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August 1–11, 2013 / Minneapolis

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Hello Stranger

Something different /

By The Newton Theatre

Directed by Emily King

A woman asks an audience to look into her heart. Metaphorically. She tells of dinosaurs and Ancient Greece. Absurdly. She asks them to exchange souls. Literally. And after the show they meet again. As friends.

Opera/New Music, Solo show, Storytelling/Spoken word

Audience participation, World premiere

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 18 and up.

Friday, 8/2 8:30 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/3 2:30 p.m.
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Wednesday, 8/7 10:00 p.m.
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Thursday, 8/8 5:30 p.m.
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Saturday, 8/10 5:30 p.m.
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U of M Rarig Center Thrust

330 21st Ave. S, Main Floor

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Reviews

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Audience reviews

Hello Stranger!

By Suzie Juul / August 24, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

What a charming and heartwarming show, not only that, but I made a new friend!
:-) The creativity in this show was a major factor in it's charm. The shadow puppets were fantastic, the music - played by Blake Thomas was enchanting, and Deb was so likeable and charismatic.
This show was done really, really well. I can't wait for the songs in the show to be recorded and up for download!
Hello Stranger is a sweet and interesting show about how theatre can change lives and in some cases create relationships. Well done!

A Heartwarming Experiment

By Andrew Neill / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Hello Stranger takes advantage of the unique, live experience that theater supplies in telling a sweet, off-beat story. Shadow puppets, witty voiceover, live music, and a brilliant comedic performance by Debra Berger made this an experience worth having. The show heavily involves the audience's participation, which usually makes me squirm, but, in this rare case, did not. It cleverly sets up each participatory element in a positive way, urging the audience in the direction of success. Those like me, who avoid such situations, should fear not!

Unique and joyful

By Mark Webb / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 48 shows

Having no idea what to expect from this one, I had a great time. I want Berger to be my little sister! She's sweet and charming, and delivers a fine performance. Everyone in the audience was having a great time, myself included. And who doesn't like shadow puppets, huh? Love it!

Awesome

By Barb Michaels-Rauen / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Wonderful, wonderful! What a great concept. Interaction was not awkward at all, you did a great job of making us feel comfortable. Loved the voice over, puppets, music and Deb was fantastic!

Social Theatre

By Jordan Thompson / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 34 shows

As a show, I would give this four stars. It was a lot of fun, very entertaining, and flowed fairly well. As a social theatre experiment, I absolutely have to give this five stars. In some very clever ways, Newton Theatre deconstructs some boundaries and attempts to break down the basis of what an audience is by tradition, and reinvents it as something else--not just viewers, but something closer to a community. Rather than accomplishing this enormous task, 'Hello Stranger' lets us envision a new future for performative communities. Which, in itself, is pretty incredible. And even better, you will certainly leave with a smile.

Love & Dinosaurs

By Joshua Carlon / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Great show - funny, creative, unique, swearing - basically everything you want in a Fringe show. Go see it. Bring an outgoing date. Sit up front.

A joy!

By Molly Chase / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I'm so glad I saw Hello Stranger! It's unique and memorable, plus charming, funny and just a delight to be a part of. Debra Berger shines -- she absolutely lights the place up. I don't want to call out each of the performances for fear of ruining any surprises, but I do want to say the everyone in the production does a great, great job. Very highly recommended.

Deeee-lightful

By Michael Krefting / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I cannot agree more that this show works best with a bigger audience. This is the first review I've written since Sunday, because this show is THAT good.

The apple of my eye.

By Kimberly Miller / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Usually when I go to a show and I hear that there is audience participation, I clam up. When I go to the theatre I want to be transported beyond my daily cares. After seeing 'Hello Stranger' I can definitely say that I was transported, but to a place a little bit closer to home: my heart.

This show is brilliant, engaging, introspective, clever, and warm. Don't miss your chance to see this amazing show.

Fantastic Absurd Fun

By Damon Runnals / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Newton Theatre pulls off a fantastic array of fringe awesomeness with this show. Debra Berger sings, improvs, connects to audience, and has an all round great time on stage. Underscored with live music this piece feels like a live radio broadcast and existential exploration all at the same time.
Go see it!

Joyful, gifted

By Deborah Dopp / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I will remember this charming performance forever because it gleefully broke into my heart . Delightful.

Beautiful, heart felt, Funny!

By Joy Dolo / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

This production was really great! You fall in love with Deb and kinda the audience. I made more than one friend tonight. I'm looking at my friend's soul right now... :D go see it!!!

