2014 Fall Arts & Dining

Theatre Reviews by John Townsend. Restaurant Pairings by Joy Summers. Produced by Andy Lien, Shane Lueck, Linda Raines & Mike Hnida.

The Wolf of Wal-Mart. Photo courtesy of Brave New Workshop

The Wolf of Wal-Mart. Photo courtesy of Brave New Workshop

The Wolf of Wal-Mart
Brave New Workshop
www.bravenewworkshop.com
through November 1, 2014
The shrewd ways in which corporations and mass retailers pick our brains and control our actions are revealed in this new revue by the region’s premier comedy theater troupe. There’s an Orwellian edge to this piece unlike any Brave New Workshop show of recent years. You may realize that corporations manipulate your mind!

Paired with:
The Lowry
Fun, raucous, and always a good time, the Lowry matches culinary wits with BNW. Order oysters like there’s no tomorrow and enjoy a couple of their drinks alongside comfort food favorites with select modern twists.
www.thelowryuptown.com

Oysters at The Lowry. Photo by Mike Hnida

Oysters at The Lowry. Photo by Mike Hnida

The Book of Mormon
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
through September 14, 2014
This South Park-style musical satire on Mormon missionaries and Uganda natives is not heavy on the research of the two groups it skewers, but audiences and critics don’t seem to mind. A phenomenal global hit. Nine Tony Awards. As zany as it is, it clearly contrasts ways in which misunderstandings abound between radically different cultures.

Paired with:
Seven Steakhouse & Sushi
This musical is fast becoming a classic, just like downtown’s Seven Sushi & Steakhouse. Block E keeps on turning, but this neighboring mega-wattage restaurant continues to host the out-of-town glitterati and discerning diners of downtown. Order the steak because, yes, you’ve earned it.
www.7mpls.net

The Mystery of Irma Vep. Photo by Michal Daniel

The Mystery of Irma Vep. Photo by Michal Daniel

The Mystery of Irma Vep
The Jungle Theater
www.jungletheater.com
through October 19, 2014
A haunted estate, the tombs of Egypt, werewolves, and mayhem ignite the lightning-fast costume changes of the classic gender-bending whirlwind comedy. Bradley Greenwald and Stephen Cartmell star in the revival of one of the Jungle’s most popular hits ever. Called one of the best plays of 1984 by The New York Times and TIME magazine.

Sexy Laundry
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
September 5 – 28, 2014
He thinks if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. She thinks there’s a problem. And she’s right. Alice and Henry check themselves into a trendy spa hotel and attempt to recharge their passion and intimacy after 25 years of marriage. All kinds of memories and resentments turn up. They have a copy of Sex for Dummies, but will it lead them toward a happy ending?

Underpants. Photo by Rich Fleischman

Underpants. Photo by Rich Fleischman

The Underpants
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
September 5 – 28, 2014
German playwright Carl Sternheim’s farce was banned in 1911. Set the year before that, a woman’s undergarment accidentally falls to her ankles while she and her husband watch a parade. To give you an idea of just how uptight it was then, it causes a scandal that threatens her husband’s career. Adapted for stage by comedian Steve Martin.

Hello, Dolly! Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2014

Hello, Dolly! Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2014

Hello, Dolly!
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
www.chanhassentheatres.com

September 5, 2014 – February 21, 2015
Dolly Levi is a delightfully scheming busybody who makes her living as a matchmaker in turn of the century, glamorous New York City. She’s out to make a match for Horace Vandergelder, the “well-known half-a-millionaire,” with the charming hat maker, Irene Molloybut in the process, Dolly snares a groom for herself. Dolly masterfully orchestrates romance and adventure in a glittering mixed up night on the town. Audiences should be on the lookout for the show’s rousing title tune hailed as one of the greatest production numbers in American musical theater history: “Hello, Dolly!”

The White Snake. Photo by Liz Lauren

The White Snake. Photo by Liz Lauren

The White Snake
Guthrie Theater’s McGuire Proscenium Stage
www.guthrietheater.org
September 9 – October 19, 2014
Tony Award-winner Mary Zimmerman adapted gay Roman poet Ovid’s Metamorphoses into a superior stage play. Her brilliant capacity for apprehending the mystical past is again brought to bear in an adaptation of the ancient and beloved Chinese tale. For centuries, a gentle white serpent spirit lives coiled on a mountaintop. She and ‘Green Snake’ descend to the human realm and she is threatened by a judgemental monk.

Paired with:
Rainbow Chinese Restaurant and Bar
Tammy Wong’s Nicollet Avenue restaurant has become an institution. It continues to be one of the most beautiful spots along the stretch of Minneapolis’ Eat Street and it’s a fantastic place to go with a crew of diners. Sit around one of their lazy Susans and order up a myriad of dishes to share.
www.rainbowrestaurant.com

Rainbow fare. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Chinese Restaurant & Bar

Rainbow fare. Photo courtesy of Rainbow Chinese Restaurant & Bar

Test Pilot
The O’Shaughnessy Auditorium at St. Catherine’s University
www.theoshaugnessy.com
September 12 – 13, 2014 
As part of The O’Shaughnessy Women of Substance Series, soprano Carrie Henneman Shaw plays Katherine, the sister of iconic aviator-inventors Wilbur and Orville Wright. A string quartet, six vocalists, and dancers known for their work with Ballet of the Dolls and James Sewell Ballet perform the new dance opera composed by Jocelyn Hagen and choreographed by Penelope Freeh.

