A Variety of Productions to Sate a Variety of Palates
Through Apr. 5
Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Av., Mpls.
The national tour of Annie has been directed by the musical’s very own lyricist and original director of the 1977 Tony Award-winning original, Martin Charnin. Liza Gennaro, the daughter of that production’s Tony-winning choreographer, Peter Gennaro, has stepped into her father’s old shoes and has incorporated some of his original work and some of her own. Tomorrow is Annie’s most famous song and stands tall as one of the most uplifting tunes in musical theater. Music by Charles Strouse.
Through Apr. 20
Muse Event Center, 107 Third Av. N., Mpls.
Yasmina Reza is perhaps the most recognizable woman playwright in the world but her first Olivier-winner for Best Comedy and Tony-winner for Best Play, Art, is about three contentious men and is still the favorite Reza play among world theatergoers. Theatre Coup d’Etat, known for taking on challenging material, is presenting it at the Muse Event Center’s intimate Club Room.
Director James Napoleon Stone describes the conflict in Art: “Sometimes when friends such as Serge (Elohim Pena), Marc (Lucas James Vonasek), and Yvan (Kevin Fanshaw) have a disagreement over how art can or should be done, or what it even is in the first place, when it’s actually disagreement between the core of those individuals. Art is a reflection of ourselves and what we see around us, but we mostly argue over whose lens it is we’re all seeing the art through. Sometimes even someone you’ve shared a lens with for years turns out to be just another asshole, shich can be brutal as all hell to deal with, and I think that is the truth of this particular story.”
Fruit Fly: The Musical
Through April 11
Illusion Theater at the Cowles Center
528 Hennepin Av., Mpls.
The evolution of Fruit Fly has been impressive. Audiences flocked to it at the 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival and were touched by its loving look into the friendship between a straight woman and a gay man, drawn from the actual friendship between the writer-performers themselves, Sheena Janson and Max Wojtanowicz. It was workshopped during Illusion Theater’s 2013 Fresh Ink series and has now been developed into a full production directed by Nikki Swoboda, with music by Michael Gruber.
Wojtanowicz points out that “our original Fringe version was under and hour, and telling the story of my friendship with Sheen in that amount of time meant we had to wrap if up with a fancy little bow quickly. Since then we’ve really fleshed out the story. The audience really sees the full evolution of this friendship, through good times and bad. The show is now about 90 minutes, with four new songs since the Fringe.”
If You Don’t Weaken and The Recollection Collection
Through Apr. 12
Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Av. NE, Mpls.
Freshwater Theatre operates a repertory system where one show or set of shows plays on alternating dates with the other at one space. Queer content permeates their current line-up. Jenna Zark’s new comedy, If You Don’t Weaken plays in rep with an anthology production of short plays about the nature of memory under the rubric of The Recollection Collection. Something significant has been evolving with Freshwater as they are becoming a magnet for established acting talent while still incorporating younger faces. In the current rep you will see such veteran actors as Charles Numrich, Muriel Bonertz, Brian Joyce, Muriel Bonertz, Dann Peterson and Brian Columbus. Linda Sue Anderson, a beloved Twin Cities actress is serving as assistant director for Zark’s play.
For years Ariel Pink has been a dynamic artist regarding themes of gender and sexuality. She is If You Don’t Weaken’s director and shares “while not the focus of the story, there is a growing awareness between Amy (Rebecca Gebhart) and Caron (Tara Lucchino), and we realize that Amy’s attraction to women may perhaps hae been one of the reasons Amy’s marriage failed. Neither woman knows how to broach the topics with each other, and it causes tension and strife between them. While never resolving itself, the women, in discovering who they want to be, grow closer and open the door to possibility.”
Anthony Neuman has written Imagine Memory, for The Recollection Collection. Neuman says it “brings the question of whether our memories are “real” or constructed. If they are in fact constructed, who better than an imaginary friend to help understand their magic, and to create a perfect wedding proposal.”