“In the Woods” by Jill Zasadny

March 27th, 2015 No comments »

by Jill Zasadny

Having seen Into the Woods for the first time at Lyric Arts, I did a lot of thinking about the woods, Sondheim’s analogous place of danger, turmoil, and change. A place we’ve all been, though few willingly. But it occurred to me, due to “circumstances beyond my control,” that I feel that I have lost the ability to move. There feels no longer any way to “go into,” nor to “go out of.” I am simply “in the woods.” Of course it isn’t at all true: I got here; I can leave, right? Maybe.  But the woods are my abuser and protector alike, yet inflicting pain and shielding me from others who would do the same. Is there a place for me where I am not treed?  I fear meadow and forest alike. Feeling paralyzed, here, in the woods.

Is anyone here with me?
InTheWoods
Trees are the scapegoats of confusion,
Banding together,
as is their wont,
And casting shadow over might what otherwise seem clear.
They do not favor the straight path, the quick run.
They passively enforce circumlocution.

I live here, in the woods:
A coerced convert to Druidism, I pray for release

and protection alike.
They know, as I have resisted knowing,
that raised from the woods, I can never assimilate to the plains.
I am an orphan renegade.
Restless in the woods.
And at home here too.
I hand pushed up from the earth a wanton seed,
probably too shaded,
too shallow in my birth place,
too thirsty.

And sunlight comes in fingers here,
Pointing with Nazi nonchalance,Woods3

“You live.
You live.

You don’t.”

Living in the woods is an uneasy sleep.
I sense its heartbeat,Woods4
lion-like.
She does not rock me to rest,
But waits for my unconsciousness.

We pretend that we can build places of safety,
but we all live here in the woods,
where wild creatures fly and flee and flesh-feed.
Uneasily.Woods5
For the trees have slowed us;
the trees have shown us that life is here,
without walls or halls or haloes.
Equal to the lowest life…
and certain of the same cycle.

Here.
Woods6_2

 

 

 

 

In the Woods.

 

Copyright © 2015 Jill Zasadny. Used with permission of the author.

Jill_ZasadnyB&W

Jill Zasadny

Jill Zasadny earned her PhD in English from the University of Kansas in 2005. Her work has been published in various editions of poetry; her doctoral work about the foundress of Benedictinism in this country put into original song. She currently teaches at St. Cloud State University and Western Governors University.

Announcing our 2015-2016 season!

March 3rd, 2015 4 comments »

Last night we unveiled our 2015-2016 season, and we couldn’t be more excited! Keep an eye out for more information coming soon about season tickets and more, here on our website and on our Facebook page. We’ve got big things in store and we can’t wait to move forward with you!

  SeasonAnnounceFacebook1516

The Explorer’s Club | September 11—27, 2015

By Nell Benjamin

Directed by: Matt McNabb, Resident Director

The place is London, 1879. The prestigious Explorer’s Club is in crisis: their acting president wants to admit a woman, and their bartender is terrible. True, this female candidate is brilliant, beautiful, and has discovered a legendary Lost City, but the decision to let in a woman could shake the very foundation of the British Empire, and how do you make such a decision without a decent drink? Grab your safety goggles for some very mad science involving deadly cobras, irate Irishmen and the occasional airship.

First performed in the summer of 2013 at the Manhattan Theatre Club II, The Explorer’s Club is a freewheeling farce lauded by Variety as “wildly funny” and “comic gold” by the New York Post. A rare comedy that fulfills its mandate: to do nothing more than make you laugh–and it surely will.

Spitfire Grill | October 16—November 1, 2015

By Fred Alley, James Valq, and Lee David Zoltoff

Directed by: Scott Ford, Resident Director

Percy Talbott, a feisty parolee, follows her dreams from the pages of an old travel book to a small town in Wisconsin and finds a place for herself working at Hannah’s Spitfire Grill. It is for sale, but there are no takers for the only eatery in the depressed town. Newcomer Percy suggests to Hannah that she raffle it off. Entry fees are one hundred dollars and the best essay on why one would want the grill wins. Soon, mail is arriving by the wheelbarrow full and things are definitely cookin’.

