Up Next: Live & Unlocked

Looking for a fun way to share a Monday evening together while imagining what society’s technological future holds?

Me, too!

You’re in luck because on Monday, July 25th at 7PM, upstairs at the Waldmann Brewery in Saint Paul, Bad Mouth Theatre Company’s Live & Unlocked Series is reading Deborah Yarchun’s latest work: Atlas, The Lonely Gibbon.

(This spring and early summer Bad Mouth and I attempted to collaborate on two different scripts, but our schedules wouldn’t align. So now I’m extra excited to (finally) be collaborating with them and I hope YOU come!)

Curious about the show? Here’s a synopsis:

ATLAS, THE LONELY GIBBON is a dark comedic thriller set in the future.

Irene, a 28-year-old journalist, has recently had her job downgraded to editing AI (Artificial Intelligence)-generated articles. Her husband, David, is a cybercrime journalist, a niche that has kept him employed in a dying journalism field.

Irene becomes alienated by technologies he introduces into their home for work that possess a sometimes comforting, but creepy and increasingly dangerous presence. Because of David’s job, their apartment is targeted by hackers and their everyday household appliances (all connected to the internet) have been turning on them. This is particularly challenging for Irene, because she now works from home.

To cope with her challenging marriage and increasingly threatening space, Irene fixates on a VR (virtual reality) show about an isolated ape at a monkey sanctuary. David introduces a set of lifelike bionic arms into their home and Irene’s world is shaken when the arms take on a life of their own; instead of calling her husband, she begins a new type of relationship.

ATLAS, THE LONELY GIBBON explores where we’re heading as a society and the complex benefits and destructive possibilities of a fully wired world.

New Play Exchange

While reading the show, there are a handful of moments I gasped at what was happening… This award-winning script pulled me in and I imagine it’ll do the same for you.

Readings are free with a $10 recommended donation. Space is limited to 25 guaranteed seats per reading, so I suggest an early RSVP. In addition to supporting the artistic company, consider grabbing a pint or two from Waldmann (they have tasty bites).

If you want to be there, but aren’t able to make it work? One of the neat things Bad Mouth Theatre Company does with each presentation is record it to be shared online later. They have a podcast and everything! (You can subscribe via Apple Podcasts or Spotify.)

Hope to see you there!

WHO: Bad Mouth Theatre Company

WHAT: Live & Unlocked Series: Atlas, The Lonely Gibbon

WHERE: Waldmann Brewery (upstairs) @ 445 Smith Ave N, St Paul, MN 55102

WHEN: 7PM on Monday, July 25

COST: FREE – $10 Suggested Donation


Up Next: Regional Premiere of All American Boys

I’m excited to announce being cast in the regional premiere of All American Boys presented by Stages Theatre Company and the Capri Theatre.

The show follows the lives of two high-school boys, one black and one white, that powerfully intersect after a violent act of racially motivated police brutality.

Unfolding through the boys’ alternating perspectives, the story follows their journey as they grapple with the devastating impact of racism as it reverberates through their families, school and town. Stages Theatre Company and Capri Theater are proud to bring this important play, based on the award-winning book by Brendan Kiely and National Book Award winner and Ambassador of Children’s Literature, Jason Reynolds, to Twin Cities audiences.

This will be my third collaboration with Stages Theatre Company. I am honored to be working with this amazingly talented cast, crew, and creative team.

CONTENT WARNING: Strong Language & Violence will be depicted.
RUN DATES: April 29 – May 22, 2022

LOCATION: The Capri Theater- 2027 West Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55411


DURATION: Approx. 80 Minutes.

Buy Tickets to All American Boys





Up Next: The Remember Project


Remember-Logo-Final-300x300I’m excited to announce I’ll be touring this fall throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin with The Remember Project!

The Remember Project is a pilot program from the St. Croix Valley Foundation intended to stimulate a community conversation around Alzheimer’s disease by presenting The MemoryCare Plays.

The MemoryCare Plays consist of three one-acts: Steering Into the Skid, by Arnold Johnston and Deborah Ann Percy; Riding the Waves, by L.E. Grabowski-Cotton; and Matthew Widman’s In the Garden.

