Aimee K. Bryant is Marian the librarian

Aimee Bryant has acted on Twin Cities stages since 1997 in a range of diverse roles including here, as Marian Paroo from “The Music Man” in the Ten Thousand Things performance at Hubbs Center for Lifelong Learning in St. Paul on Feb. 7, 2014. Paula Keller/Courtesy Ten Thousand Things Theater

My imagination expands with every Ten Thousand Things theater production, and it happened again when I viewed their version of “The Music Man” where Twin Cities actor Aimee K. Bryant portrays Marian the librarian.

You know Marian; she’s the prim, no-nonsense small-town Iowa resident who is the object of the amoral Harold Hill’s not entirely honorable attention. I’ll tell you more about Aimee K. (the “K” is for Kikiwa) Bryant in a new episode of Minnesota Sounds and Voices today as part of All Things Considered.

No one who witnessed Aimee’s acting and vocalizing at Renaissance High School in Detroit or at the Word of Faith church in that city, or at Howard University where she graduated in musical theater would be surprised at her Twin Cities acting success.

She has a stage resume as long as her arm and she’s only 40.   It began in the mid-1990s when  she auditioned for and landed a job with Minnesota-based Climb Theater.  This venerable non-profit acting company takes shows to school districts around the state promoting all manner of positive messages including shows that shine a light on literacy, anti-drug and anti-bullying messages. By 1997 she had won a role in a Penumbra Theater production of, “Raisin In The Sun.”

Aimee likes many things about the Twin Cities, including a theater scene where directors are not afraid to cast against type.  So, Aimee, an African-American actor, has played Queen Elizabeth, Amelia Earhart and, now, Marian Paroo.

What she misses about her hometown of Detroit is the city’s vibrant African-American culture.  Aimee wants her eight-year-old daughter to gain the self confidence she found growing up in an environment where she says, “black people love being black,” in their language, music and shared culture.

Performances of “The Music Man” are sold out, so watch for Aimee in a  Capri Theater production in April celebrating the music of Roberta Flack.