If We Were Birds
Nimbus Theatre
www.tctwentypercent.org
September 13 – 27, 2014
The style of Greek tragedy blends with commentary on the effects of war on women over the past century. If We Were Birds spotlights millions of female victims who have been silenced through violence and reminds us how women have been integral to antiwar movements. Winner of the 2011 Governor General’s Award for Drama.

Paired with:
Libertine
The emotional brutality of a powerful play like this calls for something that’s simply fun to release the tension. While the weather holds, head up to the rooftop above the newly opened Libertine and take in the serenity of an Uptown sunset. Revel in the cocktails, either alcoholic or non, they are all fun to drink. Then, tuck into an enormous hunk of meat. Suck the marrow of life—or their bone marrow on toast—and appreciate every great moment we’re afforded.
www.libertinempls.com

The New Electric Ballroom
The New Century Theater
www.franktheatre.org
September 12 – 28, 2014
Enda Walsh is one of Ireland’s foremost contemporary playwrights. He is known for his absurdist, far-fetched uses of language and situations. For example, in a fishing village, two sisters caution their younger sister about men and pleasure by re-enacting a night with a seductive musician in the 1960s. Walsh actually has a Twin Cities following.

Paired with:
Anchor Fish & Chips
Settle in with a dark pint of stout that slowly settles in the glass. The creamy foam cascades into waves of darkness; bitter and faintly sweet in the glass. Throw in a perfectly battered piece of fish the size of a child’s arm along side enormous fries and it’s a taste of all things salty, bitter, and wonderful. The tastes mirror the emotional journey you’ll take through this play.
www.theanchorfishandchips.com

Fish & Chips. Photo courtesy of Anchor Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips. Photo courtesy of Anchor Fish & Chips

Middle Brother
The Southern Theater
www.muperformingarts.org
September 12 – 28, 2014
You may know Erick Sharp by his dynamic performances in plays for Mu Performing Arts. Not surprisingly, he has created a play to be told in a bold physical theatre style. Middle Brother portrays two brothers born in Korea and how they reunite. How does one reconcile contemporary American life with a newfound Korean past?

Marcus: or the Secret of Sweet
Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater
www.pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org
September 9 – October 5, 2014
The final installment of Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Brother/Sister Plays, set in Louisiana’s superstitious bayou country, is about a gay African American teenager. Connections with ancestors and the dreams and doubts of youth are portrayed in a uniquely poetic style. “Sweet” is code for “gay.” You don’t need to have seen the previous installments to appreciate this one.

HeidiChroniclesThe Heidi Chronicles
Guthrie Theater’s Wurtele Thrust Stage
www.guthrietheater.org
September 13 – October 26, 2014

The Heidi Chronicles looms as the Great American Feminist Comedy and is nothing less than a thrilling choice for the nation’s flagship regional theater. Playwright Wendy Wasserstein’s first masterwork is a cultural historical document, albeit magnificently entertaining, of the problematic widening of women’s options from the 1960s to the 1980s. Leigh Silverman, the Tony Award-nominated director (Violet), makes her Guthrie debut with this Pulitzer Prize-winning landmark comedy.

Paired with:
Spill the Wine
Can a woman have it all? Katie Greeman’s Uptown restaurant certainly feels that way. A rustically elegant room makes for the perfect place to gather with friends and catch up on all the business of the modern day. The delicious dishes make for great long meals of sharing hand-crafted food late into the evening. The judiciously selected wine list and full bar make it the perfect place to celebrate all of the challenges and rewards that life brings our way.
www.spillthewinempls.com

BusyTownBusytown The Musical
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
September 16 – October 26, 2014
Richard Scarry’s Busytown is a children’s literature classic. Scarry’s way of infusing animals with human characteristics has delighted children for decades. Check out Huckle Cat, Mistress Mouse, Lowly Worm, and Busytown’s entire population. This cabaret-style musical, made up of both puppets and people, is written by our local performance king, Kevin Kling.

Paired with:
Half Pint at MIA
Before the show, you and your small persons can hop over to Half Pint inside the MIA for a bite at the restaurant geared to serve kids. They serve wholesome food you can feel good about feeding them and a special cookie or similar treat to tuck away for later. Brought to the Institute by the people of Rustica Bakery and Dogwood Coffee, you know they’ll have something for you, too.
http://new.artsmia.org/visit/museum-facilities/dining-at-the-mia

Half Pint. Photo courtesy of MIA

Half Pint. Photo courtesy of MIA

 

Gabriel
Minneapolis Theatre Garage
www.walkingshadowcompany.org
September 26 – October 11, 2014
Moira Buffini’s acclaimed drama has a naked male soldier washed upon the mine-infested shore of a tiny island in the English Channel occupied by Nazi forces during World War II. Is he German or English? Is he a dream come true or a nightmare? Does fairy magic figure into the fact that he is there?!

Radio Man. Photo by Craig VanDerShaegen

Radio Man. Photo by Craig VanDerShaegen

Radio Man
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
September 27 – October 26, 2014
Can you believe it? It’s A Prairie Home Companion’s 40th anniversary! Congrats Garrison! Pearce Bunting of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire is your host over satire and song inspired by radio’s most popular variety show. You can expect to see our old friends: private eye Guy Noir, the cowboys Dusty and Lefty, and the folks of Lake Wobegon. It’s beloved storyteller Keillor’s first full-length play. Truly a special event.

Paired with:
Bachelor Farmer
Is there anything more Minnesotan than A Prairie Home Companion? Celebrate the scenes with the cuisine of our area at The Bachelor Farmer. Their deceptively simple plates of Nordic-inspired fare are all way, way above average. Vegetables are harvested from the rooftop and presented with succinct adornment, like the adorable radishes served with cold, creamery-fresh butter and a little bit of salt. Very good. Nothing too flashy. That’s how we roll.

