Auditions for “Murder Ballad” and “The Great Gatsby”

2015 is going to be a very good year here at Renegade. We’ve got a killer season planned, and if you’ve ever wanted to get involved with all the fun happening down at the Teatro Zuccone, now’s the perfect time! We are pleased to announce open auditions for the first two productions of our 2015 season:

 

Murder BalladUnion Square Theatre

 

MURDER BALLAD
Directed by Andy Bennett

Performance Dates:  
Feb 5-7, 12-14, & 19-21, 2015

 

AUDITION INFORMATION
WHEN:   Sunday, November 9th, 2014
Dance Call Noon-1pm / General Auditions 1pm-2:30pm
WHERE: Teatro Zuccone in downtown Duluth
CALLBACKS: 2:30pm till 4pm
PREPARE: 32 bars Broadway rock musical belt + 32 bars of a murder ballad
Sign up for a 5-minute time slot by emailing katyhelbacka@gmail.com.
AUDITION PACKET: Download

 

gatsbypicresized

 

THE GREAT GATBSY
Directed by Katy Helbacka

Performance Dates:  
April 2-4, 9-11 & 16-18, 2015

 

AUDITION INFORMATION
WHEN:   Sunday, November 9th, 2014
General Auditions 10am-11am / Dance Call 11am-Noon
WHERE: Teatro Zuccone in downtown Duluth
CALLBACKS: 4pm (by Director’s invitation only) Not all roles will require callbacks. You may be cast in the show without needing to attend callbacks.
PREPARE: Male Monologue / Female Monologue
AUDITION PACKET: Download

 

“Grace” – Creating a Character

Here’s the deal: Tech week is intense.

 

For the month or so before, the actors rehearse in an empty room with folding chairs standing in for couches, tape on the floor standing in for walls and doors and Altoids cases standing in cell phones, revolvers and microphones (those cases are curiously strong stand-in props).

 

Then, tech week comes. And the actors are thrown into the fire. Costumes are yanked onto them, tugged and adjusted. They are pushed out under hot stage lights and forced to stand there silently while the technicians make subtle adjustments. They’re given a prop gun and asked to point it at a friend of theirs and pull the trigger.

 

And, if you’re Zach Stofer, you’re given a box full of makeup and told to make yourself look like you’ve been in a horrible accident where half of your face has been scraped off.

 

Like we said: Tech week is intense.

 

Thankfully, Zach Stofer – in addition to being an infuriatingly talented actor – knows his way around a makeup kit. And he was kind enough to have some photos taken of the several hour-long process he goes through each night to create his character of Sam in our Regional Premiere of “GRACE” by Craig Wright

 

Step 1

 

Zach starts by putting on a little Barry Manilow (you know, the hits) and doing some deep breathing. Then, he makes himself a nice cup of English Breakfast, slips off his shoes and makes fists with his toes.

 

Okay, actually, the first step is applying a base layer of liquid latex. That stuff’s the shit.

 

Step 1 part 2

 

Zach REALLY likes liquid latex.

 

Step 2

 

Step 2 Part B

 

Next, Zach works out some aggression on helpless cotton balls by ripping them into strips and shoving them onto his face while he screams “this is what you deserve!”

 

All of that is true except one part. Guess which.

 

Step 2 Part C

 

Then, he puts some liquid latex on top of the cotton ball shreds. Not cause he has to, just cause he REALLY likes liquid latex.

 

Step 3

 

Then, he pretends his hair dryer is a microphone and belts out “Mandy.” He also uses the hair dryer to dry the liquid latex and make a firm adhesion between the makeup and the cotton.

 

But mainly it’s about singing “Mandy.”

 

step4

 

 

Then it’s time to do a little face painting. Zach uses a palette of various skin tones along with shades of red to accentuate the peaks and valleys of the scar tissue, popping out the highlights and deepening the shadows to make the texture deeper and more pronounced.

