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A Great Run: Interview with Jack Reuler

A Great Run: Interview with Jack Reuler

Arts, No Chaser By DWIGHT HOBBES Mixed Blood Theatre ushered in authentic multicultural fare 45 years ago and remains at the fore. Owing to the vision of neophyte upstart, founding artistic director Jack Reuler who recently resigned, leaving Twin Cities considerably stronger than he found it. Reuler spoke about  his career and the historic venue established “In the spirit of Dr. King”™s dream”. Jack Reuler, by Rich Ryan Did you have any idea what you were doing when you started Mixed Blood? In 1976, at 22, I wanted to espouse a particular world view and didn”™t know anything about theatre. I had a job with a social service agency, the Center for Community Action, to community needs.  Shortly before, Ernie Hudson was at Theatre In The Round Players in The Great White Hope. One of the few opportunities for actors of color. It was the bi-centennial, America celebrating its ideals, but not living those ideals. So, Mixed Blood Theatre began as a summer project, rid America of all its isms. Between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Blind enthusiasm of youth. I hoped to attend veterinary school in the fall, but we did six shows, three of which were world premieres, and it went well. Forty-five years later, it”™s a summer program run amok. Eventually you”™d be discriminated against as a white artistic director.  Theater Communications Group, organizing theaters of color to discuss concerns about unifying, programming and staff weren”™t part of that. I”™ve come to appreciate their decision over time. You”™ve staged black plays, Asian, LGBT, Native, Disabled long before most Twin Cities venues. While we”™re categorically a black theater, we”™ve done shows by, for and about a wide mixed community,  including shows in Spanish with bi-lingual casts. Looking back on the body of work, we didn”™t do it for some finite [...]

Past, Present, Theater

Past, Present, Theater

On Stage involves local students in a closer look at Nina Simone”™s work around racialized violence  By JESSIE MERRIAM Don't tell meI tell youMe and my people just about due I”™ve been there so I knowThey keep on saying “Go slow!” But that”™s just the trouble ---Nina Simone “Mississippi Goddam” 1963 On Stage's flyer for Nina Simone: Four Women virtual discussions “When we listen to Simone sing ”˜Mississippi Goddam”™--it could”™ve been written yesterday. Somebody needs to write a ”˜Minnesota Goddam”™ right now,” Twin Cities actress Thomasina Petrus declared to the group, gathered on the morning of April 1 to explore the play Nina Simone: Four Women and Simone”™s reverberating legacy.  This gathering was arranged by On Stage: Creating a Community Dialogue Around Live Theater, a Twin Cities nonprofit that brings the scripts of local plays to college classes and community centers and facilitates discussions with the aid of theater creators and educators. On April 1, Professor Jo Lee”™s “American Drama by Playwrights of Color” class at the University of Minnesota was joined by creators/ artist-activists Nora Montañes and Sun Mee Chomet, as well as Petrus, who performed in the 2016 Park Square Theatre staging of Nina Simone: Four Women in St. Paul. Lucas Erickson, On Stage”™s founder, facilitates every discussion.  Have you ever written a song? Have you been to a protest before? Is there a social issue in the world or something in your heart that activates you?  Christina Ham, an acclaimed Minnesota playwright, wrote the 2016 play that digs deeper into the way racialized violence catalyzed Nina Simone”™s evolution as  an artist-activist. Pillsbury House Theatre planned to stage the play last year, but Covid postponement has pushed it [...]

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