Seed-FolksSeed Folks
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
September 30 – November 9, 2014
Sonja Parks astounded the Twin Cities theater scene a few years back with No Child at Pillsbury House. Her new solo vehicle about community gardening is based on 11 narratives written by novelist Paul Fleischman. Community gardening has become more and more popular in recent years. This show promises to uplift.

Paired with:
Birchwood Cafe
There’s no other restaurant in town as actively working to change the food system for the better than Birchwood Cafe. They organize crop mobs to help their farmer friends harvest their bounty, lobby for labeling of genetically modified foods, and both the owner Tracy Singleton and the chef Marshall Paulsen are parents. They let their love for their kids lead their hope in our future, the future of the ecosystem, and are constantly planting seeds of hope for the land and us. Plus, their waffles are ridiculously delicious.
www.birchwoodcafe.com

Birchwood Cafe. Photo by Mike Hnida

Birchwood Cafe. Photo by Mike Hnida

Jeffrey Hatcher’s Hamlet
Illusion Theater
www.illusiontheater.org
October 2 – 25, 2014
Minnesota’s most accomplished playwright and screenwriter returns to his Ohio childhood in 1969 where 11-year-old Jeffrey makes his directorial debut as he rehearses his fellow fifth-graders in an adaptation of what’s generally considered the greatest drama ever. His filmed screenplays (Stage Beauty, Casanova, The Duchess) show his genius for historical drama.

Arena Dances: The Main Street Project
The Southern Theater
www.arena-dances.org
October 2 -5, 2014
Arena Dances has always tapped into current ways of seeing things. We now live in such rush and anxiety that we don’t examine how attitudes, relationships, and habits have changed in what is now an information-driven technological planet. Electro/techno/pop music, folk-inspired tunes, film footage, and intense body movement ask the question: does “Main Street” still exist? 

The Man in Her Dreams
Nimbus Theatre
www.freshwatertheatre.com
October 4 – 19, 2014
Katherine Glover is known for her GLBT-based journalism, her IVEY Award-winning Freshwater Goes Back to High School, and for her hit 2012 Fringe solo show which you can see in ensemble form at Nimbus. The Man in Her Dreams deals with accusation, doubt, and hideous crime.

Dirty Dancing. Photo by David Scheinmann, 2008

Dirty Dancing. Photo by David Scheinmann, 2008

Dirty Dancing
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
October 7 – 19, 2014
The classic, quintessential ’80s pop musical comes to the stage. Baby and Johnny meet at a resort in the Catskill Mountains and merge into an extraordinary summer filled with raunchy dance moves. This production has enjoyed success around the world and points to the universality of the human need for love, no matter who the one you love is.

Paired with:
Monte Carlo
Forgive me for what I’m about to do here, but you’ll have the time of your life (cringe!) if you take yourselves to Monte Carlo. Order a martini and those ridiculously crusty wings—or a right proper Caesar salad and some chopped liver—and live like those that stayed at Kellerman’s. Leave your watermelon at home and remember: nobody puts Baby in the corner.
www.montecarlomn.com

Master Class. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp

Master Class. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp

Master Class
MacPhail Center for Music
www.theaterlatteda.com
October 8 – November 2, 2014
Master gay playwright Terrence McNally (Love! Valour! Compassion!, Corpus Christi) adds to the gay playwright tradition of writing great roles for women. Based on master classes held by the legendary opera singer Maria Callas. Sally Wingert plays the solo role. Theater Latté Da and MacPhail Center for Music will co-present this powerhouse script at MacPhail’s Antonello Hall.

Colossal
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.mixedblood.com
October 10 – November 9, 2014
This daring show, both in structure and in content, is set up like a football game, with four 15-minute quarters and a half-time show. Two dozen men stud this story of a rising star player and a pro prospect who suffers a horrendous spinal injury. There is also an issue of a man loving one of the teammates and full contact choreography. Colossal addresses masculinity, the male body as an instrument for violence, along with athleticism, disability, and dance.

33 Variations. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

33 Variations. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

33 Variations
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
October 10 – November 2, 2014
Art has a healing energy all its own. Moises Kaufman, who brought us The Laramie Project, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, and his stunning stage adaptation of Tennessee Williams’s story and screenplay, One Arm, delves into how memory and music elicit moments that transform one’s life. A contemporary musicologist and Beethoven connect over the centuries.

The Marriage of Bette and Boo
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
October 10 – November 2, 2014
Christopher Durang is perhaps the Baby Boomer generation’s top comedic American playwright. He has a distinctively wicked way of skewering family life and traditional values. In Bette and Boo’s case, they probably never should have married. Their son, Matt, relates the alcoholism, miscarriages, and religious conundrums. Fasten your seat belts!

Nice Work If You Can Get It. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Nice Work If You Can Get It. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

Nice Work If You Can Get It
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
October 14 – 19, 2014
The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess blew away audiences earlier this year, reminding us what great music and great lyrics are! Next, we go back to the 1920s with fabulous dance numbers, glitzy costumes, and, of course, a love story. This brand-new musical features many of George and Ira’s beloved hits including “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” and “Fascinating Rhythm.”

A Steady Rain
Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio
www.guthrietheater.org
October 14 – November 2, 2014
Mad Men and House of Cards television writer Keith Huff turns his remarkable talent to the stage in this acclaimed drama. Two guys, best buds since kindergarten, have become policemen and family-oriented. However, liquor and a domestic disturbance shift their relationship in a way that profoundly confronts their trust and loyalty.

