Sunday, July 3, 2011

Updating My Lists

The month of July has arrived—which signifies that it is time for me to update my lists!

Over the last twelve months, Andrew and I attended twelve theater performances. The performances are listed below in the order in which we attended them.


The William Finn-Rachel Sheinkin musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, at The Lyric Stage Company, Boston

William Inge’s “Bus Stop”, at The Huntington Theatre Company, Boston

George Bernard Shaw’s “Mrs. Warren’s Profession”, at American Airlines Theatre, New York

Michael Frayn’s “Alphabetical Order”, at The Harold Clurman Theatre, New York

Arthur Kopit’s “Wings”, at Second Stage Theatre, New York

David Edgar’s Dickens adaptation, “The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby”, at The Lyric Stage Company, Boston

Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance Of Being Earnest”, at American Airlines Theatre, New York

Willy Russell’s “Educating Rita”, at The Huntington Theatre Company, Boston

Joseph Kesselring’s “Arsenic And Old Lace”, at The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

The Stephen Sondheim-Burt Shrevelove-Larry Gelbart musical, “A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum”, at Jungle Theater, Minneapolis

The Frank Loesser-Jo Swerling-Abe Burrows musical, “Guys And Dolls”, performed by The 5th Avenue Theater of Seattle, at The Ordway Center, Saint Paul

Yasmina Reza’s “God Of Carnage”, at The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis


During our three years in Boston, our rate of theatergoing slowed to a trickle. Boston is simply not a theater town, and Andrew and I found very little Boston theater to be of interest. Of the twelve performances we caught over the past year, four performances were in New York and four performances have been here in Minneapolis just in the last four weeks. Only four performances occurred in Boston, and we caught two of those four Boston performances—the first two items on my list—on the very same day.

However, the most memorable theater performance from the last year was a Boston production, “The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby”, a presentation of The Lyric Stage Company.

Nothing else was especially gripping, although I thoroughly enjoyed Brian Bedford’s portrayal of Lady Bracknell in an otherwise unremarkable “The Importance Of Being Earnest” in New York.

In terms of sheer quality, the two Guthrie Theater productions were head and shoulders above anything else on the list, including the New York presentations, although I was not fond of either play we saw in a Guthrie production.

None of the twelve plays or musicals on my current list has appeared on my previous lists.

When I last updated my theater list almost one year ago, I noted that Andrew and I had attended seventy-nine theater performances since early 2006. With the addition of twelve new performances, the total is now ninety-one.

Our rate of theatergoing is sure to pick up over the next year. We have counted twenty-six Twin Cities productions of some interest to us scheduled for the 2011-2012 season, although it is very unlikely that we shall be able to find time to attend all twenty-six productions. In addition, we intend to catch five theater performances in London in August.

One of the advantages of living in the Twin Cities is that Minneapolis/Saint Paul is America’s top theater town after New York—as well as home of America’s largest and finest and most important theater company.

A thriving theater culture is one of the things that makes the Twin Cities unique.

Tyrone Guthrie knew what he was doing when he selected the Twin Cities as home of his great enterprise.

From the mighty Guthrie, a thousand flowers have blossomed.

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