Exclusive Q&A with Beauty and the Beast’s Erin Edelle

Based on the Academy Award-winning animated film, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast returned to the Orpheum Theatre last night after originating the national tour in Minneapolis in 1995.  We had the chance to sit down with the charming Erin Edelle, who plays Mrs. Potts in the touring production to learn about some of the magic (and challenges) of playing an enchanted teapot.

Erin Edelle as Mrs. Potts and Gabriel Reis as Chip – photo by Joan Marcus

Q. Playing Mrs. Potts, how did you approach taking on a storybook role? What did you do to make her your own?

A. It’s a role that I’ve always loved. I grew up with the movie- I was ten years old when it first came out – so I think I had this kinship toward it anyway.  I’ve always been someone who’s looked at as very motherly and very maternal so jumping into a role like this was very natural for me (aside from learning the accent and how to hold myself like a teapot). I’ve watched the movie only once, after we were in rehearsal, because I didn’t want to mimic Angela [Lansbury, who voice the character in the film], but I definitely want to pay tribute to her because what she did was so iconic. There are lines that people love and know so well that I want to deliver them as close to what she did as possible, but I still want to be true to myself. I’m a lot younger than her so I’m having a good time finding the balance between being a mother figure to the Beast and finding the truth in the character.

Q. What are the challenges of playing an enchanted object- a teapot?

A. The most challenging thing is figuring out the physicality of it. My left arm is the spout and I just hold it up. There is no support from the costume. There is one scene we refer to as the “second bedroom” when the Beast is yelling at Belle to come to dinner. That is probably a fifteen minute scene and I’m not allowed to drop my arm at all so it really starts to burn after awhile! Other than that, I don’t find anything too restricting, but that’s the biggest challenge for me.

Q. The title song, “Beauty and the Beast,” won an Oscar when the animated film was released. What is it like to perform this iconic song every night?

A. Surprisingly, it’s more nerve-wracking than I thought it would be because if I mess up…everyone knows. Not that any of us mess up, but if we were to I feel like I would get thrown under the bus the most because everyone knows every word to that song. At the same time it’s absolutely thrilling because I’m singing a song that, in my opinion, is perfect. I think it is just a perfectly written, simple song. It’s lovely, it’s beautiful and I love having the privilege of singing it to them every night.

Q. What do you think is the most magical moment in the show?

A. There is so much Disney magic in the show and it’s all technically spectacular, but for me one of the most magical moments of the show is the scene right after Beauty and the Beast where the Beast lets Belle go. There is something about the way the scene is written and particularly our Belle and Beast, Hilary Maiberger and Darick Pead. They just have this lovely truthfulness that’s magical for me. I also love to watch the Gaston number because I could never do that!

Q. If you could be any enchanted object, what would you be and why?

A. Oh man, that’s a hard one. Maybe some sort of kitchen object like a stove. An oven? Or maybe an old gramophone. Probably something either music or kitchen based. Strangely enough, maybe a teapot- a singing teapot. Who knows?

Want to be our guest?

This romantic and enchanting musical closes on Sunday, October 21, but tickets are still available – visit our site.

Student/Educator Rush tickets are also available for the following performances: Wednesday 10/17, Thursday 10/18 and Sunday evening 10/21. Policy: 1 ticket per valid ID; $25 per ticket; cash only; available only at the Orpheum Theatre Box Office beginning 2 hours prior to showtime; rush line forms outside of theatre; resale of rush tickets is strictly prohibited and all tickets are subject to availability.

IN THE NEWS

Exclusive Q&A with Darren Romeo, Masters of Illusion performer known as “The Voice of Magic”

Darren Romeo

“A hobby that grows into an art.”  For Darren Romeo, floating light bulbs and the music of Andrew Lloyd Webber are all in a day’s work. Romeo, who sings popular Broadway songs while performing incredible illusions, is one of the many talented performers in Masters of Illusion Live! coming to our State Theatre for one night only this Friday, September 21. This theatrical experience, also consisting of daring escape and quick change artists, two tigers, beautiful dancers and comedy magic, is totally live with no camera tricks or computer graphics.

Originally from New York, Darren Romeo was performing all over the U.S. within the magic convention circuit by age 14. In 1999, he won a World Magic Award for Best Up and Coming Magician. That same year, he scored his own show at the Flamingo Hilton in Las Vegas and led the legendary duo Siegfried and Roy to offer him a contract – something they’d never done before. We had the chance to get his take on all things magic.

