Press Release

AIRNESS BRINGS ROCK GLORY TO SAINT PAUL

Air guitar crosses into theatre with an epic feel-good comedy at Park Square

Three people all doing air guitar moves.

Neal Skoy, Julia Valen and Michael Terrell Brown are ready to rock out in Airness.

Saint Paul, MN. April 11, 2022: For its first full production since March of 2020, Park Square Theatre offers a breath of fresh air with an uplifting story about air guitar enthusiasts. AIRNESS, by Chelsea Marcantel, directed by Angela Timberman will be staged on Park Square’s Proscenium Stage, May 11 – June 5, 2022. (link to photos)

A righteous and smile-inducing comedy, AIRNESS begins as newcomer Nina enters her first air guitar competition. She thinks winning will be easy, but as she befriends a group of charismatic fanatics all committed to becoming the next champion, she discovers that there’s more to the art form than playing pretend; it’s about forging friendships, finding yourself in your favorite songs, and performing with raw joy. 

“Have you ever tried to find something you really want and then you accidentally find what you really need instead?” ask director Angela Timberman. “That’s what this play is about.” With samples of favorite rock anthems threaded throughout, including hits by Queen, the Ramones, Pat Benetar and many more, AIRNESS is an exuberant reminder that everything we need to rock is already inside us.

“An all-out comedy that’s fricking funny, hella heartfelt, and badass brilliant.” — DC Metro

A  group from Park Square fell in love with the play when it premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in Louisville in 2017. The original January 2021 production was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it is with a roar of rock catharsis that AIRNESS at last makes its shredding, stage ascension. 

“I love how AIRNESS doesn’t take itself too seriously,” says Park Square Artistic Associate, Ellen Fenster. “It’s even better after the pandemic, it’s the breath of freshness which we all need right now, and yet, it really resonates today in terms of trying to ‘figure out how the skin I’m in connects to others.’ It portrays a place, physically and emotionally, where the characters really feel seen, when they are usually not seen in that way. It celebrates the human capacity for strange and unique passions, things people find to make meaning in their lives, connect with others, and find a place of belonging. Who knew air guitar was such a serious business?”

The play’s title comes from the three judging criteria of competitive air guitar: technical merit, stage presence and airness. “The last criteria is the most difficult to define yet often the most decisive of all,” according to the US Air Guitar Association’s website. “Airness is defined as the extent to which a performance transcends the imitation of a real guitar and becomes an art form in and of itself.” Minneapolis hosted the U.S. Air Guitar Championships in 2012, but anyone looking to get involved in 2022 will have to travel as the nearest competitions (at time of writing) are in Cleveland and Nashville. So put on your coolest power outfit, grab your best friend or a new crush, and head to Park Square to rock out with a play for everyone whose inner rock-god is waiting to break free.

The cast for AIRNESS includes Shae Palic* (Astrid “CANNIBAL QUEEN” Anderson), Daniel Petzold* (Mark “FACEBENDER” Lender), Neal Skoy (Ed “SHREDDY EDDY” Leary), Michael Terrell Brown (Gabe “GOLDEN THUNDER” Partridge), Julia Valen (Nina O’Neal), and understudies Berto Borroto and Maggie Cramer.

The production team for AIRNESS includes Angela Timberman* (Director), Dorian Brooke (Assistant Director), MJ Leffler (Set Designer), Ash M. Kaun (Costume Designer), Eric M. C. Gonzalez (Sound Designer), Alex Clark (Lighting Designer), Christopher Heilman (Props Designer), Jess Rau (Wig Designer), Kathy Maxwell (Projection Designer), Leslie Ritenour (Assistant Projection Designer), Ashley Raper* (Stage Manager), and Jaya Robillard (Assistant Stage Manager).

*Member, Actors Equity Association

TICKET PRICES: Previews: $27-$37. Regular Run: $40-$55. Discounts are available for students and educators, seniors, military personnel, those under age 30, and groups. Tickets are on sale by phone at 651.291.7005, (12 noon to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday), or online at parksquaretheatre.org.   #pstAirness

COVID-19 vaccinations or negative test results as well as masks are required at all performances. 

PHOTOS by Richard Fleischman Photography on the Park Square website HERE, or in Google Drive HERE.

A Season of Perspective and Sharing

Park Square and SteppingStone Theatres Announce Joint Season

MEDIA CONTACTS
Mark Ferraro-Hauck: 952.220.2178 mark@steppingstonetheatre.org
Rachel Wandrei: 617.543.5770 wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., April 20, 2022 – Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre for Youth announced their 2022-2023 season plans today, continuing the process of bringing the two companies together in one downtown Saint Paul home. The two organizations will retain their names for their first united season, but are planning to become a single legal entity this fall.

For Park Square’s 48th season, the cohort of five artistic associates has worked to select plays that come from many points of view, with the goal of creating theatre filled with both meaning and entertainment. “We strive to be a place where everyone is able to tell their story, and where we can hear and see each other with open hearts, particularly as we rebuild connections and communities after these years apart,” says Executive Director Mark Ferraro-Hauck. The season includes two world premieres, two regional premieres, a Tony Award winner, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and the 25th anniversary of a play that has become central to Park Square’s youth education programs. The SteppingStone performance calendar will include a winter-themed play, Shakespeare performed by young people, and a touring production for very young audiences.

