The short version: The Rush coffee shop is a haven for all, from homeless evangelists to aspiring musicians. “Grind” uses rap, shadow puppetry and lots of music to see what happens when a shop like this is set for demolition.
The better version:“Grind” is part of the next generation of musical theater, where the lines between actors, band and audience are broken down for good: our actors are musicians, our musicians play characters, and the audience is always, always in on the game. We believe breaking down these barriers is essential to telling a story that’s both surprising and resonant. That’s why we chose a coffee shop–it’s a place where you arrive with a barrier up, but when that barrier gets broken down and you let yourself experience the people around you, magic can happen. And in “Grind”, it does.
Plot-wise, “Grind” follows the owner of a doomed Minneapolis coffee shop, her aspiring-musician brother, a homeless evangelist, a comic-book writer and a young barista relocated by Katrina as each answers the question “what do I do when ‘home’ can’t be home anymore?” Punctuated by bursts of shadow puppetry done in the style of comic-book art, each character struggles to answer this question set to a soundtrack made from styles varying from rap to indie to jazz to spoken word. And somehow, it’s also hilarious.