Minnesota Zoo and History Theatre Team up to Create Play for Young Audiences Alongside New Black Bear Exhibit
Apple Valley, MINN – September 7, 2012 – The Minnesota Zoo and History Theatre have teamed up to create a new musical, interactive play for young audiences that tells the history of our state in 40 kid-friendly minutes. From September 21-30, “Tales Along the Minnesota Trail” will be performed alongside the Zoo’s new black bear exhibit which opens September 15.
The idea for a collaborative project between The Minnesota Zoo and History Theatre has been championed by the Zoo’s Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer, Connie Braziel. “With any new exhibit we always try to add a cultural component,” says Braziel. “Being able to premier a children’s musical that tells the story of early Minnesota culture truly supports the Zoo’s mission of connecting people, animals and the natural world. This play will put a smile on every one’s face, young and old, as they join in the fun provided through each performance.”
For History Theatre, the opportunity to create work specifically for young audiences is an exciting challenge. “Sharing the stories of Minnesota is what we do best at History Theatre but we don’t often get to share those stories with the youngest Minnesotans,” says History Theatre Artistic Director Ron Peluso. “Laurie and Marya (playwright and composer) are having a lot of fun channeling their experiences with young people to create a play that is just as enjoyable for the artists as it will be for the audiences.”
This new play by collaborators Laurie Flanigan Hegge and Marya Hart is an adventure through time told in an interactive storytelling style. Two young friends are guided through a musical journey that takes them back in time to meet some of the people and animals who have called Minnesota their home. The play explores the languages and stories of our state’s people beginning with the first people, the Ojibwe and Dakota, then the Voyageurs, then the Loggers, followed by the Homesteaders, with a singing Tree, a directionally-challenged eagle, and some dancing fish along the way. Young audiences are invited to join in the fun, to ask questions, and to make some new friends during this interactive storytelling romp through time. The playwright and composer worked with Native American consultants Jim and Pat Northrup to weave in the lore and language of the First Minnesotans. The French language of the Voyageurs and the Swedish spoken by many of the first white settlers also pepper the story. The new programming partnership between The Minnesota Zoo and History Theatre is made possible through the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund from the Clean Water, Land and Legacy Amendment.
“Tales Along the Minnesota Trail” Performance Schedule:
About the History Theatre: