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O’Shaughnessy names new ED; Bloomberg to speak at Northrop

ALSO: “Odd Measures” at the Cedar; “A Christmas Carol” to open at the Guthrie; and more.

Paul Organisak
Paul Organisak
Paul Organisak will head the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University starting Monday, Nov. 18 – coming right up.

A beloved Twin Cities performing arts venue (and, fun fact, a prominent example of Brutalist architecture), the 1,800-seat house on the St. Kate’s campus is known for presenting a smart and thoughtful variety of events, from performances to speakers to its long-running Women of Substance series, which has featured  Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, Ann Bancroft, Angelique Kidjo and Meredith Monk, among many others.

Last year’s “Parable of the Sower” event, its centerpiece a folk opera by Toshi Reagon based on a book by Octavia Butler, was more than a performance. It was a community-building love fest.

Ananya Dance and TU Dance perform their seasons at the O’Shaughnessy. Katie McMahon brings her “Celtic Christmas” to the big stage. The venue has premiered more than 400 new works by local and national artists.

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“I am simply thrilled to join the team at The O’Shaughnessy,” Organisak said in a statement. “This theatre’s reputation, from the front of the house to backstage, is built by the people and leadership that have spent the past half-century dedicated to this vision’s mission. That is what attracts some of the top choreographers, dance companies, musicians, and songwriters in the nation. It is an honor to be trusted with this role to carry that mission forward.”

Organisak most recently was president and CEO of the Harris Theatre in Chicago’s Millennial Park. Before then, he was VP of programming for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and executive director of the Pittsburgh Dance Council. He also worked with Dance Umbrella in Boston and the American College Dance Festival Association.

Angela Riley, St. Kate’s executive VP and CFO, said in a statement, “We were impressed with Paul’s rich background across the performing arts scene, which will help us build on the solid base The O’Shaughnessy already has in place.”

Organisak succeeds Kathleen Spehar, who served as the O’Shaughnessy’s director from 2011 until July of this year, when she became ED at the Council on Culture and Arts in Tallahassee, Florida.

Michael Bloomberg to speak at Northrop

Michael Bloomberg, self-made multibillionaire, entrepreneur, philanthropist, 108th mayor of New York City, and – 2020 presidential candidate? – will give the 2019 Distinguished Carlson Lecture at Northrop on Thursday, Dec. 5, at 7 p.m.

We should know by then if he’s running or not. Either way, it’s sure to be an interesting talk. The event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Limit two per order. As of this writing, the availability is good.

‘PBS NewsHour’ shines a light on Minnesota

As part of its arts and culture coverage, ‘PBS NewsHour’ sent correspondent Jeffrey Brown to northern Minnesota in early October. Brown spoke with guitarist Sam Miltich and caught a performance of his jazz quartet at the VFW in Grand Rapids. He spoke with Springboard for the Arts’ Laura Zabel at the Reif Performing Arts Center during the latest Rural Arts and Culture Summit, and other Minnesotans who are making a life in the arts.

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In the seven-minute segment that aired on Monday, mention is made of “grants from a state sales tax fund for arts and culture” – aka Legacy grants, the results of an amendment to the Minnesota Constitution that voters said yes to in November 2008.

You can watch the segment and read the transcript here. And you can catch Miltich at Crooner’s on Nov. 25, where he’ll play a night of original music. Doors at 6, music at 7. FMI and tickets ($15).

The picks

Ritika Ganguly
Courtesy of the Cedar
Ritika Ganguly
Tonight (Thursday, Nov. 14) at the Cedar: Odd Measures Even-ing. Looking for something totally new and different on the Twin Cities music scene? What about the first-ever festival of odd measures? Nearly 40 artists auditioned and seven were chosen to perform music with unusual time signatures, drawn from cultures around the world and their own imaginations. Curator Ritika Ganguly calls it “a world of metric and rhythmic possibilities that you don’t typically get to inhabit in North America.” Just try tapping your foot. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30. FMI and tickets ($13). Read interviews with the artists here. Ganguly is a member of the Cedar’s inaugural Artist Collective.

Opens tonight (Thursday, Nov. 14) at the Southern: Mixed Precipitation: “Hit the Wall.” The Minnesota premiere of Minnesota native Ike Holter’s play about the Stonewall riots is told by actors, puppeteers, activists, organizers, burlesque performers and circus artists from across the gender and sexuality spectrum. Led by Scotty Reynolds, Mixed Precipitation is best known for its annual Picnic Operetta, which brings people to parks and gardens across the metro each summer. Teresa Mock directs a cast of 10. Recommended for ages 13 and up. FMI and tickets ($24-$12, ARTshare members free; pay-what-you-can on Saturday at 2 p.m.). Ends Sunday, Nov. 17.

Thomas Solivérès and Tom Leeb in a scene from "Cyrano, My Love."
Photo by Nicolas Velter/Courtesy of Roadside Attractions
Thomas Solivérès and Tom Leeb in a scene from "Cyrano, My Love."
Opens Friday at the Edina Cinema: “Cyrano, My Love.” If you liked “Shakespeare in Love,” you’ll adore “Cyrano, My Love.” Written and directed by Alexis Michalik, not only is it fast-paced and funny, it’s French. The embroidered origins story of the famous French play is thoroughly engaging, unexpectedly touching, and looks like a series of paintings by Toulouse-Lautrec. Edmond Rostand (Thomas Solivérès) is a failed poet with a family who needs to earn money fast. Introduced to actor Constant Coquelin (Olivier Gourmet) by his friend Sarah Bernhardt (Clémentine Célarié), he promises delivery of a play he hasn’t yet written or even thought out, then pens one of the greatest dramas of all time. His muse: a woman who’s loved by a handsome but dim actor who solicits Rostand’s help with letter-writing. In other words, “Cyrano” almost writes itself. Be sure to sit through the credits for photos of the actual people portrayed. FMI including trailer, times, and tickets.

Friday and Saturday at Orchestra Hall: Vaughan Williams’ Dona Nobis Pacem. This weekend’s Minnesota Orchestra concerts will be all kinds of wonderful. The program begins with Sibelius’ tone poem “The Swan of Tuonela.” Then South African soprano Goitsemang Lehobye will join the Minnesota Chorale, 29:11 and South Africa’s Gauteng Choristers for Vaughan Williams’ cantata. After the intermission, cellist Alban Gerhardt will be featured in the U.S. premiere of a new Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by American composer Brett Dean, written for Gerhardt. Osmo Vänskä will conduct. 8 p.m. FMI and tickets ($29-125). Also 11 a.m. today (Thursday), if you’re reading this early enough.

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Holiday pick

The cast of the Guthrie Theater’s production of "A Christmas Carol."
Photo by Dan Norman
The cast of the Guthrie Theater’s production of "A Christmas Carol."
Opens Saturday at the Guthrie: “The Christmas Carol.” This will be the Guthrie’s 45th production of the evergreen holiday favorite – the longest run in regional theater history – and if any theater knows how to do this, they do. It’s a story that still resonates, sentimental but not cheesy, and along with ghosts, it offers an eternal flame of hope: If even the miserable, miserly Scrooge can open his heart and become a better person, anyone can. The Guthrie goes all-out to make it great, from casting to costumes to a spectacular set, and even though it takes place in the past, it never feels dated. This will be the third consecutive year that Lauren Keating has been director, and she’s determined that audience members see themselves on stage. As in 2018, Nathaniel Fuller and Charity Jones will share the role of Ebenezer Scrooge. Tickets start at $15 for early performances (through Nov. 21); all other performances are $29-134. FMI.