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New season at The O’Shaughnessy offers eclectic mix of artists and community participation

Gallim Dance will perform Blush at the O\'Shaughnessy on October 12.
Gallim Dance will perform Blush at the O\'Shaughnessy on October 12.
Photo supplied

Next week marks the beginning of an eclectic season of music, dance, theater and performance art offered by The O’Shaughnessy on St. Catherine University’s St. Paul campus.

The 43rd season includes unique performances by performing artists from across the country, new work premieres by local and national companies and a fresh line-up of female artists, featured in its Women of Substance Series.

“It’s important for the University and for The O’Shaughnessy to get a mix between international, national and local artists," says Kathleen Spehar, director of The O’Shaughnessy. "We’ve also focused more this year on multi-disciplinary work, which adds to the season’s eclectic nature."

Two multi-disciplinary experiences bookend the season, with "Mohona" co-presented with Anaya Dance Theater in the fall, and "The Student" co-presented with Vanessa Voskuil Performance capping off the season in April.

“The Mohona piece is going to be this very large work on stage with some theatricality, some singing, chanting and dancing,” says Spehar. “The performers on stage will include artists from the community, University faculty performing as part of the dance company, and there’s a lovely social justice focus to that particular work.”Vaness Voskuil

"The Student" will also include broad community participation. Choreographer Vanessa Voskuil is recruiting 60–120 community members to dance and will be visiting the campus spring semester as an informal artist in residence.

“These types of performances really dovetail with what we’re trying to do here at The O’Shaughnessy, but also the University and its connection with the community, of giving more people opportunities to participate in different ways,” Spehar says.

The full 2013–14 season features:

Indigo Girls
A Women of Substance event

On their fourteenth studio album, "Beauty Queen Sister" (2011), Grammy-winning folk-rock duo Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, deliver a beautifully crafted batch of songs that revel in spirited simplicity. Co-presented with Sue McLean & Associates, the event benefits Honor the Earth, a Native-led organization, established by Winona LaDuke and the Indigo Girls in 1993.

Performance: Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets: $30, $35.

"Mohona: Estuaries of Desire"
A Women of Substance event

Created as a multi-disciplinary, total theater experience that invites audience participation, "Mohona" relates stories and layers images of women's work and lives in relation to water to reflect and pose questions about access to this natural resource and the systemic violence against people that results when it is subject to private control. Audience members will be invited to participate in the performance. Co-presented with Ananya Dance Theatre.

Performances: Sept. 20 and 21 at 8:00 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $17, $22, $27; $2 off for children, seniors and alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s.


What began as a street corner barbershop act in Orlando, FL, has now evolved into an internationally acclaimed touring sensation. VoicePlay is unlike any theatrical experience available today, recreating the orchestrated sound of an entire musical production with nothing but the human voice.

Performance: Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. Individual tickets cost $17; free for St. Kate’s students.

Gallim Dance
"Blush" (2009)

A Women of Substance event

Co-presented by Northrop, "Blush" takes the moment of blushing and expands it into a 60-minute journey of fiery, punctuated physicality by six dancers. Named by "Dance Magazine" in 2011 as a “wild child” of movement invention, Andrea Miller’s explosive works have been commissioned throughout the world and her company is known for its award-winning, athletic ensemble of dancers.

Performance: Oct. 12 at 8 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $18, $25, $31 for adults; $4 off for children, seniors, military personnel and alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s.

"Anything We Want:" An Evening With Fiona Apple & Blake Mills
A Women of Substance event

Co-presented with JAM, the “Anything We Want” tour features songs from Fiona Apple and Blake Mills’ respective catalogues as well as some original yet-to-be released material. The element of surprise surrounding this performance is perfect for those that like to be on the edge of their seats, giving the ultimate one-of-a-kind entertainment experience.

Performance: Oct. 14 at 8 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $39.50, $49.50, $59.50.

"Karna – The Abandoned Hero"

Co-presented by Katha Dance Theatre, "Karna – The Abandoned Hero" is a dance opera written by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, based on a poem from the epic "Mahabharata." A collaboration between Katha Dance and an array of nationally known Minnesota artists, the piece will feature Rita Mustaphi’s choreography, blues and gospel-inspired musical score by J.D. Steele, singing by Robert Robinson Music, direction by Marcela Lorca, along with original movement-painting by local artist Deb Shree.

