Musical theater


By Nautilus Music-Theater
Created by a group of Nautilus artists
U of M Rarig Center Xperimental

Nautilus performers offer their own explorations of how stories are told through music -- songs, arias, fragments, sketches, and other works-in-progress presented in an anthology of new opera and music-theater!

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

 Saturday, 8/2 @ 5:30 p.m.
 Sunday, 8/3 @ 4:00 p.m.
Audio described
 Monday, 8/4 @ 10:00 p.m.
 Thursday, 8/7 @ 7:00 p.m.
 Saturday, 8/9 @ 1:00 p.m.
Read the reviews


by Danielle Winner on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Beautiful voices. The first two pieces seemed a little overdone, although very pretty, and I wish the last had actually been staged. My favorites were the third and fourth, Let Her Grow Old and Coffee Shop. Overall, many very talented singers.

Much talents. Very singing.

by Tyler Norsted on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

"Reach" is a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of Nautilus Theater's artist incubation chamber. All of the actors are excellent vocalists. Most, if not all, have formal opera training. Though some of the scripts were a bit over-the-top, it was readily apparent that they were works in progress. As such, they had a raw, living quality that I quite enjoyed. My favorite was an adaptation of a piece from a Monteverdi opera entitled "Coffee shop," which brought two talented singers together in a lovely baroque duet between two discontented ladies. Over all, the show was fun, with some dramatic moments and a few well-earned laughs. Good times.

Just my opinion; see the show regardless

by Christopher Kehoe on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 3 shows

I thought this showcase was delightful. All the singing was technically superb, although some scenes held my interest more than others (your mileage may vary). I will point out, though, that the five selections had great contrast between them, so chances are high you'll find something that takes your imagination and runs with it.

A Nice Selection

by August Berkshire on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 52 shows

There are five pieces, so you're bound to find something you like. These really didn't seem like rough works in progress, but rather excerpts from completed and polished shows.

If you like grand music and rich voices (think Broadway) then this will be a good show for you. But I'm more interested in story lines, and I found most of these in the three star range (meaning good but not great). My favorite was "Coffee Shop," which I would give five stars to.

Strong voices create a moving experience

by Mark Halvorson on August 8, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Trust Nautilus to produce refreshing work from the typical Fringe fare. Strong voices and moving melodies create an evocative performance that examines the aspirations we have for ourselves, the values we hold true, and the sacrifices we make to balance the two. Personal highlights include a poignant performance by Erin Duffy ("Let Her Grow Old") and getting goosebumps from Andrea Leap's and JP Fitzgibbons's duet ("East of the Sun"). If I don't find the time to see more shows this year, I'm glad I saw this one!

So mainstream as to be Fringy!

by Corrinne Fiedler on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 32 shows

What a great diversion from typical Fringe. While I appreciate drama productions more than musicals, one can't give anything less than a '5' to the high level of professionalism. The vignettes were both moving and funny. Recommended! Go early, since the Rarig lower level theater is small. It was almost sold out on Thursday night.


by Robb Krueger on August 7, 2014
This user has reviewed 17 shows

A cabaret style presentation of new and unknown musical theatre work, REACH presents a highly intellectual, high art series of songs in a staged reading setting. Don't go expecting to hear "Taylor the Latte Boy." These five pieces are mostly dark, with sophisticated music and challenging themes. Some work better than others, but all are impeccably performed. A highlight is Erin Duffy's performance of "Let Her Grow Old." This is not a show for those who want to see the 7,268th remount of Anything Goes. But if you have an open mind, want to try something new or are familiar with Nautilus's previous work, give this a try.

a great introduction to Nautilus

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

Nautilus is known for developing musical theater in innovative and novel fashions. This collection of short works (or works-in-progress) gives you a taste for what they can do. High quality performance, professional musicians, great music. Check it out (and check out Nautilus's performances throughout the year)!

Professional Presentation at its Best

by Kevin T. Houle on August 5, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

I'll be the first to admit that I know next to nothing about music, but as a director I can tell you that this may be the most professionally produced shows in the Fringe. From the extremely talented singers, to the simple yet precise staging, to the exquisite timing of everything (including movement, scene changes, and projected slides), the kind of meticulous attention to detail in REACH is the kind of presentation I aspire to in my own work.

Composer-Librettist Studios Sampler

by Marie Cooney on August 5, 2014
This user has reviewed 24 shows

Imagine tossing five writers, five composers, five performers, a director and musical director together to see what happens. Ben does this regularly. This show is a great sampler of what can happen: solos, duets, full company songs, various styles, and lots of surprises. See this sampler if at all possible. Otherwise, there is always cookies and milk at ongoing Nautilus performances! Tonight was metaphorical wine and cheese night!

I had chills the entire time

by Jeremy Farley on August 5, 2014
This user has reviewed 1 show

Stunning music and vocals. The acting and storytelling were elegantly executed. Every performer connected you entirely to each story. Absolutely beautiful. If you want to see a musical at the fringe see this show! I did leave wanting more. But because I didn't want it to end

A mixed bag

by Patrick Gallagher on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

There's good stuff in here, but the show suffers from both pacing issues and a lack of variety. The writing/direction/performances are all sharp, but the theme of self-examination, evolution and reckoning need not always be treated with ballads and dirges. There are moments when they aren't, but they are too few and far between.