 

When he’s all done, he ends up with a finished product that looks a little something like this:

 

finishedproduct

 

One final piece is added to this look, which we won’t spoil here. Let’s just say we owe a great deal to the fine folks at Hanger Clinic right here in Duluth, who helped us out in a huge way. So thank you, Hanger Clinic. You all rock.

 

And it’s only AFTER this final secret piece is added that Zach heads out on stage and spends 90 minutes systematically breaking your heart.

 

Honestly, guys: “GRACE” is one of those shows that we can point at and say, THIS is who we are and what we do. THIS is Renegade.

 

So, please. Come see this show.

 buy-tickets

You’ll Need To Talk About “GRACE” – We’ve Got You Covered

praying-hands-black-and-white-dreamstime

 

Nothing against those kinds of shows, but GRACE isn’t a show you watch passively. It’s not something pretty with good music and a nice, happy romance tied up with a bow and some jazz hands. We here at Renegade believe the best view is always from the edge of your seat. And GRACE is a show that makes you lean in, give your date a few “did that just happen?“ looks and, after it’s over, it’s the kind of show you want to spend the rest of the night talking about.

 

In other words, GRACE is the kind of show we here at Renegade love.

 

And every Thursday night during the run of GRACE, Renegade is pairing with Zeitgeist Arts to make sure our audience has an outlet for their need to discuss this incendiary piece of theater. Each Thursday evening of the show’s run – October 9th, 16th and 23rd – Renegade is gathering local leaders from both the faith community as well as the atheist/agnostic community to engage the audience in informal, frank and friendly discussions regarding the themes the play presents, and their responses to those themes. Just a few of the people joining us for these discussions are: Lawrence Lee, Pastor at the United Church of Two Harbors; Ryan Bauers, Spiritual Facilitator at Blue Waters Church and David Bard, Pastor of First United Methodist Church.

 

And even the Zeitgeist Arts Café is getting in on the act, by offering New Belgium’s Lips of Faith limited-edition brews on tap for the run of GRACE.

 

This production is gearing up to not only be a jaw-dropping production of a thrilling new play featuring some of the finest local talent our community has to offer, but also a means to bring a divisive topic out in the public square and give all sides a chance to hear and be heard.

 

buy-tickets

“GRACE” – An Interview With Playwright Craig Wright

We are just over one week away from the Oct 9th opening night of the regional premiere of GRACE by Craig Wright! For those of you unfamiliar with this remarkable writer, Craig Wright is originally from Minnesota, where he was earning his Masters in Divinity degree when his career as a writer exploded. In addition to GRACE, he is the author of ORANGE FLOWER WATER, THE PAVILION and RECENT TRAGIC EVENTS. He also has had a very successful career as a television writer on SIX FEET UNDER, BROTHERS AND SISTERS and LOST.

 

GRACE is a searing and unflinching new drama that plunges fearlessly into questions of faith and religion and proves that they aren’t necessarily the same thing at all. Craig Wright’s powerful drama is packed with moments profound, incisive and dangerous while at the same time toying with conventions of how an audience experiences a play. Bold and breathtaking, GRACE pulls no punches in its quest to explore and explain the things we do in the name of God.

 

buy-tickets

 

As we gear up to head into tech weekend, we thought we’d take a moment to share an interview Mr. Wright gave to the Furious Theatre Company in Pasadena, CA about the script.

 

Craig, what put the idea for this play into your head?
I heard a story about a love triangle in Florida that operated a little bit like the one in Grace does. Also, I wanted to write a play about someone who reaches the end of their belief system. I wanted to write something that said: There is grace, but grace is a lot weirder than we think. 

Steve and Sara are from Minnesota, like you. Are there more parallels between you and the characters?
Well. I wrote the play when I lived in Minnesota and came to Hollywood. And the play is about people who lived in Minnesota and went to Florida – another hot, dangerous place. That’s about it.

