News from the Arts


Lead actors picked for Conversations with God ASHLAND, Ore. – Henry Czerny, a respected actor known for his performances in The Exorcism of Emily Rose, The Ice Storm, Mission: Impossible, Clear and Present Danger and the upcoming remake of The Pink Panther, has been cast in the lead role of Neale Donald Walsch in the film Conversations with God.

Hundreds of people from all over the world lined up last month at the the open auditions for the film version of the book Conversations with God, which spent nearly three years on the New York Times bestseller list and sold approximately 7 million copies in 34 languages.

The film is being directed and produced by Stephen Simon, producer of Somewhere in Time and What Dreams May Come.

The book series that inspired millions will now become a film that tells the true and previously untold story of Neale Donald Walsch. At the lowest point in his life, Walsch started asking God some hard questions. And to his astonishment, God answered. Those conversations became the basis for the book series. This film details the dramatic journey of a down-and-out homeless man who inadvertently becomes an unlikely and highly acclaimed bestselling author and spirit ual messenger.
"For the past 10 years I have dreamed of making this movie," Simon said. "Conversations with God will be a powerful, mystical, controversial and surprising film."

Czerny, in potraying Walsch, said he is excited about the film.

"Every once in a while, we actors get a chance to be part of an extraordinarily insightful story," Czerny said. "I’m sure this is the way some of van Gogh’s colors must have felt when they were asked by his brush to mingle in ‘Starry Night.’ "

Frances Fisher, who has played several memorable roles such as Kate Winslet’s mother in Titanic, Julianne Moore’s mother in Laws of Attraction , will co-star. Fisher has also performed in The House of Sand And Fog, Unforgiven, L.A. Story and starred in many memorable made-for-TV films.

"To be able to work on a film that represents the best of my personal beliefs is something I have been dreaming of for years," Fisher said. "I’m excited to be working with people who are all on the same page, literally and spiritually."

Ingrid Boulting, who left Hollywood years ago to pursue a career in yoga and art, will play a pivotal role and mystical character in the film. Most often remembered for her role in The Last Tycoon, Boulting’s appearance in Conversations with God will be her first on-screen performance in more than 20 years.

"It is really exciting that this film is being made, a film that can awaken in us a new sense of ourselves," says Boulting. "I have not felt spiritually connected to projects that have been offered to me since Tycoon, and I am ecstatic to be collaborating on this inspired project."

Conversations with God is the first original film production of The Spiritual Cinema Circle, which Simon co-founded in 2004 with author Gay Hendricks, who will serve as executive producer of the film. The Spiritual Cinema Circle is America’s fastest growing DVD club. Each month Circle subscribers receive 4 films on DVD that heal, inspire and transform our lives. The Circle is financing the project, which will premiere theatrically and in new thought churches worldwide in late October 2006 and will be available on DVD exclusively to Circle subscribers in December 2006.

For a five-minute "Behind the Scenes" look at the making of Conversations with God, visit

Multimedia YShow to debut in Cities
MINNEAPOLIS – The YShow, a new theatrical experience combining music, humor, social commentary on issues ranging from Hurricane Katrina and human rights to health care and the Iraq War, original multi-media footage shot throughout Minnesota, handheld digital communications involving all audience members, and live theater created by four Twin Cities writers, will have its U.S. premiere at the Suburban World Theater in Minneapolis beginning October 28.

Called "an interactive cerebral adventure unlike anything ever produced in the Twin Cities," The YShow follows a black psychiatrist (actress Kathleen Hardy) who challenges the realities of America today, as the audience accompanies her on a virtual road trip that blends music, comedy with a lively cast of five, and high-definition multimedia displayed across a 26-foot-wide screen.

As they enter the Suburban World Theatre, every YShow audience member receives a handheld wireless computer – an audience-response device whose built-in microphone and text messaging capabilities enable audience members to electronically display their intimate thoughts anonymously, participate in real-time surveys, provide feedback on issues discussed on-stage, and compete for prizes. In addition, everyone entering the Suburban World receives a pair of 3-D glasses so they can view specially-shot multimedia footage.

