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Minnesota Fringe Festival

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Seven journalists from Wolf Morning News celebrate ten years of programming on a paddleboat cruise. But what they won't be celebrating is...murder.

The cast

Brent Latchaw
Role: Playwright
This is Brent's fourth go-round at the Fringe as writer and producer. Previous productions include Eight Expectations, Fabulous Beginnings and A Murder at Work. Brent enjoys acting, running and practicing his wicked tennis serve when not writing plays.

Bob Marcus
Role: Director
Rob Marcus (Director) is a local actor, writer, filmmaker, and producer. "Murder on the Mighty Mississippi" is Rob's directing debut for stage and first Fringe Festival endeavor. He has directed two short films and is currently working on a full length feature called "Earth Angel". Rob has been an actor and has worked in theater, film and musicals both as a child and adolescent and recently returned to acting after moving here from NYC. He played Norman in "On Golden Pond", The Dad, in "Dreamer Examines his Pillow", and The Executive, in a short film "The Pitch". He is currently writing a new screenplay about an alzheimers patient, and a theatrical play about baseball in the 50's and 60's. Rob is also producing a new theatrical event of one-act baseball plays to be performed in February 2010.

Val DuVernet
Role: Stage Manager
Val is a jack of all trades, master of (well you get the picture) when it comes to theater. With experience both on stage, back stage and directing as well as work in short documentary filmmaking, she brings a big picture view to the production. She’s glad to be working with this fringy group on the Fringe Festival.

Eve Black
Role: Alix
Eve Black is happy to be back on the stage performing in her first Fringe Festival. She has performed on many stages in the Twin Cities, such as Penumbra, Illusion Theatre, Bryant Lake Bowl and Playwright’s Center. Also, she works in Commercials, Voice-overs, Industrials and Film. She dedicates this show her biggest fan, her husband Philip.

Chris (CJ) Johnson
Role: Chad
Christopher Johnson, age 21 currently works at a wellness company in Eagan as an office manager. He is a certified personal trainer and enjoys training those who are serious about their health and fitness. This is his debut as an actor and looks forward to expanding his career in more acting roles.

John Berard
Role: Dan
John has been acting for almost four years now. His experience has been in the class mostly, and in some short film projects. In his last play he was two different characters. This will be his first Fringe performance. He credits his mother and father for all his creative energy.

David Durkee
Role: Leonard
Despite having appeared in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1975) with James Spader and Christian Clemenson, David has never been asked to guest star on Boston Legal. After pursuing a theatrical avocation through high school and college that included acting, directing, and lighting work, David vanished mysteriously from the stage for 26 years, only to reappear earlier this year as Charlie in the Eden Prairie Players production of On Golden Pond. His performance was hailed for a Maine accent that was convincing to midwesterners and his grating laugh. He'd like to thank his wife Brenda and children Donald and Anna for their support.

Linda Hayen
Role: Madeline
Linda rediscovered theatre a few years ago and loves everything about it. This is her third performance at the Fringe, after appearing in two musicals produced by Top Hat Theatre Company. She has also performed locally with Eden Prairie Players, Youth Performance Company, People Sittin’ Around Doin’ Theatre and Duck Soup Players.

Sheila Grogan
Role: Maria

Mark Groberski
Role: Marcus
This is Mark’s second appearance in the Minneapolis Fringe. Previous theater experience: 2008 Minneapolis Fringe; community theater; school productions. Training: Guthrie Theater; Herberger Theater Center; Victory Gardens Theater; Sarantos Studios.

Glen Stone
Role: Steven
Glen Stone has done two previous Fringe shows including, Strapped (2006)and Omlet(2004). He has previously worked at the Guthrie, (Jane Eyre) Theater in the Round, (Plague of Angels), Bloomington Civic Theater, (Jesus Christ Superstar) Theater Limina, (Oleanna) and various other projects, such as the independent film, "The System". Glen sends a hug to his wife,Kathleen for all her support. Life is good!

Hayley Saccoman
Role: Wendy
Hayley Saccomano plans to graduate from the University of Minnesota, Morris as a Theatre Arts student this upcoming spring, 2010. She has been involved in theatre in a wide variety of shows in a number of ways. Recent acting performances include: Little Women, A Lie of the Mind, The Birds, 'Night Mother, Of Mice and Men & Jack and the Beanstalk. She really appreciates this opportunity to participate in the Fringe Festival and has truly enjoyed spending time with the cast of this production.

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Traudtrikt Productions

Murder on the Mighty Mississippi

Thu., Jul. 30 @ 8:30 p.m.
Sat., Aug. 1 @ 5:30 p.m.
Tue., Aug. 4 @ 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 7 @ 8:30 p.m.
[A] Sun., Aug. 9 @ 4:00 p.m.

[S]=ASL interpreted
[A]=Audio described

Warning! Violence, Adult language, Loud noises/gunshots

Venue U of M Rarig Center Proscenium
For ages 18+
Written by Brent Latchaw
genres Comedy, Drama
subjects Relationships
features World premiere, Regional premiere (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Original script/choreography

Overall rating

User reviews

by sasha andreev Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
The Playwright seems to love beverages, because there were a lot of them in this play. A lot of ordering and drinking. I also found interesting the continuing characters lives outside the scene, being the "acting" of ordering drinks in the dark part of the stage. Entertaining. But for the wrong reasons.