Good music and great voices!

by Vicki Joan Keck on August 4, 2014
This user has reviewed 16 shows

I have been a fan of Nautilus for years and never miss a show if I can help it. Wonderful combination of original music and professional quality voices in these works in progress pieces form several different shows. Though not quite as polished as some of their past shows, this is well worth your time.

1 person found this review helpful

Vocally strong

by Brigid Riley on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

The voices were all beautiful, but I expected more from the storytelling. The women were spectacular - Erin Duffy brought me to tears in Let Her Grow Old, Anna Sutheim and Andrea Leap were very funny in Coffee Shop, Laurel Armstrong was powerful in Set the Sun. But, overall, I was left wanting more.

classy (as expected)

by David Trudeau on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 37 shows

Nautilus is the premiere incubator for music theater writers, and performers and always reaches for the stars. They do it again with this selection of the best of their monthly rough cuts series. Only small problem is that some of the pieces could have benefited from a bit more setting exposition - "East of the Sun" for instance. Lovely lovely stuff.


by William Sikorski on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 6 shows

VERY talented artists portraying snippets from musicals in progress. All were good, some were great, and I hope they continue to be developed. Enough variety to find several to really enjoy.

1 person found this review helpful


by Claudia Egelhoff on August 3, 2014
This user has reviewed 2 shows

Five well-staged scenes but stories and characters were predictable, boring; music was generally uninteresting. "Coffee Shop" scene with two women singing their aspirations to music by Monteverdi was the only redeeming feature.

A Definite Good Bet

by Miriam Gerberg on August 2, 2014
This user has reviewed 3 shows

Nautilus is always a good bet for excellent performances of original new music theater and opera works. And they don't disappoint in this moving collection of shorter works. The singing is beautiful and uplifting, the staging was minimal but effective and strong never-the-less. One work that particularly stood out for me is 'Let Her Grow Old" performed by Erin Duffy. It had me in tears.

1 person found this review helpful

Cast and crew



Laurel has performed in our ROUGH CUTS programs, including appearances in Twisted Apples and Lamb in Love. She has also performed with Girl Friday Productions, Skylark Opera, Workhause Collective, Theater Latte Da, Bloomington Civic Theater, and will be appearing this fall in Alice in Wonderland with the Flying Foot Forum, directed by Joe Chvala.



Erin has performed in many ROUGH CUTS programs, and participated in our Composer- Librettist Studio. She has also worked with the Minnesota Orchestra, Workhouse Theatre, The Children’s Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera, Bloomington Civic Theatre, and many other local companies. She is a fellow of the Cabaret Conference at Yale University, and a founding member of the Twin Cities Cabaret Artists Network.



JP is a veteran Nautilus performer, having appeared in countless ROUGH CUTS programs, Composer-Librettist Studios, and full productions, including Songs for an Unmade Bed, John and Jen,Carousel, and Man of La Mancha. He has also worked with Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, the Guthrie Theater, Door Shakespeare, Children's Theatre Company, Dorian Opera Theater, Skylark Opera, and the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts.



Bill has performed in our ROUGH CUTS programs, and has participated in our Composer-Librettist Studio and our Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute. He has also worked with Bloomington Civic Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theaters, The Ordway Center for Performing Arts, Children’s Theatre Company, Minnesota Opera, History Theater, Mixed Blood Theatre, Park Square Theatre, Theater Latte Da, and Theater Mu



Andrea has performed in many ROUGH CUTS programs, and has participated in our Composer-Librettist Studio. She has also worked with Skylark Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Duluth Festival Opera, the American Composer’s Forum, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, the Minnesota Bach Society, the Jungle Theater, and Red Eye Theater, as well as with other opera and musical theater companies throughout the country.



Bill has performed in our ROUGH CUTS programs, and has participated in our Composer-Librettist Studio and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute. He has also worked with Minnesota Opera, Theater Latte Da, History Theatre, Paul Bunyan Playhouse, Jon Hassler Theatre,Troupe America,Drury Lane Oakbrook, Illinois Theatre Center, Candlelight Theatre, and Theatre at the Center. He will soon perform in Oliver with Theater Latte Da.



Anna currently serves as a Management Fellow for Nautilus, and recently participated in the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute. This is her second MN Fringe Festival, having performed as Dame Van Winkle in Dovetail Theater's 2012 musical Rip. Other recent Twin Cities performing credits include shows with Nimbus Theater (Emma in Babel, Penelope in Happy Birthday, Wanda June!), The Friction Collective (The Countess in Primadonnas), and 20% Theater (her one-woman show Singing Out). She has worked in many, many coffee shops.


