For the past five years, Tyler Olsen and his band of actors, clowns, and ringleaders have ushered in the new year together. Happy Crazy New Year typically consists of games, theatrics, and revelry. To ring in 2016, Olsen’s company, Dangerous Productions, will continue its seasonal tradition for one show on December 31, whereas in the past the production has had a longer run.
That’s because this year Happy Crazy New Year is acting as a fundraiser party for Dangerous Production’s upcoming project, which involves creating accessible street-level arts in the St. Paul's Frogtown neighborhood. “This year everybody — including all the actors and myself — is donating their time,” Olsen says. In addition, Bedlam has offered up their Lowertown space for the event.
There will be more acts in the show this year, with less “straight-up audience participation and games,” says Olsen. Those opportunities will still be there for the adventurous, but mostly it’s going to be “a crazy cabaret party with some audience interaction and general mayhem.”
Proceeds from the fundraiser will go toward Happy Frogtown, a creative happening taking place later this year. It will be similar to the Happy Minnesota project, which encouraged people to check out performances in the Central corridor during the construction. The thrust of the new project will be to anchor Frogtown as a hotspot for music, spoken word, hip-hop, and theater. To help with its creation, Dangerous Productions received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant.
Happy Frogtown is linked to the future of the Victoria Theater, an historic building that just finished its community design process. The Mayor’s office in St. Paul has committed $150,000 to the building’s renovations. “It's a major win for Frogtown,” Olsen says.
While the neighborhood awaits the grand opening of the Victoria, the Happy Frogtown project is going to be building local audiences so that they “are already in the habit of going to the arts in their own neighborhoods,” Olsen says.
In the meantime, the big party this Thursday will celebrate the start of 2016. After Happy Crazy New Year V ends, a masquerade ball will begin, with music by the Brass Messengers and Ms Lakesha. Champagne toasts, spiritual forecasting, and revelry will top off the night’s fun.
IF YOU GO:
8 p.m. Thursday, December 31
213 Fourth St. E., St. Paul
$10 kids, $16 adults in advance/$20 adults at the door (receive a $5 discount when you bring a clean blanket to donate).
Discounts are also available with a Fringe button, a Twin Cities Horror Festival button, or a MetroTransit proof-of-ride tab.
The masquerade following the performance is $12 (attend the show and the masquerade for $25).