Bringing Hypnosis to the DCA Stage

The Door Community Auditorium is giving people a chance to go fishing for mermaids, get into a Dancing with the Stars dance-off, milk cows and sign autographs when it welcomes Lizzy the Dream Girl to its stage Jan. 30. Except people won’t really be doing any of that – they’ll just think they are.

Lizzy the Dream Girl is Mary Kleingarn, a Minneapolis/St. Paul-based psychologist and hypnotist who has built a career on showing audiences across the Midwest the hilarious side of what she describes as “an altered state of focus and heightened attention.”

Hypnosis has long been a part of Kleingarn’s life. Her mother, a teacher, was clinically trained through the National Guild of Hypnotists and eventually began doing hypnotherapy with clients, providing Kleingarn with a basis of understanding for that state of human consciousness.

After Kleingarn earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Olaf College and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, she began to see hypnosis as a positive outlet.

“I’ve always been intrigued by it but I also have my master’s degree in psychology so I do therapy not with hypnosis but psychotherapy with people,” Kleingarn said. “That can be so serious so I think I was interested in doing hypnosis for the lighter side of things.”

Soon after, Lizzy the Dream Girl was born. Kleingarn sees her role as one of a guide, “allowing someone to get into their subconscious mind rather than what we naturally tend to think with through our conscious mind.”

Mary Kleingarn

Mary Kleingarn

In her years performing on stage with her popular show, she has addressed two common misconceptions of hypnotism: that not everyone can be hypnotized and that it is a form of mind control.

“A lot of people are afraid of it because they think they’re going to be out of control of their minds and of what they’re doing and really when they come up on stage, I’m just kind of helping them along but they are in control 100 percent of the time of what they’re doing and of what’s going on in their mind,” Kleingarn said.

While participation onstage at her shows is completely voluntary, Kleingarn understands people’s reservations to do it. To encourage people to participate, she has a way of testing the audience so they can experience firsthand what the experience might be like for them and decide if they want to go for it.

If not, they can still expect a lot of fun.

“We’ll have people racing cars, we’ll have people fishing in magic lakes and catching things – not fish but things that they’ve been dreaming about or whatever they want they can catch,” Kleingarn said. “Catching mermaids or houses; it’s really creative and really funny what people come up with. We have Dancing with the Stars competitions, cow milking, ice cream eating contests, Romeo & Juliet, people will think that they’re celebrities and they’ll go and sign autographs for people in the crowd so all different types of things. It’s meant to be funny and meant to make people laugh.”

In recent years, hypnotism has been lauded for its therapeutic benefits. While Kleingarn dubs Lizzy the Dream Girl as a more “fun and games” performance, it isn’t without its benefits for participants and viewers.

“The audience is going to laugh,” she said. “They’re probably going to be laughing the majority of the show which is therapeutic in itself but then the people who are actually onstage, I tell people that when they’re up there – it’s about an hour-long show – it’s equivalent to about eight hours of good sleep so they’re going to leave feeling relaxed and that can be very therapeutic as well. It’s just getting back into that subconscious mind; they can clear their thoughts and be more relaxed, and not be so focused on their thoughts.”

Lizzy the Dream Girl will take the stage Saturday, Jan. 30 at 7pm. Tickets are $15 or $10 for students. For more information, visit


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