Cardboard Piano

by CHRISTINE SARKES Cardboard Piano at the Park Square Theatre is a powerful drama about love, human cruelty, redemption and forgiveness. The play’s themes stand in stark contrast to the happy Winter Carnival and Super Bowl festivities taking place now in the Twin Cities, but they are timely and profound. The four actors, who play seven…

Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley

by CHRISTINE SARKES If you are searching for a fun and festive holiday farce, I recommend wholeheartedly Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley at the Jungle Theater now through December 30. This adorable and funny Georgian-era play answers the burning question among Jane Austen fans: Would Mary Bennet (Christian Bardin) find love or would she remain…

Birds Sing Differently Here

by CHRISTINE SARKES Although this review is published after the brief run of Birds Sing Differently Here at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio, it serves as recognition of the important collaboration between the Guthrie and the Iraqi and American Reconciliation Project to give voice to the Iraqi-Minnesotan experience. As part of Guthrie’s innovative Level Nine…

Romeo and Juliet

by CHRISTINE SARKES Romeo and Juliet at the Guthrie Theater through October 28 is fresh, sexy and brilliantly directed by Guthrie’s artistic director Joseph Haj. I especially loved the humor and vibrancy of the staging and the modern cadence of Shakespeare’s words. The play sizzles with energy and will absolutely appeal to younger middle and…

Motown the Musical

by JACOB FROELICH The lesser-known story behind the founder of one of the most influential record labels in history makes for quite the Broadway musical. Motown the Musical is captivating and enthralling from the opening number through the tribute mini-concert finale. The show is a sing-along for many and the music appeals to a broad…

Sunday in the Park with George

by CHRISTINE SARKES What does it mean to be a misunderstood, visionary artist and how does suffering for your art impact those you love? These are the themes of Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods, et al.) and James Lapine’s…

Persuasion

by CHRISTINE SARKES Aethem Theatre Company’s world premiere adaptation of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, June 15-18, is a superbly acted delight. The company’s founding member Kayla Hambek has accomplished a nearly herculean task in adapting the book to stage given that much of Austen’s exposition is the protagonist’s inner monologue. Hambek cleverly uses Anne Elliot’s (Audrey…

Refugia

by CHRISTINE SARKES Refugia at the Guthrie Theater explores transition–as life stages, border crossings, displacement of people as refugees and immigrants–using an avant-garde and innovative mix of movement, music, poetry and comedy. Through interconnected chapters, the piece is formed from “devised theater,” differing from traditional theater in that the rehearsal process does not begin with…

Wicked

by CHRISTINE SARKES Wicked is so good on so many levels, there really is no need to write a review – just go see it, if you can. The lyrics and music are achingly beautiful, the underlying messages touchingly resonant and topical, and the costumes and sets are simply fabulous. I love this show with…

The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence

by CHRISTINE SARKES The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence, a 2014 finalist for Pulitzer Prize for Drama at Park Square Theatre, is truly a curious case. It is a lightly entertaining and well-acted confusing mix of steampunk meets Sci-Fi time travel meets Sex and the City. The website’s synopsis won’t help much either: “Four…