 

Let me borrow a line from your play: “Did you go to church growing up?”
I was born Jewish and went to synagogue and Hebrew school every week. My mother died when I was seven, and once she was gone I wasn’t as exposed to Judaism as I had been. When I was 14, I became a Born-Again Christian. That ended when I was about 20. I started writing plays when I was 21. When I was 29, I decided to go to seminary. So I went to United Theological Seminary in the Twin Cities to get a Master of Divinity degree. I thought I was going to be a minister.

 

What stopped you?
Right around the time I graduated, I wrote a play called The Pavilion which kind of took off. So I did not get ordained and instead I kept being a writer.

 

Did your seminary training turn you into a better artist?
I don’t know about “better,” it certainly made me a different artist. For many years I had been searching for a style. Once I went to seminary, I found my subject.

 

Does that make you a religious playwright?
No. I see myself as a writer who tells stories about normal people with really big questions. Sometimes they are religious, sometimes they are romantic, sometimes they are both – like in Grace.

 

You are a successful writer for TV – why does writing plays appeal to you? 
The appeal is twofold. First, writing for television is a very collaborative process. When I’m writing plays I have more power as the sole writer of the play. And second, I really believe in live theatre and the irreproducibility of it. Unlike a TV show, a play’s value resides somewhere other than the marketplace where reproduced commodities can be purchased. The reason a play matters is not that it can be sold as a reproducible experience. It matters because you bought a ticket that night, you saw it that night, and those moments will never happen again. I find that more inspirational.

 

Interview: Ina Rometsch LINK

 

#T2RDuluth Prize Winners!

THINGS TO RUIN in the books, gang! And it was one hell of a good time. We spent the past week combing through the awesome deluge of entries in the #T2RDuluth hashtag contest, and we’re pleased to announce our winners (note, names and pics have been blurred in the interest of privacy. If one of these posts are yours, and you’ve won a prize, the info on how to claim it is below):

 

First up, three honorable mentions. You guys don’t win anything but pride. But that’s worth a lot. We had to single you three out for the great shots you were able to capture during the show. Great posts!

 

Honorable Mention 1

 

 

Honorable Mention 2

 

 

Honorable Mention 3

 

Next up, our finalists. If you recognize one of these winning posts as yours, contact Andy Bennett to claim your prizes. These first four posts have all won a super-secret CD prize! You guys earned it! Also, worth noting all that damn nerd love.

 

Finalist 1

 

Finalist 2

 

Finalist 3

 

Finalist 4

 

This is our runner-up. Same prize as the finalists, but a little extra special shout-out for such a great post!

 

Runner-up

 

And now, our grand prize winner. You get the same special secret CD prize as the other finalists, but you also win a PAIR OF SEASON TICKETS TO RENEGADE’S 2015 SEASON! Nice job, you!

 

Grand Prize

 

Thanks to everyone who played, posted and shared the #T2RDuluth love. You guys rock! We’ll see you at the Teatro again this October, for the brilliant and haunting GRACE.

2015 Season Announcement!

Last week, over some burgers and beer, the Renegade Season Selection Committee made our final decisions. Then, we went about securing the necessary permissions. And now … now, we can finally share our 2015 season with you.

 

To say we’re excited is a bit of an understatement. Read on, but scroll slow. The anticipation is the best part …

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Thoughts on “Things To Ruin” and 44 Renegade Shows – By Katy Helbacka

1801203_10203170559803656_501643391_oTonight marks the 44th opening night since I took over as Artistic Director here at Renegade. That’s a lot of shows, a lot of hard working cast and crews and a lot of love from audiences like you.

 

Last night, as I stood in the back and watched our invited preview audience having an absolute blast watching this crazy talented cast and crew perform this brand-new show from an explosive new writer in a totally unexpected way, I was reminded again of why I love what we do and what Renegade stands for.

