Penumbra

Recent Articles

Supporting our own

Community awareness, trust cited as factors in Black business and event success
 
By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer

 

With the African American community being relatively small in Minnesota, it can be challenging for Black business owners and those planning events targeted at Blacks to obtain the level of support they are seeking. But there are at least two events that continue to gain momentum each year. This year’s Twin Cities Black Film Festival (TCBFF) appeared to be attended by many Blacks. “This festival was one of our most successful festivals, because I did try to tap into those unknown groups” such as community groups with large numbers of African American in attendance, reported TCBFF Founder-Director Natalie Morrow. She noted that during the four-day event held in September, one film was sold out and other screenings had large crowds. Continue Reading →

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Guthrie Theater’s smug and offensive “Clybourne Park” perpetuates the illusion of a “post-Civil-Rights” society

 

By Peter Rachcleff, Community Voices/Twin Cities Daily Planet

 

Clybourne Park is a significant play. It won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and, in 2012, was awarded the Tony Award for best Broadway drama. A cursory glance over the schedules for regional theater in the past two years suggests that it is the most widely produced play in the country. The Guthrie has made a major investment in the play, from hiring a top notch production team and cast to building an enormous, complex set, and booking the play for a lengthy run of eight weeks. On the night I attended, most of the apparently full house (around 700) at the McGuire Proscenium Stage—almost all of whom were, like me, white—loved the play. 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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Entertainer shares his family’s love with Northside youth

 

  Dennis Spears, successful local entertainer and beloved mentor to youth on the North Side, attributes much of his life success to a man who loved him unconditionally, taught him patiently, and provided steady examples of good citizenship and integrity in the way he lived his everyday life. This man was Spears’ grandfather, known to most in his Mangham, Louisiana community as Mr. George. Spears was born in Toledo, Ohio to a single mother he adores and describes as his “biggest fan.” Early on in his life, Spears’ grandparents stepped in to help their daughter and grandson, raising Spears on their farm and teaching him the values of hard work, community service and loving God.  

 

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Black wisdom: for our collective prosperity in 2012

Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement
 

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends,” a lesson from Mary McLeod Bethune. This year, we can work to broaden our own experiences and, when possible, to broaden the experiences of those around us. Our kids need to know that there is more to the world than Minneapolis and St. Paul. If our kids never see a play at the only Black theater in the Midwest, our very own Penumbra, how will our people help to shape and create the next August Wilson? Continue Reading →

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Fairy Godmother brings holiday cheer to Ordway stage

 
Twin Cities theater mainstay Tonia Hughes on Cinderella’s ‘message of hope’
 

By Raquel Hayes

Contributing Writer

 

It is extremely gratifying to witness African American performers stepping outside of the expected roles that society presumes they should play. Many actors and actresses alike are taking steps towards diversifying theatrical productions all across the metro area. Tonia Hughes, currently starring in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella at the Ordway, is a part of the groundbreaking group of talented African Americans that isn’t afraid of stepping outside of the norm and demonstrating that their talents aren’t limited to a specific area just because of skin color. Hughes has performed in numerous productions across the Twin Cities throughout her career as an actress and singer. In Cinderella, Hughes (TH) plays the role of the Fairy Godmother. Continue Reading →

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