On the Townsend

By John Townsend November 19, 2009

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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Some Girl(s) / Through Dec. 5 / Pillsbury House, 3501 Chicago Ave. S., Mpls / (612) 375-0300 / www.walkingshadowcompany.org

Brian Balcom is among our best local directors for dealing with issues of the erotic. His stagings of some of Trista Baldwin’s sexually drenched plays, as well as Noah Haidle’s fantastical satire on child sexuality, Mr. Marmalade, have been remarkable. So, we should have known it was only a matter of time until we would see him take on the always-unsettling Neil LaBute, whose Some Girl(s) is a perfect Balcom vehicle.
Balcom calls the play “an examination into the ignorance of a man’s actions, and his comprehending the consequences as he’s faced with the wreckage of his love. Guy [Clarence Wethern] travels around the country to make amends with four old girlfriends, but discovers the wounds he inflicted are much deeper and more substantial than he realized. It’s a brutal look at one man’s romantic behavior and the destruction that he’s left behind.”

In the Heights / Dec. 1-6 / Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls. / (800) 982-2787 / www.HennepinTheatreTrust.org

In the Heights won the 2008 Tony for Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Show Album. It’s a breakthrough for a broad mainstream audience, with a blend of Latin music and hip-hop in an urban neighborhood setting. During the current national tour, ensemble performer Wilkie Ferguson has been struck by its intergenerational appeal, even though one might suspect its contemporary sound might negate that. Indeed, the show encompasses three generations of music. It also reflects the economic struggles very much on the minds of the public today.
Ferguson says, “The quality of the music, Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography, and the story that’s being told really opens people’s eyes. It’s telling the story of part of the community that I don’t think has had a voice in Broadway theater, so I think it’s great for a contemporary show to give voice to these people who haven’t been represented. I’m African-American, and most of the cast is Latin or of Latin descent. It was a big challenge for me, because I didn’t grow up with that tradition. But the story is universal.”

Corleone: The Shakespearean Godfather / Through Dec. 13 / Gremlin Theatre, 2400 University Ave. W., St. Paul / (651) 228-7008 / www.gremlin-theatre.org

David Mann is a first-rate Shakespearean director and actor. He’s also an accomplished playwright. Now, he has melded one of his favorite films with his favorite playwright. He also directs his script.
Mann shares, “I am constantly amazed at how the story of The Godfather mirrors Shakespeare. The tragedies of Shakespeare often depict the fall of a particular man as a result of his own ambition, greed, or inadequacy: Hamlet, Macbeth, Richard II, or Lear. The Godfather is essentially the tragedy of Michael Corleone [Ryan Lindberg], a man whose personal ambition and fear bring the ruin of his soul. When this story is heard in Shakespearean verse, it makes complete sense.”

A Christmas Carol / Through Dec. 31 / Guthrie Theater, 818 S. 2nd St., Mpls. / (612) 377-2224 / www.guthrietheater.org

Perhaps you’ve heard that the Guthrie’s 35th annual revival of its holiday specialty now only runs 90 minutes. Though you like that, perhaps you’re afraid it won’t have the same wonderful feel to it. But fear not. Barbara Field, who penned the adaptation you’ve enjoyed in years past, also has written this new one. Peter Michael Goetz plays Scrooge—he’s a Guthrie veteran and titan, as well as a Lavender Best Supporting Actor (Polonius in Hamlet at the Guthrie in 2006).

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