2016 Fall Arts & Dining Pairings

Produced by Linda Raines & Shane Lueck
Arts Pairings by John Townsend & Shane Lueck
Dining Pairings by Bradley Traynor


Passing Through Pig’s Eye
Boss Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Through Sept. 11
This new production by Joe Chvala and the Flying Foot Forum is yet another innovative work by one of the nation’s top choreographers. It is also an exploration of St. Paul’s past that begins and ends at Park Square Theatre and guides you to various indoor and outdoor downtown locations. You can choose from two separate touring tracks. Percussive dance and rhythms will abound!
—J.T.

The Drowsy Chaperone
Schneider Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
www.artistrymn.org
Through Sept. 11
Tod Peterson plays the ultimate musical comedy fan. He sheds his sadness when a recording of his favorite Jazz Age musical comes to life. His humble apartment becomes a Broadway stage! Oh how our imagination can rescue us from mundane life! Tony winner for Best Musical.
—J.T.

Beauty and the Beast
Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
www.chanhassentheatres.com
Through Sept. 24
At this point, everyone is familiar with the story of Beauty and the Beast, but there is nothing like a Disney movie brought to life. The Broadway show-stopper “Be Our Guest” takes on new meaning as you nosh and take in a top-rate performance.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: The Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
Perhaps the easiest pairing on the list for obvious reasons, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre takes dinner and a show to a whole new level. Literally. Every time I sit down to enjoy a meal at this classic Twin Cities theater venue, I’m immediately reminded how the food matches the magic happening on stage. Don’t miss the Chicken Chanhassen.

Lady and the Trump
Brave New Workshop
www.bravenewworkshop.com
Through Nov. 5
No matter who the candidates are, no matter what they say, no matter who is elected, only one thing is for certain: everything will be satirized in Brave New Workshop’s 2016 election show, Lady and the Trump.
—S.L.

600 Years
Sandbox Theatre
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Through Oct. 9
This inventive theater troupe excels with imaginative physical theater. Looking 600 years into the future, we see a matriarchal society that has rescued humanity from the brink of extinctions. Bands of women called The Seekers traverse the scarcely populated landscape to reconnect the hemispheres and the human family.
—J.T.

Bars And Measures. Photo by Josh Tobiessen

Bars And Measures. Photo by Josh Tobiessen

Bars and Measures
The Jungle Theater
www.jungletheater.com
Through Oct. 9
This play seems right out of today’s headlines. The differences between two brothers are the source of drama in a play that has been produced across the country lately. One is a classical pianist and the other plays jazz bass. One is free. The other is in jail. They also practice different religions, Christianity and Islam.
—J.T.

The Church Basement Ladies in Rise Up, O Men
Plymouth Playhouse
www.plymouthplayhouse.com
Through Nov. 13, 2016 and Jan. 5–April 8, 2017
One of the most popular comedy franchises ever is back again. Sixth in the Church Basement Ladies series, Rise Up, O Men returns to those Lutheran ladies who whip up hotdish and coffee for Minnesotans who love their sense of community. Local farmers shake things up when they come down with their traditionally masculine view of things.
—J.T.

Million Dollar Quartet
Old Log Theater
www.oldlog.com
Through Jan. 21, 2017
The dreamiest jam session ever may have occurred at Sun Records storefront studio in Memphis. Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Elvis Presley were discovered by Sam Phillips, known as The Father of Rock and Roll. This was the only time these men who would be legends actually played together.
—J.T.

The River
Walking Shadow Theatre Company
at Open Eye Theatre
www.walkingshadowcompany.org
Sept. 3–17
Walking Shadow diligently mines the treasure trove of contemporary plays we have yet to see locally. They gave us a visceral production of Jez Butterworth’s Mojo some years back. They now return to another Butterworth play, The River, which muses on trout fishing and women who become the object of a mysterious man’s eye.
—J.T.