Absolutely Wonderful

By Megan Losure / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 10 shows

I think this might be the best thing I've seen at the Fringe this year. This show is charmingly honest, a true reflection of the human experience. Debra brought the audience on a very personal journey and asked us to trust her, and we did in a way that was very real and emotional. Uplifting and beautiful. Must-See.

See this show, but not for yourself!

By Gabe Heller / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 27 shows

A hilariously absurd and moving exploration of how a show could actually do all those B.S. things that storytelling shows claim they're gonna do in the program, the things that storytellers used to actually do in the olden days, you know, bring people together to share a common narrative and all that hokum. There's only one thing missing that keeps this show from being a 5 for me. That thing is you. All of you. In the audience for this show. At the very next performance. You owe it to yourself. Actually, forget yourself! You owe it to everyone else!

1 person found this review helpful

Half Show/ Half Psych Class?

By Mark Sweeney / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Here's what I like to see in fringe - risks and plenty of surprises and 'Hello Stranger' delivers effortlessly. Deb Berger and company place so much freaking trust in the audience that it bonds us before she even starts to try. Full of mystery, humanity and absurdity. Go now! and get acquainted... or more with 'Hello Stranger'

Getting to know you...

By Kim Kivens / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

This show makes me want to have a meaningful one on one conversation with every single person I meet. Debra made me feel better about the fact that I smile at strangers. Overall, terrific experience. Yep, it's an experience. Kudos to Debra, Tyler, Blake and team for a magical, hilarious one. GO!

The happiest show in the Fringe!

By Max Wojtanowicz / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Debra is LOVELY, and the show is LOVELY.
Blake and Tyler and the puppeteers -- everyone makes this just a really magical experience.
You'd have to be pretty cold-hearted not to be charmed by Debra and by this show. TOTALLY worth seeing! Get there!

The Real Deal

By Levi Weinhagen / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

This show was fantastic. Funny, thoughtful, vulnerable, and surprisingly communal. If you hate laughter, love, and theater than don't see this show.

Go see it!

By Chris Rowen / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Excellent show! I went to see it from word of mouth and was completely floored. It is wildly imaginative. See it!

Somewhat qualified praise

By Will Weisert / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 38 shows

I struggled with the stars on this one. On one hand, audience participation is a huge turn-off for me. On the other hand, Debra Berger is so darned talented and the overall show is so 'fringe' (non-traditional, well conceived, and pretty darn well executed) three stars just doesn't seem right.

If you like to be directly involved in a performance and if you like to see a playwright, director, and performers take a chance, this is a show that's well worth your time. If 'directly involved in a performance' isn't your thing, it still is worth the time if you have an open slot in your schedule.

1 person found this review helpful

Wonderful & More Wonderful

By Jeremy Motz / August 14, 2013
This user has reviewed 17 shows

Quirky, original, adorable, catchy, funny, sweet, more and more adjectives that just mean: what a great show!

Hilarious and honest

By Lisa Hu / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 12 shows

The shadow puppets were hilarious. Blake Thomas’ music was perfect. Debra Berger was honest and angsty--and downright charming. This show had a heartbeat--and I hear that’s the secret to live theater and an involved audience. I love the intentional usage of humor and honesty to bring an audience together, to force them to interact more directly with one another, to bridge gaps and offer something for the future. Humor is a powerful tool and this team has honed it well.

So Charming!!!

By Mark Long / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 37 shows

This was the best audience interaction I've ever experienced at a Fringe show. Debra is so charming, disarming and cute, she cuddled the whole audience with her sweetness. I've been married to my "seat buddy" for 21 years, and we still had fun shaking hands and exchanging souls. Remount this as a blind date show. I'd love to recommend it to my single friends.

Secret Handshake

By Paula Nancarrow / August 10, 2013
This user has reviewed 23 shows

I got one now. Oh yeah. With someone my age. Which means both of us can only remember half of it. So I guess we'll have to be Best Friends Forever. Which I think is the point of the show. I wish everyone I've ever had a stupid fight with could learn to do voiceovers. We would save the world.

Best show I've seen this year

By Daniel Williams / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

This little gem won me over with it's wit and charm. It was fun to get lost in "Theater" as an idea and a construct. By putting the medium in the foreground, the audience, quite inevitably, becomes part of the show. A noble goal and one that is achieved with precision and reckless freedom.

Great show!