Dont have a Clue
by Linda Sidwell Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
The story line was not very creative. It was like watching some people play the game clue live. Some of the actors were quite good

Great show
by Shelli Johnson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The show was great, very funny and it kept moving. A diamond in the rough ;-)

Only sex. . and that's it?
by Cody Stewart Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
8-4-09 @ 7:00pm
Rarig Proscenium

A murder mystery gone horribly wrong. Actors didn't know their lines, the pacing was off, and the performance was like something out of 'Waiting for Guffman'. With that said, I laughed at the wrong times and was entertained by things that I don't think were supposed to be funny. The cast put forth an effort in these silly shenanighans that ensued in this who-dunnit-cliche. I rate it a 1 out of 5.

Enjoyed it
by Jerry Jacoby Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Murder on the Mighty Mississippi is a murder mystery with love, jealousy, office politics, gossip, lust, humor, and a paternity issue all packed into one hour. The audience and cast have to figure out who is doing what to whom. The only thing we know for sure is that Wendy (Hayley Saccomano) is a very friendly intern. Linda Hayen is perfect as Madeline, the gossip, and the other cast members also do a fine job. The play had a few uneven spots but overall it is great fun.

Good effort.
by Teresa Weber Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Murder on the Mighty Mississippi gives actors, writers, directors and producers the opportunity to present an original play. More polish in acting and writing is needed, but the effort should not be overlooked because it is a good example of the fringe - giving potential artists the opportunity to take a chance and improve through doing. I give them credit for the effort. The highlight of the play is Wendy - her character is delightful and provided many laughs as the character moves along in the play. Good effort. It is worth seeing for an evening of fun.

They Tried.
by Ellen Jordano Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
You can tell a lot of work went in to the show, but the story wasn't very good. Eva and Hayley were the best.

by Brianna Lentz Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I thoroughly enjoyed Murder on the Mighty Mississippi. The story was sparked with moments of humor which kept it interesting. The characters were fun to watch. I especially enjoyed the character of Wendy. She was consistent throughout with her over the top reaction to all the events, but in a perky enjoyable funny sense. I also thought the actor who played Marcus was very good. In the beginning when he was talking to Wendy he seemed to have real sense of acting, looking at her and not over acting. I think he has a good stage presence. This play is worth a look!

by Giuliano Porrumba Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
The energy of the cast was positively infectious. All audience members seemed very attuned with the impeccable comedic timing of the actors. An individual performance I particularly enjoyed was David Durkee's character, "Leonard," who is a riot with his exquisite mastering of the nerdy "type." Hayley Saccomano was another interesting actress to watch, as she made bold choices with a fun sense of comedic timing. Overall, excellent cast and a fun story. This original is one you shouldn't miss!

Theater was climate-controlled
by Shari Brandhoy Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
The acting and writing was out of control.

Uninspired acting, weak script sink ship
by Hazen Markoe Follow this reviewer
Rating 0 kitties
Murder mysteries, despite the rather dark aspects of the subject, most often work best when there's a sure sense of purpose and character...with an added dash of light wit thrown in for a touch of humor. This muddled trek down the Mississippi fails on all levels. The acting ranges from so over-the-top as to be almost unintelligible to being merely bland. Much of the fault can be laid at the feet of both script and direction, which seemed to give the performers really nothing to do but act horny, bicker and shout at each other. The script was also wildly inconsistent...even to the pojnt of having a really suspicious character revealed as the sleuth with absolutely NO explanation for her previous actions. I ended up agreeing with one character towards the end of the play when he declared that he thought the cruise would never end. That makes two of us!!! Not recommended.

Non-Mighty Mississippi
by William Casey Follow this reviewer
Rating 1 kitty
Well-intentioned, this combination farce & murder mystery lies as flat as a crepe from beginning to end (at 0:59 on the clock). Not a solid story and the acting needs improvement.

fun for all
by Laura and Bernie Rose Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
The cast really makes these cooky characters come to life, lots of fun if you don't take it too seriously, and an enjoyable chain of events. Not bad for an original play, a good find.

Agatha Christiesque
by judy Welter Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Good story line, wonderful direction, great production! Pump it up for five kitties.

Mostly misfires
by Sharon Kahn Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
The concept sounded promising, but it just didn't work. Mystery was not believable, should have been played lightly and quickly so the audience didn't have time to think it through. Unfortunately, the cast was simply too big to keep track of and the acting was, to put it charitably, uneven. There were many opening-night gaffes, such as the perplexing moment where a character appeared to be felled by an unexpected phone call (oops, wrong sound effect!). The production mistakes and muffed lines may smooth out as the run continues, but I don't think this production is going to rise above mediocre.

I did like the actors that played the murder victim, the murderer, and the giggling ingenue (the CHARACTER was extremely irritating, but the actress had a lot of sparkle).

Interesting whodunit
by Ken Moreland Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
Not side splitting laughs, but fun to watch. Cast became more at ease after initial opening night jitters. I never knew local newscasters had such active sex lives. Enjoyed the bathroom shenanigans and beer gags.

oh, dear
by Karen Cooper Follow this reviewer
Rating 2 kitties
CJ Johnson seemed the most comfortable performer on stage, being natural and watchable even when he had no lines. And Hayley Saccoman had some engaging moments, too. Many of the other cast members seemed a little wooden, and the story was too busy.

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