The Playlist Season 2

The PlayList Returns for Season 2 on PBS North

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

The PlayList kicks off a new season at 9 pm this Thursday night with Coal Car Caboose and Evil Dead: The Musical on WDSE•WRPT, PBS North and online, at

Karen Sunderman once again highlights the great artists of the Northland with her show The PlayList. Featuring in-studio interviews and performances, the program gives the viewer an inside look at the arts from a local perspective.

“A fresh slate of live music, artist profiles and theater previews marks the return of The PlayList,” Sunderman said. “Each episode offers a new set of creative opportunities to play in the local art scene and discover what’s happening around the region.”

This season promises to deliver on Thursday nights, featuring performers everyone is hearing about.

“Local musicians from Coal Car Caboose to Sarah Krueger and Yelzi will appear on the show as well as traveling bluegrass masters, The Brothers Burn Mountain and Unnamed Stream, an Americana/alt country band based out of Cook County.” Sunderman said. “There’s a little classical music, too, from a fantastic accordionist to a knock out trio made up of the best violinists in town... So The PlayList can introduce you to lots of new music.”

Last week I ran my review of Evil Dead: The Musical from last year’s performance, this week you can learn more about the current rendition at 9 pm.

“Theater opportunities are everywhere,” Sunderman said. “From “Evil Dead: The Musical” by Rubber Chicken Theater Company to Renegade’s “Man of La Mancha”, The Duluth Playhouse’s “White Christmas” and “Proof” at Hibbing Community College. The show also takes you inside the studios of some exceptional professional artists including illustrator/animator Brian Barber, furniture maker Peter Pestolozzi and weaver Deb Cooter. It’s inspiring to see and hear the passion and perspective of people who are making a life and a career in the arts right here, in Minnesota’s arrowhead region.”

Trampled By Turtles appeared in the pilot episode last season, shot at a live show at Pizza Luce. Their performance and others can still be viewed on their website at

“The new website, designed by Jacob LeBeau, is clean and easy to navigate. You can offer suggestions for future features online and watch past shows. And that’s where you can make the social networking connections and even find out how to download the show on I-tunes. A new partnership with the College of St. Scholastica’s Spotlight series helps us bring added attention to the cultural life of the community. Production funding for The PlayList comes largely from the Minnesota Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund, established by the vote of the people of Minnesota on November 4th, 2008,” Sunderman said.

So how did last season go?

“The first run of shows this spring was a great learning experience for me and our crew. There are a lot of fantastic, creative and generous people living in our community. Meeting them and learning about the vibrant music, theater and visual arts community thriving here was and is incredible. I am so glad WDSE•WRPT has the chance to showcase the creative work being done here through The PlayList!”

There are many people involved in putting on such an in-depth local arts program. Sunderman thanked her team for their contributions and all that is involved with putting on a successful show.

“It was a huge team effort,” Sunderman said. “Steve Ash, the Director of Photography, spent considerable time creating top notch video pieces for The PlayList and made sure each guest musician had a unique backdrop to compliment their music. Director Nick Clingman added a ton of creativity in lighting and directing our camera crew during the live show. More help came from Jake Larson, fine tuning our approach to audio mixing.”

What was the biggest highlight of last season’s show?

“Highlight? Well, Charlie Parr is an awesome man and musician.”

So how has Sunderman’s perspective changed about covering the arts from this show compared to Venture North?

“I am awed by the creativity and high caliber performances I have seen around the Arrowhead region. The visual artists, performers and musicians here are doing really quality work. If you have an interest in any arts discipline, you can find an opportunity to explore it on almost any weekend. We have so much going on, you just have to be proud of the rich cultural life growing our community. Go see it! Get involved! Enjoy live, local art every day! You can download episodes on I-tunes! Join us on Facebook and Twitter at playlistMN.”