The New Yorker called it “touching and memorable,” while Variety proclaims “Poignant and spine-chilling! A show with universal appeal! The score is exciting, infectious, and lively!” This soulful and transcendent musical is full of soaring melodies, sure to send you home feeling warm all over.

From Home for the Holidays | November 20—December 20, 2015

By John Patrick Bray

Directed by: Daniel Ellis

Stay tuned for more details about this exciting holiday show—one that will not only be a world premiere piece, but one written especially for Lyric Arts!

“Mainly for Kids Production”: Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas | December 3—19, 2015

By Laurie Brooks

Directed by: Kari Steinbach

In their poorest winter ever, when the crops have been devastated by locusts and the family must deal with the death of baby Freddie, Charles Ingalls backtracks his family to Burr Oak, Iowa, to take over the running of a hotel. When wealthy Mrs. Starr asks for Laura as a companion to read to her in the afternoons, Laura is overjoyed to be invited into such a fine house, but when she overhears Mrs. Starr offer to adopt Laura, she is certain that Ma and Pa will give her up to look after the other children. As Christmas morning approaches, Laura is faced with a decision: Will she choose what she believes is best for the family or will she find a way to stay with Pa, Ma, Mary and Carrie?

This original play presents the poignant story of the “missing” two years in the life of the Ingalls family—the only substantial period that Laura chose not to write about in her Little House books. A Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas tells a story of healing that celebrates the importance of enduring family bonds.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee | January 8—25, 2016

By Rebecca Feldman, Music by Jay Reiss, Book by Rachel Sheinkin

Directed by: To Be Announced

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, the tweens spell their way through a series of [potentially made-up] words hoping to never hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box.

Using competition to define themselves from their crazy families and struggling to escape childhood, their search is overseen by grown-ups who never completely succeeded in escaping it themselves. A nominee for six Tony awards in 2005, and winner of two, this delightful comedy is fast-paced and loved by many.

“Theater for Young Performers” Production: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland | February 19—28, 2016

By Deborah Lynn Frockt (Adapted from the original works of Lewis Carroll)

Directed by: Cassandra Proball

It’s a very ordinary and rather boring day for Alice until she spots a White Rabbit with a pocket watch whizzing through a world that’s beyond imagination! Her insatiable curiosity draws her into a madcap adventure in which she meets remarkable characters like the Caterpillar, Talking Flowers, a Duchess and her Cook, a Gryphon and Mock Turtle, a Mad Hatter and a March Hare. When Alice finally catches up with the White Rabbit in the Queen’s Court, she’s in for her biggest adventure of all. In its inaugural year, this “Theater for Young Performers” production is a journey through the wonder-filled world of Alice and a delight for the adventurous of any age.

Shrek the Musical | March 18—April 22, 2016

By David Lindsay-Abaire, Music by Jeanine Tesori

Directed by Matt McNabb, Resident Director

Music Direction by Louis Berg-Arnold

In a faraway kingdom turned upside down, things get ugly when an unseemly ogre — not a handsome prince — shows up to rescue a feisty princess. Throw in a donkey who won’t shut up, a bad guy with a SHORT temper, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you’ve got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there’s one on hand…and his name is Shrek.

Based on the Oscar®-winning DreamWorks film that started it all, Shrek The Musical brings the hilarious story of everyone’s favorite ogre to dazzling life in an all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza to the stage.

Anatomy of Gray | April 22—May 8, 2016

by Jim Lenard, Jr.

Directed by Scott Ford, Resident Director

The award-winning author of The DivinersAnd They Dance Real Slow in Jackson, and Crow and Weasel describes his newest play as “A children’s story for adults.” When June’s father dies, she prays for a healer to come to the small town of Gray, so that no one will ever suffer again; the next thing she knows, there’s a tornado, and a man in a balloon blows into town claiming to be a doctor.

At first, the new doctor cures anything and everything, but soon the town’s preacher takes ill with a mysterious plague. And then the plague begins to spread. Set in Indiana during the late 1800’s, Anatomy of Gray explores death, loss, love, and healing in a unique coming of age story.

