The show, which runs through June 16, features a series of vignettes that celebrate the courage to be in a relationship. It's being produced in cooperation with Minnesotans United for All Families, the official statewide campaign working to defeat the constitutional amendment that would exclude gays and lesbians from marriage in Minnesota.
According to these reviews you're likely to have a great time... if you support gay marriage.
Mark Rhein and Jim Lichtscheidl in "Standing On Ceremony"
Photo: Karen Nelson
The plays are by turns thought-provoking, politically astute and bitingly hilarious. Frank Theatre Artistic Director Wendy Knox offers sharp direction to her ensemble of six actors, playing 26 characters. This is one of the smartest, most satisfying evenings of theater I've experienced in quite some time.
The pieces are solid, deeply felt, always entertaining. Will dyed-in-the-wool homophobics be swayed by the material? Probably not, but Standing On Ceremony effectively keeps this vital issue alive. It's well worth seeing.
Shawn Hamilton and Jim Lichtscheidl
Photo: Karen Nelson
....the conservative characters are not presented with as much compassion as the homosexuals and their allies. While some of these portrayals are funny, biting, and utterly recognizable - as in the re-enactment of a real-life Facebook debate in Doug Wright's On Facebook - others revert to familiar stereotypes of conservative paranoia and denial. If this play has a flaw, it is that it prepares audiences very well for blatant, outspoken conservatism, but perhaps less well for the more subtle homophobia that one might encounter in the workplace or a social situation.
On balance, Standing on Ceremony works when the politics are left in the background -- still there, but not our main focus, as in the sweet, moving closer, "Pablo & Andrew at the Altar of Words." In Jose Rivera's piece, two men share self-written vows that illustrate all that they love about each other. That's something theater can do that all the political statements, billboards, and bumper stickers can't: show us the powerful, beautiful, brilliant love at the heart of the issue.
Jim Lichtscheidl and Laura Adams
Photo: Karen Nelson
As a whole, the plays provided the perfect balance of side-splitting laughter, gut-wrenching honesty, and loving tenderness which reflects the constantly changing emotional dynamic of marriage.
Standing on Ceremony is a must-see for anyone who cares about marriage equality. Both inspiring and honest, these short plays provide a night of entertainment centered around an issue very near and dear to our hearts: our right to love.
Leya Hale and her sister were among 11 American Indian dancers flown to England in May for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. But as the Star Tribune's Curt Brown reports, the trip had some royal bumps in it:
... the dream trip turned a bit nightmarish when they checked out the program that billed their act as "Cowboys and Injuns." They would perform after a specialty rodeo act, with cowgirls doing roping stunts, and dance to canned, cliché Indian music plucked from old Western movies.
"We didn't want to be disrespectful, but at the same time we had to do some educating," said Hale, who has Dakota and Navajo roots.
They met with show producers, whose manager issued a formal apology and agreed to let them dance to their own music, provided by North Dakota singer Jason Kingbird.
"Nowadays, people have information technology in the palms of our hands to look on YouTube and learn about other communities," Hale said. "We found it ironic that old stereotypes live on in today's time."
You can read about the rest of Hale's trip, including her sister's visit with the Queen, here.
The Schubert Club is celebrating a remarkable birthday with a remarkable voice.
Photo: Schubert Club
The 2013 program will feature American songs and spirituals, both new and old.
Norman, who is 66, has appeared three times before in recitals on The Schubert Club's International Artist Series.
Tickets for the celebration go on sale July 23, 2012; subscribers to the Schubert's International Artist Series may purchase tickets now by phone.
The operatic diva is also working on a memoir; titled "Stand Up and Sing!" it's scheduled for release by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt late next year.
Today the Minnesota State Fair unveiled its 2012 commemorative art.
Artist Joe Heffron's work in colored pencil features a red rooster as its centerpiece, surrounded by other iconic elements of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Heffron's work was chosen from among 50 after a call for entries just prior to the 2011 State Fair, fair officials said. The five finalists, including Heffron, were chosen to create near-complete artistic interpretations of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. From that group, Heffron was selected as the official artist by a panel of judges including members of the visual arts community and State Fair staff.
Previous Minnesota State Fair artists have included: Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher (2004), Mary GrandPre (2005), Nancy Carlson (2006), Michael Birawer (2007), Edie Abnet (2008), Leo Stans (2009), Deborah Voyda Rogers (2010) and Steve Thomas (2011).
So what do you think? Does it work? Share your thoughts in the comments section.