History Theatre returns to the crime-ridden streets of St. Paul in the early 1930s with the return of a play written by David Hawley with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, Capital Crimes: The St. Paul Gangster Musical. The show opens tonight and runs through May 20. See photos from the production below!
This new production is directed by Noah Bremer (artistic director and co-founder of Live Action Set) who is working with the design team to create a world full of bright colors and the idolized ambiance of a speakeasy as juxtaposition the harsh - and often bloody - reality of the stories being told. Hawley, a former writer for the Pioneer Press himself, uses the voice of Nate Bomberg a St. Paul reporter who covered the police for 52 of the 69 years he lived, to tell the tales of murder, mayhem, kidnappings, and shady deals. The lines between good guys and bad guys get crossed and double-crossed by everybody including gangsters, lawmen, the media and even innocent bystanders all to the playfully sinister and clever tunes of Drew Jansen.
Opens Saturday, April 21, 2012 and runs through: Sunday, May 20, 2012, Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays @ 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays & Sundays @ 2:00 p.m. Audio Described performance on 4/29/12 at 2:00 p.m. ASL interpreted performance on 5/6/12 at 2:00 p.m.
Performing at History Theatre is located at 30 East Tenth Street, St. Paul, Minn. For directions and parking information visit: http://www.historytheatre.com/map-and-parking. Tickets: Tier 1 $38; Tier 2 $34; Tier 3 $30 Seniors (60+ years old) get $2 off regular ticket prices; Students (5 to 18 years old); $15 Discount rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Call the History Theatre Box Office at 651.292.4323 or go online at www.historytheatre.com/tickets/.
In the spring of 2000, The Gangster Musical premiered on History Theatre's stage. The show written by David Hawley with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen was a huge hit. Twelve years later, Hawley and Jansen have revisited the script, tuned up a couple of the songs, and tweaked the title. History Theatre's artistic director Ron Peluso has enlisted director Noah Bremer to head this new production of Capital Crimes: The St. Paul Gangster Musical. Bremer, who is a co-founder and the artistic director of the IVEY Award-winning company Live Action Set, is bringing his unique and playful aesthetic to the project and working with the creative team to create an entirely new theatrical experience. "Noah and Erica [Zaffarano, set designer] are setting the show in a St. Paul speakeasy, and inviting audiences into the world of the play as soon as they enter the theater," said Peluso. "It should be a fun night of theatre!"
This new production of Capital Crimes will shine a spotlight on the dark and sinister underbelly of St. Paul in the early 1930s, using bright colors, upbeat tunes, and dead-clever lyrics to illustrate the double-edged sword of idolizing such a dangerous world. "The gangster era in some ways was the signature myth of St. Paul and a piece of the city's history that people want to remember as romantic, fanciful, sordid and nifty," said playwright David Hawley. "The reality was quite a bloody awful mess with little regard for human life." Hawley, a former Pioneer Press reporter, drew on the experience of his predecessor at the paper: Nate Bomberg. Bomberg was an "old school" newsman who covered the police beat for the Pioneer Press 52 of his 69 years of life. Bomberg was such a rich source of stories and information that Hawley decided to make him a character in the show.
Composer, lyricist and music director Drew Jansen very excited to revisit the show. This new production is an opportunity to take another crack at a couple of the songs now that he's 12 years older and wiser. "With that much time comes perspective," said Jansen. "Being able to pull an original number that I was never quite satisfied with and replace it with something more appropriate is a composer/lyricist's dream! Also, having a completely different team this time around casts the show in a completely different and exciting light. Each person is injecting new color and energy to the project, and I find that immensely thrilling!"
At the head of that new energy is director Noah Bremer (no relation to Edward Bremer who was abducted by the Karpis-Barker gang and held for ransom in 1934). "I couldn't be more excited to be working on this project," says Bremer. "Turn almost any page of history concerning 1931-35 and you'll find the intriguing world of gangsters with celebrity status and an unhealthy connection to St. Paul. We are bringing this idolized world to life in vibrant colors juxtaposed with the harsh reality of a life of crime. The script is action-packed, the music and lyrics are full of witty and irresistibly hummable tunes, the design team's set, lights and costumes are jaw dropping, and the all-star cast is going to turn out gritty, tender performances sure to entertain and impress History Theatre patrons!"
Capital Crimes: The St. Paul Gangster Musical was written by David Hawley, with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen. (It premiered at History Theatre in 2000 under the title The Gangster Musical.) It is directed by Noah Bremer, with music direction by Drew Jansen, scenic design by Erica Zaffarano, costume design by E. Amy Hill, lighting design by Daniel Ellis, properties design by Abbee Warmboe, and stage managed by Janet L. Hall. Featuring Jake Endres, Matt Erkel, Cathleen Fuller, Josiah Gulden, Eric Knutson, Kimberly Richardson, Anna Reichert, and E.J. Subkoviak.
Car chases, kidnappings, crooks, the women who love them, and the G-men sent to bring them to justice.
For 34 years, the History Theatre experience has created inspiration. The History Theater Experience brings real stories about real people to the stage in an immediate experience that touches our lives. 111 world premiere performances, more than any other theater in the Twin Cities. The History Theatre is one of the country's most impressive new play development homes - bringing to full production new work by Jeffrey Hatcher, Melanie Marnich, Craig Wright, Kim Hines, Dorie Baizley, John Olive, Kira Obolensky, and more.
Brave, entertaining explorations of all the histories that make up our diverse community. From Farm Boys to Snapshots: Life in the City, from the celebratory Wellstone! to the dark, complex Piece of the Rope about Minnesota's first public execution, HT has moved Minnesotans to rediscover, relive, and respect every piece of their history. More than 200,000 students have connected with history through performances at HT.
See photos from CAPITAL CRIMES below!
Photo credit: Scott Pakudaitis
E.J. Subkoviak, Jake Endres
Cathleen Fuller, Matt Erkel
E.J. Subkoviak, Josiah Austin Gulden, Eric Knutson and Matt Erkel
Kimberly Richardson, Matt Erkel, Josiah Austin Gulden, Anna Reichert, Eric Knutson, E.J. Subkoviak
Matt Erkel and Kimberly Richardson
Anna Reichert and Josiah Austin Gulden
Matt Erkel, Kimberly Richardson, Josiah Austin Gulden, Anna Reichert, and Eric Knutson
Anna Reichert and Kimberly Richardson
E.J. Subkoviak, Kimberly Richardson, Eric Knutson and Jake Endres