Press Room

For press inquiries, please contact Ashlee Hartwig, Duluth Playhouse Marketing Director, by emailing or calling 218.733.7577.


REVIEW: Underground takes 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.

REVIEW: ‘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.


2017-2018 Season

REVIEW: Surprise! The Toxic Avenger is goofy (not gory) musical fun

  • “Much better than I anticipated.” After the musical The Toxic Avenger opened at the Underground Theatre on Thursday (8/2) night, several audience members expressed their surprise at how much they enjoyed the show.

REVIEW: Playhouse’s Music Man charms audiences

  • The Music Man, the as American as apple pie musical, opened Thursday night (7/12) at the NorShor Theatre, a production totally committed to charming the audience from start to finish.

REVIEW: TYA’s Pinocchio follows un-Disney path

  • You are pretty much guaranteed to see puppets of some type in any Theatre for Young Audiences production. So it is not surprising that this summer, TYA has gotten around to providing their own take on the most famous puppet of all.

REVIEW: Our Town a treasure trove of American moments

  • The Playhouse last staged Thornton Wilder’s Our Town in 2010. Thursday night (May 24), a new production of the classic American play opened at the NorShor Theatre, and I think American society must have advanced at least a quarter-century in those eight years.

REVIEW: The Cat in the Hat delights one and all

  • You have read The Cat in the Hat. The Dr. Seuss classic is not very long and uses only 236 words. So when you and your kids see everything that happens in the Playhouse Family Theatre’s production of The Cat in the Hat that opened Saturday afternoon on the Depot Theatre stage, you will be impressed by the Theatre for Young Audiences’ most engaging production to date.

REVIEW: Sweet Charity dances her way into your heart

  • Sweet Charity is about a dance hall hostess with a heart of gold who just wants to be loved. The production that opened Thursday night (April 19) at the Underground has a leading lady who wins your heart plus a whole bunch of crowd-pleasing dance numbers. As Charity Hope Valentine, Hayley Rosenthal doubles down on the cuteness, starting with her soliloquy and hitting her stride in “If My Friends Could See Me Now.” Exceeding the adorability quotient for her character, Rosenthal’s Charity becomes the first I have seen to truly deserve being called “sweet.”

REVIEW: Comic misunderstandings reach operatic levels in Playhouse farce

  • Lend Me a Tenor, which opened Thursday night (April 5) at the NorShor Theatre, is a door-slamming farce that hits the bulls-eye by setting up all of the requisite comic pieces before we fade to black at the end of Act 1, and then in Act 2 lets the dominoes fall like a house of cards. Checkmate.

REVIEW: ‘Salesman’ affirms its place as the great American drama

  • The set design for Death of a Salesman presents the Loman house stripped down to the studs, a rather haunting metaphor for the life of the central character in Arthur Miller’s classic American play, which opened Thursday night at the Underground. Willy Loman is mentally unstuck in time, taking refuge in his past and in his imagination as his present closes in on him. Director Robert Lee has those scenes bathed in yellow light, an appropriate choice because in retrospect, Willy sees each road not taken as inevitably being paved with gold. But Miller goes beyond Willy’s gilded memories and lays bare unbearable truths.

REVIEW: Mamma Mia! heralds NorShor’s Rebirth

  • From the moment the opening night audience for Mamma Mia! walked into the restored NorShor Theatre, I was overwhelmed by the inescapable conclusion that the Duluth Playhouse is not just another “community theater.” Long before the doors even opened, the entire run of the popular jukebox musical was sold out. Through those doors on Thursday night, there was food and drink to consume, stairways to explore, songs and speeches to hear, and to top it off, a toe-tapping show to enjoy.

REVIEW: Jungle Book a memorable first-theater experience

  • Giant shadows on the blue-lit backdrop of actors moving into place drew a lot of attention from the small fry in attendance on Saturday afternoon for the opening performance of the Theatre for Young Audiences’ production of The Jungle Book on the Depot’s main stage. When it comes to an audience buzzing with anticipation, kids absolutely rule. Then director Lacy Habdas came on stage to rev the kiddies up even more and lay down the house rules before the show started.

