“There are many things that are extraordinary about this theater.
It’s the only theater to have won a Tony award for sustained excellence. It’s the only children’s theater to have taken a show to Broadway. And the Children’s Theater’s been here for almost 50 years which is such a great testament to this state.
The reason that “company” is in the title is that company is core to the entire idea of this theater. There are very few acting companies left in the United States. But if you look at the history of world theater—Shakespeare, Molière, Peter Brook, on and on—the history of great theater is the history of companies, and they’re there for a reason. You have a group of people who have earned a kind of trust with each other, who are willing to take risks, who are willing to collaborate and who share some profound common values and principles.
And so it has been a gift to have an acting company of people who invest so deeply in the work, who care so passionately about the audience, who are willing to work tirelessly to make a piece of work that transforms kids’ lives, that inspires them, that excites them. So part of my job is certainly the nurturing and supporting and listening to that wonderful group of actors.
Another incredible gift is that we’re also a school—I love that I came to a place where theater and education mattered so much. We have a theater arts training program where we work with a lot of young actors. And our resident acting company is committed to making sure that those young people are honored, respected, challenged, prodded, supported, nurtured and treated like professionals.
Additionally, each year, I travel around the country and audition actors—BA, BFA, MFA grads—for their first professional jobs, and this group becomes our performing apprentices. Sometimes they’ve worked a bit and sometimes they’re just getting out of school. We bring them here, we give them a real salary, we give them healthcare and we give them real roles in our shows. And the company is just so gorgeously welcoming; inviting them in, making them feel good, helping them understand every theater has its own unique culture.
We’re a place that celebrates young talent but also says ‘Rise up, meet the standard.’Because we’re making theater for the most important audience in the world—for young people and families. And if we inspire that family, if we inspire those young people with the power of theater, its beauty, you’ve created a lifelong curiosity and hunger for the arts.”
The latest episode of MNO included a profile of GRAMMY® Award-winning children’s band The Okee Dokee Brothers. During their interview, the duo reflected on the friendly competition that has helped propel their careers:
Joe: So our friendship is, musically, based on somewhat of a friendly competition. Wouldn’t you say?
Joe: Where we try – in high school, for instance, I would learn an F chord. And I’d say: “Hey, you know how to play F?”
Justin: And I’d say, “No.”
Joe: “Well, I know how to play F.” So then Justin would learn F. And then he would learn B Minor. I’d have to learn B Minor too. And the same goes with songwriting. We’ve always written songs together and if I write a song I bring it to Justin and he makes it better. And then he writes a song and brings it to me. And I make it better. By our additions. Right? That’s the way it’s always gone, we’ve always been raising the bar for each other and luckily it’s been in a somewhat friendly way. And so we’re still making music together. We haven’t quit.
Limited seats remain for our event with acclaimed educator, poet, storyteller, playwright and filmmaker Said Salah Ahmed!
Spend the evening of Thursday, November 14 with Ahmed as he illustrates the role of storytelling in non-formal and formal classroom settings, and demonstrates how to teach through the art of oral literature and performance. The evening will be geared toward K-12 educators, but is open to all!
Participants will leave with a DVD copy of MN Originalepisode 307 featuring Ahmed, the corresponding set of activity guides, a bilingual copy of Ahmed’s children’s book The Lion’s Share/Qayb Libaax, ideas to enliven their classrooms and smiles on their faces!
For more information and to register for this event, which past attendees have called “a joyful evening” with “new ideas for quality time with family and students,” click here.
When MN Original first started in 2009, our producers made a decision to not cast a host for the show. The thought behind this decision was that a host would only serve to distract focus from the art & artists in the Twin Cities’ creative community. As MN Original has grown, we’ve continued to keep the show 100% “locally-sourced” with a focus on local arts; all the music used to soundtrack our profiles is from Minnesota-based musicians, for example. We live in a truly unique community in the Twin Cities specifically, and the State of Minnesota, more broadly. The existence of the Legacy Amendment is proof of that, and the local artists we collaborate with underscore that originality and uniqueness every week on MN Original. We couldn’t help but reflect on this when MN Original received 5 awards at the Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®. Thank you to the Citizens of Minnesota, and to all the artists, organizations, and individuals who have helped make MN Original possible. Your creativity and spirit will always be the focus of what we do.
Below is a round-up of our Emmy® winning videos:
Category 22A: Historic/Cultural/Nostalgic – Single Story Capturing a Community: Xavier Tavera
Category 24: Informational/Instructional – Single Story The Nomadic Press – Kent Aldrich
Category 26: Magazine Program Minnesota Original: Episode #423
JoAnn Verburg, Marion McClinton + Cloud Cult
Category 28: Special Event Coverage Rock The Garden 2012
MN Original‘s Ryan Klabunde was also awarded an Emmy® in the category of Editor – Program (Non-News).
Stationwide, tptwas recognized with 11 Upper Midwest Regional Emmys®.
This week’s guest curator, Chair of the Cinema Department at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Hafed Bouassida, has extensive experience in the arts from all around the world. Bouassida was born in Iran, earned his Ph.D. in Prague, and has more than forty productions under his belt as a producer, writer, or director. So it of course makes sense to see gold spray-painted toy synthesizers, wooden figurines, and collaged recreations of classic architecture among the selections for his virtual episode of MNO. Enjoy this latest stroll through the MNO archives on behalf of this week’s guest curator, Hafed Bouassida!
