South-metro theater company graduates to more fitting venue
The nomadic Chameleon Theatre Circle has been on plenty of stages, often in schools, and it hopes the Lakeville Area Arts Center will become one of the best.
By David Gustafson, Star Tribune
1 March, 2006

The Chameleon Theater Circle formed eight years ago to give south-of-the-river residents a chance to see live theater close to home.

But it has lacked a regular performance venue.

This month, Chameleon will produce "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" at the Lakeville Area Arts Center. It's a partnership both sides hope will last.

The Lakeville Arts Center is a good fit with its 300 seats, at least for the company's more family-friendly productions, said Nigel Linden, Chameleon's president.

"We know that if we put a show up at Lakeville there will be pretty much a guaranteed audience. People come to that venue," he said.

Also important, he added, is that it's not a school. Previous Chameleon productions have been in auditoriums.

"One of the things that we're beginning to realize is that when folks want to go out for an evening of theater, they want to make it an event, they want to dress up, they want to go out to dinner, and they want to go to a theater, and a school just doesn't provide the environment that they're looking for," he said.

Arts Center director Tom Barnard said he had been hoping to find a theater troupe to stage "Joseph" at the Arts Center.

"I want our theater here to have family-appropriate entertainment," he said. "I've seen the show done in community theater where I worked previous to here and I knew how well it went over with the community."

So when Chameleon came knocking at the center and proposed staging the popular rock opera, Barnard said it was clearly a good match.

Linden said Chameleon is still looking for a regular venue where it can stage something edgier than the usual community theater fare.

"For that we need more of a 'blackbox' space," he said. "We're working with the city of Burnsville on the new arts center, and we're hoping that we'll get a blackbox out of that."

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