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Children’s Theatre Company's Curtain Call Ball: Tinkerbell meets Steampunk

Labor Day has come and gone, and the Children’s Theatre Company is buzzing with activity. Actors are rehearsing, dancers checking choreography, decorators prepping sets, and caterers waiting in the wings. “Caterers?” you might ask. “Did I read that right?” Yes, you did–because these are not preparations are not a traditional theatrical performance, but for the company’s annual Curtain Call Ball and Backstage Bash. This evening affair, taking place on Saturday, September 6, is a major fundraising event for CTC and informally kicks off the company’s new season. It is also one of the most anticipated social events in the Twin Cities arts scene.

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Swandive Theatre celebrates five years of community engagement

2014 marks the fifth year of Veggie Stock Theatre, a backyard play reading series, presented by Swandive Theatre. Veggie Stock Theatre, the brainchild of Swandive founders Meg DiSciorio and Damon Runnals, began in the Powderhorn Park neighborhood and moved with them to Corcoran when they bought their home in 2011. Each year during the last two Saturdays in August and the first two Saturdays in September their backyard is transformed into an impromptu performance space.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Evita The Musical" returns, this time to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

(Photo credit: Richard Termine) Juan Peron (Sean MacLaughlin) and Eva/Evita Peron (Caroline Bowman) in the Evita national tour.

Local theatregoers can be forgiven a sense of déja vu. Just six and a half months after the new Evita tour played at the Orpheum in Minneapolis, this same production has come to roost in St. Paul at the Ordway. Those who caught the first visit will find the Pig’s Eye stop cut from the same cloth, from the set and the cast to the giant heads of Eva and Juan Péron that greet the audience are the same. So what’s different?

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"What You Will" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

What You Will works if you are an aficionado of Shakespearian humor with a hint of raunchiness. If you do not like this sort of thing then you may have wanted to see one of the other 168 shows available at this year’s Fringe Festival. The plot was hard to follow and the acting was just a bit overdone. My largest dissatisfaction with the show was that there were quite a few characters who seemingly had superfluous roles. When you try compacting a Shakespearian inspired piece chocked full of modern innuendos with a wide-range of characters in less than an hour, the result often is a turgid mess that only a certain target audience will receive with enthusiasm.

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"Hi! Hello! Namaste?" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Now I may not be a connoisseur of Bollywood dance styles, but I do know a good dance production when I see one. Hi! Hello! Namaste? is a truly unique experience at this year’s Fringe Festival. It offers an alternative to the festival’s slate which is comprised mainly of comedic productions. The show was full of amazing outfits and even better dancing. The very large cast worked well, offering a magnificent sight to the audience. While I’ll admit that the plot was a little vapid and cliché, this show is intended to highlight the unique style of dance that you can only find in this Bollywood inspired show.

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Music in Mears, Irish Fair and Lowertown Guitar Fest: St. Paul picks up momentum with concerts and festivals

I will stand by St Paul in good times and bad–but I have to admit it’s easier and more fun to stand by her with a beer in hand and music blaring and that’s what I did all weekend. I didn’t leave the city once and I was able to walk and/or take the train to most of the festivities, which started Thursday night.

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"The Four Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

The Four Humors Does Every Show In The Fringe was a comedic improv show that got it’s laughs by making fun of other Fringe shows, which is a great idea and I wish I’d thought of it. This was the very first improv show I’ve ever been to and I loved it. This time they tried to perform Blue Moon Theatre Company’s production Fish Stories. The actors recovered from bouts of laughter seamlessly. I especially liked the guest performer, Tim Hellendrung. His audience reviews were absolutely hysterical. The whole cast impressed me with their ability to adapt to whatever was thrown at them. This was a great show.

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"Habibi" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Negative Negative Production’s Habibi was a sad story of love and loss, and like some other beautiful stories, it did not have a happy ending. I’ve never understood why some people insist that all stories have happy endings. Life itself doesn’t have a happy ending, so why should every story? The three actors in this show were all extremely talented and they made their characters feel like living breathing people. I thought that the set was a bit over the top for a Fringe play. It made the already small space seem tiny. Other than the overly extravagant set, it was a very good show.

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"Edgar Allen" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

The Coldhart’s production Edgar Allan was bone tinglingly creepy and it gave me goosebumps within the first f

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"Rewind-A-Buddy" at the 2014 Fringe Festival

Freshwater Theatre’s Rewind-A-Buddy was nothing like I expected it to be. It was both hysterically funny and heart wrenchingly sad all at the same time. Buddy, played by J. Merrill Motz, was relatable and everything that happened seemed to escalate naturally, nothing ever seemed forced. Motz had great facial expressions that really tied the show together. It was very interesting to watch Buddy getting more and more frustrated and upset as the show went on. The actor who played Buddy seemed very emotional at the end of his performance, which made the things he said about loneliness feel much more personal. This was a very well done show and their use of repetition was exquisite.

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