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Bryant Lake Bowl and Bedlam: Moving beyond the Fringe

As the season turns to fall, local theater wakes up from its post-Fringe-Festival nap for a bevy of new shows and attractions.

One of the bigger draws from this year’s Fringe was the collective work by the Rockstar Storytellers, who not only produced a number of hits, but also even offered trading cards for fans to collect. (No word on whether any of the cards ended up in the spokes of any Uptown-area bicycle wheels.)

Now the challenge is to make storytelling visible the rest of the year. “Storytelling and solo performance shows are really popular at Fringe, but practically invisible the other 11½ months out of the year,” says Curt Lund, one of the group’s members. “So by creating Rockstars as a collaboration of solo performers, we want to boost the profile of spoken word storytelling beyond the Fringe into the broader theater and literary communities so vibrant here in the Twin Cities.”

Their third season opens Sunday at the Bryant Lake Bowl. For 2009-2010, the Rockstar Storytellers is working under the umbrella of The Rockstar Bookshelf. “We decided to ‘return to our roots’ of the broader literary world, with story themes around the literary world’s great genres,” Lund said.

The line-up for the September 13 kickoff show, “Bookshelf Samples,” includes Laura Bidgood, Allison Broeren, Mike Fotis, Allegra Lingo, Courtney McLean, and Rik Reppe and is hosted by Ben San Del. Future programs include a survey of many literary genres, including horror and mystery, science fiction, self-help, biography and “best sellers.”

The Bowl has been a great venue for the series, Lund says. “It’s an intimate space with great acoustics. Plus the audience can drink.”

“Bookshelf Sampler” is set for 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13 (doors open at 6 p.m.), at the Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. Tickets are $12 ($2 off with a Minnesota Fringe Festival or Rockstar button). For tickets and information, contact Bryant Lake Bowl at 612-825-8949 or visit online.

Bedlam to get new look for new production
Meanwhile, another Fringe favorite will transform its own theater this weekend. For the Bedlam Theatre’s premiere of “Million Dollar Museum,” the company has invited more than a dozen local artists of many stripes to transform the theater — well known to festival faithful as “Fringe Central” — into a crazed roadside attraction.

The work reflects the play, penned by Josef Evans, author of Bedlam’s 2006 Fringe hit “Love in the Time of Rinderpest.” In the story, a woman who has spent her life building a “monument to human progress” finally has a guest for her attraction. But as they go through the tour, it’s clear that there’s more here than initially meets the eye.

Directed by Bedlam’s co-artistic-director Maren Ward, the show is a commission by the theater.

“Million Dollar Museum” runs Friday through Oct. 3 at the Bedlam Theater, 1501 S. 6th St., Minneapolis. Tickets are $12 and $15. Opening weekend is “pay what you think it is worth.” For tickets and information, call 612-341-1038 or visit online.

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