The Two Kids that Blow Shit Up
Mu Performing Arts
at Kilburn Arena Theatre
www.muperformingarts.org
Sept. 9–18
The region’s premier theater company for work about Asian and Asian American experiences looks at two people who, at age 10, had parents who began an affair with each other. For 18 years this affects how they see things and partake in life. How does one not fall in love with their best friend?
—J.T.

The Liar. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

The Liar. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

The Liar
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Sept. 9–Oct. 2
Seventeenth century French playwright Pierre Corneille was known for his tragedies, but a guy’s gotta have some fun sometime! So he wrote the farce, Le Menteur, which David Ives’ The Liar is drawn from. Zach Curtis and Sha Cage lead a fine cast that incorporates contemporary language to suit the play’s crazy mix-ups.
—J.T.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Photo by Ron Ravensborg

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Photo by Ron Ravensborg

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
Sept. 9–Oct. 2
Minnesota’s prolific and outrageously successful playwright, Jeffrey Hatcher, has one actor play Dr. Jekyll. His experiments have triggered his dark side and multiple actors portray the many faces of that unconscious part of his personality; they signify Mr. Hyde. Based on the classic book by Robert Louis Stevenson.
—J.T.

Sense and Sensibility
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Sept. 10–Oct. 29
Jane Austen. Honestly, does writing get any better? Two sisters in 18th century England are thrown into chaos when their father’s death leaves them in poverty. In a society where love is ruled by money, just how do two broke young women — when the options for women were far, far fewer than they are today — find a way to live with dignity?
—J.T.

Tegan & Sara in Concert
State Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Sept. 12
Celebrated for their unique ability to amalgamate different genres and cultural forces, this is a band that can perform equally comfortably alongside Katy Perry or Neil Young, Taylor Swift or The Killers. Tegan and Sara are preparing to release their much-anticipated eighth studio album on Warner Bros. Records later this year.
—S.L.

Photo by Theresa Wood

Photo by Theresa Wood

Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play!
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
Sept. 13–Oct. 23
Complete with the nutty backup singers, The Squirelles, the melodic musings of this dynamic duo make for one grand day as Elephant and Piggie put on a show where we learn the important responsibilities of being a good friend. Based on The New York Times best-selling book series by Mo Willems.
—S.L.

Horidraa: Golden Healing
Ananya Dance Theatre
at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University
www.oshag.stkate.edu
Sept. 16–17
Choreographer Ananya Chatterjea works with the exquisite dancers of Ananya Dance Theatre to imagine the year 2053. A patient has been checked into urgent medical care in a state of collapse. Her name is given as Ashwarnahm BahrAili KofucheeNané and she self-identifies as “the child of many continents.” Follow her journey as she travels into the recesses of memory in a show that explores how women in global communities of color activate hope and healing to sustain communities around the world.
—S.L.

Home Street Home: Minneapolis
Bedlam Theater
at Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Sept. 16–25
The grass roots populist Bedlam Theater dramatizes an intense inquiry into homelessness in Minneapolis, where the divisions between rich and poor are jolting. And where the current housing crisis is not the favorite topic of local politicians. Street musician Zeke Cooper tours the town and eavesdrops on many walks of life.
—J.T.

The Children
Pillsbury House Theatre
www.pillsburyhouseandtheatre.org
Sept. 16–Oct .16
Euripedes’ timeless tragedy of the enraged mother, Medea, is the inspirational source for this mix of live action and puppetry as we reflect on contemporary social crises. Pillsbury House Theatre continuously presents socially conscious work that excels with high standards.
—J.T.

Death of a Salesman
Yellow Tree Theatre
www.yellowtreetheatre.com
Sept. 16–Oct. 16
This Arthur Miller masterpiece is a definitive statement on the instability of the American dream and the illusions and delusions we foster in service of it. Tragic everyman, Willy Loman, is especially relevant today as the problem of aging out of employment possibilities is at crisis level.
—J.T.

Ragtime
Theater Latté Da
at The Ritz Theater
www.theaterlatteda.com
Sept. 21–Oct. 23
Based on E.L. Doctorow’s landmark novel, three distinctly American stories are woven together: a determined Jewish immigrant, a daring Harlem musician, and a woman of privilege, united by their courage, compassion, and belief in a better tomorrow. Ragtime was nominated for 13 Tony Awards and was awarded Best Book and Best Score.
—S.L.

