Exhibit gives behind-the-scenes look at Twin Cities performing arts

And celebrates 50 years of the Guthrie Theater

If you’re a lover of dance, orchestra, and theatre, you know the magic of our Twin Cities stages. But you may not know of the magic that happens off stage, in preparation for these great performances.

Now is your chance, thanks to the thoughtful stewardship of the Performing Arts Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries. The Libraries is hosting “Behind the Scenes: Twin Cities Performing Arts and 50 years of the Guthrie Theater” April 1 through June 28, 2013. Visitors to this exhibit will get a backstage look at the Twin Cities performing arts community, said Cecily Marcus, Curator, Performing Arts Archives, University of Minnesota Libraries.

She said that the exhibit demonstrates how much energy goes into “hiding the gears, logistics, and stagehands” as in showing audiences a well-set world, wondrously brought to life by actors, dancers, and musicians.

Take a peek behind the curtain

What: Behind the Scenes: Twin Cities Performing Arts and 50 Years of the Guthrie Theater

When: April 1 through June 28, 2013 – free and open to the public

Where: Elmer L. Andersen Library, University of Minnesota

Hours: 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Friday and 8:30 a.m. to 6:45 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday.

“There are great pleasures to be found in peeking behind the curtain, into the rehearsal studios, costume and prop shops, offices, and boardrooms that make opening night, and every night following, possible,” Marcus said. “It is there we find the genesis of an idea–for a theater that will change Minnesota, or a groundbreaking ballet company, or a revolutionary version of a well-known story–transformed through personalities, budgets, missions, director’s notes, nightly performance reports, and beautiful costume renderings.”

50 years of the Guthrie

As the theater world commemorates 50 years of the Guthrie Theater, this exhibit offers the public a tremendous opportunity to pore through the extensive Guthrie Archives, which have been housed at the University of Minnesota since 1967. Marcus said that the archives offer a beautiful legacy, one still being built with each season of plays and programming.

The exhibit explores much more than the Guthrie, however, offering materials from the collections of the Minnesota Orchestra, the James Sewell Ballet, Theatre de Jeune Lune, the St. Paul Philharmonic, the Minnesota Dance Alliance, the Penumbra Theatre, and the personal papers of composers.

“With the close of every season and each production, sets are struck and works of art are dismantled, but there are traces left to be preserved, studied, and displayed,” Marcus said. “The Performing Arts Archives sustains these stories, many more than ever graced our stages.”

Many local performing arts leaders contributed to this exhibit through commentary. They include: Philip Brunelle, Leah Cooper, Jon R. Cranney, Joe Dowling, Barbara Field, Nancy Mason Hauser, Michael Lupu, Emily Mann, Jack Reuler, and Sally Wingert.

“Behind the Scenes: Twin Cities Performing Arts and 50 Years of the Guthrie Theater” celebrates the work, and the enduring magic, of our extraordinary performing arts community, on and off the stage.

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