The YShow is co-scripted and staged by Twin Cities playwright/director Kim Hines, along with Minneapolis writer Alan Yelsey, and Annie Scott and Kathleen Hardy, two actresses who perform in the YShow. Comedy in the script was enlivened by contributions from Laughing Stock, an improvisational theater company in Arizona; music ranges from Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ "Wake Up Everybody" to the Eurythmics’ "Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This."

"Just as Cirque du Soleil reinvented the circus and the Blue Man Group reworked variety shows, The YShow will change what audiences expect live theatre can be," says Alan Yelsey of the YShow production team. "We’re employing electronics to connect our performers with their audience, so that the audience becomes the show.

"The YShow challenges America’s most basic systems – from FEMA in New Orleans to the FDA in Washington – and suggests how Americans can reinvent the very infrastructure of our country. Not bad for a night at the theater, eh?"

Actress Kathleen Hardy says the cast expects YShow audiences to be entertained and provoked.

"But most importantly," she said, "we want The YShow to change the relationships between actors and audiences, and between citizens and their government. Not only does the YShow use wireless technology to give audiences a say in the content of the show; we’re using that technology to introduce like-minded people to one another after the show to change the world outside the theater!"

The YShow premieres at the Suburban World, 3022 Hennepin Ave. S., just across from Calhoun Square in Uptown Minneapolis, and runs for 20 performances through at least December: October 28 and 29; November 3-5; 10-12, and 17-19; and December 1-3, 8-10 and 15-17. All shows begin at 8 p.m. Ticket prices range from $10 to $80. Food and beverages will be sold before and after the show at the Suburban World. Each audience member will receive free chocolate during the YShow. For YShow tickets, call (612) 843-6635 or visit

Jethro Tull & Lucia Micarelli
MINNEAPOLIS – Jethro Tull, led by legendary flutist Ian Anderson, has been performing since 1968 with an output that includes five platinum albums, 11 gold albums and even more music. Jethro Tull will be joined by Lucia Micarelli, a dynamic, classical-trained violinist and prodigy of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and Josh Groban at the State Theatre, 805 Hennepin Ave., in downtown Minneapolis on November 19.

Tickets are $83.50, $63.50 and $53.50, available through Ticketmaster or the State Theatre box office at (612) 339-7007.

Jethro Tull is known for such with landmark albums such as Aqualung, Thick As A Brick and Too Old To Rock ‘n’ Roll, Too Young To Die. The band features singer/flutist/multi-instrumentalist Ian Anderson, guitarist Martin Barre, drummer Doane Perry, keyboardist Andrew Giddings and bassist Jonathan Noyce. This is the most consistent lineup the group has had in its entire history. Perry joined around 1980, Giddings about 1990, and Noyce in the mid-90s after working with Ian on his solo project Divinities. Noyce was in his mother’s womb when the album Aqualung was conceived in 1971.

This year the band is releasing a special live version of Aqualung (recorded for XM Radio in November 2004) just for concert-goers. The band will release the recording to the masses in March 2006, to help some of Ithe group’s favorite charities.

Frontman Ian Anderson says, "This is a little payback to Aqualung and his friends."

Anderson is releasing the Ian Anderson Orchestral Album (ZYX Records), recorded in December 2004 in Mannheim, Germany with the Neue Philharmonie Frankfurt Orchestra and features solo and classic Tull material.

Beauty and preternatural artistry are the captivating attributes of Jethro Tull’s special guest, Lucia Micarelli, a dynamic, classical-trained violinist who is the most exciting and promising new artist on her instrument since the emergence of Joshua Bell. In addition to dazzling classical audiences with her virtuosity, Micarelli has been featured in concert with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra and with the young superstar vocalist Josh Groban. Her latest album, Music From a Farther Room is available on Warner Reprise.