Broadway Songbook: REBELS! on Broadway
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
Sept. 23–30
Whether dealing directly with racism in shows like Hamilton, religion in The Book of Mormon, anti-Semitism in Cabaret, political corruption in Fiorello, or sexuality in Rent; Broadway has always been, and will always be, subversive. Broadway Songbook: REBELS! on Broadway will explore the many shows in which Broadway has held a mirror up to society, challenged the status quo, questioned tradition, and, through sheer entertainment, woke us up.
—S.L.

Queen. Photo by Stephanie Lynn Rogers

Queen. Photo by Stephanie Lynn Rogers

Queen
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre
www.hobt.org
Sept. 23–Oct. 2
The story is situated in the complex magic of one grandmother and the exhausting terrain of her sadness. The loss of her grandson has ruptured in her psyche a lifetime of loss that she has to taste and hold in order to make sense of this newest, unimaginable transition. The emotional heart of the piece is fired by compassion for the death of so many young African Americans at the hand of civil power.
—S.L.

Avenue Q
Black Box Theatre, Ames Center
www.ames-center.com
Sept. 23–Oct. 16
Puppetry, satire, and an extremely clever score and lyrics parodies Sesame Street with clever tunes like “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” and a reflection of the economic struggles of young people in a not-so-upscale part of the Big Apple. Tony-winner for Best Musical.
—J.T.

The Realistic Joneses. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

The Realistic Joneses. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

The Realistic Joneses
Boss Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Sept. 23–Oct. 16
Park Square continues to ascend as a theater par excellence alongside the Jungle in Minneapolis and the Penumbra in St. Paul. It also produces new plays to keep us in sync with the times. Acclaimed playwright Will Eno gives us two neighboring couples who reveal inner yearnings and fantasies among themselves.
—J.T.

The Venetian Twins
Theatre Forever
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Sept. 23–Oct. 16
Mistaken identities are a constant in comedic theater and Carlo Goldoni’s 18th-century classic sets the gold standard. It’s a fine choice for the playful Theatre Forever. When two estranged twins arrive in town on the same day to win two different hands in marriage, hilarious confusion ensues.
—J.T.


Earth Shake
Illusion Theater
www.illusiontheater.org
Sept. 24–25
It will be a spectacle. Dance With Love presents a brand new dance show called Earth Shake. The creators are former Latin and two-time Russian dance champions, Gene and Elena Bersten, whose Edina dance studio, Dance With Us America, has brought dance vitality to the suburbs.
—J.T.

Romeo & Juliet. Artwork courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Romeo & Juliet. Artwork courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Romeo & Juliet
Minnesota Opera
at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.mnopera.org
Sept. 24–Oct. 2
Shakespeare’s immortal tale of two young lovers, their relationship forbidden by clannish feuding, who sacrifice everything to be together. French composer Charles Gounod gives a decidedly sumptuous, 19th-century spin to Shakespeare’s classic tale of passion and tragedy. Vibrant young singers breathe new life into the world’s most famous love story.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Meritage
www.meritage-stp.com
Charles Gounod’s Romeo & Juliet is every bit as romantic and French as one of my favorite restaurants in St. Paul. Meritage is a perfect first stop for an evening soaked in star­-crossed love. A plate of mussels with a loaf of crusty French bread or perhaps the divine chilled lobster will have you uttering, “Wherefore art thou server with more of this amazing food?”


The Last Firefly
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
Sept. 27–Nov. 13
It begins with light, then comes a sound, a pulse, a beat, a crash like a giant hammer smashing through the sky. Thus, the story of Boom, the son of Thunder, begins as he sets out on an epic search for his father, ultimately discovering his true self and the strength within him that always existed.
—S.L.


