Duluth-based Lyric Opera of the North is creating a virtual experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The theater group is teaming with the newly formed Decameron Opera Coalition, comprised of nine U.S.-based companies, to premiere Tales from a Safe Distance, a multi-week virtual opera inspired by an historic text, Boccaccio’s The Decameron. LOON presents the first act tonight, Oct. 9, at 7 p.m.
Theater students at the University of Minnesota Duluth recently finished a run of outdoor performances of William Shakespeare’s Henry V. Auditions were in May, about three months into the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s the Halloween season, which of course means it’s time for witches and ghouls, but it’s also the time of year when the region’s theater companies get down to business. Here again is the PDD Theater Primer, where we hip you to all the haps on local stages for the next year.
Amber Burns is a true advocate for the arts. She has worked as a dancer, choreographer, painter, teacher and is now Artistic Director of the Duluth Playhouse Family Theatre. This week she talks about her love of many types of expression, and how she builds the work of other people as well as the many disciplines of her own.
AB: When I think about my medium I more like to think about what I love to create, which is visual movement, whether it is through my choreography, directing, through sculpture or on a canvas. Sometimes my medium is paint and sometimes it is physical bodies. I am a dancer, actor, director, choreographer, and visual artist. When I was just three years old I started dancing at a studio in Chanhassen, Minnesota and when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up I said, “I already am a dancer!” As I got older I developed passions for many other things, including drawing and painting. When it was time to pick a career and go to college I decided to b become an art teacher, and graduated from UMD in 2011 with a BFA in Art Education, all the while I was still dancing and teaching dance classes. At UMD I also received a minor in dance, and this is where I was introduced to the theater world.
There are quite a few things we know about this mystery photo. According to info scribbled on the back we can discern that Hope Phillips and Andy Tureson are acting out a scene from a staging of The Jungle Book at St. Michael’s Church in Duluth.
I left Panera for the RealisticJoneses at the Zeitgeist while, it seemed to me, a woman was in a tree. I’m not entirely sure about the tree part — I know she was in the woods, alongside the creek behind the parking lot separating the Panera from the Aldi complex, and I know that the police and EMTs were looking upward as one of the pines was shaking. I didn’t see her. I could only hear her voice, sadly crying that people believed that something was wrong with her. I felt a sadness that mirrored hers. There was no way for this story to end which didn’t fulfill her words. I wished there were a way for people to just turn their backs and let her leave, if that would be what she wanted.
As the leaves start to turn and the smell of fall starts to waft through the air, local theater companies are springing to life. It’s time for the Perfect Duluth Day theater primer. If it’s on the stage, it’s in our calendar.
AW: My name is Ashley, of Ashley Wereley Design, and I am a scenic designer, exhibit designer, scenic painter, exhibit painter, muralist and commissioned artist.
I stumbled into scenic painting while in art school when a friend at a local church asked me to paint some scenery they were building for a youth camp. I was immediately enthralled, and decided to stay on for a year at the Oaks Fellowship in Red Oak, Texas, as scenic charge and an assistant scenic designer.
I sat in the balcony to watch a preview (or Sponsor Night) performance of The Music Man by the Duluth Playhouse at the Norshor Theatre. The performance was enjoyable, the text is enjoyable, if complicated for the 21st century, and as this was my first trip into the new Norshor, I have some thoughts about that.
“Girl From the North Country,” the musical play that features the song catalog of Duluth/Hibbing native Bob Dylan, will close its second run at the Old Vic Theatre in London’s West End on March 24. Superior native Cassandra Csencsitz has published a review in the latest “Critic’s Notebook” on the American Theatre website: ‘Girl From the North Country’: How Does It Feel?
Sure, all the theater illuminati were at the opening of the NorShor for Mamma Mia. But across the street and down the road, on Friday and on Saturday, other kinds of theater and performance were opening up at Teatro Zuccone and the Underground, and I want to give them a nod.
The Underground theater is planning an event featuring short plays and monologues written by women playwrights celebrating women and what they have to say. The What She Said! Short Play Festival will be staged May 24-26. In the meantime, scripts for short plays and monologues written by women and people identifying as women, are being sought.
I am a dance artist and choreographer. For my current project Cabaret, I created jazz dance. Although this is my first time choreographing a full musical, I made my choreographic debut in musical theater with “The Wells Fargo Wagon” for my high school show choir. In college I earned a B.A. in dance where I studied modern dance performance and composition. To the uninitiated, imagine modern as a lot of artful running & falling followed by rolling around on the floor.