Press Room

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‘Winnie the Pooh’ is as sweet as ‘hunny’

  • The littlest audience members were happily dancing, clapping, shouting, bouncing and giggling their way through the antics of the colorful animal characters for the opening matinee of Winnie the Pooh, presented by the Duluth Playhouse’s Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA). By contrast, 2-year-old Arthur, sitting next to me on his grandmother’s lap, was perfectly still, spell-bound and mesmerized, never making a peep throughout the entire show.

‘Government Inspector’ a funny Russian farce full of big, bold moments

  • The Duluth Playhouse is putting on The Government Inspector. It is a farce. A Russian farce. About politicians. (No, not that one.) This version of The Government Inspector has been adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, who strips Nikolai Gogol’s script down to the skeleton and rebuilds it with jokes guaranteed to hit an American audience’s funny bone.

Lovers Shine Brightest in Underground’s ‘The Fantasticks’

  • The original 1960 off-Broadway production of The Fantasticks ran for 42 years, (17,162 performances), making it the world’s longest-running musical. Its winning charm is in the universality of the love story, the bare bones set and props and its timeless musical score. The simple plot features a boy (Ben Peter) and a girl (Rachel Williams) who fall hopelessly in love, and their parents, Hucklebee (Cathy Berggren) and Bellomy (Kirby Wood), who hatch up an elaborate plot, ostensibly to break them up, but really to bring them together.

Razor-Sharp ‘Sweeney Todd’ at NorShor

  • Tales of murder, the macabre and midnight’s bloodiest deeds have long held the power to capture our darkest imaginations and haunt our dreams. Composer/Lyricist Stephen Sondheim mixes the style of the Victorian “penny-dreadfuls” and the Grand-Guignol in Paris, with their naturalistic and amoral horror stories, to create his classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Playhouse cooks up a winner with ‘Don’t Dress For Dinner’

  • In Don’t Dress for Dinner, the French farce that returned to the NorShor stage Thursday night (1/31), Katy Helbacka makes two bold decisions as the director that could have thrown the production off the rails. Fortunately, she booked a really good cook.

‘Puss In Boots’ scores having characters and kids interact

  • When a swashbuckling Puss in Boots, voiced by Antonio Banderas, showed up in Shrek 2 and stole the show with his sultry Spanish accent and really big eyes, a star was born. However, the Puss in Boots animated film that followed had absolutely nothing to do with the original European fairy tale. The original adaptation of Puss in Boots, written and developed by the Duluth Playhouse’s Theatre for Young Audiences ensemble that opened Saturday afternoon (1/19) at the Depot Theatre is faithful to that original tale (or should that be “tail”?).

A Musical Delight at The Underground

  • While searching for something to do at the last minute this past Friday evening, my wife learned of a play being presented that night at the Underground Theatre in the Duluth Playhouse by the name of Ruthless. It had opened the night before on a three-week run so we agreed to check it out. What a delightful experience it turned out to be! Due to misreading the show time, we arrived an hour prior to the performance and after navigating the icy sidewalks found our way to the aptly named Underground Theatre.

Campy Musical Mixes Dark Humor and Murderous Deeds

  • Paying homage to such classic musicals as Gypsy and Mame and theatrical soap operas All About Eve, and even Valley of the Dolls, the Underground Theatre’s production of the musical comedy Ruthless drew lots of laughs from the opening night audience.

Tale as Old as Time Still Enchants at NorShor

  • Dancing forks, showgirls as plates, a feather duster cavorting with a candlestick, a talking teacup, the obligatory plucky heroine, and a brooding hero. The Duluth Playhouse’s enchanting Beauty and the Beast had all the bells and whistles to win the hearts of the opening night audience Thursday (11/29)!

‘Rocky Horror’ Rains and Shines at The Underground

  • Before actors took their marks and film hit the screen at the Duluth Playhouse Underground Halloween night, Zenith City Horror mastermind Alec Schroeder had half the audience on stage performing different sex positions. Outrageous? Of course! This is how audience “virgins” are introduced to their first live performance of the sexy, irreverent, B-movie send-up called The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Underground takes a hysterical twist on Sherlock Holmes

  • While staying generally true to the plot of Arthur Conan Doyle’s masterpiece, “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” the Underground Theater’s zany production of Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery takes a decidedly Monty Pythonesque turn in playwright Ken Ludwig’s uproarious spoof. The sold-out opening night crowd got on board this roller coaster ride of a comedy and held on for dear life until the final bows.

‘Full Monty’ brings big voices, wicked fun to the season opener

  • If you saw The Full Monty the first time the Duluth Playhouse put it on, then I should tell you: There is a little bit more to see, this time around. The musical version of the 1997 hit film opened Thursday night at the NorShor Theatre and showed again how entertaining a musical about unemployment, depression, suicide, divorce, impotence, and brief nudity can be.



Quick Trips: Duluth female playwrights fest; Railroad Days, Fargo rodeo (3-15-2019)

  • Enjoy a celebration of female playwrights during the third annual What She Said: Short Play Festival Thursday-Saturday downtown at the Duluth Playhouse’s Underground Theatre.

The Right Formula (3-8-2019)

  • The edict “seize the day” filtered through the mind of a biochemistry major looks something like this: taking all the known factors– class schedule, time in labs, anticipated homework load– and deciding whether seizing one’s day is a logical choice. “Any major that takes a lot of math can plan a day,” explains freshman Lane Greer.

Cabaret Dark: The Soundtrack to Minnesota-made Musical ‘Glensheen’ Out Friday (1-17-2019)

  • Glensheen opens whodunnit-y and Halloween-ish. The 18-second overture is a buildup of piano and whispery percussion, and it sets the tone for the Minnesota-made musical’s soundtrack — which will be available as a CD, for streaming and download on Friday (January 18).

Best of A&E: Local movers and shakers like pop-up Parr, the new NorShor, and more (12-20-2018)

  • Some “best of the best” moments in the A&E scene this past year: a pop-up Parr show, a newly remodeled historic theater, an art exhibition worth getting lost in. The News Tribune asked local movers and shakers to talk about the memorable music, theater, visual arts and events from the past year.

5 Amazing Reasons to Make Duluth Your Vacation Getaway (10-16-2018)

  • Sometimes you just need to get away from it all, take some time to recharge your batteries and explore something completely new. While you may think such a getaway is cost and time prohibitive, it doesn’t have to be. The city of Duluth, Minnesota, is just a short road trip away and perhaps a destination you have yet to explore.

Final details come together for NorShor’s re-opening  (1-7-2018)

  • With less than a month until opening night, paintbrushes and canisters full of yellow paint were strewn on paint-speckled paper taped to the floor in the NorShor Theatre’s offices Sunday. The final touches of the renovated downtown Duluth theater, which first opened as the Orpheum Theater in 1910, are starting to come together. The electricity is on, the theater seats are installed, the skywalk connection is nearly complete, painting is wrapping up and rehearsals for the upcoming musical Mamma Mia! are set to begin on the stage next week.