By Dmitry Futoryan / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

I had a great time at the show!

Highly recommended for anyone who likes dinosaurs, apples, and meeting new people.

Delightful and Lovely!

By Amanda Schnabel / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

This is such an unexpectedly beautiful show! Having seen Deb's work in the past, I knew it would be funny, and smart, and gutsy, and honest. What I didn't know was that I was going to leave the theater full of warmth - with a giant smile on my face - and feeling like I had just been a part of something larger than the sum of its parts. If you walk in the door with an open mind, I think you will find that you walk out the door with a heart that's just *a bit* more open - and couldn't this world use a little more of that? (I know, I know. That last sentence is just dripping with cheese. But it's true! So go!)

Go see this one!

By Meg Disciorio / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Debra Berger and the Newton Theatre offer up a charming, sweet, magical show about relationships and love complete with music and shadow puppets!
The audience participation is gentle and voluntary making it easy to get involved, even for those who usually shy away from that sort of thing.
A refreshing and lovely addition to the usual fringe fare!

I love Debra Berger

By Scot Moore / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 7 shows

That's pretty much it. Oh, and the rest of the supporting personnel really help round the show out (great guitar player!). But really, the show just made me want to hug everyone in the room, particularly Berger. I'll never need that highlighter back. Ever.

Great show!

By Ali Feneis / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Witty, whimsical & overall very entertaining! Do yourself a favor & check it out!

Fun Show!

By Grace Bettino / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

This was my first fringe show - it was a great time! Go check it out.

New friend included in ticket price!

By Florence Brammer / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 56 shows

This is such a unique and wonderful show. And I even came out with a new friend, complete with shared treats and a secret handshake. So simple on its surface, but so touching. Its power sneaks up on you, too. I mean, all of a sudden I was tearing up at some dinosaur shadow puppets.

See this show

By Jan Peterson / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Creative, engaging, funny, poignant…this show has it all. Debra Berger connects with the audience in a way that makes you feel she is talking personally to YOU. Great music by Blake Thomas moves the show along at just the right pace. And the shadow puppets add a delightful element. See this show by The Newton Theatre – it’s well worth your time.

Just go/what are you waiting for

By Chris Stroschein / August 6, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

This show is sooooo good. In fact its ridiculous how good it is. It's totally accessible and charming but also really smart and well rounded. The very deliberate/unique style of presentation is just weird/theatrical enough that all the weirdo hardcore experimental theater nuts can like it, but it's also got a really great/sweet story at the center of it all so all the saps like me can really get behind it. If you miss your chance to see it you may never forgive yourself.

Charming, honest.

By Julia Carlis / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This is the best possible kind of audience participation (a thing I'm normally not into at all). Debra asks the audience to connect with her and with each other on a genuine, human level. Her stories are charming, songs lovely and there are dinosaurs. What's not to love?

They ATE my soul!

By Victoria Pyan / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 8 shows

This is a love story in an untraditional sense. How the audience falls in love with Debra Berger. Full of heighted theatricality, direct addresses (with the lights up), shadow puppets, interesting ideas about interactions with fellow human beings, and music. Debra gives you more than the ticket's price worth of performace. Its a wonderful breath of fresh air- funny to the beat of her own drum. Sit next to someone you don't know for full effect.

1 person found this review helpful

Funny and Fun

By Barbara Torkelson / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This was a fun show to participate in, and you will end up participating. I had a great time.

Loved it!

By Erica Franklin / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

To be honest, we actually ended up at this show because the one we planned to go to sold out. This was a fantastic surprise! Very original and creative, great cast, music, well produced. See it!

Talented crew

By Allison Ballou / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Having no expectations whatsoever, and only going because I saw Debra in a 2011 Fringe show, I was completely surprised and delighted! Debra is obviously talented and immediately likable on stage. The show is whimsical, humorous, and just plain fun. I loved the music and how, for the first time in my life, I felt an affinity for dinosaurs. The audience participation was minimal and tastefully done. I highly recommend!

You should go!

By Alex Moen / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

It's sweet, funny, and different. I'm pretty shy and I was also not in the mood to do an "audience participation" thing, but it was really great, so just go! If you're going with someone you know pretty well, take the performers' advice and sit next to a stranger. Trust me, I regret not doing it (and I'm the kind of person who usually shuns social interaction). Very low pressure experience. Debra has a beautiful voice, a sweet, confident stage presence, and is just really likable. You want to help her create this story. Puppetry, quirky songs, little bit of improv, non-cheesy sentiment, and effortless humor. Go.

