The Royal Family

by CHRISTINE SARKES The Royal Family at the Guthrie Theater is an entertaining, long and chaotic mess of a tribute to a comically dysfunctional Broadway “theat-ah” family – a thinly-veiled homage to the Barrymore dynasty. Although the play has muddled themes of honoring family traditions, work/life balance and living up to parental expectations, it is…

Sense and Sensibility

by CHRISTINE SARKES I’m writing this review as an unabashed Jane Austen fan and addressing it to the likewise. Anyone else is a mystery to me and I wouldn’t know where to begin. Janeites/Austenites will love the Guthrie Theater and Kate Hamill’s reverent, yet lightly modernized adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. With spot-on lead performances, exceptional ensemble…

2016 Ivey Awards

by CHRISTINE SARKES Inclusiveness and gratitude were the themes of the 12th Annual Ivey Awards held last evening at the Historic State Theater, downtown Minneapolis. Theater professionals honored their own and one of ours–Star Tribune theater critic Graydon Royce–as they reached beyond the typical candidates by awarding a non-actor, costume designer Trevor Bowen, with the Emerging Artist Award. Bowen got his…

Disgraced

by CHRISTINE SARKES In Disgraced at the Guthrie Theater, playwright Ayad Akhtar lays bare the deepest, darkest prejudices and fears of his diverse cast. In some ways, this is the most important review I’ve written to date and, like the play itself, the pressure to get it right is intense. What is it like for…

South Pacific

by CHRISTINE SARKES La vie est belle, life is beautiful, on the set of South Pacific at the Guthrie Theater through August 28. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1949 Broadway musical (and 1958 film) is romantic and lush, with such indelible music and lyrics that many left the theater whistling the tunes. It takes on prejudice and…

The Amish Project

Jessica Dickey wrote and performed her one-woman show The Amish Project in response to the 2006 school shooting in the Amish community of Nickel Mines, PA. She is very careful, however, to point out that the play, although based on real events, is entirely fictional; no real people’s names are used, and she deliberately did not research…

To Kill a Mockingbird

by CHRISTINE SARKES SASSEVILLE Guthrie Theater’s new artistic director Joseph Haj could not have chosen a more timely and relevant play to open his first season than Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, now through October 25 (recently extended) on the Wurtele Thrust Stage. As he states in the program’s introduction, “There is a timeliness to…