Lucia will open the shows and then join Tull on stage for a few of their well-known numbers during the set.

"Lucia Micarelli is a rare find in today’s world of plastic divas and tinsel waifs who croon to the sound of their angst-ridden imaginings," Ian Anderson said. "Young Lucia speaks with surprising maturity and authority through the sound of her acoustic violin, touching upon Classic Rock, Eastern and Asian stylings, Gypsy and Irish Folk – all built on the firm foundation of her lengthy classical music training and the violin repertoire of the great composers.

"Faultless intonation and rhythmic confidence mark her work. Improvisation skills – the blackest of arts to many purist classical musicians – allow her to soar to far headier heights than most with her orthodox academic background (but then so did Mozart and Bach, jazzers to the core, relatively speaking)."

Will Power’s positive rap
MINNEAPOLIS – Variety magazine commented, "If rap is the rhythm of life, then Will Power is dancing on the edge." Power, an award-winning actor, rapper, playwright and educator who explores race, HIV, violence and intergenerational communication with finesse and dexterity, will present "Flow," opening November 4 and runs through November 20 at The Children’s Theatre Company, 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis.

This is a b-boy fairy tale spun over funky, original hip hop beats. The one-man play chronicles the lives of seven storytellers and their quest for survival in a world of urban pitfalls. The New York Times called it "…one of the Top 10 NYC Theatre Performances in 2003." As the stories unfold, it is clear that the audience, too, must join the circle and "sing the songs and right the wrongs and carry on." The only other artist on stage is DJ Reborn (Robyne Rodgers).

Viewed as a pioneer in the genre of Hip Hop Theatre, Power has created his own niche in theatrical communication, fusing original music, rhymed language and fierce choreography to produce compelling evenings of works. Most recently, Power received the 2005 Joyce Award, the 2005 NYFA Fellowship, the 2004 Jury Award for Best Theatre Performance at the HBO US Comedy Arts Festival, a 2004 Drama Desk nomination for Best Solo Performance, and a 2004 Drama League nomination for Distinguished Performance.

Ticket prices are $18 for teens and $28 for everyone else. Special teen and group rates are available. For more information, contact The Children’s Theatre Company Ticket Office at (612) 874-0400 or visit

Short films on Public TV
In partnership with IFP Minneapolis/St. Paul, the Walker Art Center and Intermedia Arts, Twin Cities Public Television will presents three one-hour programs featuring Minnesota-produced short films.

The MNTV project is funded by the Jerome Foundation.

Times for the MNTV broadcast on Minnesota Public Television are listed below:

– Program 1 premieres at 10:30 p.m. on October 30 on Channel 2 and repeats at 10 p.m. on November 5 on Channel 17. Program 1 includes: Legend of Santa Susanna, by William Scott Rees & JoEllen Martinson; Committed, by Ryder Seeler; Between Boys, by Jake Yuzna; and Stale Mate, by Josh Thacker.

– Program 2 premieres at 10:30 p.m. on Nov 6 on Channel 2 and repeats at 10 p.m. on November 12 on Channel 17. Program 2 includes: A Plan, by Tom Schroeder; Ride of the Mergansers,by Steve Furman; Sorting Out Ed, by Jesse Roesler; and Exploding, by Kevin Obsatz.

– Program 3 premieres at 10:30 p.m. on November 13 on Channel 2 and repeats at 10 p.m. on November 19 on Channel 17. Program 3 includes: Both Sides, by Michelle Mehri Movsavi; Border Crosser, by Michelle Mehri Movsavi; Poem in Honor of Langston Hughes…, by Ellen Marie Hinchcliffe; Cry Out, by Amber Ellison; Recapitulation, by Kathryn Nobbe; "Psycho" – Vox Vermillion, by Eli Ljung; Cheese & Light Bulbs, by Andrew Stewart; Pretty Life, by Morgan Williams; and Troll Eyes, by Trevor Adams.

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