The Odd Couple | June 3—19, 2016

By Neil Simon

Directed by Christine Karki

It’s a night of cards at Oscar Madison’s apartment. And if the mess is any indication, it’s no wonder that his wife left him. Late to arrive is Felix Unger, who has just been separated from his wife. Fastidious, depressed and none too tense, Felix seems suicidal, but as the action unfolds Oscar becomes the one with murder on his mind when the clean-freak and the slob ultimately decide to room together and hilarity ensues.

Following its premiere on Broadway in 1965, and giving birth to a successful film and television series of the same name, The Odd Couple offers some of the funniest dialogue ever written and is a laugh a second in this hit Broadway play.

Nice Work If You Can Get It | July 8—August 7, 2016

By Joe DiPietro Music by Gershwin & Gershwin

Directed by Adrian Balbontin

It’s the Roaring Twenties and a cast of outrageous characters gather in New York to celebrate the wedding of wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter. But things don’t go as planned when the playboy meets Billie Bendix, a bubbly and feisty bootlegger who melts his heart.

The champagne flows and the gin fizzes in the hilarious, Tony®-winning musical comedy complete with extravagant dance numbers, glittering costumes and an unlikely love story. Featuring a treasure trove of George and Ira Gershwin’s most beloved, instantly recognizable hits, including, “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Someone to Watch Over Me” and “Fascinating Rhythm,” it’s a sparkling tale with laughter, romance and high-stepping Broadway magic!

Dig Deeper – “Grease” is the Word!

June 24th, 2015 No comments »

The drills are driving, the batons are flying, and Lyric Arts is looking forward to the July 10 opening of our summer production of Grease!  Ever wondered where words like “greaser”, “rumble”, or “jive” came from?  Read on for more…

2000 Camel cigarette ad campaign - updating the "greaser"

2000 Camel cigarette ad campaign – updating the “greaser”

*What is a greaser? Greasers are a working class youth subculture that originated in the 1950s among young eastern and southern United States street gangs, and then became popular throughout the nation…Their name came from their greased back hair, which involved combing back hair with wax, gel, creams, tonics or pomade. Other popular greases used were olive oil or petroleum jelly.  The slang term also referred to young men that worked at gas stations or repaired cars or motorcycles.  The greaser style was imitated by many youths not associated with gangs, as an expression of rebellion…

Greasers had a very particular style that evolved from their working-class origins:  plain white or black T-shirts (often with the sleeves rolled up);  lots of black leather and denim like jeans with rolled-up cuffs; and baggy cotton twill work trousers (which were called baggie grays, baggie blues or sandbags). Greasers also typically wore motorcycle boots or army boots, Converse’s basketball shoes; bandannas; and chain wallets.

Dig Deeper information assembled by Education Director, Cassandra Proball

Dig Deeper information assembled by Education Director, Cassandra Proball

Although greasers in the 1950s and early 1960s were considered the outcasts of society, they gained popularity throughout the decades that followed through characters like Jim Stark in Rebel Without a Cause and Fonzie from the popular TV show Happy Days, and, of course, Danny Zuko in Grease. Outsiders no longer, greasers have become a mainstream iconic image of the rebellious American teenager.

*from North Tonawanda City School, NY classroom materials

Interview with Alison Scherzer, Soprano

June 16th, 2015 No comments »

We had the opportunity to catch up with Alison Scherzer, Soprano and Lyric Arts Alum, about her adventures over the pond, upcoming performance of “I am a Stranger Here Myself,” and upcoming film, “Operatic.” We’re so pleased to welcome Alison to the Main Street Stage once again on June 27th and were excited to hear about all her past, present, and future endeavors.

LA: Tell us a little bit about your roots in the Twin Cities area.