A slightly smaller season than in previous years, the theatres are aiming to reset and organically rebuild after the pandemic. Each play will have a slightly shorter run, have fewer preview performances and a modified rehearsal schedule that eliminates the “10 out of 12” rehearsal days that are notoriously grueling for the artists involved. 

The theatre year will open with the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Play, THE HUMANS (Sept 14 – Oct 9, 2022), by Stephen Karam. Three generations of the Blake family have assembled for Thanksgiving and everyone is determined to make the best of it, but as they attempt to focus on the positive, old wounds, current mistakes, and future fears threaten their stability. Both blisteringly funny and deeply chilling, the play offers a stunning portrayal of the human condition; a family at its best and worst navigating the challenges of everyday life.

Next, Park Square deepens its relationship with Full Circle Theater Company with a co-production of FIRE IN THE NEW WORLD (Oct 19 – Nov 6, 2022), written by Rick Shiomi, who is a co-founder of Full Circle and serves as an artistic associate for Park Square. In this world premiere noir mystery, Sam Shikaze, hard-boiled private eye, fights crime and discrimination in Vancouver’s Japantown in the years after WWII. When the beautiful Japanese American wife of an ambitious real estate developer goes missing, Sam is on the case in a savvy detective caper that mixes social commentary with plenty of sly intrigue.

For the holiday season, SteppingStone will present THE SNOWY DAY AND OTHER STORIES BY EZRA JACK KEATS (Dec 1 – 23, 2022). With a script by Jerome Hairston, and based on the books by Ezra Jack Keats, this magical tale will explore the wonder of a fresh snowfall, the delight of whistling for the first time, the awe in finding special treasures, and the joy of making new friends. A timeless classic, THE SNOWY DAY is the most checked-out volume of all time at the New York Public Library and is known for being the first book featuring an African American child to win the Caldecott Medal. This new ensemble-driven production will explore connections to water and the changing of the seasons through movement and storytelling.

Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s adaptation of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK has become a core part of Park Square’s educational offerings over 25 years, with over 265,000 students having experienced Anne Frank’s story at the theatre. To commemorate the anniversary, the company will present an all-new production. As the Frank family hides in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, Anne shares both her everyday teenage challenges and the terror of the Holocaust. Now more relevant than ever, this resonant story of hope and imagination in the darkest of times illuminates a part of history that must not be forgotten. On the Park Square Theatre mainstage for all audiences Jan 18 – Feb 12, 2023, with an extended run for education groups.

In February, SteppingStone will produce its first ever Shakespeare featuring a cast of actors ages 16-21. A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Feb 8 – Mar 5, 2023) will bring a genuinely youthful perspective to some of the bard’s most well-known young characters. Available to both school and public audiences, this production will be a new variation on the theme of literary classics that have been at home on the Park Square stage for many years. 

Collaboration continues in the spring with a co-production with PRIME Productions of THE REVOLUTIONISTS (Mar 29 – Apr 16, 2023), by Lauren Gunderson. In this riotous comedy four women find themselves caught up in the French Revolution: an assassin, a spy, a playwright, and, of course, Marie Antoinette. They plot murder, find friendship (and do some good writing), in an irreverent, poignant comedic romp that considers how we go about changing the world.

A comedy-drama exploring fatherhood, loneliness, and the complexity of justice, BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (May 24 – Jun 18, 2023), by Stephen Adly Guirgis, won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The New York Times describes it as “a rich new play… Mr. Guirgis has a splendid ear in blurring lines between the sacred and profane and it is a dizzying and exciting place to be.” Surrounded by a beautiful and eclectic stream of family and houseguests, ex-cop and recent widower “Pops” is barely holding on to his stability and his once-grand apartment on Manhattan’s Riverside Drive. This production features a cast of well-known local artists led by James A. Williams as Pops.

SteppingStone has two titles yet to be announced for the spring and summer. In May, the theatre will devise a new work for very young audiences. The work will be hugely interactive and travel to schools, libraries, museums and other hot-spots of the under-5 set. Later, SteppingStone will bring back its annual summer musical performed by some of the Twin Cities’ most talented young performers.

The classics get a summer shake-up as Park Square presents FOOLS AND LOVERS (Jun 7 – Jul 2, 2023), adaptations of Shakespeare by Gregory Wolfe and Gregory Sherman, with original music by Andrew Sherman. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING meets TONY AND TINA’S WEDDING in a beguiling mashup of the classical and comedic. With text drawn entirely from Shakespeare’s plays, some set to music, the play invites the audience into an immersive wedding experience where love can be found in all its guises – young, questioned, rejected, rediscovered – and ultimately conquering all.

Finally, Park Square concludes its season with a world premiere mystery by Jeffrey Hatcher and Steve Hendrickson. HOLMES/POIROT (Jul 19 – Aug 20, 2023) is based on “Murder on the Links” by Agatha Christie with characters created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, bringing not one, but two of the greatest detectives of all time to the stage in a tour-de-force of cunning plot twists and deft storytelling. Separated by 25 years, the two master sleuths examine a related case, each employing their signature methods and indelible personalities. 

