Art Hounds celebrate community theater and music

St. Louis Park’s Brad Pappas performed in Theater 55’s “Hair” concert last summer. Now he’s looking forward to seeing the company’s performance of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” opening Friday.

Pappas said the show promises strong actors in a beautiful setting, at the outdoor amphitheater at Caponi Art Park in Eagan.

Lyrics will be provided for the audience to sing along to the title track during the encore, although the audience is also welcome to sing along during the show. It runs until July 24. Tickets are $15 per person or $30 per vehicle with up to six people inside.

St. Paul actress and director Greta Grosch recently discovered the Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra, and she’s excited to bring this community ensemble to the limelight with several upcoming concerts. Formed in 1991, the Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra has approximately 25 musicians playing a range of classical and contemporary music on plucked string instruments.

“That’s what a community orchestra is supposed to be: people coming together because they have a passion for music,” she says.

Grosch said she was thrilled to learn that Minnesota has a rich mandolin orchestra history. Because the instrument was affordable and fairly easy to learn, mandolin bands were extremely popular in Minnesota in the early 1900s, although they fell into disuse beginning in the 1940s.

The Minnesota Mandolin Orchestra performs this Sunday at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission ticket to the Arboretum is required.

The next free public performances will be at Richfield Band Shell on July 26, Loring Park Art Festival in Minneapolis on July 31, and Centennial Lakes Park in Edina on August 1.

Minneapolis escape room enthusiast Michael Larson recommends a new escape room backstage at a theater. In “The Show Must Go On”, two to eight contestants must find the missing diamonds of a visiting Broadway legend before she takes the stage in 75 minutes. The escape room is designed by David Pisa of the Walking Shadow Theatre.

Larson enjoys Pisa’s inventive shows, which explore the line between immersive theater and escape room puzzles. There are no live actors in this particular escape room but, like the best puzzle experiences, this one will make you feel like you’ve lived through the drama.

“The Show Must Go On” takes place at Daleko Arts in New Prague and lasts all summer. Individual tickets go on sale Friday.

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