AS: I grew up in Coon Rapids and was very involved in choir during high school, though I had also taken lessons in cello and piano. At that point, I hadn’t seriously started studying opera or musical theater and feel that my musical “roots” are really in choral music. I lived in the Twin Cities for a year after college working for composer Stephen Paulus and The Schubert Club  and performed with Nautilus Music-Theater and Skylark Opera before moving to Cincinnati to go to graduate school in 2007. I have visited Minnesota every year since then, not to perform but mostly to visit family and “recharge” before the next project.

alison_scherzer

LA: What made you decide to become an opera singer?

AS: During college I studied abroad in Vienna, Austria, which is considered to be the classical music capital of the world. I’d had quite a bit of exposure to opera by then, but taking in several performances a week and seeing not only the musical talent on stage, but the enthusiasm and respect that Viennese audiences have towards classical music was an experience that gave me the final “nudge” towards choosing opera as a career.

LA: Talk a little bit about your experiences with Lyric Arts.

AS: My first experience with Lyric Arts was exactly 10 years ago, when I was cast as Mabel in the summer stock production of Pirates of Penzance directed by Matt McNabb. I remember there was already a clearly established community of actors and singers who regularly performed at the Lyric Arts and were very close. I always felt welcome and very much enjoyed working with everyone involved in the production. Since then, I have visited Lyric Arts as an audience member when in town, attending productions like Wait Until Dark, Cabaret, and The Laramie Project.

LA: What has it been like traveling and living in Europe?

AS: I have wanted to live and work abroad since my very first trip to Europe with my family when I was 14 years old. I had several study abroad experiences in Europe throughout school, but actually living there is quite different. I think that more than adjusting to foreign language, food and culture, the starkest difference is the constant exposure to so much history. I live thirty minutes away from Beethoven’s birth house! And just a few weeks ago, the city of Cologne discovered a bomb from WW2 that had never been detonated! It has really influenced my perception of time and how people are connected to the past.

LA: You sing in several languages, are you also proficient or fluent in any foreign languages?

AS: German is my most proficient language, since I am based in Cologne, but I also speak some French and Italian.  Greek is the next language on my list to learn, because my boyfriend and some of his family are Greek. I just recently attended a Greek wedding in Athens for the first time. The hospitality of the culture and the musical nature of the language have really inspired me to start learning! 

LA: Describe one of your most favorite moments living overseas.

AS: During my first summer in Germany, I was hired to play Zerlina in Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the outside courtyard of a castle. I also performed a few songs at a Wandelkonzert, which is a “promenade concert” where each musical piece is performed in a different room within the castle. As someone who grew up only seeing castles in the movies, that was a real life experience I will never forget!Operatic_AlisonScherzer

LA: Alison, you’ve been traveling the world as an opera singer, putting on concerts and now involved in a very exciting new film. Tell us a little bit about how you became involved in this project, Operatic?

AS: I became involved with Operatic through my collaboration with an opera ensemble called The Cast.  Operatic is a music documentary film giving insight on the lives of six freelance opera singers and how we work together within the opera “band”. There was a film crew who accompanied us on tour for about a year to record concerts and conduct interviews, asking our opinions on singing, on living in Germany and what it is like to be a professional musician.  There will be a screening soon in Columbia Heights of the film on June 29th at the Heights Theater for those interested in attending!

LA: What made you think to come back to Lyric Arts and present what we’re sure will be a lovely concert, “I am a Stranger Here Myself”?

AS: The summer before I moved to Berlin I went to see the Lyric Arts’ production of Cabaret, a Broadway musical depicting the Weimar Kabarett era of Berlin in 1931, just as the Nazis were coming into power. I think seeing that production had indirectly planted a seed in my head, because when I decided to perform a concert of European and American cabaret songs for friends and family in the Twin Cities, Lyric Arts was the first and only venue I had considered!

LA: Tell us a little bit about this concert. What inspired its name? Selections?

