New Ordway season projects Hollywood influence

Ordway Center
The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, in downtown St. Paul.
MPR Photo/Bo Hakala

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 2008-2009 theatrical season will feature six musicals all with Hollywood roots.

The shows range from "Yankee Doodle," about the father of the American musical George M. Cohan, to the musical adaptation of "Legally Blonde."

Ordway President and CEO Patricia Mitchell said she is intrigued by "Grey Gardens," the musical based on a documentary about elderly relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis living in a rundown mansion.

Patricia Mitchell
Patricia Mitchell is president and CEO of the Ordway Center for the Perfoerming Arts in St Paul.
MPR photo/Euan Kerr

"Because of the kind of work it is - it's a Broadway musical, but we are doing it in the McKnight," Mitchell said, "And especially because it is a genuine artistic collaboration with Park Square Theater. So that is extremely intriguing as a possibility." Also included in the season will be "White Christmas," "Singing in the Rain" and Oprah Winfrey's production of "The Color Purple."

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Some are national productions, but Ordway President Patricia Mitchell said others will be local productions for specific reasons.

"We wanted to do something that tips our hat to the fact that the Republican National Convention is happening in our city," she said. "And that it's heaven knows, a political year, that we ought to do something in that particular direction, so if you have that sort of fanatic idea, you are going to have to do it yourself, and so that's what led to 'Yankee Doodle.'"

Mitchell said such are the ties with Hollywood. The Ordway is considering a mini-film festival to screen the movies too.

Mitchell said the Ordway and the Hennepin Theater Trust in Minneapolis will collaborate in offering ticket deals to some subscribers in each other's seasons. "Yankee Doodle" will open the Ordway season in August.