Insight News

Feb 11th

Pillsbury House Theatre 19th season: More accessible, active and adventurous than ever before

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pashatPillsbury House Theatre begins its 2011 season with an all "Pay What You Can" production of Nathan Jackson's Broke-ology directed by James A. Williams from March 11 to April 10. An innovative initiative funded with help from the Legacy Amendment, every performance of Broke-ology will be accessible to every audience member on any budget.

All "Pay What You Can" means every performance of Broke-ology—Name your price!

In May 2011, PHT returns to the Dowling Studio for the first time since its critically-acclaimed production of Blackbird in 2008. Obie award winner Marion McClinton directs In the Red and Brown Water, the area premiere of the first play in Tarell Alvin McCraney's epic trilogy The Brother/Sister Plays. Only 29 years old but already an important voice in contemporary theatre, McCraney is the international writer-in-residence at the Royal Shakespeare Company and a member of Chicago's Steppenwolf Ensemble. His work has been seen in New York, London, Chicago, New Orleans, Atlanta, Seattle, and Washington DC. In Red and Brown Water will be the first production of Tarell McCraney’s work in Minnesota. Parts 2 and 3 will come to Minnesota through Pillsbury House Theatre in 2012

In the Red and Brown Water is a coproduction between PHT and The Mount Curve Company, an independent production company which supports work in Minnesota, New York, and Chicago.

Co-Artistic Director Noël Raymond directs the final show in the mainstage season, The Pride by Alexi Kaye Campbell (winner of the 2009 Whiting Award), from September 16 to October 16.

“These plays explore the conflict created when our personal dreams collide with the responsibilities we feel to others,” said co-Artistic Director Faye Price. “I’m really excited by the family love we’ll see on stage in Broke-ology and the intense theatricality of The Pride. Bringing Tarell McCraney’s epic, original voice in The Brother/Sister Plays trilogy will be an event for the Twin Cities in 2012, and we’re excited to provide a sample in the Dowling Studio this year.”

The 2011 season also includes Spring and Fall presentations of the Chicago Avenue Project; continued touring by PHT’s award-winning Breaking Ice company; the third year of Naked Stages at Pillsbury House; and three presentations of The Late Nite Series: Non English Speaking Spoken Here curated by Laurie Carlos and e.g. bailey, entering its 13th year. Pillsbury House Artistic Associate James A. Williams also leads mentoring, leadership, and performance ensemble with neighborhood teenagers in its second year called Power of Our Voices, as well as the Hennepin County Home School Project, a similar performance ensemble program with incarcerated youth.

From the mainstage series to Chicago Avenue Project to Naked Stages to the Power of Our Voices, Pillsbury House Theatre brings audiences closer—to the edge, to the actors, to affordable, adventurous theatre, and to fellow audience members. Inspiring choice, change, and connection through challenging drama.

Individual tickets are available at or by calling the box office at 612-825-0459. For information about purchasing season packages in advance or group sales, call Director of Communications Alan Berks at 612-787-3622.


by Nathan Jackson
directed by James A. Williams
March 11—April 10, 2011.

“Powerful, universally American drama” –

With uncommon affection, humor, and honesty, Broke-ology explores growing up in poverty and the environments that make dreams hard to achieve. The King family has survived life in the inner city and the early death of their mother with their love for each other intact but when their father is diagnosed with a serious illness, the loyalties of sons Ennis and Malcolm are tested. Malcolm has become the first in his family to attend college while Ennis has stayed behind, caring for their father and, through hard life experience, becoming a scholar of “broke-ology,” the study of being broke but not being broken. Returning home after graduation and with his brother urging him to stay, Malcolm struggles with the question any son dreads to ask: How do we achieve our dreams without hurting those that we love the most?

In the Red and Brown Water

by Tarell Alvin McCraney
directed by Marion McClinton
May 6—28, 2011.
in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater

“A new authentically original vision” – New York Times

Pillsbury House Theatre returns to the Dowling Studio with an area premiere by Tarell Alvin McCraney, one of the most exciting and important new voices in the contemporary American theatre. In the Red and Brown Water is the first play in McCraney’s critically acclaimed trilogy, The Brother/Sister Plays. It tells the story of Oya, a young woman from the Louisiana projects whose path to a promising adulthood comes to a devastating crossroad. Forced to choose between caring for her ailing mother and the athletic scholarship that would transform her life, Oya makes a life-defining decision. Lusciously theatrical and boldly original, In the Red and Brown Water lyrically weaves together elements of urban contemporary realism with West African mysticism for an experience that is at once joyous and challenging, raucous and raw, and brazenly beautiful.

The Pride

by Alexi Kaye Campbell
directed Noël Raymond
September 16—October 16, 2011.

“A debut of mind-blowing, emotional proportions” – Encore Magazine

Alternating between 1958 and 2008, The Pride is a compelling character study about love, lust, and betrayal and a social and political commentary on changing attitudes toward sexuality and how the politics of the past continue to affect personal relationships in the present. In 1958, Philip is married to Sylvia but finds himself both attracted to and repulsed by Oliver, a talented children’s book writer. In 2008, Oliver is a hot young journalist with an addiction to anonymous sexual encounters that conflicts with his committed relationship to Philip, an idealistic photographer who he met through Sylvia. As the characters time warp from 1958 to the present—and back again—the repressive elements of the past and the predicaments created by present-day freedom meld together in a complex, witty, and universal storytelling event. The Pride is an erotic puzzle, full of engaging characters, subtle political commentary, and exhilarating emotional power.


Table for Two
April 25, 26

On the Other Hand
November 7, 8

The Chicago Avenue Project pairs adult theatre professionals with youth from Minneapolis neighborhoods to create original short plays that inspire community, choice, and change. Admission is free and open to the public.

Nov. 30-Dec. 10

The culmination of a nine-month intensive training fellowship, Naked Stages provides emerging performance artists the time and resources to focus on the process of creation and bringing their artistic vision to life on stage. In its third year as a program of Pillsbury House Theatre, Naked Stages artists explore the boundaries of contemporary performance.


Curated by Laurie Carlos and eg bailey


Late Nite weaves together text, music, spoken word, sounds and images into a fearless celebration of new voices and new art. Witness the beginning of new genres as artists from an array of disciplines come together to explore the cross-currents of social change, community and identity.

When you attend a Late Nite performance, you're part of a family and every good family gathering is incomplete without a good meal. Food is served before the show at no extra cost.


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