Music Director

Jerry has music directed many Nautilus productions, including Twisted Apples, The View From Here, Carousel, and Man of La Mancha, along with many ROUGH CUTS programs, classes, and workshops. He currently serves as Minister of Music at Spirit of Hope United Methodist Church in Golden Valley, is the artistic director of VOICE 360, and is the Assistant Conductor of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Chorale


Music Director/Composer

Greg has music directed many of our ROUGH CUTS programs, and has participated in our Composer-Librettist Studio and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music- Theater Institute. His original compositions have been performed internationally, and he has music directed a number of shows for the Ordway Center. He is a former member of the new music ensemble Zeitgeist, and has played on countless Broadway tours.


Production Assistant

Justin currently serves as a Management Fellow for Nautilus, and recently participated in our Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute. He is a queer performance artist and one half of the new performance duo Frosty Bob and J's Summer Camp, who will premiere their production, Utopiacopia, at Bryant-Lake Bowl this August. In addition to self-producing, he has worked with Sod House Theater, Bedlam Theater, Workhaus Collective, and The Playwright's Center.



Megan was a Management Fellow with Nautilus last year, and served as assistant for our Composer-Librettist Studio at New Dramatists. She is also a youth director who has worked with Ashland Productions and the Manhattan Experimental Theater Workshop for high school students in Kansas, as well as working as a playwright and performer with Savage Umbrella Theater Company.



Christina ecently participated in our Composer- Librettist Studio. She has received two McKnight Advancement Fellowships, a Jerome Fellowship from the Playwrights' Center, the Marianne Murphy Playwriting Award, and a 2006 MacDowell Colony Residency. Her plays have been presented at such companies as the Kennedy Center, the Center Theater Group, the Guthrie Theater, and the Tokyo International Arts Festival.


Production Assistant

Kate was a Management Fellow with Nautilus last year, and currently serves as Program Coordinator and Company Archivist. In addition to her work with Nautilus, Kate is an Assistant Archivist in the Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota, and is enjoying her second summer working with the Loring Park Art Festival.


Stage Director

Ben serves as Artistic Director of Nautilus. In that capacity, he facilitates our Composer-Librettist Studios and the Wesley Balk Opera/Music-Theater Institute. He has staged numerous productions for Nautilus, including Ordinary Days, Carousel, Man of La Mancha, I am Anne Frank, Alice Unwrapped, and The View from Here, as well as premieres of Twisted Apples, Sister Stories, Joan of Arc, and many others.



Kurt recently participated in the Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio. Besides loving to spend time with his wife and four children, Kurt enjoys writing music and playing the piano. He is now preparing for year seven of his annual "Warmest Christmas" piano concerts in December.

More information
With REACH, our Artist Development Program meets the Fringe Festival as Nautilus artists leap into the unknown, telling stories through music in new ways -- making pieces built around the theme of "Aspiration", stretching themselves beyond their expected roles as performers and trying their hand at initiating projects -- creating new work, re-visioning existing work, or re-framing classics as experiments in creativity. The result is an eclectic musical-theatrical anthology of five short works-in-progress:

FRANKY tells the story of an aging character actor, alone in his dressing room preparing for yet another performance. He questions who he really is, underneath all his theatrical characterizations, and tries to connect with his true self. FRANKY was initiated by Bill Scharpen in our Composer-Librettist Studio, and was written by Ben Kreilkamp with music by George Maurer. These performances feature BILL SCHARPEN and ANDREA LEAP, with music direction by GREG THEISEN.

EAST OF THE SUN is a sketch for an eventual full-length adaptation of the famous Norwegian folk tale. This version is set in a post-apocalyptic barren landscape, semi-populated with survivors. The woman awakes to find her lover abducted, and sets out on a journey to rescue him. EAST OF THE SUN was initiated by Laurel Armstrong and written by Christina Ham with music by Kurt Metzger. These performances feature ANDREA LEAP and JP FITZGIBBONS, with choral support from ANNA SUTHEIM, ERIN DUFFY, BILL SCHARPEN, and BILL GILNESS, with music direction by JERRY RUBINO.

LET HER GROW OLD is based on a popular cabaret song by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich. This version was initiated by Erin Duffy, who uses it as a basis for a performance memoir recalling how she eased her mother's passing through the power of song. It has since become part of her autobiographical cabaret show, "I Never Went Away." These performances feature ERIN DUFFY, with music direction by GREG THEISEN.

COFFEE SHOP is a light-hearted look at our universal yearning to explore the greener grass of the other side, as a hard-driving but exhausted business woman encounters a kindred soul at her local coffee shop. It was initiated by Anna Sutheim, who wrote the text with new lyrics set to the famous duet from Monteverdi's baroque opera "The Coronation of Poppea." These performances feature ANNA SUTHEIM and ANDREA LEAP, with music direction by GREG THEISEN.

SET THE SUN is loosely adapted from the Greek legend of Icarus, whose father was architect of the labyrinth that imprisoned the monstrous Minotaur, and built artificial wings that allowed his son to escape to safety. The flight of Icarus remains one of the most iconographic images of aspiration. SET THE SUN was initiated by Megan Clark, who wrote the text set to music by Greg Theisen. These performances feature BILL GILNESS and LAUREL ARMSTRONG, with music direction by JERRY RUBINO.
Minnesota Fringe
Minnesota Fringe