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City VIP Blogger Meet Minneapolis

Welcome to the Insider blog. The City VIP section will feature posts straight from the minds of Minneapolis celebrities, as well as some cool inside information from us. Also, the Insider Post area will spotlight a random member of the Minneapolis community, allowing them to share their unique perspective on the city. Read on and become an Insider.

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Monday July 01, 2013

Parent Perspective: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Five years ago when “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” debuted at the Children’s Theater, I wasn’t in the audience. I was at home, chasing two babies and reading this beloved children’s tale by Laura Numeroff to my girls Erin and Brita night after night after night. This time, on June 22 when “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” took the stage for a new crowd of mouse-and-boy fans, I was there with my school-agers Erin (age 7) and Brita (age 6).

As a mom who has read this story night after night after night, I couldn’t quite imagine how the book would take the stage. And I’m glad. This production is moreMouse and Boy To Give A Mouse A Cookie Minneapolis Children's Theater than my imagination ever expected. Much more.

For moms and dads who might be thinking, ‘Isn’t it enough that I read this book over and over and over?’ The answer is, “No, it’s not enough.” You can’t miss this show, and neither should your kids, for so many reasons.

First, as parents, we can always use a good laugh, and our kids can always use good, clean humor. And when my girls watched, they belly-laughed (and so did I). The humor was clever and physical and perfectly executed by amazingly funny actors. Mouse, played by Dean Holt, and the Boy, played by Reed Sigmund, have incredible chemistry and they work hard to make the show funny for all ages.

Second, the sets, costumes and props are beautiful and magical. The storybook came to life before our eyes! Remember the part where Mouse is determined to help scrub the floor because he made a mess? Hats off to the costume and props department who fashioned a pair of roller skates into strap-on scrubbing brushes and provided Mouse with the ability to appear that he was slipping on a soapy floor. But it doesn’t stop there, while in the process of catching his balance, Mouse stumbles into Boy and the collision results in an impromptu figure skating routine to a beautiful waltz.

And finally, the theater is incredibly welcoming for families. Now, I’ll admit, we are a theater family. My girls have been going to plays since they were very young. But, if you have never been to a play and you’re not sure how your family will react to live theater, remember this: it’s called the Children’s Theater for a reason. This theater is incredibly child-friendly, and this show is the perfect place to start. The audience is laughing the entire time, so there is low-risk and you won’t have to worry about the show keeping your family’s attention. There is also low investment, as tickets start at $10. You can also find ticket deals (and a host of other exclusive experiences) at go.minneapolis.org.

Before leaving the house, I told Erin and Brita that they were on a special assignment. Their mission: to share their thoughts about what they saw in this blog. Here's what they thought:

Erin: “My favorite part was when the mouse was ice skating on the floor…”

Brita: “My favorite part was when the mouse was sweeping. He was funny, and I liked [the ice skating] too. The part where he was supposed to be going to sleep was funny too because he started eating the cotton balls…”

Erin: “…which were really marshmallows. And then he had to spit them out into the boy’s hand. That was a little gross.”

Me: “How many stars do you give this play, with five stars being the best play ever, and one star being terrible?”

Brita: “I give it TEN stars. No, 100 stars!”

Erin: “I give it 1,000 stars.”

Brita: “No, 1,000 stars to infinity and beyond!”

I think they liked the show. I also think if you give your kids a funny play, they’re going to want another funny play to go with it.

>>>BUY TICKETS

Amanda Engquist DePhillips is the Director of Marketing for Meet Minneapolis, Convention and Visitors Bureau, and guest resident mom blogger. She and her husband Tom enjoy family adventures with Erin and Brita, as well as collecting Minneapolis theater and dining experiences on “date nights.”

Insider Blog Post
Friday January 18, 2013

Prince's Princess: A Brush With Greatness

As you all have surely heard by now, Prince had been rocking the 612 over at the Dakota Jazz Club last week. Most accounts of this legendary event have only been seen on Twitter.

Until now.

We tracked down a concert goer that had a truely one-of-a-kind experience with the exhaluted purple one. Getting complimented by Prince AND snagging some rare memorabilia? That. Happened. Check it out:

Meet Minneapolis:First off, we have to ask….HOW did you manage to get tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime event?

