Sometimes real life just gets in the way and that has happened to “Ruby Lips” this week. One of the players has a work related obligation that cannot be rescheduled so the next best option is to reschedule the play to next week. The dates are changed to February 2 to 6 but the times and place remain the same.
Special thanks to Fulton Gallagher for doing the footwork on getting the contact number for CEC theatres. Admittedly, that contact should have been included in the story and it took a maestro to ferret it out. Please send a note of support for the digital downloads of opera, ballet, concerts, plays, etc (including sporting events) to firstname.lastname@example.org or click here. His full name is Duane Black and I will add to this blog his exact title and a mailing address for those who wish to write a letter. Thanks again, Fulton!
The Mask and Rose Women’s Theater Collective play, “Ajax in Iraq” is an upcoming dinner-theater production in February at the Wild Rose Theater. Seating is limited for each performance and audience members are urged to get their tickets now at the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House. There will be two dinner-theater shows: 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 and at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. The last performance at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 will not be a dinner theater,just the play. Tickets are $30 for a dinner catered by the Wild Hare of traditional Iraqi fare including a vegetarian choice. Tickets to just see the play (which one can do at any of the performances) are $11 each and can also be bought now at the Wild Hare. Please note that the one-woman show, “Shirley Valentine” is being replaced by “Ajax in Iraq.”
The 4th Annual “Love Songs and Arias” will be held on Wednesday, Feb 11 at the Hampton Inn and Suites. “The Loon Opera Company is a young Minnesota based company devoted to providing emerging artists an opportunity to sing leading roles as they begin their professional careers” as written at their website. The tickets are $50 each for a 6 p.m. social hour to be followed by a three course gourmet meal and performance. Call Abe Hunter now to reserve your ticket at 218-368-8805. The profit from this event will go toward this summer’s LOC production of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.”
Bemidji Symphony Orchestra is building upon the enthusiastic response to Clay Jenkinson’s impersonation of Thomas Jefferson last season by offering a historical representation at the next concert. Jenkinson will assume the persona of J. Robert Oppenheimer at 3 p.m., February 12 when “History Meets Music.”
I have included two websites relating to the artist who will be profiled on Wednesday, Doug Trego. His website is www.stipplefineart.com. The website to his distant cousin William Trego who is acknowledged as one of the finest Civil War painters is www.williamtrego.org. Both websites are worth your time.
I never looked at my watch last night at the performance of the North Dakota Ballet Company of “Alice in Wonderland” with music by Joby Talbot and original choreography by Christopher Wheeldon and adapted by NDBC. It was wonderful, simply a joy to behold from the staging, costumes and dancing from the littlest rabbits to the soloists. Principal danseur Cole Companion and his partner Lindsay Baez both studied in Birmingham, Alabama with notable instructors. All the performances had younger members of the ND Ballet Academy sprinkled in during the show but the young dancers added to the production of this classical ballet for short charming stints under the tutelage of the White Rabbit, assuredly their dance teacher.
This rendition of a classical ballet is cutting edge for the music is modern, the choreography including belly dancing by the Caterpillar and her escorts to enthusiastic tapping by the Mad Tapper (Mad Hatter) to the emotionally charged Pas de deux by Alice and the Knave of Hearts kept the audience in rapt silence until the explosion of cheers at curtain call. A younger dancer from the company, Kayla Narum, showed versatility surprising for one so young in the study of dance and theater. As I told her last night after the show, “My three hour drive here was worth every mile!” (Your drive won’t take three hours as we had to drive to Larimore to pick up the grands and then back to Grand Forks for dinner and the show.) Kayla, a company dancer, exhibited a professionalism that was astounding for she portrayed the unpleasant and sometimes evil Queen of Hearts never giving even a hint of losing the character. Her dueling dance with the Card Men (Andrew Romero, Louis Sepelveda and Enrique Colina) was a comedic reprieve from her glowering looks and threatening poses. Another couple of dancers/actors who deserve special recognition are the cook (Natasha Thomas) and the Duchess (Darin Kerr). In fact they are not dancers at all but performed their pantomime perfectly. It took me a minute to recognize Darin as the Demon Barber of Fleet Street in “Sweeney Todd” and Natasha as his daughter Johanna, a memorable production in Grand Forks a few seasons ago.
The downside is that the production is only for this weekend and I did not have advance notice to let others longing for classical ballet know about it. There are still two performances left: tonight at 7 p.m. and tomorrow a matinee. Try calling 701-777-4090 (Chester Fritz box office) for information. The show is at the Empire Theater in downtown Grand Forks on Demers Ave. Or just show up and hope that there are still some tickets for sale.
