Penumbra Theatre
Penumbra Theatre
Musical theater

The Ohman Stone

By It Works, Tom and Holly OKeefe
Written by Sheridan O'Keefe
Intermedia Arts

Historical content, Opera/New Music
Warnings:
Just so you know, this show has Loud noises/gunshots.


This play may go down as THEE most controversial in Fringe history. Musical about the the Kensington Rune Stone and the scholars who wrongly judged Olof and friends are back as ghosts to debate and sing.

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 12 and up.


 Saturday, 8/2 @ 2:30 p.m.
 
 Sunday, 8/3 @ 10:00 p.m.
 
 Tuesday, 8/5 @ 7:00 p.m.
 
 Wednesday, 8/6 @ 8:30 p.m.
 
 Sunday, 8/10 @ 4:00 p.m.
 
Read the reviews

Ambitious work in progess

by J. Anderson on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I really am intrigued by the subject material of this show. What an interesting part of Minnesota history! I give them alot of credit for bringing this to the stage. It does still need some work. I think the story needs simplification or a longer running time for more clarity. I was lost a bit by the ending-rap, Valhalla, what?


Minnesota Fun

by Doug Rasmussen on August 6, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Ghosts, history, controversy and love. That and a Rap in a bad Scandinavian-Minnesotan accent. What could be more fun? Did I mention love? The highlight of the show for me was the love duet. It was beautiful and well performed.


Didn't quite work, but close

by Nanette Stearns on August 6, 2014
This user has reviewed 30 shows

you can tell the developers of this piece are very committed to the topic and very passionate about it. I really wanted to like it but I found it boring and a bit plodding. While I know the general story of the controversy surrounding the KRS, I think the presentation could have been more engaging and interesting. Or it could be that I saw it at 10pm on Sunday after a long day of Fringing! Anyway, not my thing but a lot of people in the audience definitely enjoyed it.

1 person found this review helpful


Oddly Ohman

by Boris Lermontov on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Didn’t know quite what to expect, other than the subject was the Kensington Rune Stone, and therefore significant - to me anyway.
Fabulous idea this is, weaving a living history from all the characters past and present; projecting it on stage and screen, with significant portions told through song and dance. But I am not sure how well it actually worked. The history, presented through ghosts interacting with the living, seemed a bit disjointed. The rap music explosion at the end would have been better served with an operatic telling, and the ascension to Valhalla, although visually impressive, did not seem to fit into the real importance of the subject, which ultimately is the Kensington Stone.
I really hope to see this again someday, brought to a higher level.


Singing, Dancing, Emoting Video History

by Greg Kagan on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

We're Fringe-newbies, and our theatrical tastes have been pretty mainstream, so our expectations of our first Fringe production were open, to say the least. The Ohman Stone was a revelation, raw in some ways, ambitious, and transparent in showing the work and thought that went into its production. Highlights included some excellent vocal performances and clever mix of live and video presentation. All in all, a nice compact piece of theater with a lot of heart. In addition to its own merits, it's made Fringe fans of us, and we'll definitely be going back for more.


Minnesota Hotdish

by Lesli Randall on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 21 shows

Oh dear. This is what happens when you give a well-intended person 55 minutes to tell a story and they cram it full of every idea they've ever had on their chosen subject, invite a dozen of their closest friends to participate, and then turn it into a musical . It's obvious the cast and crew enjoyed themselves immensely and were completely sincere about what they were doing, but that wasn't enough to make up for the hodge-podged, meandering story. It sadly crossed the line into camp during the final musical number--a rap complete with beat-boxing and moon-walking. If it truly is the "talk of the Fringe", it's because of its earnestness-turned unintended spectacle.

1 person found this review helpful


Ups and Downs

by Liz Capouch on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 11 shows

The topic matter of the show is interesting, and I did learn a few things about the stone, but the show seemed to lack a cohesive vision. After an opening that channeled West Side Story, things got very serious very quickly, and the levity didn't seem to return until the end. It was unclear whether the show was taking itself seriously or not; much of the music from the center of the show seemed very serious (and was beautifully composed), while some of the acting was clearly caricature. I may have been delirious after a full weekend of Fringing, but the closing number made me laugh so hard I was crying, yet looking around, my group seemed to be the only ones doing so. The other downside is that the writing was more utilitarian than artful.


Framework

by Michael Zalar on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

The show feels like it was meant to be a full length production, but they had to rip out half of it. There are enough loose plot threads that it could have gone on a lot longer and been made a lot tighter. It is essentially the framework of a larger show.
That said, I did enjoy the show. The plot revolved more around the personal aspects of many of the characters, and putting Ohman's daughter Amanda as the central character in this otherworldly scenario keeps us tied emotionally to a show that might otherwise get preachy.
Good music, some wonderful voices in the cast. Certainly worth a look.


