Peter Rothstein’s “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” is on my must-see list this year. Last year, the original work of musical theater was the talk of the Twin Cities, impressing critics and audiences alike. It sold out with 3,000 people attending performances at three churches in the area.
This year, the work will be staged primarily in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Pantages venue.
Rothstein’s Theatre Latté Da and the a cappella men’s group Cantus perform the work.
Even if you can’t get tickets this year, you’ll be able to hear it on public radio. When I spoke with Rothstein about a week ago, the shows were 50 percent sold out.
“I wrote the show as a radio musical drama, knowing it would have a life on MPR,” says Rothstein. The group’s Friday, Dec. 19 show, at 10:30 a.m. at Westminster Presbyterian in Minneapolis, will be broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio. American Public Media is also broadcasting the show in December.
In the last month, the show has been touring California, Georgia, Arizona, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Iowa; a 2009 tour is almost completely booked.
“I didn’t want to premiere it in a traditional theater because I didn’t want folks expecting a traditional musical, with lots of scenery, costumes and staging,” Rothstein says. “We discovered the piece works beautifully in this ‘concert’ form, which is how we are touring it.
“But I’ve grown increasing interested in seeing how it could live in a more theatrical space,” Rothstein says.
So he approached the Hennepin Theatre Trust about putting the show in the Pantages.
“The Pantages will have more of a visual world than the piece has had up to this point, a few simple gestures with costumes, lighting and movement. I think it’s a perfect hall for the piece; we knew we needed a larger venue, but the Pantages is still a very intimate space.”
Want to know more about the genesis of “All is Calm”? Check out MinnPost’s in-depth story from 2007.
“All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914.“ Dec. 18-21. Pantages Theater, 710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. $22.50-$32.50. Online.