Tag Archives: Nimbus Theatre

Josh Cragun’s “Redemption” premieres at Nimbus Theatre

Preparing to write this post about the next production at Nimbus Theatre I realize that it’s five years since my first post about what was then a fledgling newbie on the Northeast Minneapolis theater scene.  Today Nimbus is practically venerable! (https://www.facebook.com/nimbustheatre/)

And yet the theater is as fresh and innovative as ever.  Opening this weekend at Nimbus is a new production entitled  Redemption, written by Josh Cragun who is also co-Artistic Director of Nimbus.  The production is directed by Mitchell Frazier.

Redemption shares the stories of individuals “confronting the difficulties of re-entering society after incarceration.”  The play addresses the perplexing question “When is a person redeemed?” It is a dilemma  both poignant and timely.

Redemption opens Saturday, April 29, and runs through May 14.  Performances are at The Crane Theater, 2303 Kennedy Street, NE. (https://www.cranetheater.com/node/13) The theater is a block off Stinson, between Hennepin and Broadway Avenues.  Parking and the theater entrance are at the back of the building.

The redemption plot is one of the oldest story shapes.

 Peter Baynham 

UPDATE – REVIEW 5/4  — http://www.citypages.com/arts/two-parolees-take-the-dark-road-to-redemption-in-nimbus-latest/421055454





Golden Ass at the Nimbus Theatre in Northeast

At first blush the thought of a stage adaptation of a 2nd Century novel might fail to stir the drama neophyte’s soul.   Serious students of drama who know the classics are delighted to learn that Nimbus Theatre, the intrepid “newcomer” to the Northeast theater scene, once again takes to the stage with a bold production of The Golden Ass.

The play is based on a text written by Lucius Apuleius who wrote in Latin in Romanized North Africa.   Well versed in Greek writing Apuleius reflects a strong interest in the supernatural in Eastern religions – and in magic. His work, commonly known as Metamorphoses, is the only Latin novel to survive in its entirety.   The work tells the story of a young man changed by magic into an ass. The text is said to have had a strong influence on works as diverse as those of Byron and Kafka, including the story of Pinochio.

The Golden Ass continues through May 20 at the Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Ave NE, Minneapolis, MN 55413 Performances are Thursday – Saturday evenings with a Sunday matinee. Tickets: 612-548-1380 orwww.nimbustheatre.com.

Nimbus Theatre Opens 2nd Season in Northeast

Creative space is in the eye of the beholder. Today  Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Avenue Northeast (Just off Broadway!)  is a glowing and growing presence on the Northeast arts scene.  When theatrical Liz Neerland and Josh Cragun, took a look at the structure that fills the former alley between the Alamo Building and the commercial property next door they saw an ideal site for their theater.  That takes youth, vision, commitment and a whole lot of courage.  And this spirited couple had the creative imagination and energy to see the possibilities they now realize as they move into their second production season.  For Nimbus supporters and for the Northeast arts community, the benefits are great.

For a decade Nimbus broken new ground in experimental and challenging theater in the Twin Cities.  Their interest is selecting and producing “an engaging mix of under-appreciated works by established playwrights, new plays by emerging playwrights and innovative company-created productions.”   Writing on their website the Neerland and Cragun tell their story:

Above the maddening din of pat answers, advertising chatter, and pop culture jingles, nimbus asks our audiences, collaborators, and conspirators to question ideas, emotions, and easy answers. We present work that entertains, provokes, challenges, and just plain baffles.

The second production in Season Two meets the mark:  Opening December 2, Woyczak, is a 19th Century work by German playwright Georg Buchner, directed by Nimbus company member Brian Hesser.  Buchner’s play, written in 1827, was later turned into a famous 20th century opera with music by Alban Berg of the second Viennese school.

Recognizing that “the play’s the thing” the theater space itself deserves its proper moment in the spotlight.  First, it’s huge – 4200 square feet of virgin territory, 17 foot ceilings replete with skylights that bathe the daytime theater in sunshine, space waiting to be filled with the life that theater – and audiences – bring.

There’s room for a generous stage where actors can move with ease – room for 75 playgoers who are comfortably ensconced in wonderful old seats with ample room for elbows and knees – room for actors to prepare and for stage gear to be stashed between productions – room a gracious lobby where audiences can gather, chat, and eventually have a sip of something – room for spacious restrooms the owners have constructed with careful attention to accessibility and convenience —  best of all, there’s room to park!  Nimbus has made parking arrangements with a neighbor manufacturer whose parking lot empties out well before theater goers arrive

Performances of Woyzeck are scheduled Thursday through Saturday evenings (7:30) and Sunday afternoons (3:00) through December 17.  Because one goal of Nimbus is to encourage theater goers by keeping the price of tickets within reach;  tickets for Nimbus productions are generally $10-$12.

Northeast Emerges as a Theater District


As someone (Shakespeare or Edward deVere, Earl of Oxford, depending on your take on the Anonymous controversy) once wrote that “All the world’s a stage.”  These days Northeast Minneapolis is becoming a stage as one after another theater group takes up residence in the community.


Of course there has always been a rich theater tradition in the Northeast arts community.  For example, Ballet of the Dolls, housed at the Ritz Theater, 345 13th Avenue Northeast, has been in the neighborhood for over 25 years.


Others are welcome newcomers.  In recent days and weeks I have made some theater discoveries that are close to my Windom Park neighborhood.  To be sure, the few mentioned here are the ones to which I can walk; they suggest a small sample of the wide range of theater with which Northeast is replete.  Because listings of theaters are somewhat iffy, the best advice is to check the local press – and to keep your eyes open as you walk the friendly neighborhoods of Northeast.


For example, just this week I walked by the former Hollywood movie theater, 2815-2819 Johnson Northeast, where a crew of movers was hauling tons of props and furniture and who knows what into the long-abandoned theater.  Of course, I poked around to learn more about the company just moving into the theater, the Savage Umbrella.


The theater company is not new or new to Northeast, but new to the Hollywood where The Ravagers, their next show opens November 4. The Ravagers is a world premiere play by Blake E. Bolan with Laura Leffler McCabe, collaboratively created with Savage Umbrella.  It opens November 4, with productions slated for November 4-6, 10-14, 17-19, all starting at 7:30 with tickets $12.50 – no one turned away for lack of funds.  Tickets available at Brown Paper Tickets.  Thusfar I haven’t paid a “welcome” call at the Savage Umbrella troupe because I know just how busy they are.


Recently I wrote about the Morris Park Players who last year moved from their long-time home in South Minneapolis to Edison High School, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast.

The Morris Park Players production of the classic Hello Dolly, on stage now at Edison.


And just the other day I sat down for a delightful chat with Liz Neerland who, with her husband Josh Cragun, is breathing life into the Nimbus Theatre, 1517 Central Avenue Northeast, which opened last spring and will premiere its second production of this theater season, Georg Buchner’s Woyczak  on December 2.  Details of that chat are on my blog, Poking Around with Mary or on Twin Cities Daily Planet.


Late fall and winter can be the perfect time to explore the neighborhood and to spend an afternoon or evening enjoying a fresh new theater production or to share an old favorite with new audiences.   A good play, well-produced and acted by talented folks, is indeed the thing!