Mixed Blood History

Mixed Blood was founded in 1976 by a 22-year-old Jack Reuler and began as a program of the Center for Community Action. The first FOUR years of the organization saw multiple world premieres and the beginning of our partnerships with several actors, writers, and directors.

1976

The theatre’s first world premieres were produced in 1976: Brother Champ, by Michael Kassin (featuring Geoff Ewing, Ralph Lemon, Marvin Grays, David Selburg, Russell Curry, & more) and Badd High by Carl Lumbly and Jack Reuler (featuring Carl, Faye Price, Abdul Salaam El Razzac, Ruth Lassila, and many more).

Indians by Athur Kopit anchored that first season, featuring a cast of 20, including six native actors (the most in any mainstage show).

Dutchman had Russell Curry and Ruth Lassila in the leads, but was never performed at The Firehouse as it toured to Pillsbury Theatre, Shoestring Playhouse, and the U of M’s Coffman Union.

Status Quo Vadis had a huge cast, led by Geoffrey Ewing, but also included Faye Price, Jack Reuler, Ruth Lassila, Liz Georges, Kim Hines, David Selburg, Russell Curry, Ralph Lemon, Paul Kustermann, Marvin Grays, and more.

1977

Joanne!* by Ed Bullins

Brother Champ by Michael Kassin | Mixed Blood’s production of Brother Champ moved to the Goodman Theater in Chicago.

Mother April’s*  by Horace Bond

Sty of the Blind Pig by Philip Hayes Dean

Cops by Terry Curtis Fox

To Be Young Gifted and Black by Lorraine Hansberry

1978

The Last Champion* by Sharon Walton

Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

Candide* (adaptation) by Warren Bowles and Mike Arnold

Tango by Slawomir Mrozek

Medal of Honor Rag by Tom Cole

Tuesday by Jewel Walker

Black Picture Show by Bill Gunn

 

Mixed Blood signs contract with Actors’ Equity Association.

Warren Bowles’ first play as an actor was Black Picture Show by Bill Gunn. Warren was a CETA employee as was Sharon Walton and Larkin Mead (who did costumes and PR). Warren would go on to become a central part of Mixed Blood for the next 4 decades.

1979

for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf by Ntozake Shange

Bleacher Bums by Stuart Gordon & the members of the Organic Theater Company

Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard

Make Room for Dada* by Mark Frost

Noah^ by Jewel Walker

Quixote’s Charge*^ by Steve Pearson

African Jazz*^ by Ken LaZebnik

for colored girlsopens at Walker Art Center, directed by Tony Award-winner Trazana Beverly, for 200-performance run.

African Jazz was the first of 10 world premieres written by Ken LaZebnik.

Make Room for Dada was legendary in that it was sold out for the run, but was closed after three days because it wasn’t good.

1980

Wake by Leni Sloan and Charles Mills

Warp I, II, & III by Bury St. Edmond & Stuart Gordon

Bloody Bess by Bill Norris

I Have A Dream* by Warren C. Bowles and Ken LaZebnik

Mixed Blood wins Twin Cities Drama Critics Circle Award (Kudo) for best production for its science fiction trilogy WARP, featuring Geoff Ewing, Warren Bowles, Pat O’Brien, Steve Yoakam, Lia Rivamonte, Mike Kissin, Margaret McGrady, Sherri Brown, and Ken LaZebnik, among others.

Dr. King’s Dream is performed by Warren Bowles for the first of 2,000+ performances; it becomes the anchor for the theatre’s touring program.

First year of summer training program for low-income Minneapolis teens. Mixed Blood formally separates from Center for Community Action to be independent 501(c)(3). The second staff member was added (Beth Ann Connor) and the first board of directors was Syl Jones, Delroy Calhoun, Nigel Redden, and Doug Lennick.

1981

Cruel Tears** by Ken Mitchell

Accidental Death of an Anarchist** by Dario Fo

Tuesday by Jewel Walker

Strider by Leonid Tolstoy

They’re Coming To Make It Brighter by Kent Broadhurst

Mixed Blood wins Twin Cities Drama Critics Circle Award (Kudo) for best production for its American premiere of Accidental Death of an Anarchist, featuring Warren Bowles, Steve Yoakam, Pat O’Brien, Mike Kissin, Marvette Knight, and Ken LaZebnik.

Cruel Tears was produced in co-production with Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, directed by Howard Dallin with a large cast led by Steve Yoakam and Cynthia Simpson, but also included Warren Bowles, Edna Duncan, Marvette Knight, Joe Keyes, Gregory Williams, and many more.

Actor Pat O’Brien wins Twin Cities drama Critics Circle Award for his performance as title role in Strider.