Paired with:
Bogart’s Doughnuts
I mean, we are talking about cops here, right? This isn’t meant to be a derogatory suggestion, rather an opportunity to check out this new much-buzzed-about doughnut shop. Anne Rucker’s fried dough creations are stuffed with wonderful fillings, fried to crispy perfection, and made from dough just sweet enough to melt your heart.
www.bogartsdoughnutco.com

Bogart's Doughnuts. Photo courtesy of Bogart's Doughnuts

Bogart’s Doughnuts. Photo courtesy of Bogart’s Doughnuts

On The Way To Timbuktu
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
October 16 – 26, 2014
This acclaimed solo piece runs as part of the nation’s flagship African-American theater company’s Individual Artists Festival. Writer-actor Petronia Paley, known for her New York stage work and daytime television, weaves many notions together ranging from Shakespeare, to black radicalism, to Paul Bowles, to Africa itself. Praised by The New York Times.

Girl Gumshoe and Dectective Dad
Cedar Riverside Peoples Center
www.gadflytheatre.org
October 17 – 26, 2014
Eli Effinger-Weintraub’s play has a daughter, Gina, and her father, Troy, playing a detective game from her childhood. However, things take a dangerous turn. How will Gina’s girlfriend, Sarita, figure into all this? A good choice for the increasingly solid gender-queer theater troupe, Gadfly.

Amahl and the Night Visitors
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
www.jsballet.org
October 24 – November 2, 2014
The proverbial Three Kings who came bearing gifts to the Christ child in his Bethlehem manger are the focus of one of the enduring Christmas stories. James Sewell Ballet has done marvelous work with archetypes from literature, history, and religion with Carnival of the Animals and Dante’s Inferno. Amahl and company are a perfect fit.

The House On Mango Street. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

The House On Mango Street. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

The House On Mango Street
Park Square Theatre, Boss Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
October 24 – November 16, 2014
The childhood neighborhood is a formative element in everyone’s personality, whatever that neighborhood was, or whatever those neighborhoods were to you. For poor children, neighborhoods can be plagued with violence and anxiety about sheer survival. Young Latina, Esperanza Cordero, has limited options. Can she buck the negativity?

Grounded
The Playwright’s Center
www.franktheatre.org
October 31 – November 23, 2014
Sha Cage plays a fighter pilot reassigned to a desk job where she operates drones by remote control after she finds out she is pregnant. Days are spent tracking those suspected of being terrorists and in the evening she goes back to the innocent world of her little daughter. George Brant’s play was named by the London Evening Standard and The Guardian as one of last year’s ten best plays.

Paired with:
Verdant Tea
Being right in the neighborhood, this makes the perfect opportunity for you to check out the new food and drink menu inside Verdant Tea. The dishes are made to compliment their carefully sourced and elegantly prepared brews. However, if you’re in the mood for something a little stronger, their new bar menu is worth exploring. It’s another welcome addition to this ever-growing neighborhood’s great eating options.
www.minneapolis.verdanttea.com

Verdant Tea. Photo courtesy of Verdant Tea

Verdant Tea. Photo courtesy of Verdant Tea

The Peculiar Patriot
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
November 6 – November 16, 2014
Writer-actor Liza Peterson digs into the belly of the beast in her acclaimed solo performance. She exposes how the for-profit prison industry is a twisted collusion between government and corporations to lock away people, mostly men, and mostly African-American men. A powerful indictment of how the War on Drugs, though a Republican invention, has come to control both political parties.

On Golden Pond. Photo by Ann Marsden

On Golden Pond. Photo by Ann Marsden

On Golden Pond
The Jungle Theater
www.jungletheater.com
November 7 – December 21, 2014
If you didn’t like the film, then see the play (when it’s well done and I expect this to be exactly that). The film was misdirected into an oddly pro-Reagan roast of Jane Fonda and won Katharine Hepburn an undeserved Oscar. But you can bet that Wendy Lehr will be superior in the role. In reality, On Golden Pond is a beautiful play about aging and forgiveness. Not about turning Jane Fonda into a “bad girl.”

Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Photo by Dan Norman

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. Photo by Dan Norman

Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
November 11, 2014 – January 4, 2015
When the Children’s Theatre does Dr. Seuss, be guaranteed you will palpably see and sense the whole Seuss aesthetic. The Grinch is perhaps their best example of that and it’s great news that it’s being revived. The crime wave in Whoville inflicted by the belligerent Grinch turns into a transformational journey for everyone.

A Christmas Carol. Photo by Michael Brosilow

A Christmas Carol. Photo by Michael Brosilow

A Christmas Carol
Guthrie Theater’s Wurtele Thrust Stage
www.guthrietheater.org
November 13 – December 28, 2014
It will be the 40th anniversary of the Guthrie’s annual production of the Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. Crispin Whittell’s stage adaptation of the original maintains the generous spirit that the original was created in. Scrooge’s hyper-acquisitive sense of greed has become a symbol of inherent problems with our economic system and how our capacity for kindness is challenged by our fear of scarcity.

Paired with:
Cafe Levain
It’s that time of year again, when the snow falls, the heart brims with love for your fellow man, and the stomach craves roasted classics. My winter isn’t complete without at least one serving of the most perfectly roasted bird in town: the succulent chicken with the salty, crisp skin from Adam Vickerman’s kitchen. They have a gift in this kitchen and it’s being made right now, just for you.
www.cafelevain.com

Cafe Levain. Photo by Mike Hnida

Cafe Levain. Photo by Mike Hnida

Mu Daiko In Concert
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.muperformingarts.org
November 13 – 16, 2014
The Asian drumming tradition has become a staple and a hot ticket for the region’s premier Asian-American performing arts troupe. Nationally recognized, the Mu ensemble celebrates its 18th season of taiko with revived variations of past arrangements plus new compositions. Choreographer Joe Chvala of The Flying Foot Forum also brings his own imaginative talents into the mix.