Performances: Nov. 1 and 2 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $15, $20, $25 for adults; $2 off for students, seniors, and alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s; $5 off for St. Kate’s students.

A Women of Substance Event

Making their US tour debut, this A Cappella trio explores repertoire of Hildegard von Bingen and other early masters, world folk song arrangements, and contemporary compositions. The ladies of Voice, Victoria Couper, Clemmie Franks, and Emily Burn, look for music that is a bit unusual and songs they can make their own.

Performance: Nov. 10 at 4 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $22 for adults; $20 for alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s; $17 for seniors; $10 students and $8 for children. This performance will take place in Our Lady of Victory Chapel at St. Catherine University.

Kate Weare Company
"Garden" (2011)
"Dark Lark" 
excerpts (2013)
A Women of Substance event

Featuring "Garden" (2011) with excerpts from "Dark Lark" (2013), Weare creates dance that seeks to merge the mind and the gut through the power and persuasiveness of the moving body. With both rawness and precision, she maps a humanism that is contemporary, disquieting, and profoundly stirring. Co-presented with Northrop, this event includes a post-performance discussion from the stage.

Performance: Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $18, $25, $31 for adults; $4 off for children, seniors, military personnel and alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s.

katie-mcmahon"Katie McMahon’s Celtic Christmas"
A Women of Substance event

Dubbed Minnesota’s own “Celtic Woman,” Katie McMahon is best known as the original voice of "Riverdance." McMahon has performed at The O’Shaughnessy for over 10 years, becoming one of the theater’s liveliest holiday traditions. Her ode to the holidays, "Celtic Christmas" celebrates the season through a family-friendly program of traditional Christmas carols, stories and lively Irish dance. New selections this year will feature music from Iceland, Ireland and Italy.

Performance: Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $27 for adults; $25 for alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s; $25 for ACTC community members; $22 for seniors; $12 for children and $10 for St. Kate’s students.

"The Love Show"
featuring Kevin Kling, Prudence Johnson, Dan Chouinard, Claudia Schmidt, Dane Stauffer and Simone Perrin

Few storytellers can take you from the brink of tears to a belly laugh as adeptly and delightfully as monologist and playwright Kevin Kling. Kling’s plays have been produced at regional theaters throughout the country, and this season, he returns to The O’Shaughnessy for another night of storytelling. Join Kling and his collaborators as they explore the subject of love: the ups and downs, the thrills and spills.

Performance: Feb. 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $28 for adults; $25 for alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s; $20 for seniors and children; $15 for St. Kate’s students.

Yo Canada! Red House Records North Stars
featuring Ruth Moody & The Bills

Red House Records and The O’Shaughnessy team up to present Canadian artists Ruth Moody and The Bills. Two-time Juno Award winning singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ruth Moody is a founding member of the The Wailin' Jennys and former lead singer of the Canadian roots band Scruj MacDuhk (later, The Duhks). The Bills are renowned for their instrumental virtuosity, lush vocal arrangements, exuberant live performances, evocative songwriting and refreshingly innovative interpretations of traditional tunes from around the globe. They recently reunited to record "Yes Please" on Red House Records.

Performance: Feb 22, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $20, $30, $50.

"The Student"
A Women of Substance event

Choreographer Vanessa Voskuil collaborates with award-winning composer Janika Vandervelde and sound artist Jesse Whitney of Abby Wolf’s & Her Claws in this epic movement, visual, and music theater performance piece about learning, knowing and being. A large-scale community-inclusive and multidisciplinary performance project directed and choreographed by Voskuil, "The Student" will bring together choirs, community members and movement artists in this physical, emotional and psychological study of human experience.

Performance: April 3 and 4, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. Individual ticket costs: $25 for adults; $23 for alumnae, staff and faculty of St. Kate’s; $20 for seniors; $12 for students and children.

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Aug. 28, 2013 by Sharon Rolenc

See also: Arts, Social Justice