The Underground

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.

The Underground

Director Jeff Maddison on Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore: the fans, the music, and why a little judicious editing never hurt anyone.

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.

Crimson Clear Productions

Actor/director Alec Schroeder talks the Underground's rotation of two cult classics over the next two weeks: Hedwig and the Angry Inch and The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

  Crystal Pelkey is the Producing Director for The Underground, and she joins us to talk about theater on the radio.  They are wrapping up this season and will soon "go dark," but in the off-season there is still a lot of work to do. Planning for future seasons is an ongoing process, usually starting more than a year in advance. The Underground, in addition to staging Duluth Playhouse productions, has to schedule outside events and shows onto its stage as well, which can be challenging.

©Nicole Modeen Photography

Crystal Pelkey is a playwright, performer, director - she's even been a guest honoree in KUMD's Women's History Month episodes.

She has a new gig now at the Duluth Playhouse: Director of Patron Services and Special Events, but in her inimitable style, she'll be making up the rules - and writing the lexicon - as she goes.

  Crystal Pelkey, the producing director for The Underground, joins us to talk about their upcoming season (including the third season of Take It With You) , the upcoming musical The Last Five Years, and the many community and traveling productions that utilize this space in the lower level of the Duluth Depot.

  Blake Thomas and Mary Fox host Take it With You, a live radio comedy with music at The Underground every third Tuesday of the month, and they visit KUMD to talk about radio... in the theater... on the radio.   

Radio Theatre is supported in part by a grant from the Minnesota Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

The irrepressible Crystal Pelkey,  producing director of The Underground,  talks about their Theater for Young Audiences series and a growing trend in the Twin Ports of paying actors.  Who woulda thunk it?!