REVIEW: Original script adds new life to classic A Christmas Carol

  • For its last production on the Depot’s main stage, the Duluth Playhouse not only selected a timeless holiday classic, they also came up with the first original script to grace that stage in almost 20 years. A Christmas Carol opened Thursday night to an audience eager to applaud. A Christmas Carol is a well-known tale and everybody has their personal favorite version (“Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol” for me). With this original script, first drafted by director Jeffrey Madison, revised by Shad Olsen, and then rewritten in tandem, I was looking for what “new” things could they come up with.

REVIEW: 1984 makes its case for renewed relevance


    In the first class in Media & Society each semester we consider which dystopian novel successfully predicted the world in which we now live: George Orwell’s 1984 or Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. The academic consensus favors Huxley, that the truth has not been replaced by lies but rather buried under a barrage of irrelevance. However, the striking production of 1984 directed by Robert Lee that opened at the Underground on Thursday night (October 5) makes a compelling case for reconsidering that verdict. Orwell’s book again became a best-seller in the wake of the inauguration, and contemporary parallels are easy to find.

REVIEW: Comedy warning: Rumors has it

  • Lately being a weatherman does not help you know which way the wind blows. Hurricane Harvey was a 3 that became a 4. Irma kept bouncing back between a 4 and a 5. Rumors, the side-splitting Neil Simon farce directed by Julie Ahasay that opened at the Duluth Playhouse on Thursday night (September 21), follows a similar pattern.

    It starts off as a tropical depression, gathers strength, hits you with a powerful stream of comedy, and just when you think you are safely in the eye of the hurricane the audience is devastated by a category 5 comic monologue.



Art Hounds: Kids, power tools, and Franconia Sculpture Park (5-31-2018)

  • This week, on Art Hounds: Kids and power tools come together at Franconia Sculpture Park. Plus: Art Hounds recommend Our Town in Duluth and a miniature art exhibition on display in a porch window.

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.

One elf-show: Actor Luke Moravec is the dry-humored Crumpet in ‘The Santland Diaries’  (12-7-2017)

  • Luke Moravec knows a bit about the Santa-scene. The local actor has had a hand in the Christmas City Express, both as a writer and character at the annual event that combines a short train ride, a seasonal story, and a visit from Mr. Claus. So it’s no surprise he feels a kinship with an elf named Crumpet.

Ho ho ho(liday) shows: Season A&E ranges from ‘A Christmas Carol’ to Keri Novel to Gingerbread City (11-30-2017)

  • What to do when you can’t find the perfect adaptation of A Christmas Carol, one that isn’t a musical per se but has a musical element: Write your own. Jeffrey Madison, director of the Duluth Playhouse’s production of the traditional tale, has spent the past seven months creating a theatrical piece he described as a hybrid. The story rings true to Dickens but has carollers caroling, family sing-alongs, classic holiday tunes between scenes, and ethereal mood-music to introduce the ghostly figures.

Depot to celebrate 125th Anniversary (11-6-2017)

  • The Depot in downtown Duluth will host a 125th-anniversary celebration on Wednesday, featuring music, dance, and history — along with cake, punch, and champagne.

NorShor nears finish line: Final push to restore historic theater by December deadline (10-29-2017)

  • After years of planning and 16 months of construction, the renovation of Duluth’s historic NorShor Theatre is finally nearing completion. It has been a challenging project by all accounts.

    “There was an extraordinary amount of reconstruction work that was unforeseen, and we definitely hit Duluth rock, so we had to manage that,” said Rich Kiemen, senior vice president of construction for Sherman Associates, which redeveloped the building and now owns it.

Duluth actor Tanner Hagen has the singing, dancing and acting chops to carry Playhouse’s Billy Elliot (7-13-2017)

  • Here’s the thing with casting Billy Elliot: It lives and dies by its lead — a preteen boy who can dance, act, sing and carry an otherwise adult production. So when the Duluth Playhouse selected the musical for this season, the community theater’s keepers knew they would have to conduct at least a regional search for the right actor for the title role.

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.”

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.




