Marilyn Makes ‘Rough Magic’ in Minneapolis

Anne Carson’s verse play, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy, was the inaugural production at The Shed in Hudson Yards, New York in 2019. Half-spoken, half-sung, the play merges Hollywood legend with classical mythology, as Helen of Troy dialogues with a gay screenwriter in 1950s America who finds a kindred spirit in Marilyn Monroe (are you following me so far?)

Starring opera singer Renee Fleming and English actor Ben Whishaw, the play received very mixed reviews, and if you’ve read the rather confusing text (published here), it’s not hard to see why.

After this inauspicious beginning, Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is having its regional premiere through July 18th with an outdoor production in Minneapolis, as Kathy Berdan reports for Pioneer Press – so let’s hope this new setting gives the play a breath of fresh air.

“The theater company is performing outdoors in the Minnesota Historical Society’s Train Shed space (home of the Mill City Farmers Market at 704 S. Second St. in Minneapolis). Norma Jeane Baker of Troy is directed by Leah Cooper and features actors Alayne Hopkins, Catherine Johnson Justice and Marcela Michelle.

Hopkins and Justice are co-artistic directors of Rough Magic Performance Company, which ventures out of Fringe Festival for its first full-scale production with this show. Rough Magic is dedicated to supporting women artists and telling women’s stories.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $25 for students and seniors, available at roughmagicperformance.org. Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, July 1-18. Pay what you can on July 15, ASL interpreted on July 15.”

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