BEST STAGE PRODUCTION Minneapolis 2004 - Children's Theatre Company's teen program
There's one almost reasonable reason not to give honors here for this second offering from Children's Theatre Company's teen program. Namely, the director (Whit MacLaughlin), several folks on the creative team, and one cast member are from Philadelphia's New Paradise Theatre Company. And this item is not running in Philadelphia's City Pages. But that argument doesn't really hold water. All sorts of local productions are collaborations between townies and carpetbaggers. Besides, this funny, visually stunning, and moving production wouldn't have been possible without the great talent of the CTC acting company, its teenage apprentices, and CTC's artistic director Peter Brosius. It is this impresario's commitment to working with the coolest artists of international experimental theater that is making CTC's youth-minded endeavor one of the most exciting developments in recent local theater history. Conceived as a quasi-athletic competition between high school seniors and their dorky chaperones, the show was an hour-long riff on the institution of prom, full of smartly chosen (and intoxicatingly loud) music and inspired choreography. (This movement ranged from the spasmodic to the nearly balletic, and featured kids being flown around on cranes.) The performances were wonderfully odd, funny, and sometimes plangent, especially Gerald Drake's aphoristic principal and his teaching staff, played by Dean Holt and Autumn Ness. And then there was Reed Sigmund, whose medieval history teacher offered a risibly earnest, yet somehow deeply sad, version of Bryan Adams's "Everything I Do (I Do It for You)."