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PREVIEW: A New Twist on Underneath the Lintel (Latté Da)

Sally Wingert in rehearsal for Theater Latté Da’s upcoming production of Underneath the Lintel. Photo by Emilee Elofson.

It is widely acknowledged that librarians are awesome. This is not a matter of intelligence or education: it simply is. One play that makes that point is Glen Berger’s Underneath the Lintel (2001), which follows a librarian on a quest to solve the mystery of a very overdue library book. This might sound like the setup for a short children’s book, but the execution itself is hilarious and filled with the sort of fun factoids that real-life librarians often spout.

“Ah,” you might say. “Yes, that sounds familiar. Wasn’t there a Fringe show?” – and that would be true, but also back in 2015. This is 2018, and Theater Latté Da’s production of Underneath the Lintel not only stars local theatre legend Sally Wingert, but also is adding a musical twist with a soundtrack of original new music.

Multi-instrumentalist Dan Chouinard (who plays piano, accordion, and chaplain’s organ) with Sally Wingert in rehearsal. Photo by Emilee Elofson.

A key aspect of Underneath the Lintel‘s plot reveal involves Jewish folklore. Playwright Glen Berger takes inspiration for all of his plays from music, and noted that “Underneath the Lintel was inspired particularly by certain klezmer/Yiddish music from the 1920s.” To bring this aspect of the play’s source material and inspiration to life, Theater Latté Da commissioned Grammy award-winning Frank London to compose the music.

London is a founder of the band The Klezmatics; as the name suggests, it specializes in klezmer music (and won a Grammy to that effect). Theater Latté Da’s Artistic Director Peter Rothstein direct, Dan Chouinard music directs, and vocalist Natalie Nowytski sings and plays bass.

Underneath the Lintel opens Saturday, June 2 at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis, MN.

Twin Cities Arts Reader