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now for the Park Square season. Subscriptions include seven or five show packages, as well as choose-your-own packages. Subscription prices begin at $66 and offer discounts up to $100 over single tickets. SINGLE TICKETS will be available on a rolling basis, with the fall productions becoming available July 5. SteppingStone’s THE SNOWY DAY is available for school bookings now. General audience tickets will become available July 5. 

The ticket office is open Wednesday and Thursday, noon-5pm, at 651.291.7005, or at tickets@parksquaretheatre.org.

Suspending production of MARIE AND ROSETTA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

MEDIA CONTACT
Rachel Wandrei | wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

PARK SQUARE SUSPENDS PRODUCTION OF MARIE AND ROSETTA

Saint Paul, MN. Jan 13, 2022: Park Square Theatre announced today that its production of Marie and Rosetta, originally scheduled to open January 19th, will be suspended due to concerns regarding COVID-19. The company is currently considering all options available for the future of the production, and will be issuing full refunds to everyone with tickets to the production.

Executive Director, Mark Ferraro-Hauck commented, “For months, while eagerly anticipating the full return of live theatre, our goal has been for artists and audiences to connect and celebrate; for theatre to offer healing and inspiration as we collectively recover from the hurts of the pandemic. While we have to press “pause” yet again, when we reopen we want it to be with hope and joy.” He continued, “We have been hearing the anxiety from our patrons, as well as facing challenges in the rehearsal room due to COVID-19. As we prioritize the health and safety of both our artists and audiences, everything is telling us to take a breath and return when we can do so with enthusiasm and positivity.”

Kim Vasquez, the theatre’s Producing Director added, “The theatre is immensely grateful to Director, Wendy Knox, Music Director, Gary D Hines, and the incredibly talented cast and company of the production. Under incredibly difficult conditions, they have been working passionately to create something beautiful and powerful.”

The January 24th performance by The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society will continue as planned with both an in-person and streaming audience. Later productions of Chelsea Marcantel’s air guitar comedy, Airness, directed by Angela Timberman, and the long-awaited Jeffrey Hatcher mystery, Holmes and Watson, directed by Michael Evan Haney are scheduled to continue as planned, as well as Augusto Federico Amador’s  evocative and moving Atacama, a partnership with Full Circle Theater Company.

Ticket holders are being notified by email and phone to ensure communication of the changes and refunds.

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. www.parksquaretheatre.org

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The Empathy Project comes to Park Square Nov 12-21

Park Square Theatre Presents A Full Circle Production of

The Empathy Project

by Stephanie Lein Walseth Directed by Claribel Gross
at Park Square Theatre in the Historic Hamm Building in Downtown Saint Paul Andy Boss Thrust Stage
November 12 – 21, 2021

MEDIA CONTACT: Quinci Bachman
Press@fullcircletheatermn.org | 612-799-0641 Fullcircletheatermn.org

This will be Full Circle’s first live, in-person and fully-staged production since 2019!

After two years in development and two online readings, The Empathy Project by Stephanie Lein Walseth is finally hitting the stage. Directed by Claribel Gross, this fully staged production of The Empathy Project features a cast of nine: Song Kim, Dominique Jones, Shanan Custer, Oogie_Push, Siddeeqah Shabazz, Kim Vasquez, Peter Colburn, Marci Lucht, and Joshua C. Larson.

It also features original compositions by Paul Damico-Carper, and choreography by Mary Harding. Designers include: Tom Mays (lighting design), Mina Kinukawa (set design), Khamphian Vang (costume design) and Quinci Bachman (sound design).

Come see it November 12 – 21, 2021 at Park Square Theatre’s Andy Boss Thrust Stage.

The Empathy Project explores empathy across geographic, political, and racial divides based on interviews of rural and urban Minnesotans—people like your neighbors, your friends, or even yourself. Our production investigates the power and limits of empathy in a deeply fractured world.

Safety Precautions: There will be limited seating for your safety. COVID-19 vaccination or negative test results are required to attend performances. All patrons, staff and volunteers will be required to wear masks inside the venue. We will be following Park Square Theatre’s health and safety protocols. To learn more about them, click HERE.

Tickets available HERE.

The cast of The Empathy Project. Photo credit: Stephen Hage. Mural Credit: DeAnne Parks.

About Playwright/Story Weaver Stephanie Lein Walseth: Stephanie Lein Walseth is a Full Circle Theater Core Artistic Leadership Group Member. With Full Circle she was one of the co-writers for the company’s debut production of Theater: A Sacred Passage, one of the directors for 365 Days/365 Plays: A 2017 Remix, the dramaturg for Under This Roof, and a frequent panel discussion and post-show moderator. As an actor, director, dramaturg, stage manager, theater administrator, and educator she has worked with Penumbra Theatre Company, Theater Mu, Mixed Blood Theatre, Sod House Theater, the Playwrights’ Center, Guthrie Theater, Theatre Unbound, Starting Gate Productions, Theater in the Round, Frank Theatre, CLIMB Theatre, Native Voices at the Autry (CA), and Portland Stage Company (ME).

