Fortune's Fool Theatre was founded in 2005 by playwright Daniel Pinkerton and director/playwright Leah Cooper (no longer a member of Fortune's Fool). From the very first production, Dan's daughter and artistic collaborator, Ariel Pinkerton—actor, lighting designer, director, playwright—was indispensable to the company. In 2013, she became co-producing artistic director of Fortune's Fool. Pictured above, Ariel Pinkerton and Joe Wiener in Dog Act. Photo by Scott Pakudaitis.
Daniel is a California-born and Minneapolis-based playwright and producer who can't imagine producing theatre without his colleague and daughter to share the load. As a producer, Daniel has been awarded seven Metropolitan Regional Arts Council grants and a Rimon Foundation grant for Fortune's Fool projects. As a playwright, he has received a Jerome Fellowship, three Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowships, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. He has written Do You Want to Know a Secret?, YARRRH! The Lusty, Busty Pirate Musical (music by Chris Gennaula), The Lady with a Lap Dog (music by Robert Elhai), and Cold Planet Warm Heart (music by Robert Elhai) for Fortune's Fool. Other projects have included lyrics for Beaverdance! A Marxist Fur Trade Holiday Musical (Bedlam, 2009, 2014), book and lyrics for Hard Times (music by Gary Rue). Daniel holds an MA in European Social History and an MFA in Playwriting, both from the University of Minnesota. He was the last person to earn the latter degree before the program was given the axe.
Ariel is a native of Minneapolis who is in demand as an actress, lighting designer, director, and storyteller. For our first production, she designed the lights, ran the sound and lighting board, called the show, and house managed. She is not only the co-producing artistic director of Fortune's Fool but also a member of Freshwater Theatre. She played Callie in our production of Stop Kiss and played Captain LaFemme, Cecily Toadmoor, and others in our production of YARRRH! the Lusty, Busty Pirate Musical. Other recent credits include performing as Xena in Xena and Gabrielle Smash the Patriarchy! at the 2019 MN Fringe Festival; creating and appearing in The Hysterical Woman for the 2022 MN Fringe Festival; creating and appearing in The Resilient Child in the 2023 Fringe along with her daughter, Fiona Leaf, making it a three generation show (Grampa produced it); and playing Wubu, the visitor from across the universe in Cold Planet Warm Heart. Ariel earned a BA in Theatre from the University of Minnesota. That degree program is still alive and well.
JANE JOHNSTON, the accountant for Fortune's Fool Theatre since its founding. She is a retired pharmacist, and she has over fifteen years of experience as an accountant and computer programmer with various businesses, including the University of Minnesota Veterinary Teaching Hospitals. We are grateful for the fact that she can actually make sense out of the numbers we give her.
THE FORTUNE'S FOOL ADVISORY BOARD
Since our inception, we have had a marvelous advisory board to, well, advise us on matters large and small concerning play production. Each member has a particular expertise. They volunteer their services and answer questions with amazing speed and insight. The current board:
Chris Carlson (lawyer, Actors' Equity member): intellectual property and Actors Equity matters
Roy Close (grant writer and fundraiser emeritus for Artspace): fundraising and development
Suzie Juul (Actors Equity member, teaching artist, businesswoman): matters concerning Equity and non-Equity actors
Wendy Knox (artistic director, Frank Theatre; director): the perils of running a small theatre
Erin McGonagle (editor and grant writer at the University of Minnesota): fundraising and development
Joel Sass (producing artistic director, Open Eye Theatre; designer, director), grant writing, design, how to do crazy stuff cheaply
Ruth Virkus (co-artistic director, Freshwater Theatre; playwright): playwriting, the perils of running a theatre as small as ours
In Memoriam: Mr. Jake (2003-2016, founding theatre cat): grooming consultant, inspiration for Captain Jake in YARRRH!, good boy (pictured at right)
Mr. Jake, founding theatre cat