1982

Black Magic* by Jack Reuler, Bob DeFlores, Ken LaZebnik

100 Years of Solitude* by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (adapted by Dale Wilson)

Basement Tapes* by Eric Brogger

Lemons* by Kent Broadhurst

Paul Robeson*^ by Phillip Hayes Dean

Warren Bowles adds Paul Robeson by Phillip Hayes Dean to Mixed Blood’s touring repertoire.

One Hundred Years of Solitude opened the day after Gabriel Garcia Marquez was given the Nobel Prize for literature.

1983

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1984

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1985

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1986

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1987

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1988

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1989

Holiday Inn* by Irving Berlin (adapted by Jack Reuler)

K2 by Patrick Myer

Mr. Motown* by Jack Reuler

Harlem Renaissance Revue* by Ken LaZebnik

Children of a Lesser God by Mark Medoff

Kabuki Spectacle by Leonard Pronko & Takao Tomono

Motown Opera* by Jack Reuler

Jackie Robinson*^ by Sharon Walton

Mixed Blood begins Midnight Series with Motown Opera, directed by Stephen Yoakam

Warren Bowles adds Jackie Robinson to the touring repertoire.

Holiday Inn, written and directed by Jack Reuler (and Irving Berlin), performed with Wolverines Classic Jazz Orchestra and starring Steve Yoakam, Leni Sloan, Marvette Knight, JoElleyn Geske in a cast of 25. (Additionally, Kasha Foster played Baby New Year in diapers.) It was also Sanford Moore’s first musical director job.

1990

Mixed Blood is presented with Actors’ Equity Association’s first Rosetta LeNoire Award for “celebrating the universality of the human experience on the American stage.”

Daughters of Africa* by Syl Jones becomes Mixed Blood’s fifth show in its touring repertoire.

Mixed Blood co-produces The Mystery of Irma Vep with The Attic Theater in Detroit.

Wall of Water* by Sherri Kramer
I Don’t Need No Stinking Badges by Luis Valdez
Other People’s Money by Jerry Sterner
A…My Name Is Alice by Julie Boyd

1991

Jack Reuler is named Macalester College’s “Distinguished Citizen”.

Mixed Blood co-produces A…My Name Is Alice and The Grapes of Wrath with The Ordway, with Don Cheadle as Tom Joad.

Mixed Blood tours Three-Part Harmony to Jacksonville, Phoenix, and Rochester, sponsored by the Mayo Clinic.

La Nona by Roberto Cossa
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (adapted by Frank Galati)
Throwing Bones* by Michael Erickson
A…My Name Is Alice by Julie Boyd
Daughters of Africa^ by Syl Jones

1992

Jack Reuler receives the Minneapolis Award from the Minneapolis City Council.

King of the Kosher Grocers is produced in an abandoned supermarket at Broadway and Penn in North Minneapolis.

Eastern Parade becomes the sixth show in Mixed Blood’s touring repertoire.

Don Cheadle directs Cincinnati Man. 

Cincinnati Man* by Syl Jones
Black Belts* by Jevetta Steele and Jack Reuler
King of the Kosher Grocers* by Joe Minjares
Road To Nirvana by Arthur Kopit
The Boys Next Door by Tom Griffin
Eastern Parade*^ by Rick Shiomi

1993

Jack Reuler receives the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Minneapolis Community College.

A…My Name Is Still Alice runs for nine months.

Snowflake Avalanche by Y York
A…My Name Is Still Alice by Julie Boyd
GunPlay* by Syl Jones

1994

Minnecanos becomes Mixed Blood’s eighth show in its touring repertoire.

Hundreds of Sisters and One Big Brother* by Deb Swisher
Oleanna by David Mamet
Keely and Du by Jane Martin
Black Belts, Too* by Jevetta Steele and Jack Reuler

1995

Mixed Blood is awarded Minneapolis Civil Rights Commission’s award for outstanding achievement in human rights.

They’re Coming To Make It Brighter by Kent Broadhurst
True History of Coca-Cola in Mexico* by Aldo Velasco and Patrick Scott
Fires In The Mirror by Anna Deveare Smith

1996

Mixed Blood receives Minneapolis Foundation’s Diversity Award

¡Ayuda!*  by Michael Weller
Santos y Santos by Octavio Solis
Colorblind* by Robert Jones
Black Belts Againby Jevetta Steele and Jack Reuler

1997

Mixed Blood receives Dream Keeper Award from Minnesota Council on Black Minnesotans

Mixed Blood co-produces Birth of the Boom with City Theatre (Pittsburgh).

Birth of the Boom by Thomas Jones II
Good News About Third World Shoes* by Aldo Velasco and Patrick Scott
Radio Mambo by Culture Clash
Minnecanos* by Joe Minjares

1998

Mixed Blood becomes a founding member of the National New Plays Network.

