Mixed Blood Theatre building in front of apartment complex on West Bank

As the media, families, and communities reflect on the past decade as 2019 comes to an end, so shall we at Mixed Blood. This is purely my subjective take on the highlights (and some lowlights) since 2010 and I invite others to share that which moved them.

With an unparalleled depth of thought, Mixed Blood’s board studied, dissected, and unanimously voted to launch Radical Hospitality, tackling barriers to participation in live theater in general and Mixed Blood more specifically. Audience composition – in terms of age, race, class, and disability – changed dramatically and it remains our MO today.

On the mainstage were many notable productions. Among them my very favorite included:

NEIGHBORS by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

PUSSY VALLEY by Katori Hall

COLOSSAL by Andrew Hinderaker

ROE by Lisa Loomer

SAFE AT HOME by Gabe Greene and Alex Levy

VIETGONE by Qui Nguyen

HIR by Taylor Mac

AUTONOMY by Ken LaZebnik

AVENUE Q by Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx, Jeff Whitty

LEARN TO BE LATINA by Enrique Urueta




In our On The Job program we offered

BECAUSE, about the stigmas of mental illness, for Hennepin Health

COME ANYWAY, about adolescent mental illness, for The Wilder Foundation

STARS AND STRIPES, dissuading teens from using gun violence for conflict resolution, for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office

COMPLICATIONS, about EDI as a leadership issue, for HCMC

BENCH BIAS LINGO, offering continuing legal education in bias elimination to MN attorneys

GO ASK ALICE, about people’s complicated relationships with pharmacies, pharmacists, and medicine, for the U of M School of Pharmacy

The films WHICH EXIT, FROM HEAD TO TOES, and ALBERTO’S CHICKEN DINNER were co-produced with TPT and Health Partners and used to train health care providers

Mixed Blood toured:


Mixed Blood’s deep investment in Cedar Riverside grew and deepened, evolving civic engagement, community engagement, and audience engagement. From producing KU SOO DHAWAAEA XAFADEENA with Bedlam Theater to health fairs to “Switch Up” to “Teachers Take The Firehouse” to the expansive Project 154 to “Education Before Action,” Mixed Blood tried to establish itself as an anchor of the West Bank and its East African neighbors.

Sadly, Mixed Blood’s board president Ron McKinley tragically died in a motorcycle accident. Director Marion McClinton passed away on Thanksgiving of this year. Stalwart actor Warren C. Bowles died on stage on opening night of NEIGHBORS, but, happily, was dead for only 20 minutes and continues to contribute to the Twin Cities’ vital theater community. Great staff and board members have departed from their official roles, and, before the next decade is toasted, so will have I. But Mixed Blood’s purpose – promoting and modeling equity and successful pluralism – has never been more urgent. 

At Mixed Blood, the best is yet to come. Happy New Year!

Mixed Blood announces the
World Premiere of the
Queer Asian Pop-Rock Poetry Musical
as headliner of its 44th season

Mixed Blood Theatre will premiere the new musical Interstate as the headliner of its 44th season. “Interstate is a glorious ‘pop-rock musical’ about inclusivity, queer and trans community, and the open road.” — Village Voice

By Kit Yan and Melissa Li, Directed by Jesca Prudencio
March 6 – March 29, 2020

Interstate is a Queer Asian-American pop-rock musical about two trans people at different stages of their journeys, navigating love, family, masculinity, and finding community in the era of social media. It charts Dash, a transgender spoken word performer as he goes on a cross-country tour with Adrian, a lesbian singer-songwriter, as the activist band, Queer Malady, fueled by the allure of fame and a desire to connect with the Queer Asian community. The band’s fiercely political and deeply personal music touches Henry, a transgender teenage blogger living in middle America, who finds solace in their art as he struggles with his own identity and family.

