The Big Time: F. Scott Fitzgerald features Patricia Hampl

People living in the Twin Cities are lucky to have so many events around town that indulge in old-fashioned fun. The Mighty Wurlitzer before a movie at the Heights or swing dancing in the Wabasha Street Caves are just a few examples. When thinking of prominent partiers from the past though, we can't help but look to local author F. Scott Fitzgerald. This weekend, the theater that shares his name will host an evening to remember the iconic writer.

The Fitzgerald Theater, now celebrating its centennial season, is hosting The Big Time: F. Scott Fitzgerald, a staged performance by Patricia Hampl. The production, commissioned by Minnesota Public Radio, recounts Fitzgerald's famously rocky personal life and seemingly limitless professional success through actual letters to his wife Zelda and to his friends, including Ernest Hemingway. Hampl transports audience members back and forth through time reading passages from her literary hero's notebooks and published short stories as well.

Bringing audiences to the present will be Fitzgerald's granddaughter Eleanor Lanahan, who will introduce Hampl's performance, and Fitzgerald's great-granddaughter Blake Hazard, who will perform a special musical selection. There will be music accompaniment throughout the reading as well; Dan Chouinard and an ensemble of musicians will be "creating sounds of the period to underscore the mood."

From the Fitz's website: "We know Fitzgerald as a novelist, but he also dreamt of being a Broadway and (later) a Hollywood star, writing for the popular stage and the great new medium of movies. He ultimately died in that city of broken theatrical dreams, Hollywood, on Laurel Avenue--ending the circle that began when he was born on Laurel Avenue in St. Paul."

Audiences are encouraged to mingle after the show, and the bars in the theater lobby will remain open after the performance. Raise a glass this evening as well, as the Fitzgerald Theater celebrates its centennial season by unveiling their new plaque announcing the Fitzgerald Theater addition to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Big Time: F. Scott Fitzgerald $31.50 8 p.m. Saturday, September 18 For more info, visit the Fitzgerald's website

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