Michael Sommers Receives Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education

Michael Sommers. Photo by Patrick O' Leary

Michael Sommers. Photo by Patrick O' Leary

We're proud to announce that Open Eye's Artist-in-Residence and Co-Founder Michael Sommers has received the Horace T. Morse-University of Minnesota Alumni Association Award for Outstanding Contributions to Undergraduate Education. Michael is an Associate Professor in the University's Theatre Arts & Dance department.

In his 34-year career to date, Michael has generated more than fifty internationally recognized theatrical productions, probing the dark conflicts and the joys of being human. At the University, he has translated his unique vision into the curricular arts where he serves as mapmaker, provocateur, and mentor. He structures collaborative environments of serious and focused play that celebrate the act of making, inspiring students to work with their hands, imaginations, and intellects to realize their own creative process.

According to the University, "This honor is awarded to exceptional candidates nominated by colleges in their quest to identify excellence in undergraduate education. In addition to honoring individual faculty members, the award contributes to the improvement of undergraduate education at the University by publicizing their work to serve as a resource for the whole faculty." Learn more.

As part of this prestigious recognition, Michael's name will be added to the University's Scholars Walk.

The Red Shoes Reviews

Kimberly Richardson. Photo by Galen Fletcher.

Kimberly Richardson. Photo by Galen Fletcher.

The reviews are rolling in for The Red Shoes!

"Richardson has a ball, posing like Dietrich, clowning like Chaplin and dancing like Shearer herself." - Graydon Royce, Star Tribune

"The Red Shoes is something so curious and unique, odd and chilling, inventive and charming, it's thoroughly captivating from start to finish." - Jill Schaefer, Cherry and Spoon

"Probably the best adjective to describe 'The Red Shoes' is 'intricate.' It’s a pleasing puzzlement with lots of moving parts, a story that constantly morphs in scale and a staging that keeps you guessing." - Dominic Papatola, Pioneer Press

"The dark, quirky fun of this play is akin to the fun of playing with mechanical toys instead of digital/virtual ones. So visceral!" - Janet Preus, How Was the Show

"She’s wonderful to watch; even during the more eerie moments, you don’t want to look away. Impressive as Richardson is, shoutouts must go to our backstage performers (Ariane Mass, Rick Miller, and Noah Sommers Haas) who make some of the play’s sleight of hand possible." - Tierney Chlan, Say Entirely

"Sass's genius for detailed settings and props, and for making them a dynamic presence rather than a static backdrop for a show, and Richardson's angular physicality and poised comic timing result in a show that is a delight to behold." - Arty Dorman, Talkin' Broadway

"It's a delirious, giddy, enthralling, terrific piece of theater that isn't going to make complete sense without some thought after. Even then, the exact meaning is somewhat obscured. So be it. Life in the big city doesn't always make sense, even when you are dressed to kill with your best red shoes on." - Ed Huyck, Massed Gadgets of Hercules

"Richardson’s breadth of vocal variations throughout is uniquely masterful. Moreover, she unifies that vocal prowess with physical movement that kinetically pulses, stretches, contorts, and flows. The result is a highly concentrated tour de force that moves with comic velocity and ricochets with mercurial electricity throughout a woman’s paranoid subconscious. Indeed, this is a courageously miraculous portrayal." - John Townsend, Lavender Magazine