A Midsummers Night's Dream. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

A Midsummers Night’s Dream. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
November 14 – 16, 2014
The most popular comedy of all time. Shakespeare has a fairy chorus illuminating a wonder world of dreams where mistaken identities and confused lovers make bizarre choices. It’s poetic, fantastical, and hilarious. It could make you wonder if the world of dreams and fantasy might actually coexist with the corporeal world you and I live in every day.

Witness for the Prosecution
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
November 14 – December 14, 2014
The Queen of Mystery Thrillers, Dame Agatha Christie, is one of the best-selling writers in human history. And her plays are some of the most widely produced worldwide. A young man and a rich older woman spend evenings together. So when she is found murdered, guess who the prime suspect is!

Zenon Dance Company’s 32nd Fall Season
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
www.zenondance.org
November 21-30, 2014
One of the region’s great companies for contemporary dance features Cuban choreographer Osnel Delgado of the MalPaso Dance Company and winner of some major Cuban dance awards. Zenon blends innovation with modern traditions to gorgeous effect. Zenon has been formative in solidifying the Twin Cities’ rep as one of the most important centers for dance in North America.

Cocktail-HourThe Cocktail Hour
Guthrie Theater’s McGuire Proscenium Stage
www.guthrietheater.org
November 22, 2014 – January 4, 2015
A.R. Gurney is one of the most widely produced playwrights around (Sylvia, The Dining Room). For those who prefer holiday fare that isn’t standard, then The Cocktail Hour, with its humorous insights about family loyalty, is an ideal choice. The story involves a playwright with very uptight, upper-crust parents. Martinis, revelations, and recriminations abound. Maria Aitken, who staged The 39 Steps on Broadway, directs.

Paired with:
Parlour
Parlour has the perfect mix of craft cocktails, easy ambiance, and ridiculously good food. If you’ve tried their burger, you know what I’m talking about. Their seasonally changing Manhattan is second to none and stepping inside, while the snow is falling and the drinks are flowing, it’s like you could be at any moment in time, anywhere in the urban world, except you know that no one is having a better time than you.
www.boroughmpls.com

Borough/Parlour. Photo by Hubert Bonnet

Borough/Parlour. Photo by Hubert Bonnet

Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
November 22 – December 21, 2014
The dreamy boy with a dreamy voice from Lubbock, who recorded with the Pettys at Nor Va Jak Studio in Clovis, is the subject of what’s sure to be one whale of an entertaining show. This endlessly popular hit—part biography, part rock concert—has 24 hit songs including “Peggy Sue,” “Oh Boy!,” “Rave On,” and “That’ll Be the Day.”

Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Photo by Kevin White

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas. Photo by Kevin White

Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
November 25 – 30, 2014
The classic holiday movie blockbuster is recreated on stage with its beloved Irving Berlin score. You’ll hear “Blue Skies,” “How Deep is the Ocean?” and, of course, the title song which would become the quintessential American holiday tune. Two pals perform at a magical Vermont inn and magically find true love! How dreamy is that!

Paired with:
Burch Steakhouse
Enjoy the festive dining room where it feels like everyone inside is just a friend you haven’t met yet. Besides, if you break out into musical-inspired song and dance here, no one is going to notice. Burch continues to serve some of the best steak around plus those divine sides that will haunt your dreams for years to come. It’s the crab and sea bean salad—she calls to me. Gossamer strands of sea meat almost look like drifts of snow.
www.burchrestaurant.com

The Whale
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.walkingshadowcompany.org
November 26 – December 20, 2014
A six-hundred-pound recluse eats himself toward death in Samuel D. Hunter’s acclaimed play set in Idaho’s Mormon country. Desperate, he tries to reach out to his teenaged daughter but she rejects him with cruel zest. This is a play that has been getting produced across the nation and has been garnering rave reviews.

2 Pianos, 4 Hands. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

2 Pianos, 4 Hands. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

2 Pianos, 4 Hands
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
November 28 – December 21, 2014
It may sound strange but there was a time when, by and large, one identified with one, maybe two, types or genres of music. However, our postmodern period has collapsed that. Masses of people have broad eclectic tastes. That’s why there’s broad interest in watching and hearing two piano whiz kids play music ranging from Bach and Mozart to Billy Joel.

A Very Asian Christmas Concert. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp

A Very Asian Christmas Concert. Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp

A Very Asian Christmas Concert
The Southern Theater
www.muperformingarts.org
November 29 – 30, 2014
Santa hits the bottle. Jasmine feels depressed. So Mu Performing Arts shows us how their spirits will lift and ultimately rule supreme. If you find holidays to be a “down in the dumps” time, then this is an ideal tonic. The charming Randy Reyes will host in drag and we will see naughty cabaret showcases served up with tasty food and drink. And taiko, too!

A Christmas Story, The Musical
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
November 29 – December 28, 2014
One of the most popular Christmas films became a stage comedy and will receive a polished production at the Ordway. Young Ralphie Parker goes on a quest to make the air rifle of his dreams end up under the family tree. Quirky and heartwarming, this is a contemporary story that can actually be said to be tried and true.

Black Nativity. Photo by Ann Marsden

Black Nativity. Photo by Ann Marsden

Black Nativity
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
December 4 – 21, 2014
Clearly one of the Twin Cities’ annual holiday events, a not-to-miss tradition. Lou Bellamy narrates the Nativity story accompanied by holiday favorites sung by acclaimed soloists such as Yolande Bruce, Tonia Hughes, Greta Oglesby, Dennis W. Spears, and the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir. The music direction is by Sanford Moore, so you know it’s gonna sound festively wonderful!

