Knowing Your Neighbors: Duluth Playhouse’s Fall Productions

DULUTH, Minn. – “Once has some very funny moments as well, but it’s more of an intimate love story, and i think coming into fall it’s going to be the perfect show for Duluth,” Duluth Playhouse Producing Artistic Director, Phillip Fazio says.

Once tells the story of an unexpected friendship that develops into something more meaningful and complicated through their love for music on the streets of Dublin. the actors are able to take the stage this Friday thanks to a lot of time and effort from the production crew at the Norshor Theater.

“Every show has a series of about a half dozen designers, and then there’s about a dozen or more technicians that build or create those designs. then we’ve also got a whole army of volunteers that help us out in our shop as well,” Fazio says.

The production process starts several months in advance in a design concept meeting between the director and designer. the designer takes those ideas from the director and brings back sketches and renderings for the group to collaborate on. after a couple of weeks, an official design is sent to the shop where the set is built. once it is finished, they have about a week to put the set together on stage and finalize it for the actors.

“Every design element i think is important to the storytelling of the show. with the set design, you can give time, you can give place, you can set the mood, and then if they’re working in collaboration with our lighting designer, with our costume designer, all of those elements go into telling a cohesive story,” Fazio says.

“I always love hearing audiences as they’re walking into the Norshor, coming in and getting their first glimpse of what they see on stage. with a lot of our productions we don’t have our main curtain, or our show drape, in at the top of the show. so right when you walk into the theater you see that set and it hits you,” Fazio says.

This year’s productions includes a variety of shows, most of which have never been done in Duluth. anticipation is high for the crew at Duluth playhouse as they get ready for the 2022-2023 season.

“It’s an interesting, eclectic mix of musicals and plays, some contemporary titles, some classics that everybody loves. there’s really something for everyone this season and so we’re really looking forward to it.”

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