Ira Brooker

Ira Brooker is a writer and editor residing in Saint Paul's scenic Midway neighborhood. He holds down a corporate job by day and does freelance and creative work at night. He is a former editor of Minnesota Playlist and has been published in a number of venues both local and national, several of which you may have even heard of. He occasionally prattles on about pop culture at A Talent For Idleness and maintains an archive at

Articles by this author

REVIEW: The Mess is not a mess


Ira sets out to conquer the Improv theater review, a notoriously slippery form of criticism.

REVIEW: A question of blood


A trio of Horror Festival shows bring on the blood and guts in very different fashions.

REVIEW: What is a Horror Festival?


'Doll Collection' is Ira's highlight of the Horror Festival so far, but if creepiness isn't your thing, then stay for the dance or comedy.

REVIEW: How do you do that?


It's a play about how things work, but Ira can't figure out how it works. He only knows that it does.

Best of 2013-2014: Small Art


A sometimes forgotten excellence of live performance is its impermanence and adaptability, like basketball.

Fringe blog (day 6): Traffic, tourist traps, and other horrors


"I was left gasping for breath and on the verge of tears at the horrific beauty of it all." Plus, four other reviews.

REVIEW: "Asking for It" is very funny


Ira thinks he may have seen the most 'important' stand-up comedy set around and regrets that its value as theater may overshadow its pure funny.

Turn and face the strange

Playlist editor Ira Brooker drops some thanks and gets a little weepy on his way out the door.

Northern Spark in the rain: a journey


The weather did its damnedest to douse this year's Spark, but a non-optimal experience isn't necessarily a bad one.

Reviewing the reviews: What's in a space?


Theater folks love their nontraditional spaces, but are they always an asset to the art?

We're pretty smart and that's OK


Let's give local theater some credit for giving local audiences some credit.

Reviewing the reviews: How subjective is too subjective?


A critic owns up to his personal bias, but does he still do the production a disservice?

Reviewing the reviews: Who is this for?


A reader wonders who a review of 'Othello' was meant for, and it's not an easy answer.

What makes a perfect puppet?


Seth Eberle expounds on the process of producing a perfect puppet for a particular puppet production.

Reviewing the reviews: What's in a rave?


The critics all like 'Fuddy Meers,' but no two like it in quite the same way.

Reviewing the reviews: Meeting expectations


A major touring production does what it's supposed to, and so do its reviews. Is that a good thing?

Reviewing the reviews


Taking a closer look at Twin Cities theater criticism, one review at a time.

Cash rules everything around me... or does it?


A New York Times piece looks at a crisis point for artists. So how bad is it out there?

Keeping the brief candles burning


As Thanksgiving draws near, an appreciation of an arts community that honors its dead and values its living.

I had fun at a play and that's OK


Sometimes a play is just a good evening's entertainment. Do we need theater to be more than that?

Hunting for horror in 'The Hollow'


A search for scary theater begins with Workhaus Collective's atmospheric New Orleans story.

'Small Art,' big awards and local heroes


An intimate arts evening and a gala extravaganza throw a spotlight on all the amazing theater in between.

Best of 2012-2013: A look from 'Lolita'


Four Humors' Fringe hit had a certain look that held Ira Brooker's gaze.

Learning to watch at the Children's Theatre


A production of 'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' helps my son leap a few hurdles of art appreciation.

"Tucker's Robot" - My kid's first show


The peculiar power of puppetry at Open Eye Figure Theatre spawns a new fan for local theater.

What gives you the right?


When it comes to artistic inspiration, who has the right to tell what story?

Sympathy for the Jocks


Playlist editor Ira Brooker attempts to end the culture wars between sports fans and arts lovers.

The beautiful recyclability of theater


Theater is the rare art form that not only welcomes but requires endless remakes, and that's a great thing.

Unloading Chekhov's gun


In defense of the "pointless" digression.

"Be our Judas": Sam Landman's 'Audition Notices' hit home

Writer and actor Sam Landman's sardonic #AuditionNotice tweets help local theater folk laugh through the pain.

Searching for awful theater


Watching bad movies is a time-honored tradition. Is there a similar niche for transcendently terrible theater?

Who's afraid of The Pirate Bay?


While books, music and movies scramble to adapt to the age of torrents, theater enjoys its unique niche as a virtually pirate-proof art form.