Mixed Blood co-produces of the World Premiere of Syl Jones’ Black No More with the Guthrie Theater and Arena Stage (Washington, D.C.)

Playwright-In-Residence Syl Jones wins Roger Stevens Award.

Gene Pool by Christi Stewart-Brown
Maria!MariaMariaMaria!* by Lisa Loomer
Black No Moreby Syl Jones

1999

American Theater Critics Association names Black No More finalist as best new American play.

Mixed Blood’s first annual production presented in Spanish and English by a bi-lingual cast (La Verdadera Historia de Coca-Cola en Mexico).

Black Eagle by Warren C. Bowles becomes the ninth show in Mixed Blood’s touring repertoire.
La Verdadera Historia de Coca-Cola en México by Aldo Velasco and Patrick Scott
Vices* by Everett Bradley & Ilene Reid
Boy by Diana Son
Black Eagle*^ by Warren Bowles

2000

Cut Flowers* by Gavin Lawrence

Haroun and the Sea of Stories* by Zaraawar Mistry from Salman Rushdie’ novel

La Nona by Roberto Cossa

Bee-luther-hatchee by Thomas Gibbons

2001

Sola En La Oscuridad by Fredrick Knott

A Jew On Ethiopia Street* by Allan Havis

Spinning Into Butter by Rebecca Gilman

How To Improve Your Golf Game by David Babcock

Primary English Class by Israel Horovitz

2002

Mixed Blood premieres Two Queens One Castle, a runaway hit in Minneapolis that was also chosen for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre showcase festival in New York

Mixed Blood stages the first production of The Boys Next Door to feature actors with disabilities (co-produced with Interact Theatre), following The History of Bowling as the theatre’s first foray into theatre by, about, and for people with disabilities.

Polyglot play(s): League of Nations(Japanese, Spanish, Korean, English); I Don’t Have To Show you No Stinking Badges (Spanish, English)

League of Nations* by Ken LaZebnik
History of Bowling by Mike Ervin
I Don’t Need No Stinking Badges by Luis Valdez
Two Queens One Castle* by Jevetta Steele and Thomas W. Jones II

2003

Mixed Blood co-produces the Pulitzer Prize-winning Topdog/Underdog with the Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C.

Expansion of mission to include yet another culture and language with Sweet Nothing in My Ear, produced in both spoken English and ASL.

Polyglot play(s): The Wonderful Ice Cream Suit (Spanish, English)Sweet Nothing In My Ear (ASL and spoken English)

Topdog/Underdog by Suzan-Lori Parks
Sweet Nothing In My Ear by Stephen Sachs
Wonderful Ice Cream Suit by Ray Bradbury
Salt Fish and Bakes* by Gavin Lawrence

2004

City Pages names Mixed Blood Best Theatre for Drama.

Minnesota Council of Non-Profits presents Mixed Blood with its Mission Award for Anti-Racism Initiative.

American Theatre Critics Association deemed Flags a finalist for Best New Play in America outside of NYC.

World premiere of Bill of (W)Rights, ten one-act plays performed throughout Mixed Blood’s firehouse facility.

Polyglot play(s): Living Out (Spanish, English).

Permanent Collection by Tom Gibbons
Flagsby Jane Martin
Living Out by Lisa Loomer
Bill of (W)Rights*  by Jeff Hatcher, Rebecca Gilman, Syl Jones, Jane Martin, Liz Wong, Kelly Stuart, Melanie Marnich, and Gavin Lawrence

2005

Mixed Blood receives Access Award from VSA.

Polyglot play(s): The Deaf Duckling (ASL, spoken English)Mad Dancers (Ladino, Yiddish, Arabic, ASL, Amharak, English)Found (Spanish, English)Take Me Out (Spanish, English).

The Deaf Duckling added to touring repertoire. 

Queen of the Remote Controlby Sujata Bhatt
Found* by Victor Zupanc
Mad Dancers by Yehuda Hyman
Dance On Widow’s Row by Samm-Art Williams
Indian Cowboyby Zaraawar Mistry
The Deaf Duckling*^ by Aditi Kapil

2006

Jack Reuler receives Ivey Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Yellowman is the first production in the Guthrie Theatre’s Dowling Studio.

American Theatre Critics Association deems Vestibular Sense a finalist as Best New Play in American outside of NYC.
 

Point of Revue* by Don Cheadle, Lynn Nottage, Kia Corthron, Gavin Lawrence, David Barr, Kirsten Greenidge, Tom Jones, Carlyle Brown, Dwight Hobbes, Syl Jones, Jevetta Steele, Eisa Davis, Robert O’Hara, and Warren Bowles
Ten Percent of Marta Solanoby Richard Strand
Yellowman by Dael Orlandersmith
Vestibular Senseby Ken LaZebnik
Immigrant Dreams*^ by Gavin Lawrence

2007

Mixed Blood receives MetLife’s Access Award.