Written by Kit Yan and Melissa Li, its development history has included residency at Musical Theater Factory, the 2018 New York Musical Festival, Dramatists Guild, Goodspeed Musicals Residency, and the MacDowell Colony Residency. Interstate won 5 awards at NYMF including Best Lyrics and was presented at the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals in October 2019. Critically acclaimed Jesca Prudencio (How To Use A Knife at Mixed Blood in 2017) will direct Mixed Blood’s production and Natasha Sinha is the dramaturg.

“Mixed Blood, at its core, is about cultural collisions and is predicated on the premise that people like to see themselves reflected on stage in important ways. So when Interstate was presented to us for consideration, it felt as though it had been crafted for this organization. A ‘road show,’ it traverses the country geographically, but also along lines of race, culture, gender, generation, musical styles, and art forms. It is personal, professional, and political. Its remarkable creators – Kit Yan and Melissa Li – and its development pedigrees ready it for its Mixed Blood world premiere, and we can’t wait to share it!” says Artistic Director Jack Reuler.

Kit Yan (he/she/they) is a Yellow American New York based artist, born in Enping, China, and raised in the Kingdom of Hawaii. Kit is a 2019 Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, 2019 Lincoln Center Writer in residence, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, 2019-2020 Musical Theater Factory Makers Fellow, and 2019-2020 Playwright’s Center Many Voices Fellow. Their work has been produced by the American Repertory Theater, the Smithsonian, Musical Theater Factory, the New York Musical Festival, Diversionary Theater, and Dixon Place. They have been a resident with the Civilians, Mitten Lab, 5th Avenue Theater, and the Village Theater. In 2018 Kit founded Translab, an incubator for Transgender and Non-binary voices in the American Theater, along with MJ Kaufman and supported by WP Theater and the Public Theater.

Melissa Li (she/her/her’s) is a composer, lyricist, performer, and writer based in New York and Baltimore. She is a recipient of the Jonathan Larson Award, a Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellow, a 2019 Lincoln Center Theater Writer-in-Residence, a 2019 Musical Theater Factory Maker, a 2019 MacDowell Colony Fellow, and a former Queer|Art|Mentorship Fellow. Musicals include Interstate (New York Musical Festival, Winner “Outstanding Lyrics”), Surviving the Nian (The Theater Offensive, IRNE Award Winner for “Best New Play” 2007), and 99% Stone (The Theater Offensive). Her works have received support from The 5th Avenue Theatre, The Village Theater, Musical Theater Factory, National Performance Network, New England Foundation for the Arts, Dixon Place, and others.

Jesca Prudencio (she/her/her’s) is a director and choreographer focused on creating highly physical productions of new plays, musicals, and documentary theater nationally, and internationally. Directing credits include Will Snider’s How To Use a Knife (Mixed Blood), Calling (La MaMa ETC), Anna Moench’s Man of God (East West Players), Lauren Yee’s The Great Leap (Steppenwolf), PDA (La Jolla Playhouse’s WoW Festival), A&Q (Philippines), and FAN: stories from the brothels of Bangkok (Thailand). Her critically acclaimed productions of Qui Nguyen’s Vietgone and Anna Ziegler’s Actually at San Diego Repertory Theatre received multiple Craig Noel nominations including Outstanding Director. She is a recipient of The Old Vic’s T.S. Eliot US/UK Exchange Fellowship, The Drama League Fellowship, and the inaugural Julie Taymor World Theater Fellowship. Jesca is Artistic Director/Founder of People Of Interest, dedicated to creating community specific documentary theater works. She is currently Head of Directing at San Diego State University. BFA Drama: NYU Tisch, MFA Directing: UC San Diego.

The cast includes Kai Alexander Judd, Rose Van Dyne, Lily Tung Crystal, Brian Kim, Tom Reed, Zeniba Now, Oriana Lada, and Sushma Saha. Musical Direction by Raymond Berg and choreography by Brian Bose. Designers include Genoveva Castaneda (props), Paul Whitaker (lighting), Justin Humphries (scenic and media), Amber Brown (costumes), and Scott Edwards (sound).

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.