Stages Theatre in Hopkins is a place where young people are immersed in the theatre arts through opportunities onstage, backstage, in the audience and in the classroom. They have been providing quality theatre programming for children for 35 years and are now the third largest non-profit theatre in Minnesota.
The Lakeshore Players Theatre has a new home, the Hanifl Performing Arts Center. Since its beginning in 1953, it has been based in two different churches. Now for the first time, the White Bear Lake-based theatre has a performance space to call its own.
A award-winning playwright Marco Ramirez wrote The Royale, based on the journey of boxing legend Jack Johnson, who, in 1905 during the Jim Crow era, quickly became the most famous black man in the world. The play is told in six rounds and set in a boxing ring where Johnson fights for more than just the title. His fight begins long before the match. It takes multiple negotiations to convince the white reigning titleholder to even recognize him as a worthy opponent and enter the ring.
There’s nothing like the electricity of a live performance. This January, community members are donning character shoes and warming up their best bravado. For a night out (or a matinee), check out these three can’t-miss local productions.
Where are you from, originally?
Reed Sigmund: Autumn is from St. Paul and I’m from Fargo, N.D. I came to the University of Minnesota as a child psych major.
How long have you been acting?
Autumn Ness: The first play I ever did was with the Children’s Theatre Co. (CTC), Hansel and Gretl in 1987, and I did shows there until high school … I toured with them, did main stage shows and loved it.
Wooodbury Community Theatre’s A Christmas Story - The Musical opens on The Loft Stage this month. The holiday comedy takes place in the 1940s, following young Ralphie as he attempts to convince his parents, teacher, Santa and anyone else who will listen that a Red Ryder BB gun is the perfect Christmas gift. With dozens of classic, quotable lines and plenty of laughs, this show appeals to kids and adults alike.
Carter Bannwarth is a freshman at East Ridge High School with an uncommon extracurricular life. At just 15 years old, the Woodbury teen is already a professional musical performer and actor whose extraordinary talent and self-assured presence have earned him a slew of roles on stage and on screen. “Carter’s a triple threat,” says Michael Brindisi, artistic director at Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, who has now worked with Carter on two productions: Mary Poppins and Camelot. “He sings, he acts and he’s a great dancer. But most of all the kid’s a total professional.”
Since Brosius arrived in 1997, CTC has become such a part of the Twin Cities arts culture that it might be difficult to find someone it hasn’t affected. CTC garnered a prestigious regional Tony Award in 2003 for the theater, launched (along with Jack Zipes) the Neighborhood Bridges program, cast a vision for wider access to theater for disadvantaged youth, and in 2005 completed a campaign to expand CTC’s facilities.
When asked about the Looney Lutherans’ latest show, Livin’ La Vida Lutheran, creator, writer and actor Greta Grosch responds that in a sense, this show has taken 11 years to write. The Looney Lutherans are constantly evolving and new ideas are always being added. Grosch says that there have been “so many new ideas in the car” as they’ve been touring and brainstorming together.
Woodbury’s own Aleks Knezevich is starring as Danny in the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ current production of Grease. Knezevich, who attended Woodbury High School, decided to join choir his junior year. Through the people in that choir, he took a chance at theater. “The only show I ever did was my senior year,” Knezevich says. “It was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and I played the role of Pharaoh.”