Matt Sciple is directing the three shows. Stage management by Kristin Detailleur. Denise Baker, Heidi Fellner, Charles Numrich, Jim Pounds, Andrew E Wheeler and I comprise the acting company.

In addition to performing in In The Garden and understudying Riding the Waves, I’ll be facilitating conversations about how our communities can become more dementia-friendly.

Check out the events page for performance locations, dates, and times. More information will be added as it becomes available.

Taken on 8/7 before the company read-thru for The Remember Project.
Taken on 8/7 before the company read-thru for The Remember Project. @michaelvenske via Instagram

Below you can learn more about The Remember Project & The MemoryCare Plays.

The rehearsal process starts this week and I can’t wait!

More info as it happens!

Thanks for reading, friends!

(If you’re a member of my email newsletter, you’ve known this since early July. If you’re not, sign-up now!)

Minnesota Fringe Festival “Thumbs Up” Audience Reviews

Thumbs Up 4.5 Stars
Minnesota Fringe Festival audience reviews for “Thumbs Up” give the show an average 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Here’s what the audiences are saying…

“…clever! Wonderful writing. Great show!” -Jane Pena


“Funny, high energy…” -Frederick Melo


“Fast-paced, well-rehearsed… This guy has a bright future ahead of him.” -Publius McGee



“…inventive and funny.” -Cato Brutus


“Polished, funny, endearing, and poignant.” -Krystal McKay


“…ranging in tender, heartfelt moments to down right laugh out loud funny.” -John Potter



“About two-thirds of the way through this show I realized my face hurt from laughing so much!” -Ellen Anderson


“…well acted with dialogue that was funny and sentimental.” -Shannon Hunter


“An entertaining script, brought to life. Transitions are wonderful and don’t miss the dancing!” -Maureen Anderson



“…exceptionally well acted with interesting characters, a timely theme and a well constructed plot line.” -Janis Emily Peabody


“…heartfelt, yet not too sappy, and interjected with great one-liners.” -Ashley Wurster


DC Theatre Scene “Thumbs Up” Review

…it is Minneapolis-based Venske’s acting that anchors the piece solidly…Venske attacks with enthusiasm…left the audience in stitches…Venske is at his best, unafraid to bust a move or pull out a silly dialect. His intensity is impressive…he doesn’t disappoint…enjoyable experience from beginning to end…

-Julia Katz, DC Theatre Scene

Live Event Hosting: Securian Financial Group

Securian Financial Group tapped me for their all-company meeting to appear as “Rick Clark” the host of Securian Bandstand. In addition to 2,400 Securian employees at St. Paul’s River Centre the event was also streamed around the world for employees unable to attend.

Accepted to New York Film Fest!

New York International Independent Film and Video FestivalMatt Joyer’s short film “Someone, Something,” written by Ryan Nichols, has been accepted into the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival! My first film fest!

This is particularly exciting because less than two months ago the film appeared in the Twin Cities Film Festival!

The film will be screened twice, once during the fall of 2010 in Los Angeles and then in the spring of 2011 in New York City.

On Saturday, November 13 in Los Angeles you can see the film at the Culver Plaza Theatre, located across the street from Sony Studios and the Kirk Douglas Theatre at 9919 Washington Boulevard.

If you’re in the LA-area buy tickets and check it out!

Closing: Guthrie Theater’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona”

You have less than a month to grab tickets to the Guthrie’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona!”

Minnesota Fringe Festival “Casanova Man” Audience Reviews


Minnesota Fringe Festival audience reviews for “Casanova Man” give the show an average 2.5 out of 5 stars!

Here’s what the audiences are saying…

“…and Michael Venske as the Bartender [Pete] made me practically fall out of my seat when he left his post as drink server and began to seduce women and join the cast in a dance sequence near the end that was hilarious!” -Chuck Beeson

“The only redeeming qualities were Pete and Emma’s performances.” -Cid Starwind

Standout performances by Michael Venske and Lourey Middlecamp kept my interest throughout.” -re gurgitate

“…sort of low in energy (sans Bartender Pete’s mad dance skills)…The redeeming quality? Emma and Pete really made the show. -Katherine Arcand