4000 Miles
Park Square Theatre, Boss Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
December 5 – 21, 2014
Park Square has been doing a great job of getting new major American plays on its stage, and better said, what is now, its stages, plural. Amy Herzog’s play about a grieving 21-year-old man and his feisty 91-year-old grandma won the OBIE for Best New American Play, 2012, was a 2012 Pulitzer Prize finalist, and was deemed TIME magazine’s Number One Play or Musical of 2012. You’ll see the gulf between generations and the hope of meeting on common ground.

Naked Stages 2014
Pillsbury House Theatre
www.pillsburyhousetheater.org
December 11 – 20, 2014
The outstanding multicultural theater presents its annual series in which three artists have spent seven months developing edgy new work. PaviElle French looks at growing up black in St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood in the Reagan Era. You’ll see the dance artistry of B. Billy Xiong and Eric F. Avery’s commentary on white privilege.

Motown The Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Motown The Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Motown The Musical
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
December 16 – 28, 2014
The Motown Record Company is not only seminal in African American cultural history, but it is seminal in American cultural history as a whole. This American Dream treatment of its founder Berry Gordy’s life portrays the featherweight boxer who would go on to become the mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, and Smokey Robinson.

Paired with:
Dakota Jazz
Face it, you’ve already got the songs playing in your head just thinking about hitting this show. See the show about the start of the greats, but dine where many greats may have found their starts. And middles. And returns. The dining choices are plentiful and the pastry chef keeps the sweets surprising. And the cocktails will get your rhythm going before you get to toe-tapping to the Motown tunes.
www.dakotacooks.com

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by Peter Rothstein
Pantages Theatre
www.theaterlatteda.com
December 17 – 21, 2014
We say we hate war, yet it runs rampant. When a German soldier steps into the battle space and starts singing “Stille Nacht,” his allied enemy soldiers lower their guard and both sides celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Peace together. Based on a true World War I story that took place on the Western Front, Christmas, 1914.

2 Sugars, Room For Cream. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

2 Sugars, Room For Cream. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

2 Sugars, Room For Cream
Park Square Theatre, Boss Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
January 2 – 18, 2015
This has been one of the most popular local small-scale productions of recent years and how wonderful that Park Square is giving it a platform on one of their new stages in their expanded facility. Carolyn Pool and Shanan Custer remind us that no matter how bad things get, there’s always coffee. And that sometimes there’s even wine!

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
January 9 – February 1, 2015
At a Scottish girls’ school, the romantic and idealistic Jean Brodie captivates her young students with strong opinions on sexual freedom, progressive politics, and the spectre of fascism, at the expense of the standard curriculum. But when the headmistress obtains a certain love letter, Miss Brodie’s life is up-ended.

Snowflake. Photo courtesy of Children's Theatre Company

Snowflake. Photo courtesy of Children’s Theatre Company

Snowflake
Children’s Theatre Company, UnitedHealth Group Stage, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Mpls
www.childrenstheatre.org
January 13 – February 22, 2015
The clownish comedic artistry of Gale LaJoye is celebrated in Snowflake. The show, which originated at Minneapolis’s Southern Theater in 1990, may resonate now more than ever because of our ceaselessly struggling economy. A car trunk becomes a bedroom. A fan can become a boomerang. There’s even a ballet done on splintered skis.

Paired with:
Travail & The Rookery
While the little ones might still be a bit green on the vine for the full tasting course at Travail, the à la carte plates at The Rookery are perfect for adventurous eaters. The dishes are playful, unexpected, and an entirely new way to look at the world through the ingenious plates before you.
www.facebook.com/Travailkitchen

The Color Purple. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

The Color Purple. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

The Color Purple
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
January 16 – February 15, 2015

Pulitzer Prize- and Tony-winning playwright Marsha Norman, and composer-lyricists Brenda Russell, Allee Willis, and Stephen Bray, adapted the now classic Alice Walker novel into a Tony-winning musical. Celie’s journey from ravaged self-esteem to personal empowerment has become iconic in African-American literature. Yes, it’s a wonderful film, but the stage treatment is unique in its own right.

I Love Lucy. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

I Love Lucy. Photo by Jeremy Daniel

I Love Lucy – Live On Stage
State Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
January 20 – 25, 2015
As we constantly struggle to adapt to and integrate new technologies, it’s worth remembering how unique the old technologies once were. Television’s most popular program ever takes us back to 1952. You get to be an audience member in the Desilu Playhouse studio audience and see behind-the-scenes interactions and events of this new-fangled technology called TV. Enjoy advertising jingles and of course, Lucy, Ricky, Fred, and Ethel; four comic geniuses beyond compare.

Paired with:
Heyday
Belly up to the bar inside this hotspot and spend your evening with another talented red-head, bar runner of Heyday: Britt Tracy. Her cocktails will have you primed for great giggles at the show, plus the food that Chef Jim Christiansen is sending out from the kitchen is astounding. The way he plays with flavor, texture, and temperature is a gleeful culinary feat.
www.heydayeats.com

Heyday. Photo courtesy of Heyday

Heyday. Photo courtesy of Heyday

Love and Information
The Ritz Theater
www.franktheatre.org
January 29 – February 22, 2015
Caryl Churchill (Top Girls, Fen, Vinegar Tom, A Number, Far Away) is, to many of us, the greatest living playwright, male or female. Her latest is comprised of 57 short scenes that expose possible results of our manic desire for knowledge in our information-obsessed society. Expect to be both unsettled and uplifted. That’s Churchill for ya!