Dean Lucker and Ann Wood from MN Original #103 (original air date: May 06, 2010)
What a magical world Dean and Ann are able to create right in front of our eyes! What a great combination of several arts in one amazing result that mixes painting, sculptures and drawing. The collaboration between both artists has the eerie quality of a seamless work created by two parts of the same brain. I am not sure they see themselves as complementary, more so as feeding from each other’s moves in order to bring out unknown and unexpected art works that fascinate us.
Kudos to MNO for introducing us to another fascinating and very little known aspect of the visual arts in the Twin Cities! Despite the complexity of Mary Griep‘s process and the lack of display opportunities for her monumental art pieces, the result when exhibited is truly stunning. Cinematically, the combination of liturgical music with a remarkable montage of the different art pieces is definitely appealing. I have seen in real life all the structures presented in this episode (cathedrals, mosques, etc.,) but seeing Mary’s drawings made me discover aspects I have never appreciated in the real buildings.
Beatrix Jar (Bianca Pettis and Jacob Aaron Roske) from MN Original #207 (original air date: September 23, 2010)
What an original and inventive way to make art! I was excited by Bianca and Aaron, unique innovators fighting their way through the maze of established artists; I was overwhelmed by their fascinating trajectory, their original art and the unexpected sounds and music they were able to produce through the most surprising uses of traditional items around us. The child-like quality, the instantaneous live music they deliver and the dream-like feeling one gets when witnessing them perform, instantaneously transport us to our own childhood when we believed anything was possible because we dreamed it. If that’s not art, I don’t know what art is?
As Twin Cities Public Television enters its Summer Pledge period, pre-empting your regularly-scheduled Sunday evening broadcasts of MN Original, we asked Aditi Kapil – writer, actor, director, and MNO alum – to curate a virtual episode. We’re always delighted to see the selections of our guest curators, because while Kapil, as a local theater veteran, highlights some of the theater luminaries in our archives, she also emphasizes hip-hop, spoken word, and photography. As a woman of diverse backgrounds and interests, we expect nothing less from Kapil. Be sure to watch , and read (and watch!) on for her virtual episode of MN Original.
Aditi Kapil: Love Maria‘s work, and I love how she talks about her work. There’s a density to her artistic vision, a sense of place- past, present, future- she makes the collision of cultures and ideas work in her music, without diluting any part of herself. Love that.
Aditi Kapil: I love listening to Bao Phi‘s work, it always stretches my mind in some unexpected way. Taking a ride in his head, catching a glimpse of the world through his lens, always feels like an excellent use of my time, so here you go. You’re welcome.
Aditi Kapil: If there’s anyone in Minnesota who doesn’t already know about Sandy Spieler and In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, we should remedy that right now. And even if you know their work, this tour of Sandy’s world is pretty magical. Get hooked.
Aditi Kapil: One of my favorite things about MN Original is when I encounter artists I didn’t previously know, and this photographer is one of my favorite discoveries. Mohamud‘s work is stunning. I spend a fair amount of time on the U of M West Bank, but his work has shifted my lens on what I thought was familiar in that way that really beautiful photography can do.
Aditi Kapil: I love this piece, for its insight into this amazing theater artist’s rehearsal room, for its insight into a turning point in American Theatre. It’s thrilling and inspiring, hearing from these artists who nudged the world a bit off its axis, and haven’t stopped moving and creating since.
For the latest installment of artist-curated virtual episodes of MN Original, we enlisted the help of one of the busiest, most connected, and most stylish musicians in the Twin Cities. We’re of course talking about none other than John Munson, bass player for local iconic bands Trip Shakespeare and Semisonic, and a MN Original alumni from our profiles of The Twilight Hours and The New Standards. With such a thoroughly established musical background, Mr. Munson’s picks for his virtual episode of MNO — which highlight the visual arts, sculpture, and theater, but not a single musician — are delightfully unexpected. Then again, this diversity of interests further underscores Mr. Munson’s multifaceted role as a creative force, artist and arts supporter, a fact which should come as no surprise to those who also know Mr. Munson from his work with the radio variety show Wits. Read on for John Munson’s virtual episode of MN Original!
John Munson:Keri Pickett is a pal of mine. She shot my wedding. But I chose her because I really relate to her mission of representing family and community — different communities and families — but those differences illustrate commonalities. I love how clearly she thinks about her work. Plus her pictures are lovely!
Michael Sommers from MN Original #211 (original air date: October 21, 2010) John Munson: I saw Michael Sommers do a a performance in a friend’s yard a few summers back. Once again, I have an appreciation for not only his artistry, but also the way that he presents his work in the community, seeking to build new communities and to find new audiences. But Kevin Kling’s comment in the piece really says it all: “He’s a genius, just look at his work!”
John Munson:Michael Kareken is an instructor at MCAD in the painting department. We met at Children’s Home Society when we were both getting ready to adopt. At that time Michael was doing very emotional figures and nudes. It’s exciting to see how his work has changed. His current subject matter of detritus is so intensely complex! His craft and curiosity inspire me.
John Munson: I love love love Lisa Elias‘s work. I will never forget seeing her gates at Crema the first time, back when I lived in South Minneapolis. And then seeing her work along the entrance to Highway 94 thrilled me — the idea of the river grasses flowing was so harmonious with the flow of traffic. So beautiful. She is such an unassuming person and so creative. How does someone make metal feel so soft?