"A Christmas Carol" has been a tradition at The Guthrie Theater for 38 years. I wonder if anyone out there has attended a performance every year? Are there people who work for the Guthrie who have been part of every production? I know that some of the actors have been in several productions. This year, J.C. Cutler is again playing Ebenezer Scrooge. I think he's fantastic.
Attending holiday performances is becoming part of my family's tradition. To read more of my review and see photos of the production, go to my writer's blog, Play off the Page, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com.
Finding your voice in your art builds self-confidence. An artist who has a well defined voice stands out in the crowd. Have you ever started reading an article, or exerpt from a book, and thought, "I know this author." You might have even identified her before looking at the by-line. The same thing happens when you look at art. The masters can be identified by most people. You can tell a VanGough, for instance, from a Rembrant or Monet. Can you pick up a family photograph and determine who took that shot? Do you know the voice, style, of your best friend's paintings?
Entertainment offerings are heating up as the temperatures are cooling down. Don't let the first glimpse of snow keep you home and covered up under a blanket. This is the time of year when talents light up the dark evenings.
The 1940's Radio Hour is community theater at its finest up in Pequot Lakes, presented by the GLAPA group. I attended the Sunday afternoon show, which can be more subdued than an evening performance, but it wasn't. It was full of life and energy, beautiful costumes, and interesting scenery. I love it when the band is on stage, as in this show, so that they are part of the effect. They are cast members. Three cheers and a hand massage for the pianist, Renee Anderson. I know how hard you had to work! The music and musicians were phenomenal.
"A Christmas Carol" has been produced at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis for more than 35 years. This is their big show with all the bells and whistles, dancing, drama, and theatrics, of course. The story, written by Charles Dickens in 1843, describes London on the eve of Christmas. Carolers walk the streets. Women come to the door with requests to help the poor. The rich, like Scrooge, hoard their wealth. The poor are sent out into the streets with no one to help them and nowhere to go. Dickens brought to light the darkness of society.
My favorite part about watching "Charley's Aunt" at The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis was hearing the giggles from the kids in the audience. This show is full of physical comedy, quirky characters, and funny lines. The costumes and set are colorful and bring you to another time and place.
If you want to stop the madness of the shopping season and fight back against commercialism, I recommend attending a holiday concert, supporting the arts, and when you do shop, make it a locally owned store. You can keep the sense of community alive as you spread your holiday cheer and buy meaningful gifts for friends and family. You can share in the reason for the season by attending concerts together, supporting your friends and neighbors as they share their gifts and talents. I've bought CDs by resident musicians. I picked up some handmade items at shops around town.
Entertainment options are exploding as the New Year begins. After a few quiet weeks where we had time to celebrate the holidays, meet and greet family and friends, and ring in a New Year, we now have an abundance of choices to entice us out of our warm houses and mingle with the local folks. It's opening week for many new shows in the Twin Cities. I've been invited to two at the Guthrie and one at The Children's Theatre in Minneapolis. Check back next week for some reviews.
"Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" by Tennessee Williams is a steamy Southern drama. Once again, the creative team at The Guthrie produced a show that felt real and intense. We quickly forgot that we were at a play and leaned foward to listen in on the family conversations. It is the evening of Big Daddy's birthday and the family has all gathered. They want to believe that the reports of his terminal cancer are false, that he just has a spastic colon. They want to act like they're all doing just fine, that their relationships are going well, and that the future is bright.