Admirable, despite lacking some focus

by Florence Brammer on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 42 shows

I was very excited to attend this show, not knowing anything about the underlying historical event and surrounding controversy. Unfortunately, there were no programs left when I went, so it took me a while to get up to speed. As one reviewer commented, this is clearly a "labor of love," but its constant shifting -- from campy comedy to serious drama to an out-of-the-blue romance to didactic exposition of the debate about the stone's authenticity to ghost-story netherworld humor -- left me feeling sort of exhausted, with a sense that the creators didn't have a clear vision of what it is they wanted to create. The uneven acting and vocal skills created some distraction, too. Still, an admirable and unusual show that I was glad to see.

1 person found this review helpful


The Ohman Stone

by Susan Foss on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

This production gave me a clearer view of the controversy surrounding the validity of the Kensington Runestone. I felt empathy for the Ohman family, sad they had to suffer for what they innocently found.


Must See Show

by Stephen Charrier on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 4 shows

I truly enjoyed the Ohman Stone. The show offered a great mix of interesting historical content, a unique and creative format and laughter to leave us smiling. The multi media video interface was a great way to enhance the show and tell the story. A must-see Fringe show.

1 person found this review helpful


Best of the Fringe!

by Virginia Bjerke on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

It was great! The O'Keefe's and staff managed to successfully re-enact an old struggle between fact and fiction regarding the KRS. The play imparted a lot of information in a short period of time, one could not escape the emotions on both sides of the issues. The lyrics of the songs were spot-on with the story. The vocals were extraordinary.

This production was done in such a creative way that it touched the hearts of the audience through our senses. Tears were sometimes visible (my own), as well as bouts of laughter.

Whether you are familiar with the story of the Kensington Rune Stone of MN or not, this is a play to be seen. It is serious, sensitive and suggestive!! Don't miss it.

1 person found this review helpful


Uff-da.

by Adam Boutz on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Pros: The cast and orchestra really had their hearts in it, and the subject matter is fascinating.
Cons: Pretty much everything else. The plot, the acting, the songs, and especially the dialog were just bad.

It really came through that this was a labor of love, but that is not enough to make a show. The story of the Kensington Runestone is fascinating enough to make an excellent story, but instead we were presented with a contrived and awkward narrative structure. And then there was the caricature that was supposed to be the story's villain. He may have been a terrible person in real life, was the man actually a Nazi, or was that just another joke about him made in in poor taste?

Not good. Not good at all.

5 people found this review helpful


Interesting story

by Karen Smudski on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 10 shows

A clever use of song, video and performance to tell an interesting story. A bit biased in conclusion, but that seems to be the whole point! An engaging tale.

1 person found this review helpful


Exploitative and Preachy

by Harris Burkhalter on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I love ghost stories and I love Minnesota lore, so I was totally looking forward to seeing the story “The Ohman Stone,” especially as an armchair follower of KRS debate.

Sadly, I must report not enjoying this exploration of the runestone story. While it is obvious that this was a labor of love, with lot of passion devoted to the project by everyone in the cast and crew, I felt that it was a heavy handed, preachy piece of propaganda. Nice music and acting, if a little stiff, was fun, but I really did not like the meanspirited depiction of people who disagreed with the agenda of the play, or longwinded lecturing about “truth.” The bizarre, creepy love aspect did not help. It will not change anyone's minds not who were decided on the topic

2 people found this review helpful


Laughing throught my tears.

by Scott Wolter on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

While admittedly close to the subject matter, I thoroughly enjoyed this performance even though I had tears in my eyes more than once. It was funny, sad, thoughtful, educational and above all else entertaining. I walked out with a lump in my throat and a smile on my face

2 people found this review helpful


"The Ohman Stone" is fantastic!

by Kathryn Bauer on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

The music, the comedy, the drama, the cast, the story -- "The Ohman Stone" is outstanding! Take the time to see this musical based on real Minnesota history. Learn the story behind the Kensington Rune Stone with a message that reverberates to this day. I took my entire family and we had a fantastic outing. I love the Fringe Festival and the surprising offerings.

2 people found this review helpful


You've gotta find out

by Linda Ferguson on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Did a group of Scandinavians leave us their calling card over 500 years ago? I've seen that rune stone for myself and I want to know. Watch this entertaining mix of drama, music and film and decide for yourself. Two thumbs up for an engaging and thought provoking experience.

2 people found this review helpful


Great Show

by Darwin Ohman on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

I just returned from this show. Even though I was aware of this project, I had no idea how it would be presented. It was truly wonderful and stirred a lot of emotions ranging from tears to delightfully happy. The music was incredible and the show presented a lot of factual information about the KRS and the impact it had on the Ohman family. All in all, done by a very professional cast. Hats off to Sheridan and Holly O'Keefe and supporting staff for a very entertaining and informative show. A must see in my opinion, a captivating 1 hour.

