Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Truvy's Beauty Salon has moved into the Andreas

Ask any gal what her favorite 1980s movies are and “Steel Magnolias” is likely to be on her list.

M'Lynn (left) talks to Shelby (right) and Truvy (center).
And who could blame her! The friendships, the love, the loss, the drama – it’s all right there in Chinquapin Parish, Louisiana. The play version of the hit movie is up next in our Highland Summer Theatre season.

Sponsored by Mayo Clinic Health System, “Steel Magnolias” runs 7:30 p.m. June 13-16 in the Andreas Theatre, Earley Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State Mankato.

More about the play: Set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Louisiana, the wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoo and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon, Ouiser; an eccentric millionaire, Miss Clairee; and the local social leader, M’Lynn, whose daughter, Shelby (the prettiest girl in town), is about to marry a “good ole boy.”

Tickets are $16 regular; $14 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $11 for Minnesota State Mankato students. Call the Box Office at 507-389-6661, or visit MSUTheatre.com for more information about tickets. 

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Highland 52 will be a ‘Shrek’ of a season!

Mystery, murder, mayhem, magnolias (of the steel variety) – Highland Summer Theatre’s 52nd season will definitely not disappoint!

Kicking off with “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” the musical on Wednesday, May 30, Highland’s slate of shows is a bit backwards this year. Typically, a play opens the season in the Andreas Theatre, followed by a musical in the Ted Paul, another play in the Andreas, and a closing musical in the Ted Paul again.

This year’s schedule, however, has to accommodate a large renovation project in the Ted Paul Theatre that will include new larger seats, additional wheelchair accommodations, a safety wall along the orchestra pit, new carpeting and a new grand drape, among other improvements. 

To provide additional time in the schedule between the Highland season and the opening musical of the 2018-19 season, the musicals will take place earlier this summer (i.e. musical, play, musical and play).

“Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” will be first in the Ted Paul (May 30-June 2); then “Steel Magnolias” will be in the Andreas Theatre (June 13-16); then “Shrek” the musical will be held in the Ted Paul (June 26-July 1); and lastly “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” will be held in the Andreas. All performances are at 7:30 p.m.

Season tickets are on sale for $66 for all four shows of Highland until June 2. Individual tickets for musicals are $22 regular, $19 discounted (over 65, under 16 and groups of 15 or more) and $15 for current Minnesota State Mankato students. Individual tickets for plays are $16 regular; and $14 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more.

About “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”: Based on the popular 1988 MGM film, “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” takes us to the French Riviera for high jinks and hilarity. Sophisticated, suave and with a good dash of mischief, this hysterical musical comedy features a delightfully jazzy score by David Yazbek (“The Full Monty”) and was nominated for 11 Tony Awards.

For more information on Highland’s other upcoming shows, visit mnsu.edu/theatre/season.

For information on donating to the $500,000 Ted Paul Theatre renovation, visit MSUTheatre.com and click on the renovation project link.

For tickets, visit MSUTheatre.com, or call the Box Office 4-6 p.m. weekdays at 507-389-6661.
Contact Public Relations Director Amanda Dyslin at 507-389-6663, or amanda.dyslin@mnsu.edu for more information. 

Freddy (Gabriel Sell) plays the sympathy card with Christine (Delanie Wiedrich), with the awkwardly titled song, “Love is My Legs.”  

Thursday, April 19, 2018

What in the world is up with the almond?

The last Studio Show of the 2017-18 season, "Melancholy Play," opened Wednesday, and what can we say ... it's a little bit nutty. An almond happens to play a key role in the show, but we're not disclosing exactly why that is. (We don't want to give it away before you come to the show!)

But here's some context for those who can't stop thinking, "WHAT'S WITH THE ALMOND?!" Well, interestingly enough, "Melancholy Play," written by Sarah Ruhl, is a contemporary farce that explores the world of human emotions. Sarah explained that this play was inspired by the word "Amygdala," which is Greek for the word "Almond." The word means the most important emotional organ in the brain. 

So, how does that connect to "Melancholy Play" exactly? How exactly does a physical almond come into play? Come see the show and find out! 

"Melancholy Play" runs 7:30 p.m. nightly through Saturday, April 21. Tickets at MSUTheatre.com or by calling the Box Office at 507-389-6661. Don't miss it!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Kim Macafee got pinned by who?! Find out at "Bye Bye Birdie" this weekend!

Student Spotlight on Megan Fischer, who plays Kim Macafee in our production of "Bye Bye Birdie," running through Sunday in the Ted Paul Theatre!

"Bye Bye Birdie" has reopened for the second weekend, so we asked sophomore BFA Megan Fischer, who plays the role of Kim Macafee, about her leading role.

Q: What is one thing you HAVE to do to prepare for this show?

A: I try to drink 5 glasses of water an hour before the show and listen to '60s music to get me pumped!

Q: What is your favorite song you sing in the show and why? 

A: "How Lovely to Be a Woman" because it's fun and it's your first introduction to my character. And the song reminds me of all of the goofy, stupid stuff I used to do as a 15-year-old.

Q: What is one thing you're excited for people to see from this show and why?

A: I'm excited for people to laugh along with us, and also to really embrace this fun '60s time period for a few hours!

Best of luck to Megan and the rest of the cast of "Bye Bye Birdie" as they go into their final shows! There's still 4 more chances to see the show! Get your tickets at MSUTheatre.com!