 

About Director Claribel Gross: Claribel Gross is a theater maker and teaching artist currently based in Chicago. She has a passion for new work and works in development. Most recently, Claribel has worked collaboratively to devise an audio play, Women Like a River Falling from the Sky, for the BorderLight Festival in Cleveland and she created a solo show, Gasp for the 17 Minute Story Festival with Macha Theatre in Seattle. She’s currently working on a bi-lingual touring show for young audiences and dreaming up ways to take it on tour through Latin America. Claribel holds an MFA in Theater Arts from Sarah Lawrence College and is inspired by the work of theater artists and companies like Full Circle Theater that use the tools of the arts to create lasting, positive change in communities.

OF EQUALITY World Premiere Nov 19-21

Katha Dance Theatre Announces World Premiere of New Cross-Cultural Collaboration with J.D. Steele

Three people dancing: one a flamenco dancer in a long red dress, one a hip-hop artist in black with yellow shoes, and one a katak dancer in a yellow gown.

At top left, Rita Mustaphi; Center, Of Equality performers Amanda Dlouhy, Kortland Jeray Jackson, and Madhulika Srikanth; At bottom right, J.D. Steele. Photo credits L to R: Erik Saulitis, Kalyan Mustaphi, John Wagner.

Crystal, MN – Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) has announced the world premiere of Shaamya – Of Equality, their latest collaboration with composer J.D. Steele. The event will take place at the Park Square Theatre in St. Paul, MN on November 19 – 21, 2021. It is choreographed by Rita Mustaphi, KDT’s Artistic Director, and features original poetic contributions from artist and playwright Ifrah Mansour.

Inspired by the poetry of writer and activist Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976), Of Equality attempts to draw parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those expressed by Nazrul Islam back in the early 20th century. Using a mixture of dance, music, and spoken word poetry, it juxtaposes past and present fights for racial, cultural and gender equity.

Through his writing and activism, Nazrul Islam shared his anger about and attempted to find solutions to various forms of oppression. By enacting his ideas decades after his death, Of Equality demonstrates that this great writer’s work is relevant to today’s artistic and political climates, transcending time and place.

Picture of Rita Mustaphi. She is wearing a green and gold gown and has her hands extended to the sides.

Rita Mustaphi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

With her choreography, Rita Mustaphi aims to seamlessly blend the various cultural and thematic ideas at play into a cohesive dance piece incorporating traditional Kathak idioms. Of Equality is just one in a long line of original works choreographed by Rita over the course of KDT’s three-decade history. Her work’s quality speaks for itself, having won her three McKnight Fellowships for choreography, a 2011 Lifetime Achievement award from the India Association of Minnesota, a 2012 Education award from the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, and a 2021 Nari Shakti Award for Women’s Empowerment from the Urvashi Dance, Music, Art and Culture Society in New Delhi.

Equality will be set to a live rendition of original compositions by Twin Cities musical legend J.D. Steele, with whom KDT previously collaborated back in 2013 on the critically acclaimed Karna – The Abandoned Hero. Steele, an accomplished musician who has performed with Prince, Mavis Staples, and others, will be accompanied by pianist Billy Steele, drum artist Abhinav Sharma, and vocalist Tonia Hughes. Steele’s compositions include elements of North Indian, East African and African American musical styles. They were also inspired by taals, which are rhythm cycles used in North Indian classical music and dance. His intent as composer is for all of these elements to unify in support of the dancers’ performance.

Ifrah Mansour

Ifrah Mansour. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Equality will also include written contributions by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour, who will perform original works (including the poem “I am a Refugee”) onstage alongside Mustaphi and Steele. Mansour is perhaps best known for her autobiographical play How to Have Fun in a Civil War, which details her memories of her childhood in war-torn Somalia.

Contributions from dancers of multiethnic backgrounds will fill out the show, including ballet, flamenco, tap, and hip-hop. Incorporating cross-cultural artistic and narrative elements within a classical Indian dance performance is in keeping with Rita Mustaphi’s mission to expand upon the Kathak tradition while preserving its authenticity and cultural integrity.

The premiere comes following a 2020 work-in-progress showing at Minneapolis’s Southern Theater. For more information about this production and other KDT programming, please visit https://kathadance.org.

Shaamya – Of Equality. November 19 – 21, $16-35, 80 minutes, Park Square Theatre, Historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul, 55102.

Tickets are available now at https://www.parksquaretheatre.org/box-office/shows/2021-2022/shaamya-of-equality/

Read about the Park Square’s health and safety policies before you attend.

About Katha Dance Theatre

Katha Dance Theatre (KDT) creates, performs and educates through the art forms of dance, music, poetry and storytelling. Rooted in Kathak, the classical dance style of Northern India, KDT is dedicated to making dance accessible, inclusive and relevant. It enhances the local community by bridging diverse cultures and audiences to contribute to life’s infinite artistic expressions. Learn more at https://kathadance.org

About Kathak Dance

Kathak (pronounced “Kah-tahk”) is an Indian classical dance tradition native to North India. Its origins can be traced back to as early as 400 BCE, when it began as a form of sharing stories, myths, and Hindu scripture in temples and royal courts. Characterized by both rhythmic and lyrical elements, it features graceful hand gestures, pirouettes, and complex footwork, performed with expressiveness and precision. Over the centuries, it has grown to incorporate diverse influences and viewpoints with KDT at the forefront of its artistic evolution.

