BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA Minneapolis 2000 - Penumbra
If Penumbra had never done anything but nurture the work of celebrated playwright August Wilson, this 23-year-old St. Paul theater would still be one of the jewels in our civic crown. Under the sure guidance of founder Lou Bellamy, however, Penumbra has fostered the art of countless writers, directors, designers, and actors, including, to name but two, Laurie Carlos and the widely renowned director Marion McClinton. While Penumbra has demonstrated an affinity for comedy, the company's true métier is provocative and challenging drama like Wilson's Seven Guitars, Cheryl West's Jar the Floor, and last season's Blues for an Alabama Sky by Pearl Cleage. Given that Penumbra is widely regarded as one of the premier African-American theaters in the country, it seems criminal that Bellamy and company are still operating out of the cramped Martin Luther King/Hallie Q. Brown community center. Perhaps the recent collaboration between Penumbra and the Guthrie Theater for Rita Dove's The Darker Face of the Earth will convince local financiers that it's high time Penumbra had a roof of its own to raise.