AS:I Am a Stranger Here Myself” is the title of a song from One Touch of Venus by Kurt Weill. What had attracted me to this particular song were the lyrics, because it was the first time I had heard the term “stranger” used in a context outside of simply referring to one’s environment.  It gave me an understanding that feeling like a stranger can be applied to love, location, or simply living!  And I think this is a feeling that most people have experience with and can relate to! This concept is a recurring theme in most of the music I am performing, so that is why the title of the song is very fitting as the title for this concert. I chose French, German and songs spanning almost 100 years by composers who seemingly have nothing to do with each other, from Erik Satie to Friedrich Holländer to William Bolcom.  There are some melodies most people will recognize, but it is mainly music that I have picked up either during my studies or while living abroad.

LA: Will you be performing this in other parts of the metro? US?

AS: Since I am only here for a limited amount of time, this is the only performance of the concert in the Twin Cities and in the US to date. I will be performing a similar program with an accordion player in Germany this July, accompanied by orchestra (in the same aforementioned castle!) as the opening concert at a music festival.

LA: What’s next for you, Alison?

AS: As I mentioned before, when I return to Germany in July, I will repeat a similar cabaret program with orchestra at the Wernigeröder Schloßfestpiele.  In the fall and winter, I will be performing Gretel in Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel with an opera company in Cologne, and have a few opera concerts in Bonn, Olpe and Frankfurt with The Cast. And at the end of the year, I will be collaborating with Operatic director Jorgos Katsimitsoulias, performing a concert of modern art song with live visual projection and abstract drawing. So there will be quite a potpourri of musical styles for me to perform in the next few months!

Dig Deeper – A Family Affair

June 10th, 2015 No comments »

kinopoisk.ruMarc Camoletti, playwright for Boeing Boeing, initially trained as a painter, but by the early 1950s he was living and writing in Paris, the city that would embrace his work and that he would call home for most of his life.  In 1958 he wrote his first play, La Bonne Anna (The Good Anna). It was produced at the Théâtre des Capucines by a company affiliated with Camoletti’s wife, the theatrical designer Germaine Camoletti.

La Bonne Anna, like all of Camoletti’s forty plays, was a light comedy dealing with themes of sex, relationships, and secrets. His work is often described as “boulevard theatre,” a genre characterized by bedroom farces and named for Paris’ Boulevard du Temple, the location of many theaters.

In 1987, Pyjama Pour Six, a sequel to Boeing-Boeing, opened at the Thèâtre Michel, where Camoletti often produced and directed his own work.  Camoletti continued to write, produce, and direct at the Thèâtre Michel throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Camoletti was an Associate of the Société Nationale des Beaux Arts and was awarded the Chevalier de la Légion D’honneur, one of France’s highest honours. He passed away in 2003 and is buried with his wife in the Montmartre Cemetery in Paris. From the time of Camoletti’s death in 2003 through 2008, Camoletti’s son Jean Christophe and daughter-in-law Arianne managed Thèâtre Michel, currently directed by Didier Caron.

Dig Deeper – Fabulous, Funny, and Very French!

June 3rd, 2015 No comments »

Opening night for Boeing Boeing is this Friday at Lyric Arts and we’re ready for a fun, fabulous and very French farce!  When Boeing-Boeing opened in Paris in 1960 it became French playwright Marc Camoletti’s signature hit and ran for a record-breaking 19 years.  The original London production, in an adaptation by Beverley Cross, ran for seven years, racking up more than 2,000 performances.  The Guinness Book of World Records lists Boeing Boeing as the most performed French play worldwide.

film poster

1965 film poster

It is interesting to note that the original Broadway production and Paramount film starring Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis didn’t tickle quite as many American funny bones in 1965, but perhaps that reflects French and American cultural differences.  American playwrights may have appropriated French maids and French windows as farcical devices, but we are a bit reluctant to embrace the French attitude towards sex.  Adultery may play a part in an American farce, but it’s usually viewed as ultimately unacceptable and must be resolved at the end of the play.  In a French farce, adultery is often simply problematic, complicated, or just too expensive.   There may be more slamming doors in Noises’ Off than in Boeing Boeing, but they’re put to a more innocent use.  However, in 1965 America was in the midst of a culture war that ended in a sexual revolution.  Perhaps a shift in attitude towards sex is reflected in the popularity of the 2008 Broadway revival starring Mark Rylance and Christine Baranski which ran for 279 performances, earned six Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor and Best Revival.  Boeing Boeing now appears regularly at theaters across the U.S and we hope to see you in the seats for this fun and fabulous farce!