Monday, March 26, 2018

Lead actress talks "Talley"

The heartwarming production "Talley's Folly" opens this Wednesday, and we caught up with sophomore Musical Theatre BFA Megan Kueter who plays the character of Sally Talley to talk about her role. Together with junior BFA John Nicol who plays Matt Friedman, the two create a beautiful dynamic on stage.

Q: What is so unique about this show?

A: "Talley's Folly" is seemingly very simple. It's just two characters talking for an hour and a half, but it's incredibly rich and complex at its core. 

Q: How do you prepare for a role like this?

A: To understand why Sally reacts to this situation the way she does you have to understand where she comes from. Her home life, past relationships, and the time period of the show all play a part in creating this incredibly smart, yet very stubborn individual.

Q: What are YOU most excited for the audience to see from this show?

A: Director Trevor Belt, John and I have worked so hard on making this story a waltz, as the character Matt says in his opening monologue. I hope the audience is able to see just how perfect these two people are for each other, if only they would listen to what the other is saying. The story is beautiful, and I hope it resonates with the audience just as much as it has with everyone who has worked on it.

Best of luck to these two actors during the run of this beautiful show March 28-31. Tickets at MSUTheatre.com. Don't miss it!

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Student Spotlight on Abby Okoneski and Regan O'Connor!


The MSU Spring Dance Concert is approaching fast and furious, but we had just enough time to stop and ask two veterans of the Dance department to talk about their excitement and process for the upcoming concert!

Abby Okoneski Junior Dance BFA
Q: Out of all of the dance pieces you are in, which one are YOU most excited to perform?

A: I am really looking forward to Reuben del Valle's hip hop piece because it is something that no one has seen our department do before, which I think is really exciting.

Q: What has been the most rewarding part about bringing these dance pieces to life?

A: The most rewarding part has been the time we have put into it. Every dancer and choreographer has been working extremely hard since the beginning of the semester, and it's always rewarding to see where we start and where we finish each semester. For me, personally, the overall "big picture" is the most rewarding. 

Q: What is something you hope the audience can take away from this particular concert?

A: I hope the audience gets a glimpse of all the different styles we can do. Our concerts tend to be more modern heavy, but I think this concert is all over the board with styles. I hope the audience can appreciate all the different styles we put on stage.

Regan O'Connor, Senior Dance BFA
Q: Out of all of the dance pieces you are in, which one are YOU most excited to perform? 

A: Honestly, I'm excited about all of them. Each of them is challenging in their own way. Julie Kerr-Berry's has lots of dynamic shifts and emotions. Ruben's has a completely different style that I'm not used to, and it's theatrical, which is really fun to explore. Melissa Rosenberger's requires a different energy. We've already done it, so it is up to us as dancers to find something new within it. 

Q: What has been the most rewarding part about bringing these dance pieces to life?

A: The most rewarding part for me personally is the fact that it's my last one. I feel like this is the concert where I can show how much I've grown as an artist with the people who have become my family (cheesy, I know, but true!). As a whole, our department has worked so hard, and this concert really showcases everyone in a positive light, and that's really cool to be apart of. 

Q: What is something you hope the audience can take away from this particular concert?

A: To be honest, I don't know what I want the audience to feel. I just want them to sit, relax, enjoy and break away from the outside world. Dance is a way to escape, and each piece requires us to go to a different time, space and style. And hopefully the audience will escape with us.

Come see these fabulous dancers along with many more beside them for the Spring Dance Concert! 
Performances are on Friday, April 27, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, April 28, at 7:30 p.m., along with a student dance showcase on Sunday, April 29, at 2 p.m.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Kiddie Tour takes on the Big Apple!

Every year, as a wonderful treat at the end of our traveling children's theatre tour, our cast gets a trip to New York City over spring break to be inspired by Broadway shows! Last week, our wonderful Kiddie Tour cast of "The Bluebird's Secret" had a blast seeing shows on Broadway! 

What shows did they see? And which were there favorites? 

Well we asked some of the cast members themselves! 

The top show that students loved the most was one of Broadway's biggest hits, currently: "Once on This Island."

Musical Directed by Michael Arden, Music and lyrics by Flahrety and Ahrens
About the show: Ti Moune, a peasant girl, rescues a wealthy boy from the other side of the island, Daniel, with whom she falls in love. Unbeknownst to Ti Moune, the pompous gods who preside over the island make a bet with one another over which is stronger, love or death, the stakes being Ti Moune's life. When she pursues Daniel, who has returned to his people, Ti Moune is shunned because of her lowly status. Her determination and capacity to love, though, is not enough to win Daniel's heart, and Ti Moune pays the ultimate price; but the gods turn Ti Moune into a tree that grows so strong and so tall, it breaks the wall that separates the societies and ultimately unites them.

Calli Medley, Ben Siglin, Lydia Prior and Kacie Riddle at "Once On This Island" on Broadway!

Calli Medley: My favorite show I saw was definitely "Once On This Island." From the moment the music started playing, I remembered how powerful the show was and had to stop myself from crying during the entire thing. The actors were amazing, the music was powerful, the set and the way they use the space was brilliant and beautiful. All of these elements combined with the theatre in-the-round experience made it one I will never forget.

Kacie Riddle: "Once On This Island" was the highlight show for me. The costumes, music, set and story were absolutely breathtaking, and it was unlike any other show I've ever seen.

Arianna Rotty: Once On This Island was my favorite show because of the modern twist. I also loved the cast because their voices were SPECTACULAR!

Congrats to the cast of The Bluebird's Secret on a great tour and an eventful trip to New York City!