Q. In addition to performing magic, you are known as “the voice of magic” and sing while you’re doing illusions. What led you to combine the two?

I was named after the singer Bobby Darin and, after performing a tribute to him as a child, I got the nickname “the voice of magic.” I’ve also had the honor of studying with many great voice teachers over the years.

Q. What can Minneapolis patrons expect to see in the Masters of Illusion Live! show?

You’re in for a true variety show- magic, illusion and comedy from some of the best in the field. It’s currently the nation’s largest touring magic show!

Q. Have you noticed any differences in audience reactions as you have performed around the world?

It has been mostly the same buzz and excitement everywhere. Although in Singapore and Japan, the audiences were a bit more shy and reserved. However, the autograph line after the show was as least as big!

Q. Since it’s a live magic show, I have to ask about stage mishaps.

Once, while singing and being cut in half, I caught on fire. Let’s just say that was exciting…

Darren Romeo says his favorite thing about magic is breaking the fourth wall with an audience. Savvy theatre patrons will recognize this industry term for when the imaginary “wall” in front of the stage in a traditional proscenium theatre is “broken” by the performers onstage. During the State Theatre show, audience members will become part of the act as they are called on stage to assist in the illusions. Tickets are on sale now (click here) and all tickets are half price for children ages 12 and under with the purchase of an adult ticket.

Read a feature from the Maryland Gazette where Darren describes his connection to the famed magician Harry Blackstone, Jr.

6 Tips for Taking Children to the Theatre

In a time where toddlers are confusing hard copy magazines for non-responsive iPads, and where our five year olds can navigate a cell phone like any other adult, it’s probably fair to say that live theatre can offer an exciting and refreshing experience for today’s little ones.  It’s true! Their favorite stories literally come to life, and it happens on a much grander scale than a 5-inch screen. But the medium of entertainment is not the only changing variable—live theatre happens in public. With other people. Elbow to elbow. The thought of a less-than-desirable reaction from your child can make any good parent hesitant to hit the box office, but have faith, ye moms and dads! We have tips, and a fantastic “practice” event too!

Tip #1 Prepare Your Child for the Trip

Explain to him or her that this is a different type of activity, where they will see real people on a stage to tell a story. Lay out the expectations, like remembering to sit still and no talking during the performance. And most importantly, familiarize him or her with the characters and the plot. If there’s a book or soundtrack about the play, great!

Tip #2 Timing, Timing, Timing

Does your child nap regularly? If so, be mindful of matinee performance times. Be sure he or she is well rested and fed before attending the performance. A cranky, tired, hungry child can lead to audience disruption, and a sleeping child won’t get to enjoy the show! And don’t worry about finishing snacks in the lobby. You can bring them in the theatre. Quiet snacks are best, and can also be purchased at our theatre concessions.

Tip #3 Keep It Comfy

Kids can be easily distracted, and one of the easiest distractions to avoid is uncomfortable clothing. Cute outfits won’t matter once the house lights lower, so bring out the cotton wear! Also, don’t be afraid to inquire about booster seats. The Orpheum, State, and Pantages theatres have them available for our shorter patrons in limited numbers, but if you’re worried about your little one’s sight lines, feel free to bring a cushion.  And if anything, bring THE blankie.

Tip #4 The Early Bird Doesn’t ALWAYS Get the Worm

Arrival time is key. If you get there too early, you might have an antsy kid who has probably lost interest. If you arrive too late, your child may feel rushed, which might not allow for time to settle into the atmosphere. Use about ten minutes before the show starts to use the bathroom, and provide a quiet activity for them to do in their seat while they wait. To the coloring book aisle!

Tip #5 Keep It Going!

Live theatre can be exciting, even during intermission and after the show. Feel free to take your child up to see the orchestra pit during intermission, and certainly engage them in conversations about the show after you leave. It will help to cap what was hopefully a very positive and fun experience for you and your child!

Tip #6 Check with us (or your other favorite theatre)

Always check with the theatre you plan on attending to see if there are any age recommendations, amenities or policies for bringing children to the theatre. For an example you can refer to Hennepin Theatre Trust’s age recommendations for Broadway productions and kids’ shows. The theatre always welcomes any questions you have!