Duluth Playhouse’s Family Theatre Performs Dr. Seuss Classic (Fox 21 Morning – May 3,-2018)

NorShor Theatre Wrapping Up Renovations (Fox 21 Evening News – January 8, 2018)

Volunteers Helping Finish NorShor Theatre Before Feb. 1 Opening (WDIO Eyewitness News  January 7, 2018)

Wizard of Oz Auditions Bringing Play to Life (Fox 21 Evening News)

NorShor Theatre Hosts Tour, Unveils New Campaign (WDIO Eyewitness News)

NorShor Theatre Deadline Fast Approaching (Fox 21 Local News)

Iconic Musical Cabaret Hits The Underground (Good Morning Northland – WDIO)

Billy Elliot: The Musical Taps Onto the Duluth Playhouse (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)

Sneak Peak Of Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat From The Duluth Playhouse ( Visits the Set of It Runs in the Family at the Duluth Playhouse (



Duluth Preservation Efforts Recognized (Duluth News Tribune)

  • The NorShor Theatre, brought back from the brink of death, is one of 13 Duluth Preservation Alliance honorees this year. The Alliance will honor 11 homes and two businesses Monday that have been preserved or restored in a historically accurate way at its annual Preservation Awards and Centennial Home recognition event.

Photo Tour: NorShor Theatre, Duluth’s Freshly Renovated Downtown Landmark (City Pages)

  • After 18 years and $31 million, plans to revive downtown Duluth’s NorShor Theatre were fully realized when the venue was reintroduced in February. The 118-year-old art deco structure had fallen into severe disrepair, but, as you’ll see on this photo tour, its past luster has been restored

Innovative Duluth: A special report on how the North Shore city is revitalizing itself (Twin Cities Business)

  • There’s a slogan Duluth’s Lincoln Park neighborhood uses to brand its revitalized commercial district: “Crafting Something Great.” And in a sense, it’s a phrase that could describe ambitious efforts happening throughout the city. Located just west of downtown, Lincoln Park was a solid working-class neighborhood during Duluth’s industrial heyday, but as heavy industry began to disappear in the 1970s, the neighborhood fell into economic decline.

NorShor Theatre Renovations Coming Along  (Fox 21 News)

  • It’s been 18 months since the major renovations began at the historic Norshor Theatre in downtown Duluth. About 50 people got an update and went on a tour to see how the project is coming along. The restored venue underwent a top to bottom makeover.

Take In a Show at the Duluth Playhouse (Minnesota Bed & Breakfast Association)

  • We tend to focus most of our time on the incredible variety of outdoor activities there are to do here and for good reason. Duluth has been listed as one of the Best Towns Ever by Outside Magazine and is a popular destination for those seeking adventure.  This winter, join us for some incredible skiing at local mountains or hit some of the cross country or snowmobile trails around Duluth.  The days aren’t hard to fill with activity after activity, but what about the evenings?  Did you know there’s another side to Duluth, too?

Take a seat’ at the NorShor Theatre (Duluth News Tribune)

  • You can show your support for efforts to renovate Duluth’s iconic NorShor Theatre as part of the “Take a Seat” campaign launched by the Duluth Playhouse Wednesday. Contribute $1,000, and have a metal plate engraved to your specifications attached to a seat of your choice inside the theater. In all, 630 seats are available and will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis to supporters.

NorShor nears finish line: Final push to restore historic theater by December deadline (Duluth News Tribune)

  • After years of planning and 16 months of construction, the renovation of Duluth’s historic NorShor Theatre is finally nearing completion. It has been a challenging project by all accounts.

    “There was an extraordinary amount of reconstruction work that was unforeseen, and we definitely hit Duluth rock, so we had to manage that,” said Rich Kiemen, senior vice president of construction for Sherman Associates, which redeveloped the building and now owns it.

Duluth prepares to expand skywalk (Duluth News Tribune)

  • A key new link now under consideration could unify and expand Duluth’s skywalk system. A resolution headed to the Duluth Economic Development Authority Wednesday would authorize the conceptual design of a new segment of skywalk stretching eastward from the Technology Village building, through the 100 block of East Superior Street — including Fond Du-Luth Casino — and then across Second Avenue East to the Temple Opera building and the adjoining NorShor Theatre.


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