“Ruby Lips Above the Water” opens this week at the Wild Rose Theater. The last production of this play by Steve Saari was at the Chief Theater with a different director and lead actor (Ruby). Steve is directing the show and some of the actors have changed (too bad, Cate Belleveau is busy directing her own show right now for she and Sarah Einerson were a perfect fit in the last production.). If you liked Emily Quanrud as Shelby in “Steele Magnolias” last season, don’t miss this opportunity to see her as the developmentally disabled Ruby in this show. The show and subject matter is for mature audiences so it gets a PG-13.
See last blog for information on the upcoming “Love Songs and Arias” and “Ajax in Iraq” ticket information.
The Mask and Rose Women’s Theater Collective play, “Ajax in Iraq” is an upcoming dinner-theater production in February at the Wild Rose Theater. Seating is limited for each performance and audience members are urged to get their tickets now at the Wild Hare Bistro and Coffee House. There will be two dinner-theater shows: 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 18 and at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 19. The last performance at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 20 will not be a dinner theater, just the play. Tickets are $30 for a dinner catered by the Wild Hare of traditional Iraqi fare including a vegetarian choice. Tickets to just see the play (which one can do at any of the performances) are $11 each and can also be bought now at the Wild Hare. Directed by Cate Belleveau, the play was written by Ellen McLaughlin and inspired by interviews with Iraq Ware veterans and their families. “Ajax in Iraq” explores the timeless struggles soldiers face in trying to make sense of war and is a parallel narrative of the ancient Greek military hero, Ajax, and A.J., a modern female American soldier. Both are betrayed by their commanding officers. Please note that the one-woman show, “Shirley Valentine” is being replaced by “Ajax in Iraq.”
The 4th Annual “Love Songs and Arias” will be held on Wednesday, Feb 11 at the Hampton Inn and Suites. “The Loon Opera Company is a young Minnesota based company devoted to providing emerging artists an opportunity to sing leading roles as they begin their professional careers” as written at their website. The tickets are $50 each for a 6 p.m. social hour to be followed by a three course gourmet meal and performance. Call Abe Hunter now to reserve your ticket at 218-368-8805. The profit from this event will go toward this summer’s LOC production of Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.” Wow! We are so lucky to have a young entrepreneur like Abe here in Bemidji and his young opera company. A list of the singers and musicians will be forthcoming as Abe and I have a meeting scheduled for this week.
The deadline for the Region 2 Arts Council Individual Artist Grants is February 7. Individual artists residing in the Region 2 area (Beltrami, Clearwater, Hubbard, Lake of the Woods, and Mahnomen Counties) can apply for grants up to $1,000 for exhibition, performance or production of a creative work; purchase of materials or equipment necessary for a creative work; educational opportunities; memtorships; and proposals for career enhancing projects or opportunities. Download a copy of grant application from the website or get a hard copy from the office located at 426 Bemidji Ave. Call 218-751-5447, 1-800-275-5447 or email email@example.com for more information.
Classical Music, Ballet and Opera may be coming to Bemidji soon because CEC theater will be installing digital projectors in all of the auditoriums in Bemidji. At that point, they will be able to consider playing “alternative content” (which would include Opera presentations). Click here to respond to Tony Tillmans regarding your desire to have such programming available in our community. Please make the effort to bring this opportunity to Bemidji. It works in Grand Forks so it can happen here too. This email does not respond, please re-check for correct email address. thanks and sorry for the inconvenience.
I spent some time with the new artistic director of the playhouse, Terry Lynn Carlson and his wife Beth yesterday at the Chief. They were in town to audition Bemidji thespians and aspiring actors for the upcoming summer season, thereby making good on a promise he made to this reporter last August. Although not as many people showed up as I had hoped, it was still a decent turn-out for this area. Now onto the over 100 actors in the cities who have evinced an interest in coming back to Bemidji for summer stock! Don’t forget that coupon books are on sale now, click here for more information.
The new editor Steve Wagner has asked for suggestions from readers for stories about people in the arts. Please send any ideas that you may have to me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I will be sure to follow through on any request. Arts organizations, artists and workshop presenters, please be aware that an upcoming event or show will only appear once in the arts column and then be printed nearer the date as a news brief. This is a significant change from what was previously known as the Wednesday Pioneer Previews which is now Pioneer Profiles (I still need to run the title by the new editor but it sounds catchy to me!)
Many thanks go to John Svingen, our computer guru at the Pioneer for designing the new banner for the arts blog. It’s the start of a new year and initiatives in reporting the arts news so we thought an update was in order. The new pictures show the auctioneers from last spring’s Bemidji Sculpture Walk Live Auction which raised over $10,000 to support public art in Bemidji.. The middle picture is from last spring’s Bemidji State University production of Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and the painter is Kathy Gustafson from the fall Studio Cruise.