1 person found this review helpful

Good Bye New Friend

By Kevin McDonnell / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 18 shows

A wonderfully charming production with the lovable Debra Berger. It was full of laughs from start to finish & a load of fantastic audience participation. I didn't want the show to end. The musician was amazing as well. A well-written script and a very clean, well-paced show that was full of surprises. Plus, I made a new friend! Thanks!

Fab Fringe Fun

By Richard Jackson / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 55 shows

This was a wonderful surprise. Debra is a delight and the show is full of unexpected and richly inventive moments. Highly recommended.

Awwwwwwww

By Eric Salo / August 11, 2013
This user has reviewed 56 shows

Debra Berger is so sweet and adorable you just want to put her in your pocket and take her home. If this show doesn't make you smile then you have no soul. An utterly delightful experience.

Serious Fun

By Julie Rand / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Clever, odd, and memorable, this show is unlike anything I've seen. Clever use of shadow puppetry, smart interplay between the narrator (Mr. "voice-over") and the protagonist, and the creative construction of performance within a performance--very meta. Expect to get to know your neighbor, and be ready to join in on the participatory experience.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

By Emily Larkin / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Every year, I find myself going to a disappointing one-man/woman Fringe show. The audience is forced to hear their "special" life story and watch them show off their "unique" talents.

This year was different.

Debra successfully connects with the audience by helping them connect with each other. If you enjoy participating, this is a must see! The focus is not, "look at me, I'm super gifted and different from every one else," but rather, "look at us, we're all unique and together can make a great show."

Everybody was on top of their game, from local musician Blake Thomas to the puppeteers we never actually see. Tyler Mills' quirky humor shines in this well-written show, and I hope all of these people continue creating Fringe masterpieces.

Very unusual and very enjoyable

By Anna Amyx / August 9, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I really enjoyed this show. At the most obvious level it's very funny and I laughed most of the time. At deeper levels, it is thought-provoking, touching, sometimes funny, sometimes wistful. The show brings the audience into the performance (4th wall? what 4th wall?), but in a very loving and gentle way, so don't be shy!

Uniquely fun!

By Margaret Nelon / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

A very fun and interactive show (that's not too intrusive for typical Minnesotans) that does a fantastic job highlighting how beautifully simple and yet intricate life and relationships can be.

The story-telling seamlessly goes between past and present without missing a beat. Plus the songs and shadow puppets were funny and emotionally moving.

It's almost impossible to describe the experience, so go see it for yourself and SIT BY A STRANGER (aka: someone you have yet to meet : ) )!

Stranger No More

By Ryan McGuire Grimes / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Full disclosure: I'm an introvert who, as both an actor and theatergoer, cringe at the idea of audience participation. The very idea of this show should give me hives. But Debra Berger is one of my favorite people to have ever shared a stage with so I forced myself to go. What a great decision I made. If only I had also heeded the program's advice to sit by someone I didn't know. The goal is to tell a story together, and it may be a mystery as to what - or whose - story is being told. It all became quite clear to me by the end. It was a beautiful experience with a courageous performer. Bravo!

Something Different Indeed ...

By Mark Mikula / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 14 shows

I'm seconding the opinion of another reviewer here who recommends this show for people who are prepared to fully commit to it. Either you are an extravert, or you are an introvert who really wants to challenge him or herself to a different way of thinking about performance. The songs were very compelling, the show overall is very provocative. It relies pretty heavily on audience buy-in, so go with the understanding that part of what carries this show is your own participation. Debra Berger is a winning personality and a strong stage presence, so she'll do most of the heavy lifting, but it takes a village to raise a stage ...

Original, engaging, only slightly uncomf

By Mariellen Jacobson / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 12 shows

Through story, song, interaction, dancing, humor, and shadow puppets the charming Debra Berger helps audience members get to know her and each other. She does give permission to introverts (like me!) who quite dislike “audience participation” shows to interact “in their head.” Permission accepted!

I Wanna Give This Show a Hug

By Brigid Kelley / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 2 shows

I lurved this. So far, I didn't think it was possible, but this show is my new favorite, and I think it's the one that I'm going to remember most from this year. I left with a smile on my face and I felt that the entire audience experienced something together. How often does theatre do that?? If you want to know what that's like, come see the show!!!

Also, I'm voting Debra gets best actress so far. Her bravery on stage and beautiful voice was something to aspire to.

Fun show, well done.

