On the Townsend

By John Townsend February 10, 2011

Categories: Arts & Culture, Our Scene

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Into The Woods
Through Feb. 13
Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center
1800 W. Old Shakopee Rd., Bloomington
(952) 563-8575
www.bloomingtoncivictheatre.org

Stephen Sondheim and Joseph Lapine’s inventive musical mixes fairy-tale icons Rapunzel, Cinderella, and Jack of Beanstalk into an oddly charming narrative where they intermingle, and learn that dark ramifications can ensue when dreams come true.

Director Joe Chvala splendidly balances brisk comic timing with moments of numinous profundity. Ed Gleeman’s costumes, Wu Chen Khoo’s lighting, Robin McIntyre’s set, and Jesse Carlson’s props are magical. Anita Ruth’s crackling music direction serves a great cast led by Karen Weber as a proverbial “wicked witch.”

Little Eyes
Through Feb. 20
Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd St., Mpls.
(612) 377-2224
www.guthrietheater.org

The Guthrie is known for producing historically-prominent plays, but it also features contemporary work from strong local theater troupes. Minneapolis’s Workhaus Collective, known for its development of provocative plays, currently weighs in with Minnesota playwright Cory Hinkle’s new play, Little Eyes.

Hinkle says, “Little Eyes is about how we cling to lies, because it’s easier to take than dealing with the truth. It’s also about how to raise a child and be a parent today. All of these ideas are dealt with in a darkly funny way.”


Drakul

Through Feb. 26
Red Eye Theater
15 W. 14th St., Mpls.
(612) 375-0300
www.walkingshadowcompany.org

Playwright John Heimbuch has reimagined Dracula, in his words, “through the lens of late Victorian culture. It explores how societal obligations can cause us to close ourselves off from our true desires by using vampires as a metaphor for destructive desire. As Bram Stoker’s novel [1897] is told through the letters and journals of the characters, it seems likely that these records are not the most reliable source, especially when the characters must also struggle to preserve their reputations. Drakul [Charles Hubbell] hypothesizes that the book Dracula has been published in the world of the characters, causing the survivors to discover the numerous lies and deceits they perpetrated while trying to defeat the vampire. By putting the characters’ personal desires at the forefront of the story, it helps heighten those times when their morality and sexual desires come into direct conflict with their survival.”

Leave
Through Feb. 26
Sabes Jewish Community Ctr.
4330 Cedar Lake Rd., St. Louis Park
(612) 396-2025
www.urbansamurai.org

Matthew Everett’s acclaimed powerful drama about homophobia and the military has been expanded for Urban Samurai. We now see Seth (Ryan Henderson), the Marine, before he went to boot camp and got shipped out, then had to deal with the strain Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would put on his husband, Nicholas (Jack Kloppenborg).

Everett explains, “The repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been incorporated into the play’s closing minutes. The change has come too late for some, but the remaining characters can look forward to the possibility of a better, freer life.”

Moreover, the discussion about why gays should serve a country that refuses to recognize their value as people digs deeper in this new version in a scene between Seth and former soldier Tyson (Derek Ewing).

Little Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks
Through Feb. 27
Ritz Theater
345 13th Ave. NE, Mpls.
(612) 396-2025
www.ritzdolls.com

Zany Ballet of the Dolls is melding two classic fairy tales.

Choreographer Myron Johnson shares, “In our version, the story begins with ‘Red’ [Heather Cadigan] dancing her way through the forest with her basket for Grandma when she comes upon a pile of leaves. When she clears away the vines, she discovers a small golden-haired girl, ‘Goldy’ [Lisa Conlin], locked up in a cage. Goldy sweetly begs for Red to let her out, and when she agrees, promptly steals her basket, and run off into the woods. Red has no choice but to chase after her.”

Grant Whittaker dances across gender borders as Grandma and Momma Bear.

Hair
Mar. 1-6
Orpheum Theatre
910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.
(800) 859-7469
www.hennepintheatretrust.org

This isn’t just any national tour revamp of the 1960s tribal rock musical. It took New York by storm just two years ago, winning the Tony for Best Revival. Accused in the past of didacticism, excessive idealism, and simplistic plot structure that nods too heavily to guerilla street theater, Hair, by its longevity, proves that its peace and love message is unstoppable. Today, the show is hauntingly prescient in its depiction of how war impacts a nation at home, not just the killing fields abroad. The Public Theater, which offers this revival, also produced Hair in 1967. Groovy karma, man!

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