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NEWS: Collide Theatrical Dance’s Monstrous Decision

A promotional graphic for COLLIDE Theatricals’ upcoming production of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, which opens the company’s eight season in October.

It’s been a year and a half of insanity, but COLLIDE Theatrical Dance Company’s latest turn is something monstrous. The company’s eighth season, announced this week, will open with Frankenstein and close with Class of ’85. The two mainstage productions sandwich a trio of dance cabarets on different themes.

COLLIDE’s new adaptation and re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s classic novel Frankenstein will play October 7-24, 2021 at the Southern Theater in Minneapolis, MN. Unusually, the author herself – just 18  years’ old when she started writing Frankenstein, and only 20 when it was first published – makes an appearance. The production will feature Patrick Jeffrey as Dr. Frankenstein, Renee Guittar as The Creature, and Betsy Nelson as Mary Shelley; it is being created by Regina Peluso and directed by Heather Brockman.

Each of COLLIDE’s themed cabarets will play at 755 Prior Ave North in St. Paul, MN (adjacent to Can Can Wonderland and Blackstack Brewery). The first, the Holiday Celebration Cabaret, takes an upbeat approach and a classic vibe of joy. It will be directed by Heather Brockman, with music direction by Andrew Fleser. It plays December 3-12, 2021.

The second cabaret, the Our Stories Cabaret, features a series of original dance storytelling pieces rooted in the BIPOC experience. Director Allyson Richert curates the evening, which includes work by New York–based choreographer Jeremy McQueen and local spoken word artist and Collide dancer Rush Benson. It runs January 21-30, 2022.

The final cabaret, Romance, a Candlelight Cabaret, runs February 11-20, 2022. Featuring the music of Collide’s Romeo & Juliet played by a string trio, featuring four superb dancers with direction by Renee Guittar, who starred as Juliet in the aforementioned production.

A promotional poster from the 2014 premiere of COLLIDE Theatricals’ Class of ’85.

Rounding out the season is a revival of COLLIDE’s Class of ’85. The show, which originally premiered in 2014, was slated to return in May 2020, only to run smack into the second wave of pandemic cancellations. The show promises big hair, big dresses, and big dance energy, while blurring audience-performer boundaries and exploring high school character archetypes. Vocalists Katie Gearty and Sam Brown headline the live band.

As Jill Schafer of Cherry and Spoon noted when reviewing the original production, Class of ’85 includes “a powerful expression of the pressure that teenagers feel from all sides; the girls vs. boys dodgeball dance-off medley; “I Think We’re Alone Now,” in which the characters don’t actually dance but let us get a glimpse into their souls; and the fun final number danced to, what else, “Footloose.” Regina Peluso’s choreography is fantastic, flawlessly performed.”

Monstrously exciting.

Twin Cities Arts Reader