By J.R. Lloyd / August 8, 2013
This user has reviewed 9 shows

Great cast and crew, lots of whimsical variety. Well worth your time to see this show.

A lovely time

By Matt Hartmen / August 7, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

This show was simply wonderful. Very different in a great way. I loved the use of music, narration and shadow puppetry. Deb does a great job at interacting and guiding the audience through this highly interactive show. Go see it!

Incredible Lesson!

By Justin S / August 5, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

Not only was the performance great, but the show was deeper than most shows. It didn't have just audience involvement, but it was a different kind of audience involvement.

While you can read about the show's emphasis of connection, there was a bigger picture.

It was a commentary on modern day society's fixed connections. While the show was all about new connections, the theme of the show was simply that no matter how good the new connections are, old and close relationships are the most important to our happiness.

That's what I go as the message.

Great job by Debra, Tyler, and the awesome puppeteering crew!

Overall, great experience. I called my partner a monster for eating my soul, but I can't really blame her. It was strawberry!

Enjoy the ride

By Michael Fischbein / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

What fourth wall? Debra B doesn't just ignore it, she breaches and uses it to engage and breathe fringe life into her call and response design. Be aware - you are a part of this performance. Be aware of who you sit next to. Have fun!

Hello Success

By Christopher Garza / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 5 shows

Beautiful moments, clever tricks, and genuine interaction. An absolute delight. This show deserves a sold out show. Sometimes, the segments appeared disconnected but never so much as to detriment this overall wonderful experience.

Delightful and unexpected!

By John Heimbuch / August 4, 2013
This user has reviewed 1 show

What a wonderful production! Inventive, clever, deceptively simple, and frequently disarming. A delightful time in the moment, and a lot to consider about love, friendship, and human relationships afterward -- it constantly plays with the audience's expectations to turn the show in entertaining directions. And the songs are both silly and haunting. LOVED IT.

Stop everything and see this show.

By Andy Kraft / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 4 shows

This show was great! Extremely engaging and all around wonderful. Deb Berger is ridiculously charming as she shares the stage with a live band that consists of the great Blake Thomas and instruments. Go see this show because it's full of happy!

Engaging!

By Ryan Nelson / August 3, 2013
This user has reviewed 6 shows

A fantastic show! You enter a stranger and leave a friend. Such innovative story telling! Shadow puppets! Live music! You can't ask for more! Berger Mills and Thomas enthrall!

1 person found this review helpful

Such fun!

By Allen Voigt / August 2, 2013
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I always get nervous when I go to a show that is 'audience participation', but this show had such a great blend of comfortable-awkwardness between actor and audience. It reminded me of listening to Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion, with it's folksy songs, and a jovial back and forth with a warm host who is welcoming you into a new community.

The jokes are silly, as are the songs; and after exchanging pocket garbage with your neighbor, you feel silly yourself and fit right in. I'd suggest bringing a group of friends to see the show, and scatter yourselves among audience, and after you've met some new people head out to the bar with old friends and invite the new. Such a pleasant gem of a fringe show, a definite go-see!

1 person found this review helpful

Background information + more

the NEWTON theatre 2012 Minnesota Fringe Festival Reviews

“Hans Christian Anderson meets Itchy and Scratchy, by way of Eugene Ionesco.”
–Phillip Andrew Bennett Low, MNartists.org

“By the end I was hoping for a 30 sec teaser for their next production.”
–Ricardo Vazquez, MinnesotaPlaylist.com


The Show

In this one-woman show, Debra Berger creates an atmosphere in which both she and the audience are able get to know one another better. Along the way she shares stories and songs, and examines what it means to truly get to know someone. The show was developed as a group over the last six months and the vast majority of the material for the show came from weekly lively discussions. 

The Goal

The goal of the show is to answer the question audience members should ask themselves at any live performance event, "Why is this being performed live?" And the answer that we have found, at least for this performance, is the acknowledgement of the other human beings in the room. We want to allow the audience a chance to interact not just with the performers but with each other as well. In doing so, we hope that they come away from the performance with a new relationship. Even if that only means that they have a new friend on Facebook, we’ll be satisfied. This sort of interaction is one of the primary reasons that the NEWTON theatre was formed and we’re excited to share it with you.


the NEWTON theatre

We are a collection of like-minded artists from various backgrounds, including theater, improvisation, film, writing and graphic design. Some of our members, including executive and artistic directors Joe Rapp and Matt Pitner, can be seen performing improv weekly at Huge Theater as a part of Bearded Men Improv. Several of our members are also involved in the P.O.V Film Collective. As a group, we're interested in exploring new works of live performance, especially those that ask the audience to be active participants. 