About Kazi Nazrul Islam

Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976) was a Bengali writer, musician and activist whose advocacy for India’s economic and social independence from Britain made him widely known as “the rebel poet.” He was also prolific, having written thousands of poems and songs during his lifetime. Once named the national poet of Bangladesh, he is remembered for his staunch opposition against social and cultural oppression in all forms.

National Endowment for the Arts graphic logo - black & white with shooting star graphic and textThis project is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov. It is also supported by a grant from St. Paul’s Cultural STAR program.

Announcing the 2021-2022 Season

2021-2022 Connect and Celebrate: The Harris Family Theatre SeasonPARK SQUARE THEATRE’S RETURN AIMS TO HELP PEOPLE CONNECT AND CELEBRATE

47th Season Features New Artistic Collaborations and Delayed Fan Favorites

MEDIA CONTACT Rachel Wandrei – 617.543.5770, wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., Sep 2, 2021 – Park Square Theatre shared its plans to return to in person programming today with the announcement of the 2021-2022 Harris Family Theatre Season. Programming begins in late October and will feature several long-awaited productions including a musical revival and a summer mystery alongside several new artistic collaborations.

“We all need ways to laugh and connect as we emerge from the pandemic,” says Interim Executive Director Mark Ferraro-Hauck. “Park Square is a place where people know they can come together to relax and celebrate being together.” The season, the company’s 47th, is supported by a major gift from the John W. Harris family. 

“This is our season of coming together,” says Rick Shiomi, Co-Artistic Director of collaborator Full Circle Theatre Company as well as one of Park Square’s Artistic Associates, a cohort brought together in early 2020, just before the pandemic took hold, to guide the theatre’s artistic direction. “We’ve spent more than a year in relative isolation, and now with vaccinations, proper masking and social distancing, we have the opportunity to gather together again, even as the pandemic lingers through the Delta and other variants.”

“We are working diligently to keep our eye on the prize as we continually monitor and follow COVID-19 safety guidelines,” says Producing Director and Artistic Associate Kim Vasquez. “The theatre is deeply aware of public safety as well as the safety of our staff, crew, and actors.” Park Square recently announced its COVID-19 Health and Safety Plans, which includes required indoor masking and proof of vaccination or a negative covid test.

Shiomi continues, “we come together to share our music, our stories, our laughter and our pain in ways that theater can help us soothe our souls and give new energy to our spirits.  We at Park Square are here to connect with you, our community; to bring the joy and wonder back into our lives is the shared experience of the performing arts. This is a season of ‘recovery’ full of our own long delayed productions, collaborations, a revival, and the return of our classic educational theater productions. We are returning to the stage to serve you the best of our creative work.  It’s a full course meal with everything from the heartfelt stories and struggles of our lives,  to highly entertaining crime mysteries and the thrill  of playing air guitar.”

The theatre year opens with a misty murky night of storytelling and readers theatre in THEATRE OF THE MACABRE, directed by and featuring Craig Johnson, with original concept by Kim Vasquez (Oct 29 – 30, 2021). A theatrical experience for the time when spirits walk gleefully among us, you are invited to immerse yourself in classic tales of hauntings and horror including ghost stories, songs, classic literary scenes, and storytelling from Edgar Allen Poe to William Shakespeare. The production will reunite several artists from the well-received 2020 virtual production, as well as new material developed for the stage. 

Fall is full of collaborations, beginning with Park Square presenting the Full Circle Theater Company production, THE EMPATHY PROJECT, by Stephanie Lein Walseth (Nov 12 – 21, 2021). This world premiere, interview-based play was developed through virtual workshops and readings, and explores empathy across geographic, political, and racial divides. “There are so many moving stories about the experiences of folks across our state and how we can walk a mile in their shoes to better understand each other,” says Rick Shiomi. Based on interviews with rural and urban Minnesotan – people like our neighbors, our friends, or even ourselves – The Empathy Project investigates the power and limits of empathy in a deeply fractured world. 

November brings a special presentation of Katha Dance Theatre’s world premiere SHAAMYA – OF EQUALITY (Nov 19-21, 2021) with choreography by Rita Mustaphi. Inspired by the poem “Of Equality” by Bengali revolutionary poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, this multicultural dance piece infuses poetry, gospel and R&B music with original Kathak choreography. This new work, with music composed and performed by J.D. Steele and poetry by Somali poet and playwright Ifrah Mansour, makes parallels between the experiences of today’s communities of color and those of Nazrul Islam’s era.

January brings the much-anticipated return of MARIE AND ROSETTA, by George Brant (Jan 19 – Feb 13, 2022). Back by popular demand following the sold out 2018 run, this play with music is packed with joy and power from the godmother of rock-and-roll. Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe influenced rock musicians from Elvis and Jimi Hendrix to the Alabama Shakes. The story begins in a funeral parlor in Mississippi, as Rosetta and her young protégé, Marie Knight, prepare for a tour that will establish them as a great musical duo. Songs like “I Looked Down the Line” express the pain and sorrow of living in the Jim Crow South, while “Didn’t It Rain” and “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa” will have audiences dancing in their seats.

Park Square is known for serving the region’s largest teen theatre audience with daytime matinees for students in middle and high school. This will continue in the spring with Shakespeare’s ROMEO AND JULIET. David Mann’s tight 90-minute adaptation will be offered to general audiences for just two nights (Apr 2-3, 2022). A tragic whirlwind of catastrophes and secrets comes to life in this passionate, youthful rendition of Shakespeare’s greatest love story. The theatre will also offer THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK solely for student audiences. 

