entertainment review | BrainerdDispatch.com | Brainerd, Minnesota

Review of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Other Favorites by Eric Carle

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Favorites by Eric Carle is a touring show from The Mermaid Theatre, playing at The Children's Theatre in Minneapolis, Jan. 14 - Feb. 23, 2014. The Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia is known for it's use of puppetry, lighting, and innovation in creating theatre for young audiences. We brought two six-year-old girls to the show, and we were all delighted by the performance. It has all the coziness of story time at the library, and all the brilliance of live theatre.

Review of Wizard of Oz at the Ordway in St. Paul

This new Adrew Lloyd Webber and Jeremy Sams adapation of The Wizard of Oz is on a national tour with a stop at The Ordway Performing Arts Center in St. Paul, Dec. 4-29, 2013. I had the chance to see the show on Friday night, Dec. 6, for blogger night. It might be the best show I've ever seen.

Review of Born Yesterday at The Guthrie Theater by Mary Aalgaard

Garson Kanin wrote Born Yesterday in the 1940's, during World War II, and it premiered on Broadway in 1946. He was bold in his criticism of the US government, politicians, and those who try to control them.

Review of Cinderella at The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis

The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis, under the direction of Peter C. Brosius, is definitely putting its own unique spin on this classic tale. Their production of "Cinderella" is filled with over the top humor, slapstick, physical humor, modern pop culture references, and audience participation. This is not your typical Disney-style princess show. This Cinderella, and her hilarious step-sisters and mother, entertains girls and boys of all ages. The audience was roaring with laughter, shouting, standing up, and sitting back breathless from the beauty and pacing. Bravo, cast and crew!

Review of The Wong Kids at CTC by Mary Aalgaard

The Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis paired up with Ma-Yi Theater Company of New York to produce "The Wong Kids and the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!" written by Lloyd Suh and directed by Ralph Pena.

The setting for this play is a neighborhood somewhere in America and outer space. It's about a sister and brother, teen and preteen, who wrestle with how they fit in, when they're too old to play pretend, and what really makes them strong.

Review of 1950's Broadway Songbook at The Ordway by Mary Aalgaard

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts has a great program called "The Broadway Songbook." They have done musical medleys from such Broadway greats as Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and Stephen Sondheim. They are currently showcasing "Musicals of the 1950's" which some consider to be the height of musical theatre. With musicals such as "The Sound of Music," "The Music Man," "Guys and Dolls," "The Pajama Game," "West Side Story," and "The King and I" it's hard to argue against that sentiment. They mix in a few sleepers as well.

Review of Tribes at the Guthrie Theater by Mary Aalgaard

"Tribes" is a play for anyone who has ever felt misunderstood. It is about dysfunctional love, and how we all have barriers and ways of coping and loving and living. This cast is phenomenal in bringing Nina Raine's story to life. It is about Billy, the only deaf person in a hearing family, who reads lips and speaks well to communicate. He meets Sylvia who is a hearing girl born to deaf parents. She signs expertly, but doesn't lip read. She is going deaf.

Review of Miss Saigon at The Ordway

"Miss Saigon" is a love story set in war torn Vietnam, mid-1970's. Two star-crossed lovers cling to each other as the world crumbles into chaos. As the lyrics explain in The Last Night of the World, "In a place that won't let us feel. In a life where nothing seems real. I found you." Chris, an American G.I, meets Kim, a young Vietnamese girl forced into prostitution. The bond they form in two short weeks gives them each the courage to battle on through the turmoil of the end of the war and its aftermath.

Review of Uncle Vanya at The Guthrie Theater by Mary Aalgaard

If you've ever wanted to see a production of an Anton Chekhov play, but were a little leery about connecting to a play written in the late 1800's in Russia, then The Guthrie Theater's production of "Uncle Vanya" is for you. Even if this isn't one of the events on your bucket list, I say add it, now. This is your chance to see superb actors bringing to life a classic piece that has been adapted for the stage by a living playwright, Brian Friel, who has kept the feeling of the setting, while making the play accessible to a modern audience.