Cassandra Proball NEW SQ

Dig Deeper articles prepared by Education Director, Cassandra Proball

 

 

Dig Deeper – It’s Mad, Mad Mod Design!

May 27th, 2015 No comments »

In a little over one week, Lyric Arts opens Boeing, Boeing – a madcap story set in the swingin’ Sixties.  Scenic designer Mark Koski has created a fab set that provides all the door-slamming fun necessary for a truly successful bedroom farce and one that celebrates the bold, colorful look of the Jet Age.   Check out Koski’s computer rendering of the set and book your tickets now to see it come to life onstage!

Dig Deeper – Glamour Girls of the Jet Age

May 20th, 2015 No comments »

In a little over 2 weeks, Lyric Arts opens Boeing Boeing, a bedroom farce featuring three stunning stewardesses all unknowingly engaged to the same man. But soon the speedier jet age throws everything into confusion and hijinks ensue.  When Marc Camoletti wrote his play in 1960, American Airlines had already opened a new stewardess training facility, celebrated in Life Magazine with the article, “Glamor Girls of the Air: For Lucky Ones Being Hostess is the Mostest.”  This tribute perfectly captured the postwar vision of the air hostess as a gorgeous, cultured, cosmopolitan woman of the world.

Cassandra Proball NEW SQ

Dig Deeper Blog prepared by Education Director, Cassandra Proball

In the 1960s and 1970s, many airlines began using this growing iconic image as part of their marketing schemes – touting the attractiveness and friendliness of their stewardesses.   National Airlines began a “Fly Me”; campaign using attractive female flight attendants with taglines such as “I’m Lorraine. Fly me to Orlando.”  Braniff International Airways, presented a campaign known as the “Air Strip” with a similarly attractive young female flight attendant changing uniforms mid-flight.  Click on the links above to watch examples of these T.V. ad campaigns and book your tickets now for the hip and hysterical Boeing Boeing!

2015 Cabaret Review—Kylie Schultz

May 18th, 2015 No comments »

by Kylie Schultz

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Katharine Strom performing “Gimme Gimme” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie”

It is always nice to be reminded of how Lyric Arts plays such an important role in the community and in the larger Metro area arts scene. Friday night at the Cabaret fundraising event, I got to hear so many stories from actors who have both grown up being involved with Lyric Arts, and some who are new to Lyric Arts. All the stories shared a similar sentiment—Lyric Arts is like a home for them. It’s a community, an artistic outlet, and a welcoming place for them to experience and be a part of high quality theater productions. In addition to telling their stories, Lyric Arts actors old and new sang their favorite Broadway songs. These performances completely illustrated what amazing talent Lyric Arts provides.

Each performance was as perfectly executed as the last and ranged from comedic to dramatic. Every performance gave me chills. Angela Henderson (formerly of Grammy award-winning group Sounds of Blackness, by the way) gave a sultry and amazing performance of “Whatever Lola Wants” from Damn Yankees, followed by an astounding and heart wrenching performance by Molly Jo Hall of “If Someone Like You” from Jekyll and Hyde. Lyric Arts’ regulars Nykeigh Larson and Kyler Chase were nothing short of brilliant as we’ve all come to know in their performances, and Katherine Strom delighted with what I thought was a flawless execution of “Gimme Gimme” from Thoroughly Modern Millie.

We also learned about the futures of many of Lyric Arts’ younger performers who have been with Lyric Arts and will be leaving to pursue the performing arts around the country. They are an excellent example of the quality of Lyric Arts’ educational programs which provide much needed arts education, workshops, and performance opportunities during a time when arts funding for schools is sadly being cut short. I come for the high quality productions, but I am a proud supporter of Lyric Arts because of these educational programs and the wider impact the company provides for the youth and community.

