The Book of Mormon

by SOPHIE KERMAN Wholesomely all-American, with unrelenting optimism and unquestioning zeal: am I talking about musical theater, or about the Mormon Church? In The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, and Matt Stone have found the perfect subject for a Broadway musical. Religious conviction, fear of hell-fire  and idealistic missions seem to have been made for nothing if not…

Reefer Madness

by KAREN BORCHERT, guest reviewer The musical parody of the 1936 film by the same name, Reefer Madness, presented by Minneapolis Musical Theatre and Hennepin Theatre Trust, is well-timed given the sensation around marijuana legislation in recent months. The 1936 film, which warned of the evils of the “leafy green substance,” had somewhat of a cult following for its…

Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

by SOPHIE KERMAN Priscilla, Queen of the Desert the Musical is the reason why musicals were born. Adapted by Stephan Elliott and Allan Scott from the 1994 movie starring Guy Pearce and Hugo Weaving, Priscilla the Musical takes the film’s original heart and love of glamour, and cranks up the volume, the budget, and exuberance to create a spectacle that takes you…

Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida

by SOPHIE KERMAN In the new production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida, the Hennepin Theatre Trust and Theater Latté Da present us with an excellent performance of a deeply problematic musical. The show opens a new collaborative series between the HTT and Latté Da called Broadway Re-Imagined, which casts local Minnesota talent in high-profile Broadway shows under…

Santaland Diaries

by MICHAEL J. OPPERMAN This play is a holiday favorite, particularly for many who don’t much like the holidays.  Based on David Sedaris‘ cynical & searing true chronicles of working as an elf at Macy’s during the holidays, the Santaland Diaries were first read on National Public Radio 20 years ago. In the Frank Theatre…

A Day in the Death of Joe Egg

by MICHAEL J. OPPERMAN Peter Nichols’ A Day in the Death of Joe Egg is a provocative play, disturbingly frank in its portrayal of a couple’s experience raising a daughter with cerebral palsy.  Nichols is unflinching in his depiction of Bri (Randy Schmeling) and Sheila (Mary Fox) and the emotional strain of parenting a child…

2 Sugars, Room for Cream

by MICHAEL J. OPPERMAN The funny I expected, the poignancy I didn’t.  2 Sugars, Room for Cream is a surprisingly moving collection of comic vignettes draped over incidental meetings with coffee, and some harder stuff here and there (“I keep a spare in the trunk” does not refer to a tire). Written and performed by…

Standing on Ceremony

  by SOPHIE KERMAN Memorial Day weekend might officially kick off the wedding season for most of the population, but for same-sex couples in most states, all those weddings are just a reminder of one way that their love can not be legally recognized. And despite all of the political rhetoric about rights and principles,…

Mary à la carte

by SOPHIE KERMAN All laughter is both highly personal and intensely social. We don’t laugh much when we’re alone, but the experience of shared laughter can bring a roomful of people together. Mary à la carte, which has just opened at the New Century Theatre after previous runs at the Bryant Lake Bowl, finds this common bond in…

American Idiot

by SOPHIE KERMAN As a general rule, my inner skeptic is not a fan of musicals – but a killer concert, on the other hand, I can totally get on board with. American Idiot, a recent addition to a slew of one-dimensional pop-inspired musicals (Mamma Mia!, Spring Awakening, etc.), bypasses all of my cynicism by presenting…