Paired with:
La Belle Vie
Pair the rapid succession of micro-scenes with micro plates—this calls for a tasting menu! There are plenty of restaurants that allow their chefs free-reign over their menus, but no one does this as well as La Belle Vie. The exquisite play of textures, colors, and flavors are a delight for every one of your senses and the theater of the dining room is unlike any other. You owe yourself the pleasure of this astounding experience.
www.labellevie.us

La Belle Vie. Photo by Mike Hnida

La Belle Vie. Photo by Mike Hnida

Trick Boxing
Park Square Theatre, Boss Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
January 29 – February 8, 2015
Take notice here! Brian Sostek and Megan McClellan, one of the most brilliant husband-and-wife acting duos of our day, reprise their extraordinary original piece that has become a performance art classic. Sostek plays an immigrant boxer as well as his exploitive and perilously dishonest manager. McClellan plays a dance hall performer who has his back. Boxing and ballroom dance combine ingeniously!

F.O.B.
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.muperformingarts.org
January 30 – February 15, 2015
Corporate media indoctrinates us to think that all groups, minority and majority, march to the same beat. Wrong! That’s why we need penetrating playwrights such as David Henry Hwang. Staged by artistic director Randy Reyes, Hwang’s 1980 OBIE winning play looks at those Chinese who are American born and those who are FOB (fresh off the boat) newcomers.

Oliver! Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2014

Oliver! Photo by Heidi Bohnenkamp, 2014

Oliver!
Pantages Theatre
www.theaterlatteda.com
February 4 – March 1, 2015
Lionel Bart’s hard-hitting musical looks at children and poverty in Charles Dickens’s England. Based on his popular novel, Oliver Twist, there’s social consciousness mixed with some of the most memorable tunes of the London stage: “Consider Yourself,” “Food, Glorious Food,” and “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two.” Peter Rothstein directs. A Broadway Re-Imagined co-production by his own Theater Latté Da and the Hennepin Theatre Trust.

Paired with:
Fogo de Chao
Why not sing along with “Food, Glorious Food,” while you’ve got a touch of the meat sweats? Is there any way to better celebrate the gluttonous good eating that can be done downtown than by having skewer upon skewer of Brazilian charred meat brought to your table? I don’t think so. Don’t forget that this spot also has one of the most glorious salad bars in all of creation. Load up and know the answer is always “yes” if you even stop to wonder, “Please, sir, may I have another?”
www.fogodechao.com/locations/minneapolis

Fogo de Chao. Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao

Fogo de Chao. Photo courtesy of Fogo de Chao

By The Way, Meet Vera Stark
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
February 5 – March 1, 2015
Old Hollywood excluded black representation to a stunningly vast degree. There were no leading roles for black actors, and what was available to them was spare and often stereotyped. Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage (Ruined) reflects on Vera Stark, a talented black actress struggling in hopes of finding a niche in the silver screen industry of the 1930s.

The Biggest Little House In The Forest. Photo by Dan Norman

The Biggest Little House In The Forest. Photo by Dan Norman

The Biggest Little House In The Forest
Children’s Theatre Company, Cargill Stage, 2400 3rd Ave. S., Mpls
www.childrenstheatre.org
February 6 – March 15, 2015
See what happens when Millie the Mouse wants to move into Bernice the Butterfly’s cheery little home. Bernice loves her privacy! Can you blame her? But then comes along Fred the Frog and Bartholomew the Bear. But beware, because there’s gonna be lots of pre-school friendly chaos in this all-ages crowd-pleaser!

Paired with:
Tilia
Is there anything else like the wild rumpus that preschoolers unleash on the world? Make a whole day of this adventure with a visit to Linden Hills (where, lo! there’s a bookstore right there for kids called Wild Rumpus—they have ferrets and a chicken!). Tilia might draw in the grown up raves, but I challenge you to find a kid that doesn’t adore their menu. Folded up paper serves as a menu; there are crayons and a lively din that welcomes the occassional kid squeal of delight. Fancy hot dogs for everybody!
www.tiliampls.com

Ballet Works Project
The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
www.jsballet.org
February 6 – 15, 2015
This topnotch company will present a dance laboratory to push the envelope. There will be work by Joanna Kotze, last year’s BESSIE Award-winner for Outstanding Emerging Choreographer and Houston’s Jane Weiner of Hope Stone Dance. JSB regular Nic Lincoln will also weigh in with work of his own. A great opportunity to see fresh dance work by dance artists truly in their groove.

The Coward
Red Eye Theater
www.walkingshadowcompany.org
February 6 – 28, 2015
Playwright Nick Jones transports us to the 18th century when a sensitive son pleases his ultra-macho patriarch father by challenging a better shot to a duel. Problem is, the son lacks the nerve to do it so he hires someone in his place. This manly comedy will actually be played by a company of women!

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Guthrie Theater’s Wurtele Thrust Stage
www.guthrietheater.org
February 7 – March 29, 2015
David Bolger transported us at the Guthrie with his bedazzling staging of H.M.S. Pinafore and his lovely personal statement, Swimming With My Mother. Moreover, Guthrie Artistic Director, Joe Dowling, now in his final season, and the man who has directed this Shakespeare’s classic for the Big G twice before, will be his partner in mischief! Expect magic!