Interested in having your child participate in a Hennepin Theatre Trust event this fall? Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is coming to the Orpheum Theatre in October, and in celebration of this classic fairytale story, we are offering the event, Little Royalty Tea at the IDS Crystal Court on October 13 from 11AM-1PM. Enjoy a lovely afternoon with Hennepin Theatre Trust and your favorite Disney Princes and Princesses! There will be delicious treats, Disney music compliments of the Wayzata High School Orchestra, and a classical Viennese Waltz dance instruction. This is an event fit for a royal family! Learn more.

SpotLight Program and School of Rock students turn it up!

Some people grab a hairbrush and an air guitar to rock out—but for 15 students this summer, the hairbrush was traded in for a microphone and the volume was turned up to the max.  From August 6-18, students from our SpotLight Musical Theatre Program and the School of Rock combined forces to create their own show culminating in a one-night performance on Monday, August 20 at the New Century Theatre.

The Cabaret Camp students walked away with real life skills in directing, writing, arranging, movement/choreography, technical skills and more knowledge about the business of the arts. The goal of this program is simple:

Empower the students.

We believe that in giving the students 100% creative control they will grow as artists and people.  Following the performance on Monday night, I am proud to say: mission accomplished.

The cabaret, Eras of Love, was born out of several brainstorms of songs and bands and heavy discussion between the students about how ideas connect. What I continue to find most interesting about the young artists I work with, is that when given the choice, they don’t shy away. Death, abuse, addiction, divorce, war, homosexuality—all of the “heavy topics” were exactly what this group wanted to tackle. (One of the many ways I am reminded that the next generation is going to be just fine.)

School of Rock Music Director-St. Paul, Adam Durand, said his favorite part of the experience was watching all of the students elevate their musicianship to a new level.

“This performance was really one of a kind and broke new ground for the education community,” said Durand.

If you weren’t in attendance, here’s what you missed:

The Show: Eras of Love—a series of vignettes exploring relationships, conflict and of course love.

Elizabethan Era: A re-telling of Romeo and Juliet had us see the couple battle
their family feud (quite literally with a nod to the game show featuring the Capulets vs. Montagues)

1940’s: Robby and Janet believe in love and their country—until war takes Robby away and they battle distance and eventually post-traumatic stress disorder upon his return.

Late 80’s/early 90’s:  The ladies took to the stage as we watched a daughter search to find her place after her mother’s death and a young woman in an abusive relationship reflects on making the choice to leave her boyfriend.

Present Day: Two brothers share their story of living life with their parents on the road to divorce. One discovers he is gay and through the challenge finds a new, stronger, relationship with his brother.

The Singers:

Claire Clauson (South St. Paul High School), Corrine Nugent (Shakopee High School), Kayla Peters (Chaska High School), Will Tipping (DeLaSalle High School), John Jamison (Southwest High School), Emily Nies (White Bear Area Lake High School), Caleb Richards (Shakopee High School), Tate Shepard (Eastview High School), Lexi Johnson (Benilde-St. Margaret’s High School), Chaos Bebault (St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists) and Maggie Cramer (Washburn High School).

The Band:

Mat Lentz (Guitar), Ben Pauls (Bass), Sedona LaMarre (Piano) and Zack Adelman (Drums).

The Playlist:

Seasons of Love (Rent), Just Another Day (Next to Normal), Dying Ain’t So Bad (Bonnie & Clyde: The Musical), Love Song (Marilyn Manson), My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion), Gunslinger (Avenged Sevenfold), Letterbomb (American Idiot), Mama Who Bore Me (Spring Awakening), Holding Out for a Hero (Footloose), Family Portrait (P!nk), I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry), Left Behind (Spring Awakening), Times Like These (Foo Fighters) and A Change is Gonna Come (Sam Cooke).

We’d like to offer special thanks to our partner, the School of Rock, and Adam Durand, Music Director from the School of Rock in St. Paul.

Check out photos from the final performance here.

Looking for more? View the Cabaret performances from last summer: “7 Deadly Sins” and “Croon & Swoon.”

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Celebrating New Century’s 1st year with a look back!