3 people found this review helpful


The best of music, story and fun!

by Brian Alton on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Don't miss this thoughtful and clever telling of a story dear to all True Minnesotans. We were drawn into the conflict and charmed by the characters. The music was delightful.

2 people found this review helpful


Video
Cast and crew

Sheridan O'Keefe

Olof Ohman/Director/Playwright/Lyricist

Tom played The Wizard in The Wizard of Oz for River Valley Theatre Co, and The Major in Titantic- The Musical at Ames Center. He has been a soloist with Dakota Valley Symphony and with Minnesota Valley Men’s Chorale, and currently sings with Vocal Essence and with Sonomento at MacPhail.

Nicholas Mroczek

Composer/Musical Director

Nicholas has a B.A. in Vocal Music Education/Music Theory/Comp from UMD. His work was performed by Duluth Central HS, UMD Univ Singers, Duluth/Superior Symphony Orch, St. Paul UCC Choir, and Opera on Tap. 

Holly O'Keefe

Erick Wahlgren/Producer

Holly has been in several plays and currently sings with Dakota Valley Symphony and with Sonomento at MacPhail.  Holly runs her own business, helping people jumpstart their health journeys. She is known as The Spa Queen and is the major sponsor for this production. "It's been exciting watching my hubby's dream come to life! We are so thankful for all of the talented people involved in our production!"

Andy Rakerd

Brian Storm

Andy is a teacher who has performed in A Year with Frog and Toad at UMD, Reefer Madness at Renegade Theatre Co. and in Sacagawea and the Average Joes. Thanks to cast and crew of The Ohman Stone, and his family for their undying support. 

Emily Stephenson

Amanda Ohman

Emily Stephenson performs regularly with Opera on Tap and Coro!, as well as other area groups. She holds an MM/MA from the University of Denver. Love and thanks to cast, crew, friends, and Andy.

Jenni Charrier

J.A. Holvik/Promotions Manager/Producer

Jenni has been performing since age 6 in 27 lead, principle and supporting roles. She is also a playwright, theatre promotions manager and copy editor. Thanks and love to Stephen, Austin, Andrew and Adam.

Jim Christensen

Sven Fogelblad

Jim is a student a student at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities and resides in Burnsville. This is his first show for the Fringe Festival and he couldn't be more excited to be a part of it.

Mark Olson

Hjalmar Holand

Mark has performed at The Phipps Center for the Arts, River Valley Theater Co and Lakeshore Players. This is his 11th production since rediscovering the stage. Thanks to niece Samantha for encouraging the return to it!

Ron Giroux

Thomas Blegen/Lyricist: The Face Off

Ron is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, with a B.A. focused on theatre studies.  He is new to the metro area and hopes this will be the first of many exciting projects.  Viel Dank über Alles zu meiner kleine Mutter.

Daniel Wolfe

Newton Winchell

Dan has been performing since age 24 in both improv and classic theatre. He has danced, sung, voiced commercials, been in a movie and PSA's, and done shows at the Guthrie and Old Log, and in Chicago. Special thanks to Mara.

Melissa Warhol

Keyboards

Melissa has been performing professionally in the Twin Cities for 20 years, specializing in piano, voice, and musical direction. She also mentors adults and children in music. This is her first Fringe performance.

Kevin Frawley

Clarinet, Alto Sax

Kevin is a musician of 40 years playing Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Alto and Baritone Sax with groups: Wolverines Classic Jazz Orch/Big Band, Bavarian Musikmeisters, Cannon Valley Orch, Mpls Civic Orch and E Metro Symphony.

Andrew Kurcan

Trombone/Cameraman

Andrew is excited to perform his first role since kindergarten; typically he works offstage or in the pit. He holds a MM in trombone from the University of Denver. Much love and gratitude to cast, crew, friends, and Emily.

Glen Thorsander

Prop builder/Video-Sound-Stage Manager

Glen has worked as an art director, supervisor, mgr and creative director at companies including Campbell Mithun and Fingerhut and also in freelance. He is a webmaster of several sites and is interested in writing and ancient history.

Carol Ann Meyer

Choreographer, Assistant Director

Carol has choreographed for Lyric Arts, Chanhassen Dinner Theater, Cross Comm Players, Eagan Comm Theater, Earth Wind and Fire, Lorie Line and others. She also directs and owns a dance studio. Thanks to husband and son.

Todd Andrew Gross

Videographer

Todd has worked in media for over 20 years as owner of New World Productions, Inc. He is also a collaborative with Appmosphere Inc., since it’s inception, as a creative director developing an array of mobile applications.

More information
- Minnesota Public Radio: ten shows not to miss!

8 ghosts help a reporter discover what he believes: Is the Kensington Runestone an authentic 14th century artifact or a 19th century hoax? It's farmers vs. academia in this fun, 1-hour musical based on Minnesota's Kensington Runestone.

Music includes everything from Opera to Hip-Hop! And, of course, a love duet (after all, it IS a musical!).

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