Paired with:
Chef Shack Ranch
Winter can seem to drag on forever in these parts. So, any break we can get is a welcome one. Whether you’re surrounding yourself with imps or tucking into slow-smoked barbecue brisket, it’s nice to close your eyes and remember it’s warm somewhere. Inside the Seward outpost of Chef Shack, it feels cozy and warm even if you’re dining in the midst of a blizzard. Potato salad tastes like lazy August afternoons and the exquisite hospitality of the team will warm you from the inside out.
www.chefshackranch.com

Chef Shack Ranch. Photo by Mike Hnida

Chef Shack Ranch. Photo by Mike Hnida

God Girl
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
February 7 – March 1, 2015
Kristine Holmgren has written this play about her ordination into the Presbyterian ministry. She reflects on the task of breaking the “stained” glass ceiling. After graduating from Macalester College in the mid-1970s, Holmgren became one of the first of a large group of women admitted to Princeton Theological Seminary’s Master of Divinity Program. Summer Hagen stars.

The Drawer Boy
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
February 13 – March 8, 2015
The classic contemporary Canadian play is said to resemble John Steinbeck in its style. The story of a Toronto actor who goes to a farm to do research for an agri-play unravels the secrets of two bachelor widowers who have lived together on the place since the end of World War II.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio
www.guthrietheater.org
February 14 – March 1, 2015
It’s that other big Mark Twain classic, the one you probably never happened to read. So the next best thing is a stage adaptation! When Hank Morgan of 19th century Hartford, Connecticut time travels to 6th century England after a blow to his head, he becomes a medieval hero. He hangs with King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, and magical Merlin.

Pippin. Photo by Joan Marcus

Pippin. Photo by Joan Marcus

Pippin
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
February 17 – 22, 2015
The year after Stephen Schwarz jolted the New York stage with Godspell, and decades before he jolted it again with Wicked, he blew everyone away with one of the most imaginative Broadway shows ever: Pippin. Now it’s back on Broadway for the first time in 40 years ago. The New York Times calls it “Astonishing. A Pippin for the 21st century.” It won the Tony Award for Best Musical Revival and you can see it on it’s national tour at the Orpheum. This is the “I can’t wait” show of the season!

Hir
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.mixedblood.com
February 27 – March 22, 2015
When an Afghanistan war veteran comes home after gathering dismembered remains of fellow soldiers, he finds his home has changed. His once-macho father has suffered a stroke. His mother’s aggressive tendencies are in full throttle. And his transgender brother is bent on changing gender definitions, hence, the title, Hir.

Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

Romeo and Juliet. Photo by Petronella Ytsma

Romeo and Juliet
Park Square Theatre, Boss Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
February 27 – March 8, 2015
It’s the most popular drama in human history and Park Square has a solid record of producing strong Shakespeare productions. GLBT folks owe a debt to this classic because it captures the essence of forbidden love in a society structured to erase love that does not conform to archaic standards. Youth’s boundless optimism is thwarted by socially bound attitudes that insidiously destroy love and the intimacy needed to nurture it.

Into the Woods
The Ritz Theater
www.theaterlatteda.com
March 4 – 29, 2015
When Stephen Sondheim adapted the Brothers Grimm four fairy tales—Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Rapunzel—into a single ingeniously intertwined delight, it was universally acclaimed. Folkloric-fantasy archetypes such as the baker, his wife, and the witch who has cursed them childless are given new life. Peter Rothstein directs this for his own theater, Theater Latté Da, the region’s premiere theater for musicals.

Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Amy Boyle

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Photo by Amy Boyle

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
March 10 -15, 2015
The Beauty and the Beast story is a consummate tale about the triumph of inner beauty over outer attractiveness. The hit Disney Broadway musical based on the Oscar-winning animated feature film is spectacular yet beautifully interpersonal. It appeals to all ages and can be watched on any number of levels. Inventive and beguiling and packed with great numbers.

Paired with:
Vincent
Follow this tale back to the originating country by feasting on French fare inside this beautiful restaurant. Whether tucking in the massive Vincent burger or daintily dipping madelines into warm, molten chocolate, there is no way you won’t fall in love with this experience. There is no beast here, only plates of culinary beauty.
www.vincentarestaurant.com

Vincent. Photo courtesy of Vincent

Vincent. Photo courtesy of Vincent

Vile Affections
Cedar Riverside Peoples Center
www.gadflytheatre.org
March 20 – 29, 2015
Lesbianism in the Roman Catholic Church in the 1600s. Mother Benedetta Carlini says she has had visions for many years and it just so happens she has been accruing power. So one might wonder just how ferocious the patriarchal structure she exists within will react. A new play filled with mystical vibrations. Written by Vanda.

The Debutante’s Ball
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
March 21 – April 12, 2015
This coming-of-age story, set in Minnesota’s Filipino-American community, examines and celebrates the Valentine’s Ball and Presentation of Debutantes and Escorts that has been an annual event since 1978. Local artist and former debutante escort Eric “Pogi” Sumangil and six teenagers give us a range of music from traditional Filipino love songs called haranas, to waltz, to hip hop.

The Illusionists. Photo courtesy of Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

The Illusionists. Photo courtesy of Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

The Illusionists
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
March 24 – 29, 2015
The world tour of the live magic show that is taking the world by storm features seven mind-boggling illusionists who bend audiences’ minds with acts of magic and illusion that you probably have not seen before. Critically acclaimed, we will bear witness to levitation, mind-reading, disappearance, and a full-view water escape.

Shooting Star
Park Square Theatre, Proscenium Stage
www.parksquaretheatre.org
March 27 – April 19, 2015
It can be odd when you get back in touch with someone you knew long ago. As you reconnect, or at least attempt to, you may become sharply aware of how each of you has changed—perhaps, to the point that the other seems unfamiliar. Two old flames reunite during an airport blizzard shut down. She was a hippie. He’s turned conservative. Written by Steven Dietz.

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