more theater seats per capita than other metro areas in the U.S., the Twin Cities is at the center of the action. Three Minneapolis companies have won regional Tony Awards, Disney’s The Lion King premiered here, and August Wilson completed some of his most important works after receiving a fellowship from the Playwright’s Center in Minneapolis, premiering many of his plays with a local St. Paul company. These are some of the North Star State’s best stages.

A pride unites for The Lion King JR!  (3-16-2017)

  • 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 Love it or not? Local musical theater circles weigh in on Oscar frontrunner (2-24-2017)

  • 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.

You Can’t Take It With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart at the Duluth Playhouse Directed by Rob Hadaway (2-7-2017)

  • 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.

American Idiot hits the Underground (2-2-2017)

  • 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.”

Behind the Scenes: Hey, Kids, What Does It Take to Put on a Show? (12-18-2016)

  • “Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!” And with those plucky words, teenagers Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney save the day with a surprisingly Hollywood-quality production. At least, that’s how easy it was in the 1939 film “Babes in Arms” that made the line famous. On the real stage, months of planning, preparation, and practice go into our local productions. From the seats, you see the actors, singers, and dancers, says Christine Gradl Seitz, executive director of the Duluth Playhouse, “but behind the scenes, there’s a whole lot of magic and artistry being created to bring that project to the stage.”

 

TV INTERVIEWS / VIDEO

High Stuttin’ Musical Comedy will Tickle Audiences (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)

Young Actors Prepare for Disney Classic (Fox 21 Local News)

Disney’s The Lion King Jr comes to Life on Playhouse Children’s Theatre Stage (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)

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)

Sneak Peak Of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat From The Duluth Playhouse (Duluth.com)

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.com Visits the Set of It Runs in the Family at the Duluth Playhouse (Duluth.com)

Duluth Playhouse opens new season with fast, physical comedy (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)

 

NORSHOR THEATRE

Progress MN: Sherman Associates

  • Bringing a vacant Minneapolis car dealership back to life with new, community-focused roles and renovating Duluth’s empty, historic NorShor Theatre are two examples of Sherman Associates’ commitment to improving and giving back to the communities it works in.

Duluth’s Brewers Row Establishes New Brand for Historic Downtown District

  • According to a recent press release from Just Take Action (JTA) – the beer-preneurs who created the iconic Fitger’s Brewhouse – the newly branded Brewers Row was established to promote the growing beer scene in Duluth’s Historic Arts and Theater (HART) District.

Views on Downtown Tourism: NorShor to spur housing, tourism in downtown Duluth

  • The long-anticipated $30.5 million renovation of the NorShor Theatre in downtown Duluth began in June and is expected to be completed by December 2017. The new NorShor will be an anchor in Duluth’s newly designated Historic Arts and Theater District, or HART District. The theater and the district will be be transformative for Duluth and downtown, Mayor Emily Larson and Duluth Economic Development Authority Executive Director Heather Rand opined during an interview in September with News Tribune editorial board members.

Blacklist Brewery aims for mid-November opening

  • Blacklist Artisan Ales, homeless since Sept. 1, is transitioning into its new and improved home at 120 E. Superior St. The revamped space is still under construction and is barely recognizable as the former site of the infamous Last Place on Earth head shop. If all goes well, the brewery will begin production in mid-October and the taproom will open in mid-November.

NorShor Fundraising Begins with a Splash

  • The community portion of fundraising to complete the NorShor Theatre kicked off Thursday evening, with 200 people attending a pool party hosted by the Duluth Playhouse at Northland Country Club.

Minneapolis Developer Begins Long-Delayed Revamp of Duluth Theater

  • Developer Sherman Associates has acquired Duluth’s NorShor Theatre, setting the stage for a long-delayed $30 million renovation of the vacant property. Finance & Commerce reports on the rehab plans, which officially get underway this week after Minneapolis-based Sherman bought the building from the Duluth Economic Development Authority for $2.3 million. The company plans to restore seats, expand the stage and add an orchestra pit in a project that will bring live theater back to the venue, built in 1912 as a vaudeville house