Gina Reis:I was actually at work when I heard about the Prince concert, and was immediately in a fluster trying to figure if I'd be able to squeeze in online and buy a ticket. I immediately text my friend Paul, a Prince fanatic, because I knew he'd be in to go. He got online and snagged two tickets for us right at noon. He must've been one of the first to get them, since we got front row center seats!

MM: Wow, front row center. That's crazy. So, how was the concert?

GR:I don't know if I can find the words to accurately describe the show. I went in with low expectations--everyone was telling me that Prince was most likely not going to come out until 1:30 am and would only sing a couple of songs. He does have an infamous reputation for this type of behavior. So, when he came out, strutting his stuff behind a parade of trumpets, saxophones and trombone players right at 11 pm, I was floored!

When he got on stage, I was honestly a foot away from him--up close and personal to lose myself in his guitar and piano playing, as well as the amazing improv solos by the rest of the band. Although he barely sang a note during the night, everyone had an amazing time. Prince is an amazing musician, and he was really in his element, reacting to the other musicians' ridiculously intricate solos by throwing up the hood on his heavy white sweater or even stopping his piano playing to stare and smirk in amazement.

The concert was a fusion of funk, jazz and blues beats that were so raw and hypnotizing! Prince was so genuinely caught in the music that I felt like I was spying in on a private studio jam session.

MM: Sounds intense. Now, something else about your story caught our ears. We hear Prince called out your shoes. For real?

GR:This was, without a doubt, the best moment of my life. I'm going to be an old, wrinkly lady, telling all my little grandchildren about this moment, and their jaws will drop in amazement and awe at what happened to their grandmother so many years ago.

It was the beginning of his set, and throughout the whole concert, Prince went back and forth between playing the guitar and the keys. As one song ended, he set the guitar down and, as he took the few steps across the small stage to the keyboard, he breezed passed me and said "Nice shoes".

Yeah. Take that in for a second.

In a concert where he sang about one line, said nothing in between tunes, he felt the need to compliment me on my leopard print booties from Marshalls. Best $16 I've ever spent! I'm never taking these puppies off. And, they obviously did not even compare to his shoes--one sparkling gold, the other sparkling silver, with matching clear light up heels that flashed red whenever he stomped to the beat. Leave it to Prince to make light up shoes cool for adults!

MM: And leave it to him to have more fabulous shoes than most women. Plus, if that weren't enough, you snagged a guitar pick from him. Be honest, how long did you spend feng-shuing your house to get the level of universal karma necessary to get that pick?

GR:Prince marched off stage with his band after the amazing encore and I spotted two picks: one on the ground by the mic, the other resting on the keyboard. I wanted to grab one of them but was afraid of security descending upon me if I tried.

So, I waited a little bit until the bass player came out to pack up his gear. The woman next to me and I were determined to get these picks, so we got the attention of the bass player and asked him if it'd be okay to take them. He gave us the green light by pretending to look away. I wanted to snag the one on the keyboard--a white pick, with the iconic Prince symbol on it, but the woman got it before me.

I ended up getting the one by the mic. Unfortunately, this one is just a plain orange pick, but still--Prince touched it. He played beautiful, beautiful guitar with it. I’m most definitely drilling a hole in this and turning it into a necklace to wear permanently around my neck.

MM: Did you feel yourself transcend into a higher plane of existance?

GR:I became the person formally known as Gina and melted into a puddle on the spot.

MM: That's an appropriate response. So, what were some of the coolest moments of the concert?

GR:At one point in the night, he picked up his guitar, started to play the opening measure of "When You Were Mine" before stopping, looking up coyly at the audience and simply mumbling into the mic: "Psych!" What a tease!

It was captivating seeing Prince command the stage--signaling to different musicians for improvised solos and his demure reactions to their standout performances. It was great to see him smile and dance along to the funky beats. It made it impossible for me to sit still.

Throughout the night, Prince directed the audience to join in on the fun--clapping hands, snapping fingers and, near the end, directing us to stand up and join in on the boogy-ing. If Prince tells you to get up and dance, you get up and DANCE!

MM: That's crazy. Alright, leave us with a two-word phrase that described the experience.

GR: Hypnotic boogie!

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