About Us

Myron Johnson, Artistic Director: mbimtt@gmail.com

Myron Johnson has over 50 years’ experience in dance, theater, and mime performance and production. He began his training as a child, studying at Minnesota’s Children’s Theatre Company and School. At age 19, he was awarded a scholarship to study in Paris under the celebrated mime Marcel Marceau. While in France, he also studied under Mme. Janine Charat, and later with Ren Bon. He pursued further studies at the New York Conservatory of Ballet and the Minnesota Dance Theatre.

Since founding Ballet of the Dolls in 1986, Johnson has choreographed and mounted over 100 original productions, receiving extraordinary critical and popular acclaim.

 

 

Maggie FitzGibbon, Managing Director:mfitzgibbon.ritztheater@gmail.com

Maggie began her early years as a performer dancing on her parents’ coffee table and singing to a Madonna song, the lyrics to which she couldn’t possibly have understood. Realizing she had a weird child, her mother decided to try some direction and purchased season tickets to the Children’s Theater where some of Maggie’s first memories were sealed watching the work of Myron Johnson there. After studying Music Performance at the University of Minnesota and working a series of jobs in the corporate sector, she walked into the Ritz Theater one day, found Ballet of the Dolls, recognized it immediately as home and never left. She is also a writer with works being published in Minneapolis and New York. She lives and loves Northeast Minneapolis. She still has the coffee table.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laurie Van Wieren, Curator/Director of Programming:laurievw.ritztheater@gmail.com

Laurie Van Wieren’s dance work is noted for its attention to the visual, wry humor, and idiosyncratic vocabulary. Her work considers – the dancer as archivist, the stage as a visual and social landscape, and choreography as a lens to experience and distort art.

Her work has been seen in Dancespace, DTW, Links Hall, Walker Art Center, Fabrik, Potsdam, Germany and Art of Movement Festival- Yaroslavl, Russia. She is the recipient of fellowships from McKnight, Jerome, Bush and NEA and Rockefeller Foundations. In 2011 she received a Sage Award for Dance, Outstanding Performance for her retrospective: “Who Made These Video Tapes?”

 

 

 

 

Will Rees has been involved in the twin cities theater and music scene since his arrival to Minnesota in 2009. He is currently the production manager, house technician, and resident lighting designer for The RItz. When not at the theater, Will can be found making music with his production company, lhc music, or making noise at his studio space in Midway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renata Shaffer-Gottschalk moved to Minneapolis in 2006, after graduating magna cum laude from Longwood University (Farmville, VA), with a BFA in Theatre Performance. Since moving to Minneapolis she has worked as a costume designer (favorites include Avenue Q with Mixed Blood Theatre and Reasons to be Pretty with Walking Shadow Theatre Company and Guthrie Theatre Presents), company member of 20%Theatre Company (2008-present), company dancer with Ballet of the Dolls (favorites include Nutcracker: The Lost Act, Memphis Blues and SINderella), and actress (favorites include Emilie in Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Urban Samurai Productions). As her alter-ego Queenie von Curves, she teaches with Playful Peacock Showgirl Academy, produces Naked Girls Reading-Minneapolis, writes a column “Curved Space” with MN-Ups Pin-Up Magazine, works as a plus-size model and is a cast member of Le Cirque Rouge Cabaret and Burlesque. In her spare time (ha!) she enjoys dyeing her hair outrageous colors, eating vegan cookies and getting into mischief with her hubster.

 

  • Anna Lewein, Head Usher

Anna Lewein (lay-wine) graduated from the University of Minnesota with her BA in Theater Arts. She is a native to West Allis, WI, and began working with The Ritz Theater in March of 2012. When she is not at The Ritz, she is performing with NewBridge Theater Company in Hastings, MN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Ryan Medeiros, Box Office Associate

Ryan Medeiros has worked at the Ritz since December of 2012, and you might see his smiling face in the box office or behind the bar. Ryan works full-time as an educator, plays ice hockey ridiculously early on Thursday mornings, and plays Vintage Base Ball (1860s rules – no gloves!) on the weekends when there isn’t snow on the ground. Ryan also loves supporting his wife, Renata (Director of Audience Services here at the Ritz), in all the crazy fun things that she does.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boards of Directors

The Ritz Theater Foundation:

  • Michael P. Rainville, Sr.,  Chair
  • David Warner, Vice Chair
  • Michael Arulfo, Secretary
  • Jenny Fortman
  • Diane Hofstede

The Ballet of the Dolls:

  • Michael P. Rainville, Sr., President
  • Amy Sperling, Vice President
  • David Warner, Treasurer
  • Mandy Meisner, Secretary
  • Greg Handberg
  • Larry Berle
  • Emily Boigenzahn
  • Kathy Cashman
  • Carrie Connor