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LISA GUTKIN - The Music and Musicians of Indecent

  • The Cedar Cultural Center 416 Cedar Avenue South Minneapolis, MN, 55454 United States (map)

The Cedar and KFAI Present

LISA GUTKIN - The Music and Musicians of Indecent

Sunday December 9th, 2018, Doors: 7:00 PM, Show: 7:30 PM

All Ages

$20 Advance / $22 Day of Show

This is a seated show. General Admission tickets are available online, by phone, and at Electric Fetus and The Cedar during shows..

To have an opportunity to bring this world, this very intimate, Jewish old world to the public is astoundingly important to me
— Lisa Gutkin via Playbill


Grammy Award Winning fiddler/singer/composer Lisa Gutkin took Broadway and then the Guthrie Theater by storm last year with her exquisite co-score and performance in Indecent (Paula Vogel’s Tony award-winning play with music). A veteran of The Cedar stage with the “Downtown Celtic Band” Whirligig and the Klezmatics, she will be joined by veterans of the Minneapolis music scene and her band from Indecent, Pat O’Keefe (winds) and Spencer Chandler (accordion, guitar and banjo) to celebrate Hanukah with some cranking Klezmer dance tunes, original songs and improvisations, and - of course - selections from Indecent.

With a passion toward keeping ancestral music vibrant, Lisa Gutkin has created wonderfully powerful productions in both the theater and concert worlds, using the traditional sounds of various communities. Surrounding herself with musicians and audiences who share that same passion, it’s no wonder that one of the first “out of town” concerts for Whirligig in the late 90’s was at the global-centric Cedar Cultural Center.

That was her first visit to Minneapolis - a city she has been to many times since, with the Klezmatics (with whom she won a 2006 Grammy for best contemporary world music album of the year). It’s also a city she has fallen in love with, mostly because of the Guthrie Theater and Pat and Spencer, whose multicultural stylings include Brazilian, Turkish, American and Irish musics.

Bringing Yiddish to Broadway and beyond, Indecent traces the history of the real life playwright, Sholem Asch, and his Yiddish play, written in 1906. The God of Vengeance was translated into English, and subsequently shutdown when it got to Broadway in 1923 - allegedly for a lesbian kiss. It questions the concept of decency, and celebrates love, tolerance, and theater.

The play won two Tonys, played in Israel, and is now appearing in over 25 cities this year alone. The first of these cities, and Lisa’s first “out of town” music director’s job, was where? In Minneapolis! At the Guthrie Theater last winter, with Pat and Spencer.

The Minnesota Playlist said “the three piece Klezmer Band is awesome”. The Twin Cities Pioneer Press said the play is “carried along by a trio of musicians (Spencer Chandler, Lisa Gutkin and Pat O’Keefe) whose virtuosity and versatility grease transitions and conjure mood so effectively that the music is almost a character unto itself”. Lisa agrees, and is thrilled to give this “character” a chance to shine on its own.

Lisa Gutkin has had a storied career that reflects the eclectic nature of her life, passion, and creativity. A cameo performance in Sex and the City, a seat in Sting’s band for The Last Ship, and a CD of original songs produced by John Lissauer have taken her a long way from her beginnings as back up musician to the Fast Folk songwriters’ collective (which included artists such as Lucy Kaplansky, Richard Shindell, Shawn Colvin, and Suzanne Vega).

Praised for her “hauntingly emotional” vocals by the L.A. Times, Lisa’s song writing has also been lauded. “Gonna Get Through This World”, co-written with Woody Guthrie, was described by Pete Seeger as “a piece of genius”.

In her ventures as soloist and band leader, Lisa might swing seamlessly from Klezmer to the blues, or between traditional Irish and Appalachian sounds. She might even put the violin down altogether, pick up a tenor guitar, and sing one of her own universally resonant songs. Or she might tell a story from the play she is creating (which had its first out of town workshop in - of course - Minneapolis!). Wherever she goes, Lisa has an uncanny way of taking her audiences with her.

Pat O'Keefe is active in a variety of musical genres. He has performed as a soloist with symphony orchestras, wailed away for belly dancers, and rocked samba in the streets. He is the woodwind player for the ensemble Zeitgeist, and also performs with Batucada do Norte, Choro Borealis, No Territories, and The Maithree Ensemble. In 2015 he was awarded a Performing Musician Fellowship from the McKnight Foundation. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls.

Spencer Chandler is a multi-dimensional, semi-delusional artist who keeps changing hats and donning different disguises. As an actor he toured the world and Broadway as a wordless clown in Slava's Snowshow, with the venerable National Yiddish Theatre Folksbiene, in the independent film, Mendy: A Question of Faith, and was a regular contributor to the New York television market with memorable turns on Law and Order. He has appeared onstage at the Guthrie (Paula Vogel's Indecent) and as a songwriter/composer across genres such as bluegrass, rock-pop, and folk. His short films have been recognized at festivals around the country, and as a playwright he was honored with the David Mamet Award from A.C.T in San Francisco for what was hailed as a miniature masterpiece: "Bringing Up Mamet." A native of San Francisco and twenty year resident of New York, Spencer founded and maintains the nonprofit arts catalyst Cannery Works, responsible for launching new artists. He currently makes his home in Edina. You can find him most Sundays at Keegan's Irish pub playing traditional Irish music on mandolin, banjo, or button accordion.”