As the Minnesota summer winds down and the crispness in the air draws us back into indoor spaces and to the theatre, let’s take a moment to celebrate the first anniversary of the New Century Theatre!  As the Theatre’s Ticketing and Group Sales Manager, I’m happy to share some reflections on this first year which also coincides with my first anniversary as a Trust staff member!

New Century stage dressed for Don’t Hug Me.

Simply put, it’s been a great first year at the New Century Theatre.  One highlight was having four drag queens on stage! And hilarious productions such as: A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol, Girls Only: The Secret Comedy of Women and Mary à la Carte had patrons laughing uproariously, something I always enjoy seeing .  We were proud to also be the Minneapolis host for Standing On Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays, a one-night event that came back for a touching, longer run.

At the New Century Theatre, we are more than just plays!  Our education program regularly uses the space for the Broadway Confidential series, bringing in artists or speakers to give that additional level of insight into the show. This summer, there are dozens of students taking workshops as part of our summer SpotLight Cabaret Camp series.  Local artists like Charles Fraiser have used our equipment to teach classes in acting and improvisation to students all over the country using modern video technology. The FAIR school in downtown also rehearses and performs its annual production at New Century.

My personal favorite was watching Kathleen Turner teaching a Master Class to some of our Triple Threat students! I fondly remember watching her in Romancing The Stone and Jewel of the Nile when I was much younger and loving her performance.  I’ve met my share of stars working in theatre: Jon Schneider, Justin Kirk, Linda Kelsey, just to name a few, but there is just something about Kathleen Turner.  For me, she has this raw energy.  You could feel it in the room whenever she spoke.  She is truly a master of her craft and her work with the students was transformative.  She’d work them and re-work them and get them to “see” what they were saying, “feel” what the character was experiencing, and “breathe” life into what was just words on a page.

A few days ago, on August 2,we embarked on another new adventure!  We launched our new music series called Acoustic Century and the first concert featuring 4onthefloor’s Gabriel Douglas and Danny O’Brien of The Farewell Circuit.  It was a fabulous, intimate evening of music.  The best part for me was when they told stories and talked about their song-writing.  We’re planning to offer more of these super fun opportunities to really get “inside” the music.

Acoustic Century

Looking ahead to the fall, we are getting ready for deer hunting season!  Throw together four hunters who’d rather sit in the warmth of the lodge, an ultimatum from their wives to actually shoot a deer and beer and enjoy…can I say kick-line!

Of course as it gets colder still, who doesn’t want a hot cup of coffee.  I’m really looking forward to seeing my friends Carolyn Pool and Shanan Custer in 2 Sugars, Room for Cream.  I couldn’t get enough of this show during the 2009 Fringe Festival, I think I saw it three times.  Insider Secret (don’t tell):   They performed at the Xperimental Stage at Rarig Center.  Essentially the X is a pit.  There is NO off-stage and NO back-stage…just, well, stage!  So, they were forced to think on their feet and re-block the entire show, keeping all costume and prop changes on stage in full view of the audience.  This creative last minute change really worked like a charm.  Now we all can’t imagine doing it any other way.

So, join me this fall at New Century Theatre.  We need YOU to make theatre happen.  When I worked at the Park Square Theatre, a former co-worker would talk to students before the show. This portion of the speech always gave me goose bumps. She’d ask them, “If the actors showed up and performed the play in full make-up and costumes with sound and lights and NO ONE was in the audience, did theatre just happen, or was that just rehearsal? “

Answer:  Rehearsal.  To be “theatre” we need you.  You are the last piece of this magical art form.  Theatre does not happen on the stage.  It happens somewhere between the actors and you, taking on life and energy from the laughs and sobs and gasps as you and the cast together create “THEATRE.”  This is why I love being a part of it. I would also love to see you soon at the New Century Theatre. Just look for me in the box office!

BREAKING NEWS: Monty Python’s Spamalot & Shear Madness added to 12/13 Broadway Season, Broadway Flex Packs Now Available

Just when you thought our 12/13 Broadway Season couldn’t get any better, we’ve gone ahead and added two season specials to our already packed lineup of award-winning musicals and plays: Monty Python’s Spamalot returns to the Orpheum for three shows only and Shear Madness takes over the Pantages for a four-week run. Tickets are on sale now to both of these shows as part of our Broadway Flex Packs, which allow you to secure your seats from among nine shows before single tickets go on sale to the general public!

