The Stages of MN: Looking Back at the Year That Was 2022

I launched The Stages of MN in the fall of 2019 and by spring of 2020, as I was really beginning to feel established, theatre’s shut down in response to the worldwide pandemic. Aside from the odd production here and there, things really didn’t open up again until the fall of 2021. There has been the odd cancellation occasionally but for the most part, 2022 was the first full year of theatres being open since I launched this blog. Not surprisingly, this has been the biggest year for The Stages of MN in terms of statistics. In 2022 the site has published 127 posts, reviews of over 150 productions, and had over 31,000 visits. Numbers aside, it’s also been a fulfilling year in terms of how the site has grown and what it has become. It’s been a year of new experiences like my first Minnesota Fringe Festival. I’ve been building relationships with theatre’s and the theatrical community in the Twin Cities that have been rewarding both in terms of the blog and personally. I’m proud of the work and am certain that I have succeeded in the goal of this blog, which since the very beginning was simply to try and put theater back into the minds of the average person. I know I’ve gotten people off their couches and into theater seats that would not have been there otherwise, that was the purpose. I hope I’ve helped guide those who already were theatergoers towards the best of what our cities have to offer and encouraged them to try new venues. We are so lucky in Minnesota, there is such a wealth of talent and abundance of opportunities and venues in which to enjoy the artistic output of that talent. It’s a privilege to be a part of it this community in my small way, to help boost the signal that these artists are sending out.

One of the pleasures of seeing so many productions since the site began is becoming familiar with the performers and creative teams involved with the productions. When you can’t possibly see everything, knowing who’s involved really helps when making each months schedule. You come to have your favorites, those that you know even if the show doesn’t work, they are going to give you something interesting. Each year I add new names to that list of people whose work I never want to miss. That list includes those who are able to devote themselves full time to their craft as well as those who have, as I do, the “day job”. It doesn’t matter if they are the stars at the Guthrie or one of an ensemble at a Fringe show. This year there were several additions to the list that includes such familiar Twin cities names as Tyler Michaels King, Nissa Nordland Morgan, Max Wojtanowicz and Joy Dolo among many others. I’d like to highlight a few of those who were added to the “must-not-miss” list in 2022.

Daniel Petzold caught my attention last spring in Park Square’s production of Airness and followed it up with Performances in Holmes and Watson also at Park Square and finally in Sally & Tom at the Guthrie.

“The standout is Daniel Petzold as “Facebender”. Under a wig that should undercut every line, Petzold instead projects the characters soul and every line rings true. He gets a nice scene where he explains to Nina why he does air guitar, it’s a moment that elevates the script and the character. Petzolds comic timing is so spot on you almost forget to laugh you are in awe of it.”

Airness review 5/14/2022

I don’t know where Daniel Petzold has come from, or what the story is, does Park Square have him under exclusive contract? He was fantastic in their last production Airness, and again shines here. I hope this young man is going to set down roots in the Twin Cities, based on what I’ve seen so far, he is a very talented actor.

Holmes and Watson review 7/16/2022

“Daniel Petzold plays, as the actor character Geoff states, many different roles. I don’t know what it is about Petzold, but he’s quickly becoming a favorite. This is his third performance I’ve seen and in each one he brings something special. Petzold does indeed play many different roles within the play within a play, but it’s his role as the actor Geoff that really captures the audience’s attention. Making the most of the comedic relief bits he’s given, he also has a wonderfully sweet romantic thread that works perfectly due to the vulnerability he infuses the character with.”

Sally & Tom review 10/12/2022

Emily Rosenberg who first came to my attention in the fall of 2021 had two eye catching performances this year in Hands on a Hardbody for Minneapolis Musical Theatre and Mary’s Wondrous Body at the Elision Playhouse

“One final performer I want to take note of is Emily Rosenberg. They play Greg, one half of the young bumper crossed lovers. I’ve noticed them a few times since the theaters reopened through their work with Theatre Pro Rata. Every once in awhile you come across an actor that you can just tell is someone to keep an eye on. Rosenberg has something, I don’t think we’ve seen their best work yet, but it’s coming.

Hands on a Hardbody review 4/23/2022

“Emily Rosenberg is Mags, they play the most sympathetic of the women, perhaps she is softer because she is younger. Rosenberg has been on my one to watch [list]for awhile now and once again they reminded me why, towards the end of the show they have a moment of song that was beyond anything I’d seen or known they were capable of before.”

Mary’s Wondrous Body review 12-11-2022

Finally but not the only new performer to be added to the list this year is Lucy Farrell who dazzled in The Boys Room at Gremlin Theatre.

“… but it’s newcomer Lucy Farrell who takes the stage as Roann about midway through the play announcing, there is a new rising star in the Twin Cities. To say Farrell blew me away would be an understatement, the first words on my lips as I left the play is who is this actress? Where did she come from? In her scenes with Linda Kelsey who plays her grandmother Susan, she has a playful rapport when they practice Susan’s Spanish together. But the two also have a very palpable tenderness that radiates from both of them. When she confronts her father and namesake Ron, played by Dan Hopman, she unleashes all of the anger and pain that we have seen glimpses of in the scenes leading up to it. She is adept at playing all these different aspects of the character, playful, confessional, worried, angry, sad, strong not in individual scenes, but you sense all of these multitudes within her the entire time.”

The Boys Room review 11-5-2022

When you take in over 150 productions it’s a little hard at the end of the year to rank them so here in chronological order are the 10 best locally produced shows I saw this year.

  1. The Tempest – Guthrie
  2. Passing Strange – Yellow Tree
  3. Once – DalekoArts
  4. Cambodian Rock Band – coproduction of Jungle Theater and Theater Mu
  5. Holmes and Watson – Park Square
  6. Who’s Afraid of Winnie the Pooh – Minnesota Fringe Festival
  7. Merrily We Roll Along – Theater Latte Da
  8. Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley – Lyric Arts
  9. Georgiana & Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley – Jungle Theater
  10. Christmas at the Local – Theater Latte Da

Here are the standout touring Productions I saw

  1. Come From Away – National tour part of the Broadway on Hennepin Season
  2. The Prom – National tour part of the Broadway on Hennepin Season
  3. Of Pigs and Pianos – Jungle Presents Series
  4. Six – Ordway
  5. Les Miserables – National tour part of the Broadway on Hennepin Season

Lastly, as I look back at 2022 I’d like to thank all of you out there who read what I write and give me a reason to keep at it. Those 31,000 + visits to the Blog are what makes this venture worthwhile, knowing that I’m reaching people and encouraging them to get out and experience the joy of live theatre means the world to me. So thank you all, keep reading, and watch for some exciting things in 2023.

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