Lyric Arts’ Cabaret 2015 event does not disappoint by way of performances, but it is an excellent time to show appreciation for the company and everything it does. If you haven’t gone in the past, attend in the future and enjoy the show (which is amazing), but don’t forget that this performance is about so much more. Thank you Lyric Arts for bringing such vibrant and quality theater to the Metro, I can’t wait to see what your future brings!

Kylie Schultz is a Minneapolis local and an Arts Ambassador with Theoroi, a young professionals group of the Schubert Club in St. Paul, MN.

Kylie Schultz

Kylie Schultz

 

Louis Berg-Arnold Named Resident Music Director

May 12th, 2015 No comments »
Louis-Berg-Arnold135X135

Louis Berg-Arnold

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage has announced Louis Berg-Arnold has been appointed Resident Music Director beginning with the 2015-16 season. This newly created position will work closely with the leadership of the Anoka-based theater in helping to shape the company’s artistic future and growth. In addition, Berg-Arnold will direct one production during the season and will serve as a mentor to guest directors.

“Louis is an exceptionally gifted musician. Beyond that, in his time at Lyric Arts, he has earned the respect of performers and instrumentalists alike with his ability to maintain our high artistic standards in performance while cultivating an environment in the rehearsal room that is collaborative, nurturing, and light-hearted,” says Laura Tahja Johnson, Managing Artistic Director. “When you combine those qualities with his professionalism and his devotion to Lyric Arts and our continued growth, it makes him a perfect choice to be Lyric Arts’ new Resident Music Director.”

As part of a two-year commitment, Resident Directors add a new dimension to the artistic viability of the organization. They serve as mentors to directors who are new to the organization and provide input to the theater in the areas of artistic vision and direction, as the theater works to build its reputation as an emerging company in the Twin Cities theater community.

“Louis’ talent, hard work, and good looks have made him an essential member of the Lyric Arts creative community, says Resident Director, Matt McNabb. “His musicals have been some of the most successful in the history of the organization. I look forward to many successful collaborations in future seasons!”

“I have really enjoyed working with Lyric Arts over the last several years, and I am very excited to take on this new role of Resident Music Director,” says Berg-Arnold.  “Lyric Arts has established itself as a welcoming environment in which to develop new talent in the twin cities theater community, and I am looking forward to helping Lyric Arts continue to grow its musical excellence.”

Berg-Arnold’s first production as Resident Music Director will be Lyric Arts’ spring musical production, Shrek the Musical, running March 18 through April 22, 2016.

About Louis Berg-Arnold

Louis Berg-Arnold has been active performer in the Central Minnesota arts community for over 15 years. He has music directed four shows with Lyric Arts, notably Young Frankenstein and Into the Woods this past season. Louis has also worked for various theater companies throughout Minnesota and South Florida including the Actor’s Theater of Minnesota and Opera Naples. He currently serves as the pianist for the Bemidji Alumni Choir, and is a new member of From Age to Age, a Twin Cities based choral music ensemble. Louis began studying music at the age of 4, and is classically trained on the piano, organ and viola, studying under Ann Oleksowicz, Dr. Kim Kasling, and Coco Bochonko, respectively.  He has performed as a pianist, organist, violist and vocalist with various classical music ensembles in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Florida, including the St. Cloud Symphony Orchestra, Amadeus Chamber Symphony and the St. John’s Boys’ Choir.

Cabaret 2015: Cast Interview with Katharine Strom

May 8th, 2015 No comments »
Headshot_KatharineStrom_135x135

Katharine Strom

Katharine Strom first became a part of Lyric Arts when she auditioned for Young Frankenstein at the beginning of our 2014-2015 season. As a part of the cast of Into the Woods and instructing education workshops to joining the upcoming cast of Boeing Boeing, Katharine has made fast friends with cast, crew, staff, and others at Lyric Arts. The following is an interview we has with Katharine recently about her participation in our 16th annual Cabaret. We also had the pleasure of sitting down with her after a Cabaret rehearsal to visit about her Lyric Arts story. Enjoy

LA: How did you become familiar with Lyric Arts?