Monty Python’s Spamalotwinner of the 2005 Tony Award for Best Musical, returns to Minneapolis March 15-16, 2013. This comedy sensation is lovingly “ripped off” from the film classic “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” Shear Madness, the longest running play in American theatre history, will run February 27-March 17, 2013. Filled with comedy and improvisation, this uproarious mystery invites audiences to spot the clues, question the suspects and solve the crime was voted “Best Comedy of the Year” seven times by the Boston Globe.

Customize your own Flex Pack and join us for these shows! Details, details, details…

Broadway Flex Packs allow you to customize you own season by choosing three or more shows from among nine productions on the upcoming season, including: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Catch Me If You Can, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Flashdance, Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins, Rock of Ages, Shear Madness, Monty Python’s Spamalot and War Horse.  Our upcoming co-presentation of Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida at the Pantages with Theater Latte Da will also be available as a Flex Pack option. Flexible ticket packages allow you to secure your seats to these nine shows before single tickets go on sale to the general public. You’re welcome to choose any performance and purchase up to eight tickets to each show at any desired price level.  Packages are available in person at the State Theatre Box Office, by phone through the Broadway Across American Season Ticket Holder Hotline (1.800.859.7469, Monday-Friday, 10am-5pm) or by ordering online.

Due to the extremely high demand, tickets for The Book of Mormon will not be available through the flexible ticket package option but a limited number of seats are still available with the purchase of a full season package.

Acoustic Century: Local songwriters and their stories – debuts next week!

“There’s a lion that sits on my bed / Lord knows he’s never been fed”

Gabriel Douglas, the once heavily-bearded front man of local supergroup The 4onthefloor, bellows this lyric in the band’s recent single “Lionhearted.” Before Douglas had his beard publicly removed this summer, you might have mistaken him for a lion. But if you want to know the true meaning behind his lyrics (and why he shaved his epic beard), you’ll have to come hear it for yourself at Acoustic Century!

We invite you to join us on Thursday, August 2 at 8:00pm, when we debut Acoustic Century, a new series of local acoustic music mixed with artist conversations. Acoustic Century will give local performers a platform to share their music and the stories behind it and give audiences a chance to get a deeper look into the local music scene.

The inaugural event on Thursday will feature Gabriel Douglas of the roots rock quartet The 4onthefloor and Danny O’Brien from the indie band The Farewell Circuit. The duo will share the stories behind their tracks, answer audience questions and perform separately on stage. Topics covered will focus on the aspects of the songwriting process, what it’s like to be a part of the local music scene in the Twin Cities, life on the road and the dichotomy between playing in a group versus having a solo career.

Since opening its doors in September 2011, the New Century Theatre has hosted a variety of plays and theatrical events, but this is the first venture into live music at the new downtown venue. The small, intimate space will provide the perfect setting for acoustic concerts like this and will allow every member of the audience to feel connected with the performers on stage.

So join us on August 2 as we take you behind the music and into the minds of some of Minnesota’s top musicians! Tickets here.

Watch Gabriel Douglas and Danny O’ Brien perform an acoustic version of “Lionhearted” live at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

About Gabriel and Danny:

Gabriel Douglas has performed both as a solo performer and as lead singer and drummer for The 4onthefloor. He has shared the stage with such musical luminaries as Lucinda Williams and Willie Nelson and his group released their debut album, “4×4,” in April 2011. “[Douglas] effortlessly toggles between a whiskey-fueled, gravelly drawl and a stimulating, larynx shredding bellow,” wrote Mark Suppanz from the music magazine The Big Takeover.

Danny O’Brien crafts indie pop tunes both as a solo artist and lead singer, guitarist and pianist for The Farewell Circuit. The group released their debut album, “In Our Bones,” in November 2011. “In an era where pervasive poverty, war, revolution and uncertainty exist, The Farewell Circuit offers optimism and belief in humanity,” says the Dadada Music Blog.

Exclusive Q&A with Nick Bowman, Rhythmic Circus Executive Director and Award-Winning Performer

What do you get when you mix percussive tap with live funk, rock, blues and soul music? Rhythmic Circus, the explosive Twin Cities dance ensemble, brings their critically acclaimed production “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!” back to the Pantages Theatre for two performances only, this Friday (July 20) and Saturday (July 21). These shows are the only chance to see the troupe locally as they gather support to return to Scotland’s prestigious Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August and launch an upcoming Off-Broadway run. We had a chance to ask Nick Bowman, Rhythmic Circus Executive Director and award-winning performer, what gives his show its non-stop energy.