Full Circle Theater Company returns in the spring with Augusto Federico Amador’s ATACAMA, (Apr 20 – May 1, 2022), a play of magical realism and reconciliation. Set in the landscape of Chile’s Atacama desert, this metaphoric quest begins with the meeting of two strangers searching for the long-lost remains of their children killed by the Pinochet regime. Chile’s history becomes an examination of the opposing choices, views, and actions that tear families and countries apart; and explores the transformative possibilities that can lead from transgression to redemption.

May brings the regional premiere of AIRNESS (May 11 – Jun 5, 2022) by Chelsea Marcantel. Five oddball rock fanatics go to dingy bars and cramped stages all across the nation to express their inner shred genius as they vie for a place at the National Air Guitar Championship. Following them on their quest to achieve ‘airness’ on the long road to qualification, this righteous and smile-inducing comedy shows how community is forged in unexpected places. “If you are looking for an amazing piece of theatre that will get you on your feet tapping, wailing and clapping in mid-air – while also moving you to reflect on and care for yourself – look no further; [Airness] is for you.” – Santa Barbara Independent

Finally, Sherlock takes the stage in Jeffrey Hatcher’s HOLMES AND WATSON (JUL 12 – AUG 21, 2022), an edge-of-your-seat comedy-mystery building on Conan Doyle’s beloved and complicated hero. Sherlock Holmes is dead, or is he? Dr. Watson receives a telegram from a mental asylum: three patients are claiming to be Sherlock Holmes. Did the world’s greatest sleuth fake his own death? Who’s the real detective and who are the imposters? Tight, clever, and full of suspense, this is Jeffrey Hatcher (Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders; Mr. Holmes; The Good Liar) at his clever best.

SEASON TICKETS are on sale now. Subscriptions include a CLASSIC 3-play package or an EXPLORE choose-your-own of select productions. Subscription prices begin at $65. SINGLE TICKETS will be available in early October.

The ticket office is temporarily closed for in-person and phone service. With questions, please email the ticket office at tickets@parksquaretheatre.org. To speak to a ticket office representative, please include a phone number and you will be contacted during ticket office hours on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.

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PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. Ticket Office: 651.291.7005. www.parksquaretheatre.org

Run Wild with Madagascar-A Musical Adventure Jr.

Two young people, one is wearing zebra ears and the other a lion's mane.

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org

Saint Paul, Minn., July 1, 2021 – SteppingStone Theatre for Youth invites explorers of all ages to come along on a transatlantic musical escapade with DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture, the show follows an energetic group of crack-a-lackin’ friends as they escape from their home in New York’s Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to Africa. The show will be performed by SteppingStone’s summer camp students outdoors on West 7th Place, July 27 – August 8 (photo link below).

DreamWorks Madagascar – A Musical Adventure JR. features original music and lyrics by George Noriega and Joel Someillan and a book by Kevin Del Aguila.  As the show opens, we learn that Marty the zebra may be celebrating his tenth birthday at the Central Park Zoo with his friends Alex the lion, Gloria the hippo, and Melman the giraffe, yet he longs to experience life outside of the zoo’s walls. When Marty eventually escapes, his animal friends from the zoo pursue him into New York City. After reuniting, the animals are chased down, and ultimately felled by tranquilizer darts. They awake, trapped in crates, on a ship, which – through a series of events – is thrown off course.  Upon reaching land the animals discover they have been shipwrecked on the island of Madagascar.  Ultimately, it is only in being so lost that they can begin to discover where they really belong.

“As the world unmasks and ventures back out into gathering, it is an honor to be a part of a summer of renewal and re-emergence,” says the show’s director, Dane Stauffer. “How fitting to share this tale of the desire for freedom, and the redemptive power of friendship and connection. I’m looking forward to being inspired by these young artists as we bring the tale to life. I love summer theatre camp, the happy hours spent in rehearsal learning the joy of collaboration and working hard to realize a vision. Plus, “I like to move it, move it!”

“It is really special for young audiences to see performers their own age or a little older on stage. It opens up the imagination in a whole new way,” says Mark Ferraro-Hauck, SteppingStone’s Artistic and Executive Director. “At SteppingStone, we believe that all young people are artists, makers, and doers and that they need to belong and contribute to the world. The themes of this show – friendship, teamwork, adventure and forgiveness – really resonate with that vision, particularly as young people are readjusting to a post-pandemic world full of the interactions that we’ve all been missing. We can’t wait for audiences to come and engage with these fantastic young artists and have some great outdoor fun this summer.”

CAST 
The cast includes Max Perdu (Alex), Mary Slowinski (Marty), Rue Burdette (Gloria), Mady Sjoberg (Melman), Ebrima Sarge (King Julien), Adeline Halverson(Private), Juan Fiz-Torezani (Kowalski), Lauren Hyatt (Rico), Zack Nelson (Skipper), and ensemble members Keira Deiman, Za’im Dennis, Natalia Jorgensen, Annika Lewis, Grace Lilla, Spencer Lilla, Soren Miller, Ella Myhre, Kai Stolpestad, Sadie Wallace, and Mara Wells.