 

6 years ago, the first decision I made was that Renegade, as long as I was at the helm of it, would be guided by one simple word: Entertainment. That’s all we would care about. Whether you were entertained to the point of laughing, crying, screaming or gasping, the only thing that mattered was that you were entertained. That the few hours you spent inside the Teatro Zuccone watching our shows transported you away from any day-to-day problems or stress. That we never bored you.

 

I’ve been thinking a lot about this guiding idea as we prepare to announce our 2015 season. And I’ve also been thinking about the comments I hear a lot from friends, audiences and people in the arts community. I’m often asked why we pick shows they’ve never heard of and why we don’t pick things with names that we know will sell a lot of tickets. And it’s because we’re thinking of our audience first.

 

We don’t set out to pick the most obscure material we can find. We set out to pick the most entertaining material we can find. And sometimes that means it’s going to be a show you’ve never heard of. But, if you trust us (as so many of you do), you know we will entertain the hell out of you.

 

As for why we picked Things To Ruin? There’s lots of reasons – not the least of which is the thrill of throwing a big party three nights a week – but it really all boils down to a few lyrics in one number of the show. Because Joe Iconis and Renegade Theater Company are kindred spirits. We’d totally be besties. We get each other. And, without knowing it, he basically wrote the Renegade Credo:

 

I am not trying to break new ground,

Be witty, impressive or insincere.

I am just letting it all hang out,

So dig it, or fuck off and disappear.

Don’t matter to me, cause I’m staying here.

You’ve never heard nothing like this shit here!

 

That’s Renegade in a nutshell. Sure, we’re a little less bombastic and angsty about it, but that’s the basic jist. We are trying to make you laugh, cry, have nightmares and rush out to tell your friends about the awesome show you just saw. We’re not trying to change the world or serve as a substitute for therapy or a place for you to catch up on sleep. We’re here to entertain you.

 

So come out to THINGS TO RUIN. And let us know how you like the party.

buy-tickets

 

Oh, and keep your eyes glued to the blog. The 2015 season is coming … soon!

Meet the Cast of “Things To Ruin” – Maria DePesa!

Tomorrow night the Midwest premiere of THINGS TO RUIN blows the doors off the Teatro Zuccone. Get your TICKETS NOW and don’t forget to upgrade for the full VIP package with free food from the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, free drinks from Bent Paddle Brewing and Vikre Distillery plus table-side drinks service all night long!

 

This is going to be one hell of a party and you do not want to miss out. Throw out everything you know about a night at the theater. Bring an appetite and a thirst and a desire to have a knock-down, drag-out ball. We’ve got you covered with dynamite singing, dancing and rock and roll, plus the best food and drink you could ask for!

 

As we get ready to unleash this show on the Northland, we’re going to take some blog space to introduce you to our dynamite cast of ruffians, troublemakers and malcontents. Next up is Maria DePesa!

mariablogpic

 

Have you ever worked with Renegade before? If so, what on Earth brings you back? If not, what the hell took you so long?

 

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes.  I have previously been seen on the Renegade stage with The Vibrator Play, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Renegade Improv, and as Natalie in Next to Normal.  As for what brought me back: finances mostly, and Evan cornered me, and he’s bigger than me.

 

What is it like working for 2 directors? Who is nicer?

 

It’s like having an angel and a devil on your shoulders like in an old school cartoon.  But one is on your shoulder, and one is on Dennis Rodman’s shoulder. They are both pretty nice, and I said that in like a cool 90s lingo kind of way. N-I-C-E.

 

What is your favorite song in Things to Ruin? What is your favorite song that YOU get to sing?

 

“Helen” is my favorite song in the show. I’ve always wanted to be in skin flicks myself.  I only get to sing one song.  So, that one.

 

What’s your drink of choice?

 

The nectar of the Gods, but who can afford it in this economy?  Geesh, taxes.  I’ll settle for a nice Pinot Noir, something to pair with my garbage can portion of pasta.

