Sunday, December 27, 2009

'We Gotta Bingo!' opens Jan. 8 in Minneapolis

“We Gotta Bingo!,” the Actors Theater of Minnesota’s wildly popular and hilariously interactive dinner theater experience is moving across the river for a Minneapolis run Jan. 8-31, at Hennepin Stages, 824 Hennepin Ave.

Centered around the reluctant merger of two small and feuding Catholic parishes — one Irish, one Italian — “We Gotta Bingo!” invites audiences to join in a raucous bingo fundraiser set in Der German Brew Ha Ha, a beer hall.

During the rollicking evening, the audience is transformed into bingo-playing, Irish or Italian parishioners (complete with requisite jokes) competing for cheesy prizes.

Time out is taken for polka dancing led by the Voekal Chords, a three piece band showcasing accordionist Nancy Lovegrin Lewandoski who can fire off “Beer Barrel Polka” and Outkast’s “Hey Ya” with equal aplomb.

Dinner features hors d’oeuvres, lasagna and desert, plus Helmut Voekel’s fully-stocked bar including beer. If the two factions succeed in raising money to support their expanded congregation, the diocese will even provide matching funds.

Bucky Fuller is the cocktail-swilling ladies man emcee and Mary Ed Sullivan navigates the crowd in her tricked-out, motorized bingo-mobile wheelchair.

The proudly dysfunctional Dimini family with Rudy, Rosa and Jeremy Dimini, who is also the youth choir director, keeps the volume up while Irish Father Duncan holds the roof down.

Hennepin Stages is known for its intimate, off-Broadway shows and audience-friendly productions. Current and upcoming shows are “A Don’t Hug Me Christmas Carol” running through Jan. 1, and the outrageously trashy “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” set for Feb. 9-28.

Show times are 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 5 and 8:30 p.m. Saturday (no 8:30 shows Jan. 9 or 16); and 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tickets for dinner and the show, range from $49.50 to $69.50. Tickets may be purchased in person at the State Theatre Box Office, 805 Hennepin Ave., online at, through Ticketmaster by calling 1-800-982-2787 or visiting a Ticketmaster Ticket Center. Groups of 10 or more should call 612-373-5665 for information and reservations. Mason City Globe-Gazette, would you believe

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