Different year, different vibe for Love and Marriage

Part of the company of Love & Marriage.
Part of the company of Love & Marriage.
Photo by Lauren B. Photography
A lot has changed in the year between productions of Love & Marriage, the relationship-themed revue at Illusion Theater.

When it was originally produced last fall, the show was a reaction to the simmering debate on marriage equality and the desire to defeat the marriage amendment.

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Now, on the other side of marriage equality becoming law in Minnesota, it has become very much a celebration of relationships, according to director Michael Robins.

"We still have the core of filmed interviews. We re-edited and then re-interviewed the seven same-gendered couples to ask them what difference the year has made," Robins says. "Seventy-five percent or more of the whole show is different."

That includes a retooled company of performers and a different focus -- one that looks at multiple pairings instead of a tracing a single one through the evening.

The show is also "much more theatrical," Robins says. That ranges from increased choreography to including a live, onstage three-piece combo to accompany the musicians.

The company includes Rachel Hurst, Randy Schmeling, and Dennis Spears from last year, along with Neal Beckman, Teri Parker Brown, and Aeysha Kinnunen. There is also a five-voice choir of high-school students as part of the show.

"We knew what we wanted to do musically and then we cast from that," Robins says.

Musically, songs include the likes of "Everything Little Thing She Does is Magic," "Brand New Day," and the Suburbs' "Love is the Law."

There is even a Goo Goo Dolls song, "Here is Gone." Music director Roberta Carlson "said she never thought she would do a Goo Goo Dolls song," Robins says.

One of the toughest tasks is weaving the 18 interviews into the show. Alternations to the filmed segments -- which are still being jostled within the days leading up to opening -- make a difference in the show that is presented onstage.

"That's the trick that's got me pulling my hair out at night. We are making little order changes so the experience feels effortless and you are not at all aware of the work that goes into making it that way," Robins says.

For the same-gender couples interviewed, two have been married, four are in the process of legally tying the knot, and the last is "relatively young in terms of a couple," Robins says.

The show "is another chance to see the lens of love and marriage from different ways," Robins says. "It is enhanced by having a small band, and there are different songs. There should be one song somewhere everyone should know. It's a really charming evening."


Love & Marriage: What a Difference a Year Makes
Friday, September 20 through October 20
Illusion Theater, Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts, 8th Floor
528 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.339.4944 or visit online. 
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Illusion Theater

528 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403


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