Q. What led you to create Rhythmic Circus?

Before we started this project, Ricci Milan and I were busy teaching locally at dance studios as well as traveling the country teaching for various dance organizations including competitions, conventions, dance studios and university dance programs. We enjoyed the work but often discussed putting together a music and dance show that featured our style of tap dance as well as the musical style of our friends who were playing in a multitude of local bands.

We wanted to create a dance show for “the people.” In other words, we wanted to create a show that all types of audiences would respond to enthusiastically. Our other major goal was to create a show that we would be proud to stand behind artistically. In our combined performance history we felt we had only had the opportunity to perform in shows that served one of these two goals – it was always fun and cheesy, or artistic and boring.

In 2008, we decided that our window of opportunity to create a project that would serve those two goals was quickly closing. The time had come to enlist our friends to start working on our “passion project.” We quickly put a deposit down on a week long rental at the Ritz Theatre in Minneapolis and started creating musical numbers and brainstorming ideas as to how we could link them all together. What resulted was the beginning of “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!”

Q. What can patrons expect to see during your shows this Friday and Saturday?

Our show is a cross between a dance concert, a rock concert and a comedy hour. It features four dancers and seven musicians who combine efforts to encourage audiences to “believe in the power of their dreams.” It’s the kind of show that makes you want to get up and move. It is genre bending, mixing our style of hard-hitting, rapid-fire, extremely athletic tap dancing with rock, blues, soul and funk music.

Rhythmic Circus is a group of friends who came together to create a show that celebrates our community, our friendships and life in general. On the surface we are group of entertainers, but as the show progresses, you get the feeling that we are more like a secret club, or fraternal organization, a group of people that have a much deeper bond than originally anticipated. But we don’t want our group to be a secret. By the end of the show our goal is to make you feel invited to join the Circus and awaken to the Circus that’s alive inside of you.

The name of our show, “Feet Don’t Fail Me Now!,” is an old New Orleans chant dating back to the early 1900’s. It comes from a time when people were rich, not necessarily financially, but rich with culture and spirit. Back then they had parades in the street every Sunday just to celebrate their lives and their community. We have adopted the chant as more of a rallying cry or group motto. In these economic times, we want to get people back in touch with that spirit of celebration and provide a show that helps remind our audience that there is always a reason to get up, let go and dance.

Q. You performed at the Pantages last summer and your upcoming shows are the only chance for people to watch the group locally this summer. What do you like best about performing at the Pantages?

The Pantages is a beautiful theatre. We have traveled back and forth across the country for the past 18 months performing in over 90 cities and I can honestly say that the Pantages is our favorite venue we have had the opportunity to perform in. The combination between history and aesthetic beauty is unmatched. It also doesn’t hurt that it is the theatre where we had our favorite performances. There is something incredibly special about performing for your hometown. The love and support is almost overwhelming. It helps bring out the best in our ensemble and encourages us to raise the bar in our individual performances. We are all looking forward to the same kind of excitement this weekend.

Q. Have you had any memorable mishaps as you’ve performed your high-energy shows around the world?

Mishaps are the true gem of live entertainment! They are what make you realize that you are seeing something that is being created right now, right in front of you. They are something we try to prevent, but are truly unavoidable and seem to find their way into every show.

This past weekend in Fort Worth, TX, Ricci managed to miss his chair completely during the “chair dance.” There comes a point in the show where he and Cory are switching chairs at an incredibly quick pace, and for the first time in our show’s history, Ricci completely missed and found himself on his rear-end. From the wings the rest of the company was on the floor rolling around laughing while he popped up, made a joke and kept going without missing a beat. In the lobby after the show, most people couldn’t believe it wasn’t planned!

It’s these kind of “mistakes” that make live entertainment so drastically different from other forms of entertainment. Though they sometimes throw us off our usual rhythm, we cherish every single one of them!

Thanks to Nick Bowman for participating in our Q&A. For more information on Rhythmic Circus or to purchase tickets to their shows on Friday and Saturday, please visit our website.

Read a feature on the group that appeared in Sunday’s Star Tribune!

Summer in the City 2012 – A Huge Success!

