In 1987, a man named Curt Jones froze ice cream into pellets with liquid nitrogen, named them Dippin’ Dots, and eventually dubbed them “Ice Cream of the Future.” Decades later can it still be ice cream of the future or has the future come?

Mixed Blood now enters its ninth year of Radical Hospitality. While first-come-first-served admission without cost is the most visible manifestation of Radical Hospitality, it is intended to address all barriers to people attending live theater in general and Mixed Blood more specifically. Internally it has become so much more, guiding our approach to all that we do.

To become the theatrical destination for people with disabilities, for example, Mixed Blood not only offers a performance with ASL interpretation and live audio description, but offers audio description for virtually every performance. There are tactile tours for people with vision loss, projected supertitles of the script at every performance for people with hearing loss, mats for guide dogs’ comfort, facility improvements and changes to allow people with mobility challenges to sit or work almost anywhere, sensory friendly performances, free transportation to and from the theater, a year-round Disability Organizer with a Disability Advisory Council, and more, but also programming about disability, with artists with disabilities, and even festivals of plays centered on disability. We have dedicated performances for DeafBlind patrons. All that said, our work has such a long way to go in this arena.

Such targeted attempts could be cited about many populations underserved by the American theater.

Just as Kleenex has become synonymous with tissues, the Irvine Foundation hosted a conference in May for its arts grantees entitled Radical Hospitality, not because of Mixed Blood, but because the term is now equated with efforts to become a welcoming, inviting, affirming place for all.

After conducting focus groups a decade ago to determine the barriers to participation in theater, the one issue that spanned all groups was that finance was a barrier to participation. Mixed Blood had been receiving funds to offer free or reduced admission for people with disabilities, for Latinos, and for the immigrants and refugees of Cedar Riverside. Upon closer inspection and reflection that segregated treatment was deemed antithetical to our mission and no cost admission for all became a principle of Radical Hospitality.

Statistically, Radical Hospitality has been a triumphant success in transforming the composition of Mixed Blood’s audiences in terms of age, race, class, gender, and disability, but the overall assumption that finance is a barrier to participation is still being tested. While composition has been transformed, the overall size of the audience has not significantly grown. Is that because we continually reinvent our marketing strategies and don’t let any effort time to get traction? Is it the freedom to be bolder in our selection of material to be produced, material that is offputting to some? Is it subtle racism or classism that keeps some people from not wanting to assemble with certain others?

Beginning Radical Hospitality was a courageous act by Mixed Blood’s Board of Directors. It was a three-year trial. After three years the Board assessed and voted unanimously that Radical Hospitality was to be Mixed Blood modus operandi in perpetuity. It has become our brand, our culture, our competitive distinction, and the basis for our value system.

Whether you come via Guaranteed Admission or Radical Hospitality, please come. There are three parts to the successful experience at Mixed Blood: the area through which you travel to get to Mixed Blood, who sits beside you while at Mixed Blood, and who’s on stage when you come. All three things must be succeed for us to succeed.

Like Dippin’ Dots, after nine years is Radical Hospitality really radical or just our way of walkin’ our talk? Whatever the answer, Radical Hospitality is a source of pride for all of us at Mixed Blood.

Help to make radical hospitality possible into the future by becoming a member today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 8, 2019

Media Contacts: The PR Team, pr@mixedblood.com

Mixed Blood Announces Lauren Yee’s comedy

THE SONG OF SUMMER

as the opening offering of its 44th season,

directed by Addie Gorlin, opening November 1

(Minneapolis/St. Paul) – With catchy tunes and outrageous comedy, Lauren Yee’s THE SONG OF SUMMER – an unrequited romance between a reluctant rock star and his high school BFF – tops the charts.  Named for that inescapable earworm that dominates the summer, THE SONG OF SUMMER is an electrifying romcom about who is behind the song that’s on everyone’s playlist and what happens when the song’s singer runs away from his headlining world tour to return to his hometown.  A play with music, THE SONG OF SUMMER is multi-layered, rich and absorbing, with fascinating, complex, lovable characters who’ll keep you laughing, entertained, and intrigued from the moment the play begins.

Opines Artistic Director Jack Reuler: “Lauren Yee is among my favorite playwrights in America. I have seen and/or read virtually everything she has written and Mixed Blood has commissioned a new script. Her humor is quirky, her dialogue punchy, and her characters memorable. Her appetite for disparate topics knows no bounds. As a pop music junkie, I admit to having all 69 “Now That’s What I Call Music” CD’s! I wrote down the “song of summer” for the past 20 years as we went to work producing THE SONG OF SUMMER. From Crazy in Love to Party Rock Anthem to Call Me Maybe to Uptown Funk as inspiration, this comedy is simultaneously heartwarming and breathtaking, reflective of Mixed Blood’s worldview, and a joyous 90 minutes of theatricality.”

Lauren Yee (she/her/hers), a 2019 Doris Duke Artist, is a playwright whose perceptive work often explores family stories, history reimagined through different lenses and the lives of people on the margins of or outside of a dominant culture. Her award-winning play “Cambodian Rock Band,” a comedy infused with music by the band Dengue Fever and classic Cambodian oldies, shadows a young woman on her mission to take down a Khmer Rouge war criminal thirty years after her father fled Cambodia. The play premiered at South Coast Repertory and is running at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, followed by runs at La Jolla Playhouse, City Theatre, Merrimack Rep, Portland Center Stage, Jungle Theatre and Signature Theatre in New York City. Her play “The Great Leap,” a sociopolitical sports tale that centers on a fictitious friendship game between China and America in the late 80s, has been produced by The Denver Center Theatre Company, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Atlantic Theater Company, the Guthrie Theater, Arts Club Theatre Company and InterAct Theatre Company, Steppenwolf, Long Wharf, Pasadena Playhouse/East West Players, Asolo Rep/Miami New Drama and Cygnet Theatre.

