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Never stepped aboard the Minnesota Centennial Showboat? ‘Triumph of Love’ is worth a visit

If you’ve never checked out a Minnesota Centennial Showboat production, “Triumph of Love” is worth your time this summer.

I’m going to start paying more attention to the Minnesota Centennial Showboat’s summer theater season. Tuesday was my first time aboard the University of Minnesota’s boat (as recounted in this post).

I confess: I’ve never been a big fan of Vaudeville-like productions. I’m changing my mind. 

If you’ve never checked out a Showboat production, “Triumph of Love” is worth a trip to Harriet Island in St. Paul, where the boat is moored on the Mississippi. For one thing the director is Peter Rothstein, who has a pile of awards including being named best director by City Pages in 2006.

For another, the comic timing of the seven-member cast — all BFA acting students from the U — is near perfect in this Vaudeville version of Pierre Marivaux’s play. In a nutshell, a princess in a rather dysfunctional royal line wants to give her crown to its rightful heir, a young misogynist who has caught her fancy from afar. But to do so, she concocts an elaborate ruse that the Showboat’s website describes as “one confounded triangle.”

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It’s more like one confounded quadrangle. Regardless, it’s hilarious and entertaining. Plus, the theater in the Showboat takes you back to another time. The showboat was a draw for Rothstein, according to an article in Minnesota, the U’s alumni magazine.

“The unique venue itself was a huge draw for me. I’ve never worked on a showboat before,” Rothstein tells the magazine.

He also selected the songs for the production. “The play is a really interesting hybrid of dramatic forms. There are a lot of ways to address the varying ideas this play has about love — from the heart, from the head, and from the groin.”

“Triumph of Love” runs for 10 weeks. Tickets and performance dates are available at 651-227-1100 or online.