Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Fall Dance Concert promises variety, premieres

As always, the Minnesota State University, Mankato Fall Dance Concert will be featuring an array of dance techniques, and many of the pieces are brand new.

Dance Professor Daniel Stark said this year’s program includes ballet, modern, jazz-based modern and an Afro-Cuban dance. Pieces include a duet about a couple in love who experience a loss, one about the absurdity of television, and one about Minnesota’s North Shore, among various others.

But words hardly do these dances justice. Pictures do better to capture the beauty of what will be on the stage. (Photos by Dan Norman. Illustrations by Matthew Caron.)

The Fall Dance Concert is 7:30 p.m. Dec. 4 and 2 p.m. Dec. 5 in the Ted Paul Theatre, Early Center for Performing Arts, Minnesota State University, Mankato. Tickets are $10 regular; $9 for seniors ages 65 and older, children under 16 and groups of 15 or more; and $8 for MSU students. The Student Showcase, featuring dances choreographed by students, is 2 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Ted Paul Theatre. Student Showcase tickets are $5. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 507-389-6661.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Time marches on, and 'Time Stands Still' is up next ...

"Time Stands Still" Director Michael Sheeks had a great Q&A with The Free Press this week. Read all about his vision for the show below!

(Click on the images to enlarge.)

Michael Sheeks is the director of "Time Stands Still."

Sarah (Alex Blesi) evaluates Richard’s (Logan Sulentic) embryonic girlfriend, Mandy (Maureen O’Malley) as James (Jordan Wolfe) looks on nervously.

Sarah (Alex Blesi, top right) and James (Jordan Wolfe, seated) surprise Richard (Logan Sulentic) and Mandy (Maureen O’Malley) by tying the knot.

Sarah (Alex Blesi) contemplates her next steps with James (Jordan Wolfe).

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Preview performance puts us in the 'Christmas' spirit a little early

Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the funnest nights in the Performing Arts Center are Corporate Sponsor Nights. The event name itself might sound like our theater fills up with suits and ties, but the reality couldn't be further from the truth.

When a company generously sponsors one of our productions, they get the run of our theater the night before opening night. Every seat in the house belongs to them, and we perform our show just for them. So companies often use the special event as a social gathering to invite their hard-working employees and their families to come enjoy the show, have some cookies and cider, and have some fun outside the office.

That's exactly what happened Wednesday night in the Ted Paul. Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato is our wonderful sponsor for "A Christmas Story: The Musical," and they helped fill the Performing Arts Center with the holiday spirit a little early this year. Mayo families packed the Ted Paul, and we were so proud to unveil to them our production, which Director Melissa Rosenberger and the cast and crew have been working so hard on perfecting.

We sincerely hope everyone enjoyed the show last night, and we're pretty sure they did. Reviews were pretty positive as they streamed out during intermission for cookies, coffee and cider. Our favorite comment came from a little girl who was about the age of our lead character, 9-year-old Ralphie Parker. "This is the funniest show I've ever seen. Do you know if they still make Red Ryder BB guns? I want one, too."

Here are some photos from last night's event.

Our cast in the display cases
Our ensemble
Mayo Clinic Health System in Mankato employees and their families filled the Ted Paul Theatre.
Adam Yankowy warms up the orchestra.
Dr. Paul Hustoles thanks Mayo for their long-standing support of MSU Theatre and Dance.
Dr. Hustoles hands over a plaque with our gratitude to a Mayo employee.
Employees and friends socialize during intermission.
Two boys talk about their favorite parts of the musical.