ARTISTIC TEAM 
The artistic team includes Dane Stauffer (Director), Andrew Fleser (Music Director), Ricky Morisseau (Choreographer), Mark Ferraro-Hauck (Set Design), Rhiannon Fiskradatz (Costume Design), Charlotte Deranek (Sound Design) Alexi Carlson (Stage Manager), Johanna Johnson (Assistant Stage Manager), and Connor McEvoy (Production Manager)

TICKET INFO: Tickets are $12 child/student/seniors, $16 adults.
Group discounts available starting with groups of 10+.
Purchase at steppingstonetheatre.org or email boxoffice@steppingstonetheatre.org.

LOCATION: Outside Park Square Theatre at 20 West 7th Place, St. Paul, MN 551042

DATES 
Tuesday, July 27: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Wednesday, July 28: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Thursday, July 29: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Friday, July 30: 11:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Saturday, July 31: Noon & 4:00 PM
Sunday, August 1:  Noon & 4:00 PM
Saturday, August 7: 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM
Sunday, August 8: 10:00 AM & 2:00 PM

SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Great fun for anyone 3 +

PHOTO LINK: Press Photos available at https://www.steppingstonetheatre.org/series/madagascar/
From left: Mary Slowinski as Marty the Zebra, Max Perdu as Alex the Lion. Photos by Rachel Wandrei.

ABOUT STEPPINGSTONE THEATRE 
We Believe: Young People are artists, makers, and doers. They need to belong and contribute to the world. When young people make art together, they change themselves, and the world around them, for the better.

We Do: SteppingStone Theatre for Youth ignites belonging, generosity, mastery, self-advocacy, and inspiration by creating art with young people to share with the world.

STEPPINGSTONE THEATRE FOR YOUTH. 20 W. 7th Place, Saint Paul. steppingstonetheatre.org  

# # #

Announcing Saint Paul Summer Sunlight

SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT PERFORMANCE SERIES WELCOMES WORKERS AND AUDIENCES BACK TO DOWNTOWN 

Media Contact – Rachel Wandrei wandrei@parksquaretheatre.org 

Saint Paul, Minn., June 22, 2021 – Park Square Theatre and the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance are celebrating the reopening of downtown Saint Paul with a free outdoor concert series aimed at welcoming returning workers, residents, theatre fans and music lovers back to the city’s cultural scene. SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT, a series of ten performances, will fill West 7th Place (the pedestrian mall between Wabasha and St Peter) with lunchtime and happy hour concerts from July 22 through September 23, 2021. 

An man in shiny red pants dancing and singing into a microphone.

Ready Freddie

“We have a varied and energetic lineup of concerts, from the glam rock-and-roll of Ready Freddie – A Queen Experience and the powerful R&B vocals of MsArnise, to Full Circle Theater Company’s recontextualization of The Mikado, a Gilbert and Sullivan opera classic,” says Park Square producer Kim Vasquez. “The Twin Cities has an array of eclectic, talented theatre makers and musicians who are ready to get back on stage, and audiences who are ready to come out and party a little. Our new team at Park Square Theatre and SteppingStone Theatre wants to play a collaborative leadership role in reconnecting community members and artists and adding to the vibrancy of downtown together.” Other acts in the series include Annie and the Bang Bang, The Champagne Drops, TaikoArts Midwest, an old-time radio show by the Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society and more (photo link below).  

A woman in red bluse and white blazer calmly looks into the distance. An industrial scene in the background

MsArnise

“As people return to downtown, we’ll be there to welcome them back and remind them of all the joy and excitement there is to be had in a vibrant urban center,” says Joe Spencer, president of the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance. “From our restaurants and shops to our music and theatre venues, our city is poised to bounce back better than ever.” Music will continue into the evenings with acoustic sets on the Loon Cafe’s patio on Thursday evenings throughout the summer.  

Park Square will be announcing their full reopening plans later in the summer, with a commitment to gradually producing shows that were canceled due to the pandemic (including a remount of the 2018 sold-out hit, MARIE AND ROSETTA), as well as sharing the Historic Hamm Building facility with other arts organizations. “The theatre may have been dark for over a year, but we’ve been busy behind the scenes and

Three drummers in blue tunics with drumsticks in the air surround three drumbs

TaikoArts Midwest

can’t wait to reconnect with people,” comments Mark Ferraro-Hauck, interim executive director of Park Square and artistic director of their partner theatre, SteppingStone Theatre for Youth. SteppingStone will be producing MADAGASCAR – A MUSICAL ADVENTURE JR, on West 7th Place from July 27- August 8. “Summer on the plaza is gonna be hoppin!” continues Ferraro-Hauck. “There will be an entertaining show for you here whether you are 3, 33, or 83. And then we’ll bring that energy inside and into the future. Join us!” 

TICKET PRICES: Free and open to the public. Limited chairs will be available, audiences are invited to bring their own chairs. Email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions. 

