Robert Lee

Crimson Clear Productions/The Duluth Playhouse

The Importance of Being Earnest: A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is onstage at The Underground ... and it all goes to show that 122 years after its debut in London, it's still making audiences laugh.

Laboring away quietly in the basement of the Duluth Depot, the Underground is busy making theater.  In recent weeks,  we've featured productions like Green Day's American Idiot and Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore.  Now the 12th Annual Short Shorts Film Festival returns with another crop of entries: all five minutes long or less and all family-friendly.  But this is not a quaint little local event; the festival features submissions from Asia, Europe, Israel and South America, not to mention states all over the US.

Crimson Clear Productions/The Duluth Playhouse

Don't be surprised if there's a rush line crowd outside the Depot this weekend, trying to get into the last performances of Green Day's American Idiot.

The Underground's artistic director, Robert Lee, says a deep connection to the music on 2009's concept album - and the stage show that followed - has people who wanted to be in, work on and now see the show coming out in droves.

It's the other part of the Halloween Freakout at The Underground: The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

It's the 1975 film that attained cult classic status with its outrageous characters, unknown actors who went on to become big name stars, utterly danceable music and its evolution from a film you watch to an event, complete with audience partici................................................................................................................pation.

courtesy Robert Lee

Robert Lee has the challenge of bringing the world of Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach to life (complete with human-sized bugs and a house-sized giant peach) in front of a live audience.

But the director of the Duluth Playhouse's Theatre For Young Audiences program knows that when it gets right down to it, you don't need CGI or fancy special effects when you've got actors.