Barbecue
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.mixedblood.com
Sept. 30–Oct. 16
This satirical comedy combines very different styles: Quentin Tarantino-film style and Looney Toons. It skewers misguided assumptions about race, poverty, and class. When a dysfunctional family gathers in a public park for an intervention masquerading as a barbecue you may be stunned by the pill popping, the whiskey swilling, foul mouths, and crack appetite that comes to the foreground.
—J.T.

Restaurant Pairing: Smoke in the Pit
www.smokeinthepit.com
To be honest, this pairing was prompted by nothing more high­-minded than the word barbecue, itself. I thought, what a great chance to work in one of the best barbecue joints in the Twin Cities. And Smoke in the Pit is just that very place. Grab a slab of ribs, along with a few fixings-to-go and you’re golden. Head back home for a little backyard nosh before you head to the Mixed Blood Theatre for the show.

Lerner & Loewe’s
Camelot
Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
www.chanhassentheatres.com
Sept. 30, 2016–Feb. 25, 2017
Beyond romance, noble quests, and magic spells lie twisted plots, inner demons and betrayal — all threatening to snuff out Arthur’s dreams to build the greatest kingdom ever known, one where true justice and compassion reign supreme. The ideals of Camelot are ones we long for in our own day, making Camelot a hopeful legend for all time.
—S.L.

Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee Story
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
Oct. 1–30
The year is 1959 and we see the emergence of 15-year-old singer Bobby Veline from Fargo as he wows the audience at the Winter Dance Party in Moorhead. He soon records his first hit single in Minneapolis, “Suzie Baby,” and would become a teen idol to elicit screams on American Bandstand. His Top 40 hits included “Devil or Angel” and “The Night Has A Thousand Eyes.”
—J.T.


The Parchman Hour
McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Oct. 1–Nov. 6
The title refers to a nightly variety show staged by civilly disobedient protesters after being arrested, then imprisoned. This civil rights era play captures the united front that people of different backgrounds and ages formed to counter the negativity at Mississippi’s Parchman Farm Penitentiary. The prison system of the south has long been severely criticized and nowadays incarceration across the entire nation has come to be severely criticized.
—J.T.


Hold These Truths
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Oct. 7–23
Did you know that the most liberal presidential administration in history enacted and enforced perhaps the most racist act since slavery? During World War II, American citizens of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated in prisoner of war camps on American soil. This play delves into a young Seattle man’s journey to come to terms with this disgrace which was finally named as the evil it was by President Reagan.
–J.T.


Bianca Del Rio: Not Today Satan
Pantages Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Oct. 8
Fans packed the theater last time she was in town and now she’s back! The hilariously hateful comic known as Bianca Del Rio (aka Roy Haylock) is launching the North American leg of her latest global standup tour. Not Today Satan picks up right where she left off, chronicling her adventures since winning a certain well-known drag-focused reality show, becoming “gay famous,” moving to Los Angeles and the inherent challenges of dating and making a living as a man in a dress.
—S.L.

Jitney
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
Oct. 13–Nov. 6
This is one of those “I Can’t Wait!” revivals. Finally, the nation’s flagship African American theater company revives their production of the eighth in the Pittsburgh Cycle of the pre-eminent African American playwright, August Wilson. Set in 1997 at a cab stand, we see how real estate development threatens a community. A timely issue indeed, no matter what your skin color.
—J.T.


Romeo & Juliet
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
Oct. 14–Nov. 6
It is probably the most popular play ever and still looms as a consummate statement about forbidden love. As we commemorate the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, it is a fitting choice by a top-notch theater troupe committed to classics.
—J.T.

Cabaret. Photo by Joan Marcus

Cabaret. Photo by Joan Marcus

Cabaret
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Oct. 18–23
Cabaret has made an indelible impact on musical theatre. The undeniable power of this musical lies in the universal question it poses: why do we again and again allow destructive powers to take control of society? As life in pre-WWII Germany grows more and more uncertain, will the decadent allure of Berlin nightlife be enough to get Sally Bowles, the Emcee, and everyone else at the Kit Kat Klub through the dangerous times? Come hear some of the most memorable songs in theatre history, including “Cabaret,“ “Willkommen,“ and “Maybe This Time.“
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Smack Shack at 1029
www.the1029bar.com
It’s not the Kit Kat Klub of pre­-WWII Berlin, but it’s got the grit and character of a storied ale house nonetheless. Best of all, the 1029 Bar has a whole menu of Smack Shack’s decadent dining delights to set the stage for an evening of epic indulgence. Lobster rolls and Sally Bowles, what more do you need in life?