Messy Utopia receives Ivey Award for outstanding production.

Two Queens One Castle was performed in 480-seat Loring Theater.

Polyglot play: Clean House (Portugese, English).

Messy Utopiaby Naomi Iizuka, Seema Sueko, Aditi Kapil, & Velina Hasu-Houston
Pajama Game by George Abbott (adapted and translated by Mark Valdez)
The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl
Two Queens One Castle by Jevetta Steele and Thomas W. Jones II

2008

Love Person is the first of seven world premieres by Aditi Kapil.

Polygot play: Esperando La Carroza (Spanish, English)

1001 by Jason Grote
Distracted by Lisa Loomer
Love Personby Aditi Kapil
Esperando La Carrozaby Jacobo Langsner

2009

Mixed Blood receives the Ordway’s Sally Award for Vision.

Ruined receives Ivey Award for Outstanding Production.

Pure Confidence moved to eight-week Off Broadway run in NYC, garnering three AUDELCO Awards.

Polygot play: Sweet 15 (Spanish, English).

Ruined by Lynn Nottage
Red Inkby Rhianna Yazzie, Drew Hayden Taylor, Yvette Nolan, Tomson Highway, Arigon Starr, Darren Renville
The Poetry of Pizza* by Deb Bevoort
Pure Confidence by Carlyle Brown
Sweet 15: Quinceñera by Rick Najera
African America*^  by Warren C. Bowles
Theory of Mind*^ by Ken LaZebnik
Hijab Tube*^ by Seema Sueko

2010

Jack Reuler is presented with TCG’s Peter Zeisler Award “for exemplifying pioneering practices in theatre, dedication to the freedom of expression, and for being unafraid to take risks in the advancement of the art form.”

Polygot plays: House of the Spirits (Spanish, English)

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity* by Kris Diaz
Somebody Nobody by Jane Martin
A Cool Drink A Water by Thomas W. Jones II
The House of the Spirits by Caridad Svich

2011
Mixed Blood is named the Best Theatre for Comedy by City Pages.

Polygot play: Gruesome Playground Injuries (ASL, spoken English)

Agnes Under The Big Topby Aditi Kapil
Avenue Q by Robert Lopez
Neighbors by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph
My Secret Language of Wishes by Cori Thomas
On The Spectrumby Ken LaZebnik

2012

Mixed Blood is named Best Theatre by City Pages.

Crashing The Partyby Josh Tobiessen
Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Urueta
Next To Normal by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey

2013

In The Time of the Butterflies by Caridad Svich
Displaced Hindu Gods Trilogy: Brahmani, Shiv, Kalkiby Aditi Kapil
The Veteran Play Projectby Leah Cooper
Elemeno Pea by Molly Smith Metzler

Polygot play: In the Time of the Butterflies (Spanish, English)

2014

Mixed Blood is named the Best Theatre for Something to Do For Free by City Pages.

The Sun Serpent by Joe Cruz Gonzalez
Passing Strange by Stew
Colossal* by Andrew Hinderaker
Stars and Stripes*^ by Syl Jones
Cloudlands by Octavio Solis
In a World Created by a Drunken God by Drew Hayden Taylor
Sheddin’ by Thomas W. Jones II

2015

Mixed Blood is named Best Theatre for Diversity by the Star Tribune.

Pussy Valleyby Katori Hall
Hir by Taylor Mac
An Octoroon by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Pilgrims Musa and Sheri in the New World by Yussef El Guindi
Stepping Out of the River at Dawn* by Dean Poyner

2016

Charm by Philip Dawkins
Barbecue by Robert O’Hara
DJ Latinidad’s Latino Dance Party* by Octavio Solis, Maria Isa, Kris Diaz, Virginia Griese, Junot Diaz, Melinda Lopez, Joe Minjares, Sean San Jose, Tanya Saracho, Michael Garces
Orangeby Aditi Kapil

2017

Safe at Home receives the Ivey Award for Outstanding Production.

Polygot play: Corazon Eterno (Spanish, English).

Corazon Eternoby Caridad Svich
Vietgone by Qui Nguyen
Safe At Homeby Gabe Green and Alex Levy
Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
How To Use A Knifeby Will Snider

2018

Mixed Blood is named Best Theatre by City Pages.

Mermaid Hour: ReMixed* by Eric Mayson and David Valdes Greenwood
Two Mile Hollow by Leah Nanako Winkler
Is God Is by Aleshea Harris
Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Hooded by Tearrance Chisholm
Hype Man by Idris Goodwin

2019

Roe by Lisa Loomer
Autonomy* by Ken LaZebnik
The Song of Summer by Lauren Yee

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