Yee has received the Whiting Award, the Steinberg/ATCA Award, the American Academy of Arts and Letters literature award, the Horton Foote Prize, the Kesselring Prize and the Francesca Primus Prize.  She is a Residency 5 playwright at Signature Theatre, a Princeton University Hodder fellow, a New Dramatists member, a Ma-Yi Writers’ Lab member and a Playwrights Realm alumni playwright. Her work is published by Samuel French, and her plays were in the top two slots of the 2017 Kilroys List. Her current commissions include Geffen Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Portland Center Stage, Second Stage and South Coast Rep. She currently writes for the TV adaptation of “Pachinko” for Apple and previously wrote for Netflix’s “Soundtrack.”

THE SONG OF SUMMER is the first of three productions by Lauren Yee in the Twin Cities this season, followed by THE HATMAKER’S WIFE at Ten Thousand Things and CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND at The Jungle Theatre (coproduced with Mu). Last season the Guthrie produced THE GREAT LEAP and Theatre Mu has produced CHING CHONG CHINAMAN and THE TIGER AMONG US in 2009 and 2014 respectively.

Minnesota native Addie Gorlin (she/her/hers) returns to her home state and former artistic home to direct, having been a Producer in Residence at Mixed Blood for two years before completing her MFA at Brown University’s/Trinity Rep’s professional training program.

Mixed Blood aspires to be the destination for people with disabilities. Patrons with disabilities are eligible for free advanced reservations and free transportation to the theatre. All performances are captioned in English with projected supertitles for patrons with hearing loss.  For people with vision loss, audio description is available for most performances. Lobby, auditorium, and restrooms are fully accessible.

Tickets can be obtained in two ways: 1) Through Radical Hospitality, admission is FREE on a first come/first served basis starting two hours before every show, or 2) Advanced reservations are available online or by phone for $35 per person. Visit www.mixedblood.com or call 612- 338-6131 or boxoffice@mixedblood.com for more information All Performances in Mixed Blood Theatre’s Alan Page Auditorium, 1501 S. 4th St., Minneapolis, MN 55454

 

About Mixed Blood Theatre: 

Mixed Blood Theatre has invited the global village into its audience and onto its stage for its unique brand of provocative, inclusive, and predictably unpredictable theater since 1976. Using theater to illustrate and animate, Mixed Blood models pluralism in pursuit of interconnections, shared humanity, and engaged citizenry.

THE SONG OF SUMMER previews October 31st and opens November 1, with performances Wednesday-Friday at 7:30, Saturdays at 4:00 and 7:30, and Sundays at 2:00.

October 31        7:30 (preview)

November 1        7:30 (opening)

November 2        4:00 and 7:30

November 3        2:00

November 6        7:30

November 7        7:30

November 8        7:30

November 9        4:00 and 7:30

November 10    2:00

November 13    7:30

November 14    7:30

November 15    7:30

November 16    4:00 and 7:30

November 17    2:00

November 20    7:30

November 21    7:30

November 22    7:30

November 23    4:00 and 7:30

November 24    2:00 (close)

Download a PDF version of the press release.

To be in America, must it be a rite of passage to be directly impacted by gun violence? We can all recount the cascade of mass shootings since Columbine, if we can even remember all of them. But on September 22, 2008 the news stories of gun violence about which I read and heard and debated and acted upon looked me in the eye.

As I walked out of the door of the Mixed Blood Theatre that I have exited since 1976, a 20-year old Augsburg student lay dead in the street at the end of our driveway, having been shot in the head at point blank range.

Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali was a soccer player whose work study was tutoring young students at the Brian Coyle Community Center, which sits across 15th Avenue from Mixed Blood. He had asked a 15 year old to wait for the little ones to finish in the gym before playing basketball. That 15 year old ambushed Ahmed as he left the building.

15th Avenue South became a crowd scene. Ahmed’s body lay uncovered for hours as police gathered evidence. Hundreds of people, including family, were kept from getting close to him for tears or prayers. It was Ramadan.

I couldn’t leave either and watched, ten yards from a vital, ambitious, caring young man who would know no future. His blood coagulated around him. The police wouldn’t cover him so as not to taint evidence. I had coached one of the officers in Little League baseball 30 years earlier and he kept me informed, but I have been forever moved by that son/brother/friend whose life ended in the place I have spent my adult life.

While this act fulfilled a larger metropolitan impression of Cedar Riverside, police data revealed that we live in the second safest neighborhood in Minneapolis, safer than Linden Hills and Kenwood at the time. Nonetheless, City and community leaders leapt into action and eradicated the area of abandoned blighted buildings, removed public berms behind which criminal activity could take place, and punctuated the safety of our blocks, blocks on which over 5000 people reside.

The face of that young man – Ahmed Nur Ahmed Ali – shines in my mind’s eye each time a new report of unnecessary gun violence flows through the airwaves. It made it personal.

It feels like just a matter of time before it’s personal for every American. As crowds chant “Do something!” we at Mixed Blood vow to do just that.