 

What’s your favorite party memory?

 

That one time that we were all listening to David Guetta and Kid Cudi’s song “Memories.”  Man, was that prophetic.

 

Why should people come see this show?

 

Cory Anderson.

 

The answers to this interview were dictated not read, while Maria slept in until 12:18 PM on an air mattress. 

Who Likes Free Stuff? – “Things To Ruin” Contest launch!

Iphone5

<——– This is a cell phone. If you didn’t know that, you should probably stop reading right now cause this blog post isn’t for you. But, congratulations on figuring out how the Internet works!

 

Okay, now that the luddite’s are gone, here’s the deal. We’re pretty protective of our shows. We are also very protective of our audience’s experience, and we custom-tailor our policies to each show in order to do everything we can to ensure you have a good time at our shows.

 

So, normally, we insist you turn these things off.

 

But not at THINGS TO RUIN.

 

This show is a party, and sometimes you need to document the night actually happened. So turn the ringer’s off, please and thank you, but leave those cell phones on. In this show, photos are encouraged. Take a snap of you and your friends having a great time, a pic of your fallen Bent Paddle soldiers or James Franco at that VIP table in the fedora (it could happen). Then, when you go to post it on social media, tag it with this:

 

#T2RDuluth

 

We will be keeping our eyes on this hashtag, and after the run is over, we’ll be selecting our six favorite posts. 5 of you will receive a very special surprise CD – something you can’t buy in stores and something which, if you enjoy THINGS TO RUIN, you will flip for. And the 6th winner, the grand-prize winner? Well, they also get a pair of season tickets to Renegade’s 2015 season!

 

ThingsToRuin-New-RTC-FinalNew-03

 

Meet the Cast of “Things To Ruin” – Cory Anderson!

In less than a week the Midwest premiere of THINGS TO RUIN blows the doors off the Teatro Zuccone. Get your TICKETS NOW and don’t forget to upgrade for the full VIP package with free food from the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, free drinks from Bent Paddle Brewing and Vikre Distillery plus table-side drinks service all night long!

 

This is going to be one hell of a party and you do not want to miss out. Throw out everything you know about a night at the theater. Bring an appetite and a thirst and a desire to have a knock-down, drag-out ball. We’ve got you covered with dynamite singing, dancing and rock and roll, plus the best food and drink you could ask for!

 

As we get ready to unleash this show on the Northland, we’re going to take some blog space to introduce you to our dynamite cast of ruffians, troublemakers and malcontents. Next up is Cory Anderson!

 

Doctor Who

Have you ever worked with Renegade before? If so, what on Earth brings you back? If not, what the hell took you so long?

 

Yes, I have. I keep coming back because I get to work with some great people, and in every show I get to do something weird I’ve never done before. I’ve been shot, dismembered, doused in gasoline, and attacked by zombies. And after all that abuse, now they’re letting me sing.

 

What is it like working for 2 directors? Who is nicer? 

 

It’s been great. Evan will joke like he’s an asshole, but he doesn’t mean it. And Amber is always full of enthusiasm. We have a running count of how many times she says “I’m so excited!” So I guess they’re equally nice, but Amber’s louder about it.

 

What is your favorite song in Things to Ruin? What is your favorite song that YOU get to sing?

 

My favorite is one our music director, Tyler, sings called “The Guide to Success.” It’s a satirical song that offers great advice like “Exploit everybody who’s helped you” and “Never say what you really feel.”
My favorite to sing is Nerd Love. It was the one I was least sure of at first, but it’s a lot of fun to perform.

 

What’s your drink of choice? 

 

Why? Are you buying?

 

What’s your favorite party memory?

 

That’s the thing with party memories – The ones that would make for the best stories are the ones I’m least likely to remember.

 

Why should people come see this show?

 

It’s got great music. Over the past few weeks I have caught myself humming every one of these songs. And this cast has been performing the hell out of them.
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