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LIVE BLOG: The 24 Hour Plays

Necessity is the mother of invention – or, according to Bill Watterson’s Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes, mothers are the necessity of invention. Starting this Sunday at 10 PM, a group of six directors, six playwrights, and 24 actors will test out both as they create and perform six plays in just 24 hours. On Monday, the resulting plays will be unveiled at 8 PM at the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

This endeavor, The 24 Hour Plays, will create and perform six new works written by Alan Berks, David Darrow, Julia Jordan, Heather Jean Meyer, Christina Ham, and Harrison David Rivers. The writers have two hours to meet the cast and directors, followed by eight hours (midnight-8 AM) to create their works. The scripts and scores will be handed off to the directors and actors to interpret, memorize, and practice over the course of 12 hours – after which the curtain will rise at the Pantages Theatre for a public performance showcase.

Part of the ensemble that will bring The 24 Hour Plays to life.

The cast of The 24 Hour Plays includes Sasha Andreev, Michelle Barber, Denzel Belin, Warren C. Bowles, Michael Brindisi, Cat Brindisi, Reese Britts, Serena Brook, Osh Ghanimah, Michael Gruber, Devin Kelley, Justin Kirk, Ryan McCartan, Joel McKinnon Miller, Tyler Michaels, Ann Michels, Kasano Mwanza, Hope Nordquist, Tod Petersen, Kory Pullam, Stacia Rice, Tim Sitarz, Tony Vierling, Rachel Williams, Tatiana Williams, and Sally Wingert. The directors include Jamil Jude, Lauren Keating, Christy Montour-Larson, Bill Payne, and Peter Rothstein.

The 24 Hour Plays celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Pantages Theatre in Minneapolis.

For this special event, the Twin Cities Arts Reader will provide special live coverage delivered by guest writers Karen “Kit” Bix, Sheree Curry, and Arty Dorman.

Come back on Sunday and Monday for live updates!

Arty Dorman March 11, 201711:09 pm

Looking forward to the big show Monday evening …the culmination of a madcap creative juggernaut. Stop back then to see what’s happening on the stage at the Pantages – or better yet, get over to the Pantages yourself if you can score a ticket.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20178:00 pm

Arty Dorman here, reviewer for Talkin’ Broadway. The orchestra at the Pantages looks near full seven minutes before curtain. We will soon see six short plays that didn’t exist in any form 24 hours ago – a theatrical miracle, huh?

A tremendous gathering of writers, directors and actors have come together to make this happen, all to benefit University of Minnesota Duluth’s Fine Arts Program and Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Program.

First up – after introductions – “Twirl’written by Julia Jordan, directed by Lauren Keating and stage managed by Q’ori Goerdt. The cast is Justin Kirk (always welcome back to Minnesota), Cat Brindisi, Warren C. Bowles (fresh off a week at CHS Field in Mixed Blood’s “Safe at Home”, another theatrical miracle) and Kasono Mwanza. The suspense builds….

Arty Dorman March 13, 20178:09 pm

Okay, a few minutes past 8:00 PM. We can grant them 24 hours plus a few minutes,

Arty Dorman March 13, 20178:16 pm

Here we go. David Darrow has taken the stage, playing guitar and singing a song he wrote for a musical. In the show the song is sung by Neal Armstrong. It has the sound of something from “Floyd Collins”. a lovely song. I would go to that show!

Arty Dorman March 13, 20178:32 pm

Introductions over, and the cast of “Twirl” is on stage. David is playing a gentle melody on guitar, to which Cat and Kasono are dancing, closely. Justin and Warren are on a park bench. And on from there, surprise wants, disappointments, and joys. A very sweet piece.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20178:45 pm

Next up .. “Last Cut”, written by Harrison David Rivers, directed by Jamil Jude, stage managed by Belle Wanke. The players are Tony Vierling, Kim Kivens, Ryan McCartan and Rachel Williams. A mother, a daughter, a father and a man who tests the father’s identity as a husband and as a man. And a haircut. Can a cosmetic change make a new person? Point made.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:05 pm

A brief film in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Pantages Theatre in downtown Minneapolis, restored to a beautiful playhouse.

And then .. “The Whisk” by Alan Berks, directed by Peter Rothstein, stage managed by Chloe Blevik-Rich. Who’s in it? Sally Wingert my review of her bravura turn in “Six Degrees of Separation” later this week), Kory Pullman, Timothy Busfield (thirtysomething was one of the best shows ever), Osh Ghanimah, and Tim Sitarz.

The play .. part hostage situation, part hold-up, part cooking show, part mediation on ethnic stereotypes, part meta-theater about staging theater, oh, and some folky music and dancing … quirky, funny and full of ideas. Wonder if all these ideas could survive a fuller treatment? No matter, this was great fun

Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:06 pm


Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:18 pm

Up after intermission: short films about UMD’s Fine Arts program and HTT’s Spotlight program, the beneficiaries of tonight’s event. Of course, everyone in the audience and on stage are also beneficiaries, what a great collective of talent, dedication, wit and heart.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:26 pm

I blogged too soon… before the films, we are being treated to another musical performance by David Darrow, Matt Riehle and Christine Hwang with a great musical theater voice on vocals.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:48 pm

The fourth play is called “ALT”. It’s written by Christina Ham (whose
terrific play “Nina Simone” Four Women” had a second great run at Park
Square), directed by John Lynn, and stage managed by Sarah Pierucki.
The cast includes Devin Kelley, Michelle Barber, Ricardo Vazquez,
Nicholas Freeman and Michael Brindisi.

A vague, unsettling piece about violence and communication break down between generations, and maybe in our nation. Not sure, but it certainly stirred feelings, even if they were unwelcome ones.

Arty Dorman March 13, 20179:49 pm

Sadly, I have to sign off now. This is a great event, and we have a great theater town. Catch my take on it at

Arty Dorman March 13, 201710:38 pm

I’m back. The show is over and out, but after I packed up and was ready to make my exit, I lingered long enough to catch the fifth play, “Yearning”, and it was a hoot. Written by Heather Meyer, directed by Christy Montour-Larson, and stage managed by Sophia Gerdes, it featured Tyler Michaels (I am looking forward to his Tony in “West Side Story” at the Ordway), Hope Nordquist, Sasha Andreev, Stacia Rice (always a pleasure on stage), and the most welcome Melissa Gilbert.

“Yearning” is about art – its value, the question of who “owns” a work of art, and its role in our lives. Playwright Meyer managed to float some serious notions upon a farcical premise, peppered with witty dialogue, and physical humor. I was glad I lingered, only sorry I did walk out before the final play.

Kudos to everyone involved in the 24 Hour Plays. And thanks for reading our blog.


Twin Cities Arts Reader
The Twin Cities Arts Reader is an arts and lifestyles magazine whose coverage examines arts and selected activities in the state of Minnesota and across the country. It provides Minnesota's largest source of in-depth, critical theatre coverage, and reaches more than 275,000 readers per year.