CALENDAR INFORMATION*:

The Champagne Drops

The Champagne Drops

Thurs Jul 22, 12:00 pm – Full Circle Theater Company 
Thurs Aug 5, 4:30 pm – Ready Freddie: A Queen Experience
Thurs Aug 12, 12:00 pm – Legacy Arts Group
Thurs Aug 12, 4:30 pm – The Champagne Drops
Thurs Aug 19, 4:30 pm – MsArnise
Wed Aug 25, 4:30 pm – Victor Zupanc
Thurs Aug 26, 12:00 pm – TaikoArts Midwest

Thurs Sep 9, 4:30 pm – Annie and the Bang Bang
Fri Sep 10, 12:00 pm – Ben Cook-Feltz
Thurs Sep 23, 4:30 pm – The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society 
*All performances subject to change. For continuous updates, visit parksquaretheatre.org. 

PHOTO LINK: Press Photos available at:
https://www.parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/#1603933207367-806db2dd-4e8f 

Man in black fedora playing a red electric keyboard, a man at his side plays upright base.

Ben Cook-Feltz

SAINT PAUL SUMMER SUNLIGHT is sponsored by the Saint Paul Downtown Alliance, as part of its #WelcomeBackStPL campaign to safely celebrate reopening and welcome people back downtown. From outdoor trivia and art installations to pop-up events and concerts, the Downtown Alliance is partnering with downtown institutions, businesses, artists, and musicians to host more than 300 events and activations through the fall. Follow the Downtown Alliance on Facebook and Instagram or check out the hashtag #WelcomeBackStPL for updates. For the full calendar of events, visit WelcomeBackStPL.com. 

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. www.parksquaretheatre.org 

# # # 

TEARS OF MOONS Released for February Streaming

‘TEARS OF MOONS’ RELEASED FOR STREAMING BY PARK SQUARE THEATRE  

Saint Paul, Minn., January 28, 2021 – Next month, Park Square Theatre will offer its production of TEARS OF MOONS, by Antonio Duke and directed by Ellen Fenster, for a full month of streaming access. The play was filmed on Park Square’s Boss Stage and shown through Zoom in November of 2020 along with live post-show conversations. The rerelease, along with a recorded conversation between Duke, Fenster, and Rie Gilsdorf of Embody Equity, will be available at a reduced price for streaming on Park Square’s website from February 1-28, 2021. 

A young black man sits in a bus stop. He has an African mask and backpack with him.

Antonio Duke, photo by Aaron Fenster.

TEARS OF MOONS moves quickly through history – aboard the number 5 bus – bearing witness to the pervasiveness of violence against Black people in our shared history. Structured around The Poet, a Homeric narrator wrestling with his own rage and ineffectuality, Duke deftly weaves in other characters, victims of racial violence, some recognizable from news headlines and others representing the lost stories of many. Both personal and expansive, the play combines African spiritual figures and mythology with Greek epic theatre to reckon with the past and share a vision of strength. “The heartache and resiliency of the black spirit is as old as time itself,” says playwright and performer Antonio Duke, “Unfortunately, it is newly being tested time and time again. I want to ignite a fire within the audience’s spirit.” 

The streaming release corresponds with the long-planned offering of the play to Park Square’s large middle and high school audience during Black History month and the theatre expects a national reach as well. “A sociology teacher in Baltimore brought some of her students to the original shows, recounts director Ellen Fenster, who is also part of Park Square’s artistic planning cohort, and director of the theatre’s acclaimed zoom production of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK. By offering on-demand streamingTEARS OF MOONS can better serve people in and beyond Minnesota.” 

“This is a time of recognizing and reckoning,” she continues. “This play is a witness not only to our history, but how we might grapple with this moment. It is a witness to the truth and the challenge we have before us.”  

TICKET PRICES: Streaming access $10, intended for one household. 

Tickets are availalbe at www.parksquaretheatre.org.

School groups can contact education@parksquaretheatre.org for more information. 

The ticket office is temporarily closed due to corona virus. 
Please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org with questions. 

CALENDAR INFORMATION: Streaming Feb 1-28, 2021 

PHOTOS : download at https://www.parksquaretheatre.org/media/photos/
Photos by Aaron Fenster.  

PARK SQUARE THEATRE. 20 W. Seventh Place, Saint Paul. www.parksquaretheatre.org 

# # # 

Park Square play honored by BroadwayWorld

Karen Landry and Edwin Strout in 33 Variations.

The 2020 BroadwayWorld Minneapolis awards were announced January 12, 2020, and Park Square was honored to have its 2015 production of 33 Variations, named “Production of a Play of the Decade.”  The public submitted the nominees and voted for their favorites. Thank you to everyone who supported Park Square!
33 Variations, by Moisés Kaufman and directed by James Rocco, followed the journey of a musicologist, Katherine, to understand why Beethoven was compelled to write thirty-three distinct variations on a simple theme. Park Square’s production featured the late Karen Landry as Katherine and Edwin Strout as Beethoven, with piano by Irena Elkina.
Among other artists and companies recognized, Park Square fans will recognize Jeffrey Hatcher (Riddle Puzzle Plot, Sherlock Holmes and the Ice Palace Murders) for his Glensheen at the History Theatre, James Rocco, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts!

See the full list of winners.

Tickets

The Park Square Ticket Office is open for phone calls Wednesday and Thursday from noon to 5:00 pm.
Please call 651.291.7005.

For service other days of the week, please email tickets@parksquaretheatre.org.

Tickets can be purchased online at anytime.

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