Three exhilarant, engaging new works from Kate Hamill, Dan Chouinard, and Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle that push the art form of musical theater forward will each receive two-week workshops and three public readings. Readings begin May 5 at the Ritz Theater in Minneapolis.
$30 three-show passes and $13 single tickets are on sale now at latteda.org or 612-339-3003.
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(Minneapolis/St. Paul) On the heels of the successful world premiere musical C., Theater Latté Da announced the slate of artists and projects for this year's NEXT Festival. Three exhilarant new works from Kate Hamill, Dan Chouinard, and Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle will each receive two-week workshops and three public readings beginning Thursday, May 5. Theater Latté Da recently launched NEXT 20/20, a robust new work initiative aimed at developing 20 new musicals or plays with music and shepherding many of them to full production. The majority of the world premieres receiving a full production will be derived from the NEXT Festival. The first piece in the NEXT Festival is IN THE MINES by Kate Hamill. In Appalachian coal-mining territory, a devastating cave-in forever changes and intertwines the lives of three imperfect women—who find themselves swept up by forces beyond their control. This epic, imaginative mutation of Greek myths interweaves traditional folk music with magical realism to create a new mythology examining the forces, both seen and unseen, that shape our lives. With direction by Peter Rothstein, music direction by Denise Prosek, and dramaturgy by Elissa Adams, IN THE MINES features the talents of Christina Baldwin, Mark Benninghoffen, Bear Brummel, Paul Coate, Beth Gilleland, Bradley Greenwald, Aeysha Kinnunen, Sara Ochs, and Thomasina Petrus.
Hamill offers, “It’s an epic piece, and really close to my heart: it’s part exploration of mythology and cycles of poverty, but also very much an exploration of aspects of the rural culture in which I grew up.” She continues, “It’s also that rare opportunity to concentrate COMPLETELY on a piece as a writer for weeks! To have the opportunity to give IN THE MINES really focused attention (especially with feedback from collaborators and audiences) is so invaluable. This process can change a piece down to its very foundations: I’m excited to play around with it!” Another point of note is that Hamill’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility will open the Guthrie Theater’s 2016-17 season.
Performances of IN THE MINES are Thursday, May 5 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 pm; and Monday, May 9 at 7:30 pm at the Ritz Theater.
The second piece in the NEXT Festival is THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC hosted by Dan Chouinard. THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC is a live-performance written-for-radio variety show about raising food and living close to the ground in the city. Chouinard hosts, with a crop of guests bringing stories and first-hand how-to, from rooftop beekeepers to basement cheesemakers, backyard bakers to vacant lot farmers. Plus lots of music, history, and lore. A fresh local take on a growing global movement. Peter Rothstein will direct, with Chouinard as music director, and Marge Ostroushko as radio dramaturg. THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC features the talents of Beth Dooley, Star Tribune food writer; Michael Cheney, founder of Project Sweetie Pie; Lucie Amundsen, co-founder of Locally Laid Egg Co.; Christopher MacLeod, founder of Laune Bread; and Jordan Sramek and members of the Rose Ensemble. The piece will also feature Dane Stauffer, Beth Gilleland, Prudence Johnson, Peter Ostroushko, and Thomasina Petrus. Of this unique festival offering Rothstein says, “Dan Chouinard has a long and rich history with Theater Latté Da, most recently with the award-winning Steerage Song.” He continues, “We are excited to see what one of the Twin Cities’ most treasured artists is up to next.”
Performances of THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC are Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 pm; and Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 pm at the Ritz Theater.
The final piece in the Festival is THE ILLYRIA PROJECT by Jackson Doran and Postell Pringle (aka Jax & Pos). Jax & Pos are affiliates of the Q Brothers who are best known for “rewriting Shakespeare plays into hip hop musical add-RAP-tations.”THE ILLYRIA PROJECT is the story of Viola, a barista and aspiring rapper, who seizes the opportunity to fulfill her dream of becoming a star when she finds out about an audition for Shipwrecked, The Musical. This new hip hop musical with a book written entirely in rap verse and performed over beats, weaves together soul, rock, and rap music in a rollicking interpretation of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Jax & Pos will direct and Christina Ham will serve as dramaturg. THE ILLYRIA PROJECT features the talents of Shinah Brashears, Ryan Colbert, Jonathon Dull, Aeysha Kinnunen, Kasono Mwanza, Thomisina Petrus, and Max Wojtanowicz. The production also features a special appearance by DJ Kool Akiem.
Rothstein offers, “Last October, members of the TLD staff witnessed Jax & Pos perform in a hip hop adaptation of Othello at the National Alliance of Musical Theater New Work Festival.” He continues, “We were all in awe of the performance and their innovative twist on the Bard. Twin Cities’ audiences have really got to see this!”
Performances of THE ILLYRIA PROJECT are Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, May 21; and Monday, May 23 at the Capri Theater.
Theater Latté Da is an award-winning Twin Cities musical theater company that combines music and story to illuminate the breadth and depth of the human experience. The company seeks to create new connections between story, music, artists and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater. latteda.org.
Festival Dates: May 5- 23, 2016
Venues: Ritz Theater and Capri Theater
Performance Dates and Times:
IN THE MINES Thursday, May 5 at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 7 at 7:30 pm Monday, May 9 at 7:30 pm Performances of IN THE MINES are at the Ritz Theater
THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 pm Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 pm Performances of THE URBAN FARMER’S ALMANAC are at the Ritz Theater
THE ILLYRIA PROJECT Thursday, May 19 at 7:30 pm Saturday, May 21 at 7:30 pm Monday, May 23 at 7:30 pm Performances of THE ILLYRIA PROJECT are at the Capri Theater