Link Party

Keep updated about our show by liking the NEWTON theatre on Facebook!

the NEWTON theatre website

Our Razoo fundraiser page

Cast + crew bios

Debra Berger

Performer

Deb

Born and raised in Eastern Montana, Debra relocated to the Twin Cities where she traded her cowboy boots for character shoes. Debra holds a Master’s degree in Theatre Arts with an emphasis in directing from the University of North Dakota. She has had the privilege of working with numerous Twin Cities companies including: Park Square Theatre, Yellow Tree Theatre, Actors Theater of Minnesota, Minneapolis Musical Theatre, Swandive Theatre Company and more! Hello Stranger is Debra’s third consecutive Minnesota Fringe show and she hopes there are many more to come! For more information visit debra-berger.com

Emily King

Director

Emily

Emily has worked with many wonderful artists such as Black Label Movement, Jon Ferguson, Luverne Seifert, Karen Sherman, the MN Opera, Leigh Fondakowski, and Live Action Set, for whom she has devised and performed in many pieces including the Ivey Award winning The 7 Shot Symphony. Her collective pieces with Ryan Underbakke have been featured in the Walker Art Center's Choreographer's Evening in 2009 and 2012, and she recently choreographed 7th House Theater Collective's celebrated rendition of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical. Emily holds a degree in Dance from the University of Minnesota, and when not directing or performing, she arranges flowers and designs events for her business Prairie Fair: prairiefair.com

Tyler Mills

Playwright

Tyler

Tyler Mills is a playwright and improviser in the Twin Cities. He performs weekly at Huge Theater as a member Bearded Men Improv and is a member of the board of the P.O.V. Film Collective. He is excited to return to the Fringe after his experience writing Two Dead Boys for Newton Theatre at last year's festival. Tyler holds a degree in theater from Minot State University. He believes fervently in the power of live performance to reshape the world we live in.

Blake Thomas

Composer / Musician

Blake

Blake is a singer-songwriter and composer. He has been the recipient of 3 MAMA awards and his 2008 release, Flatlands, garnered national praise, prompting the Village Voice to claim that it "ought to become the Midwest's national anthem." Most recently he wrote music, lyrics, and book for the musical Stay Tuned (co-written with Andy Frye and his wife Mary Fox (you can see her in the 2013 Fringe show Shelly Bachberg Presents: How Helen Keller And Anne Frank Freed The Slaves: The Musical)). For more info please visit BlakeThomasMusic.com

Laura Posterick

Stage Hand / Puppeteer

Laura

Laura is a Sr. Copywriter at a downtown MPLS agency (catchfire) by day, and a freelance writer, photographer, designer and social media wizard by night. You’ll often find Laura drinking (coffee, wine or beer), dancing like a fool or making sarcastic quips ... sometimes all at once. She has been in one theatrical production (Edges, in college) and is an avid theater goer. As a NEWTON theatre board member, Laura is super excited to be a part of this production.

Katie Vannelli

Stage Hand / Puppeteer

Vannellikatie_Headshot

Katie is a Minnesota native who loves to laugh until she cries. At night, Katie is an improvisor who performs regularly at HUGE Improv Theatre in Minneapolis and can currently catch her preforming with groups Shadow Bunny, The Class of '94 and Hi, Hello!. By day, she works as a Graphic/Interactive Designer and Email Marketing Specialist for the Minnesota Wild.

Katie is a huge music enthusiast (favorite bands include Led Zeppelin and Foo Fighters) and has aspirations to become a drummer and actress. Katie is also a passionate hockey player/fan and artist, who loves to cook and dance.

Lee Johnson

Stage Manager

Lee

Lee is a stage manager based out of Bloomington, MN. He recently worked on 7th House Theatre Collective's inaugural production of Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical as its stage manager. Other recent shows include Theatre Latté Da's The Light in the Piazza and Spring Awakening, as well as Mu Performing Arts' Into the Woods. Hello Stranger marks the first time Lee has worked with the Fringe Festival, and it is proving to be a great learning experience! Outside of theatrical endeavors, Lee works part time at a small computer manufacturer in St. Paul and at a local access television station in Bloomington. Video games, a select few television series, learning about space, and his girlfriend, Suzie, occupy the remainder of his time.

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