KS: I auditioned last spring on a whim and was so impressed by the professional yet friendly atmosphere, that I came back to audition for “Young Frankenstein” in July! Playing Elizabeth Benning was such a delight!

LA: How would your life be different if it wasn’t for Lyric Arts?

KS: Honestly, if it weren’t for the people and productions at Lyric, my acting career wouldn’t be what it is today. I’ve done some of my best work here as well as met two of my closest friends, Molly and Ben Schrade.

LA: Why do you choose to share your passion on this stage?

KS: Performing puts an actor in a vulnerable place, but the audiences and staff here are incredibly supportive. The production quality really puts this theater above many others. I am continually impressed by the artists here at Lyric Arts.

LA: What moment are you really looking forward to this year for Cabaret?

KS: The lyrical dance number choreographed by Molly. It has been such an inspiring piece to work on and what a treat to dance with THE Brad Bone!

LA: What’s been your very favorite number to perform in your acting and singing career so far?

KS: I played Judy Bernly in “9 to 5: The Musical” during my undergrad at NDSU. Her solo number, “Get Out and Stay Out” is still one of my favorite pieces to perform. Such a cathartic and kick arse number to sing!

Into The Woods-4_5

Katharine Strom (right), Anne Brown (center), and Alyssa Seiferts (left) in Lyric Arts “Into the Woods”

 

LA: Describe a favorite bonding moment with someone at Lyric Arts

KS: As I mentioned previously, I met my best friend, Molly Jo during “Young Frankenstein” last fall. She invited me out for sushi during the run and the rest is history.

LA: How and when did you decide to pursue a career in performing arts?

KS: My last year of high school was when I decided to pursue a career in fine arts. It took two years of community college to solidify my plan to major in theater.

LA: What other hidden talents might lurk below the surface?

KS: Bird Calls. It truly is a gift. Common loon, wild turkey, mourning dove…the list goes on.

LA: If you could live in any time period, when would it be and why?

KS: The 80s. So many terrible but awesome trends, songs and movies!

LA: If you could star in any film, which would you choose and who would you play?

KS: Any Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen film. I would play both twins, obviously.

LA: What are your favorite musicals?

KS: Sunday in the Park With George, The Last Five Years, West Side Story, The Wild Party, Oklahoma! to name a few.

LA: Let people know what it feels like to spend your time and talents at Lyric Arts. Any stories that help describe this?

KS: My time on and off stage at Lyric Arts has been inspiring. The experiences I’ve had and continue to have encourage me to further my craft and better myself as an actor, singer, dancer and teacher.

 KS: Lyric Arts feels like home and it just feels so good.

Volunteer of the Year—Joan O’Sullivan

May 6th, 2015 No comments »

April is national Volunteer Appreciation Month and we are thrilled to announce our new Volunteer of the Year, Joan O’Sullivan!

In the past twelve months, Joan volunteered over 1,000 hours in concessions, the scene shop, and various other events at Lyric Arts. Joan’s dedication, hard work, and friendly personality make her an imperative part of the Lyric Arts community. Thanks, Joan! You make Lyric Arts a success!

Here is what Joan has to say about volunteering at Lyric Arts:

“I started volunteering in 2009 after seeing a wonderful production of “The Foreigner”. I was very impressed with how everyone that I met was so friendly and welcoming.

Joan O'Sullivan NEW SQ

Joan O’Sullivan, Lyric Arts’ Volunteer of the Year

I knew then that I wanted to be a part of the Lyric Arts “family” too.Being a lover of talent, the arts and interacting with our patrons, actors, fellow volunteers, and staff are all things that make volunteering so much fun and worthwhile.

My favorite volunteering positions are working in concessions, assisting at auditions, and being on the scene shop team (where I have learned and grown as a “painter” and a “carpenter”…sometimes I amaze myself at what I have been able to accomplish).

I spend the majority of my time at Lyric Arts since my retirement in 2011. I hope to continue to do so because volunteering here keeps me happy and feeling useful. And…because I have made friends with so many wonderful people!”

Please join us in congratulating Joan O’Sullivan, our Volunteer of the Year!

 

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