In December 2019, a film crew from New York Public Media (WNET) spent three days at the Ritz Theater in northeast Minneapolis, filming Peter Rothstein’s “All Is Calm” for national broadcast on PBS in 2020.
A masterpiece of music-theater, “All Is Calm” captures the moment when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together during World War I. They sang, shared food and drink, and buried their dead before returning to the business at hand: making war.
Earlier – maybe the year before, when Theater Latté Da’s show went to New York City for an off-Broadway production that won a New York Drama Desk Award – a writer for BBC Music Magazine called it “one of the top live events for Christmas in North America.”
No one will see it live this Christmas. And no one knew in December 2019 what was coming in 2020, a tiny virus that by June had officially killed more Americans than died in World War I.
The filmed version will be a gift to us all. It will air at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, on TPT (Twin Cities PBS) and premiere nationwide. It will be available to stream starting Dec. 15 at pbs.org. Twenty minutes of behind-the-scenes footage will include interviews with Rothstein and members of the cast and creative team. Here’s the trailer.
Schubert Club moves more events online, postpones others
Schubert Club, which presents several music series each year, including its flagship International Artist Series, Schubert Club Mix and Courtroom Concerts, has announced another round of scheduling changes due to COVID.
Its 2020-21 Featured Artists, cellist David Finckel and pianist Wu Han, were scheduled to perform several concerts of music by Franz Schubert. Their International Artist Series concert on March 4 will still go on – online. Their other concerts may turn into an outdoor festival in June.
Five concerts including “Winterreise” with Wu Han and Nikolay Borchev have all been postponed to June 2021. The Zolo concert in the Mix series, originally set for Feb. 17, has been canceled.
A Schubert Club Mix performance by Spektral Quartet, which was to take place in the Bell Museum’s planetarium, will be postponed to June 2021. All Courtroom Concerts, Accordo concerts and International Artist Series events through the end of March will move online.
The six-concert Beethoven Quartets Series featuring the Danish String Quartet has been postponed to November 2021. Barry Kempton, Schubert Club’s artistic and executive director, had hoped it could still take place in 2020, Beethoven’s 250th birthday anniversary year. Originally set for May 2020, the series was rescheduled for October and December. It has now been pushed ahead a whole year.
Most of us have stopped writing in our calendars in ink, even figuratively speaking. We’ve learned not to plan too far in advance, if at all. We respond to opportunities in the moment and wait to see what happens next. An outdoor festival? That would be lovely. June seems far enough away.
Today (Friday, Oct. 30) and tomorrow: Twin Cities Film Fest. See as much of TCFF as you can squeeze in between now and Saturday night. Its all-access streaming pass is now 50% off. For $25, you can pick and choose among 70+ films including narratives, documentaries, shorts and Minnesota-connected films. Use code 2020TCFFpass50. You’ll have to register to get full access to the site and descriptions.
Starts tonight (Friday, Oct. 30) on Zoom: History Theatre Raw Stages New Works Festival: “The Boy Wonder: Stassen Musical.” A musical about Harold Stassen, the former Minnesota governor best known for seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president nine times? That sounds about as interesting as watching paint dry … except it’s written (book, music and lyrics) by Keith Hovis, whose “Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant” lit up Park Square Theatre in 2019. With Max Wojtanowicz as Stassen. FMI and tickets ($15 and up). Ends Nov. 5.
Sunday (Nov. 1) online: Bakken-of-the-Month Club first virtual concert. Monthly mini-concerts of chamber music, delivered by private HD video link. Monthly virtual wine-and-cheese receptions with the artists. Sounds like a plan for getting through a pandemic. A $65 subscription brings you 8 concerts (Nov. through June) and receptions. A musical organization with a 40-year history, the Bakken Trio is led by co-artistic directors Stephanie Arado, former assistant concertmaster for the Minnesota Orchestra, and Pitnarry Shin, a cellist with the Minnesota Orchestra. FMI and subscriptions.
Tuesday (Nov. 3) on Facebook: “Deep Tones for Peace 2020.” Launched in August as a public Facebook group by bassists Mark Dresser and William Parker, Deep Tones for Peace 2020 is open to all bass players who want to musically send healing vibrations to be felt worldwide. Don’t laugh; the group now includes more than 2,000 members in 40 countries. Among them are several celebrated artists: NEA Jazz Master John Clayton, Christian McBride, Rufus Reid, Jorge Roeder, Kristin Korb and Scott Colley. For 17 hours on election day – the number of hours that U.S. polls are open from the East Coast to Hawaii – Deep Tones for Peace will transmit 4 performances each hour, or 68 in all. Listen at this link.
Tuesday (Nov. 3) on Youtube and Facebook: Amreeka: Election Night Comedy Special. In Arabic, “America” is pronounced “Amreeka.” Presented by the Weisman Art Museum and the Theater of Public Policy, hosted by T2P2’s Tane Danger, this will be an evening of comedy and commentary on the incoming election news coverage and a reflection on the current state of the nation. With comics Suzie Afridi, Usama Siddiquee and Amer Zahr. 8-10 p.m. FMI. Free.