Last night, Thursday, July 12, more than 300 Donors joined us for the eighth annual Summer in the City, an invitation-only event to thank our supporters held this year at the Orpheum Theatre. During the fun-filled evening, Trust patrons sampled tasty appetizers and complimentary beverages from our restaurant partners including Rosa Mexicano, Crave, Rock Bottom Brewery, Thom Pham’s Wondrous Azian Kitchen, The Capital Grille, Solera, Cosmos, Bradstreet Craftshouse, D’Amico Kitchen, Seven Sushi Ultralounge and Mission American Kitchen. Summit Beer was also on hand with refreshing beer samples and interesting tidbits from their Cicerone (a certified beer sever who works to ensure customers enjoy the flavors of the amber colored liquid to the greatest extent possible).

Guests also enjoyed behind-the-scenes tours of the historic Orpheum Theatre as well as exclusive demonstrations by top chefs and bartenders including how to make Fruit Explosions from Cosmos, Sake Floats from Thom Pham’s, Sushi from Seven, Caprese Salad Glasses from Crave and Fresh Guacamole from  Rosa. Bradstreet Craftshouse and The Capital Grille added to the party with their own delicious beverage demonstrations.

Thanks to everyone who joined us and supports our work throughout the year. It was a wonderful evening with food, fun and excitement. To learn how you can become a Hennepin Theatre Trust donor and receive invitations to exclusive events like this as well as many other benefits, please visit our website.

View photos from the event.

From the Minne-apple to the Big Apple: Triple Threat Best Actor and Best Actress take on the Jimmys!

Following in the footsteps of last year’s Triple Threat Best Actress Sarah Cartwright and Triple Threat Best Actor and Jimmy Award-winning Ryan McCartan, SpotLight Musical Theatre Program standouts Emily Nies and Dan Piering began their adventure to New York and the 2012 National High School Musical Theatre Awards on June 20.

Dan Piering and Emily Nies at Sardi’s in New York City prior to attending Nice Work if You Can Get It.

For the next week, Nies and Piering will join the ranks of 60 students from 30 programs across the country being coached by Broadway actors and a professional artistic staff, visiting with industry professionals and even seeing a couple of Broadway shows!  The culminating performance of their week with the Jimmys (named for theatre maven James Nederlander) will take them to the Minskoff Theatre where they will make their Broadway debut and compete for the Jimmy Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Whitney Rhodes, their chaperone for the week, took a moment to chat with them about their first couple of days at the Jimmys and their feelings about SpotLight.

Dan Piering

Grade: Senior (Attending the Guthrie B.F.A. program this fall)

High School: Wayzata High School

Winning Role: Tommy Albright in Brigadoon

Q. What are you most excited about being here at the Jimmys?

A. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week and especially Monday. All of the students involved are so nice and talented. It’s a great group of kids to be around and I’m so excited to get to work with them for the next few days.

Q. As a graduating senior, what will you miss most about the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program?

A. It’s really the same as my last answer…the process of rehearsing with people, growing with people and making those connections. Throughout Showcase week, SpotLight brings together hundreds of kids who don’t know each other and then we grow together. The strength of the community that is created is the best part and I’ll miss that—but it’s OK because I’ll go to all of the Alumni parties!

Fun Facts:

  • Favorite color: Blue
  • Favorite food: Chipotle
  • Favorite Song to Sing: Happy Birthday because that means it’s someone’s birthday!
  • Dream role: Bobby in Company—it was the first show I saw on Broadway

Emily Nies

Grade: Junior

High School: White Bear Lake Area School

Winning Role: Rosemary Pilkington in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Q. I hear it’s your first time in New York. What are you most excited about?

A. The feeling of walking in Times Square and seeing EVERYTHING at ONCE. And definitely seeing my first Broadway show (Ghost)!

Q. How did you prepare yourself for this week at Nationals?

A. Physically I rested, tried to get sleep, made sure I had all of my stuff together, knew what I was doing and really thought everything out.

Fun facts:

  • Favorite color: Blue (and purple)
  • Favorite food: Chicken
  • Favorite Song to Sing: “ONE song?”
  • Dream role: Reno Sweeney in Anything Goes

Be sure to keep up with Dan and Emily’s adventures by following their daily video blogs on the SpotLight Musical Theatre Program Facebook page!