Jevetta Steele

Recent Articles

Multitalented JD Steele keeps pushing the creative envelope

His latest project: a dance opera score blending Black and Indian genres 
 

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

JD Steele is, of course, even if you have been hiding under a rock, a household name in Twin Cities’ music and, by extension, theatre. For that matter, he’s internationally renowned along with his siblings as a vocalist-songsmith, arranger and producer for The Steeles. Still not ringing a bell? In case that rock you’ve been under is out in West Abu Dhabi somewhere, can you say, to name just a few titles, The Gospel at Colonus (yes, the film, TV and stage production featuring Morgan Freeman), Two Queens One Castle starring Jevetta Steele (Mixed Blood Theatre) and The Young and the Restless (CBS)? So yes, Steele has established his artistry with a rock-solid, far-reaching reputation. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

The Music
 

Rahsaan Patterson

Thurs., Apr. 4, 8 pm • Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, 1010 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-332-1010 or www.dakotacooks.com • With a sound that evokes comparison to Stevie Wonder, Chaka Khan and Prince, Rahsaan Patterson has become a force in the R&B/neo-soul world. For over 15 years Patterson has released five albums, toured constantly and has collaborated with a number of soul music luminaries.  

 

 

 

Toots and the Maytals 

Sat., Apr. 6, 9 pm • Mill City Nights, 111 5th St. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

 

 
The Music
 

Masta Killa of the Wu-Tang Clan
Fri., Mar. 29, 9 pm • Amsterdam Bar & Hall, 6 W. 6th St., St. Paul, 612-285-3112 or www.amsterdambarandhall.com • Masta Killa has made appearances on every Wu-Tang Clan album, many solo Wu projects, as well as projects by Afu-Ra, Bounty Killer and Public Enemy.  

 

 

Redman

Fri., Mar. 29, 9 pm • Cabooze, 917 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-338-6425 or www.cabooze.com • Def Jam recording artist Redman helped shape a generation of hip hop artists. Continue Reading →

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The Penumbra does it again — Austeen Van shines in SPUNK

 

 

By Mel Reeves

Contributing Writer

 

The saying that “the more things change the more they remain the same,” can be aptly applied to the Penumbra, which can always be expected to put on top-notch theater. Its production of SPUNK is consistent with what folks have come to expect. Anyone familiar with theatre and entertainment in the Twin Cities would have recognized the names of Twin City stalwarts Jevetta Steele, Dennis W Spears, T. Mychael Rambo. They have carried many productions and they didn’t hurt their reputations in this one either. Steele’s voice just soared throughout and she played a sassy “other” woman in the production’s first act. Continue Reading →

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This week’s Entertainment spotlights!

The Music
 

 

Herschel & The Detainees Present… BOOMBASTIC! Sat., Mar. 23, 8 pm • Fine Line Music Café
318 1st Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-8100 or www.finelinemusic.com
Herschel & The Detainees will be rocking the house along with their brothers and sisters of RJ & The Soul, Devine Collection, and Ceewhy! Continue Reading →

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Austene Van ascends in role of Aida

 

 

 

Austene Van, a brilliant performer, has long been outshone by fellow stars Jevetta Steele and Regina Marie Williams. But not because she’s, per se, a lesser talent. However, Steele saw her profile incredibly heightened by a stint in her autobiographical hit Two Queens, One Castle at Mixed Blood Theatre and Williams saw hers receive a tremendous boost when she performed in  Dinah Was…at Penumbra Theatre Company. I’ve written on more than one occasion that Austene Van, —while for years enjoying the enviable success of not needing a day job and being able to make a rock solid living at theatre — sings beautifully, acts her hips off and can trip the proverbial light fantastic hadn’t come across just the right vehicle to distinguish her as a leading lady. Well, she found one in the form of Aida, which had a recent run this past January in downtown Minneapolis at the Hennepin Theater Trust’s Pantages Theatre. It’s fairly understandable why Austene Van — to those for whom the name doesn’t ring quite the same bell as does Steele or Williams — has been a harder fit for the Cinderella slipper, despite the fact that she’s a Penumbra company member and mainstay on the venue’s stage. Continue Reading →

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This Week’s Entertainment Spotlights

Questlove DJ set 
Fri., Mar. 8, 9 pm

The 2nd Annual Benefit 2 Celebrate Life! Sat., Mar. 9, 7 pm
First Avenue & 7th St. Entry
701 N. 1st Ave.,  Mpls., 612-338-8388 or first-avenue.com
With a performances by “Princess” featuring Maya Rudolph (of SNL fame) and Gretchen Lieberum, Questlove (The Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon), André Cymone, Dez Dickerson, Dr. Fink, Alexander O’Neal, Stokley Williams (Mint Condition), Nicholas David (2012 season of The Voice) and more surprise celebrity guest artists. Continue Reading →

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Penumbra exceeds fundraising goal: Programming resumes this spring

 

January 7, 2013, St. Paul, MN — Over 1,400 individuals, corporations and foundations donated $359,000 by December 30, 2012 to Penumbra Theatre Company. The Penumbra Summer Institute, a nationally recognized three-year arts education and leadership training program, was not impacted by the fall suspension and continues as scheduled. Due to an income shortfall in August, Penumbra made the critical decisions to suspend its fall programming; to reduce its fiscal year 2013 budget by $800,000 including eliminating six full-time staff positions; and to set a goal to raise $340,000 by calendar year end. Penumbra’s 2013 Spring season includes Spunk, adapted by George C. Wolfe from Three Tales by Zora Neale Hurston, featuring T. Mychael Rambo, Dennis W. Spears, Jevetta Steele, and Austene Van, March 14 — April 7, 2013. Continue Reading →

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Documentary confronts us with the grim realities of Black AIDS

By Dwight Hobbes

Contributing Writer

 

Released earlier this year, Endgame: AIDS in Black America (PBS-DVD), produced and directed by Renata Stone for WGBH/FRONTLINE, is an important documentary for the subject alone, keeping up awareness of a medical crisis many choose not to think about, much less candidly discuss. Stone also is producer of The Age of AIDS 2006’s award-winning FRONTLINE (PBS). Endgame brings sobering information. One bit of unwelcome news: Phill Wilson, head of the Black AIDS Institute, states at a World AIDS Day convention, “If Black America was a country unto itself, it would have the 16th worse epidemic in the world. Today in America, two-thirds of new cases of HIV among women will be Black… Seventy percent of the new HIV cases of youth will be Black.”

These facts alone are compelling reason to know more about the health issue of HIV than simply because you don’t want to catch it. Continue Reading →

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My Secret Language of Wishes: Gifted actors wasted on cloying, convoluted play

 

 

Cori Thomas’s My Secret Language of Wishes at Mixed Blood Theatre is a sterling showcase for gifted actor Brittany Bradford. Bradford plays Rose, a sensitive, brightly spirited teenager severely afflicted with muscular dystrophy and is utterly convincing. In fact, the full cast is quite capable with Nora Montanez, Taj Ruler, Jevetta Steele, Signe Harriday and Mo Perry all turning in solid performances. Had they a viable script with which to work, this would have been a powerful production. Instead, the ensemble makes its way through a static morass of inert storytelling that, indeed, tells — time and time again — a great deal more than it ever shows. Continue Reading →

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