Stomp. Photo by Junichi Takahashi

Stomp. Photo by Junichi Takahashi

Stomp
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
Oct. 18–23
When Stomp takes the stage, everything becomes an instrument. This inventive and invigorating show has been fusing dance, music, comedy, and theatrical performance to create thunderous rhythms and electrifying beats for over 25 years. The performers have traveled around the world, proving that with the right combination of creativity, imagination, and resourcefulness, you can create extraordinary art from even the most ordinary things.
—S.L.


Custodians of Beauty
McGuire Theatre, Walker Art Center
www.walkerart.org
Oct. 20–22
Choreographer Pavel Zuštiak and his Palissimo Company examine beauty and its intrinsic relationship with art through what is described as minimalist movement, sensuous abstraction, and potent stage imagery drawn from an Eastern European dance-theater aesthetic.
—S.L.

The House on Mango Street. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

The House on Mango Street. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

The House on Mango Street
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Oct. 21–22
Growing up young and Latina in Chicago. That struggle is conveyed in this stage adaptation of the Sandra Cisneros book. Young Esperanza discovers that writing might be her ticket to get beyond the poverty and street life that cloud her life. These vignettes may inspire some of us to reach beyond what we think of as limits.
—J.T.

The Baker’s Wife
Schneider Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
www.artistrymn.org
Oct. 22–Nov. 12
Stephen Schwarz is known for such milestones as Godspell, Pippin, and Wicked. However, The Baker’s Wife is one of his less-produced musicals, though it has gained cult classic status. When a baker’s wife is seduced away from her new husband, a beloved village baker, he loses his will to bake. His personal breakdown triggers a local hunger crisis.
—J.T.

Restaurant Pairing: A Baker’s Wife
www.facebook.com/aBakersWife
South Minneapolis isn’t quite Bloomington and a bakery isn’t the typical pre-­show nosh spot. Still, when I read the synopsis of The Baker’s Wife, I felt compelled to urge a trip to one of my favorite neighborhood bakeries. Grab a tea cake or any of a number of fresh, scratch­-made donuts perfect for a snack on your way to the show or a post-theater coffee klatsch.


An Evening with David Sedaris
State Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Oct. 28
Much of Sedaris’ humor is autobiographical and self-deprecating, and often concerns his family life, Greek heritage, homosexuality, jobs, education, drug use, and obsessive behaviors, and his life in France, London, and the English South Downs. The New York Times best-selling author and National Public Radio humorist returns by popular demand for his annual visit to the State Theatre.
—S.L.

A Raisin in the Sun. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

A Raisin in the Sun. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

A Raisin in the Sun
Boss Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Oct. 28–Nov. 20
Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece is referred to as The Great African American Play and The Great American Play. Whatever you want to call it, A Raisin in the Sun is a milestone about a family’s intergenerational conflicts and how discrimination is systematized into American society.
—J.T.

Jérôme Bel: Gala

McGuire Theatre, Walker Art Center
www.walkerart.org
Nov. 1–2
Celebrate Minnesota’s own diverse community as radical dancemaster Jérôme Bel gleefully and convincingly makes the case that all bodies and movement are meaningful and joyous when danced with conviction and viewed with an open spirit.
—S.L.


Edward Albee’s
Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Chameleon Theatre Circle and Theatre Uncorked
at Black Box Theatre, Ames Center
www.ames-center.com
Nov. 4–20
Chameleon Theatre Circle and the aptly named Theatre Uncorked co-produce Edward Albee’s classic dark comedy about an intergenerational get-together between two married couples where the booze flows far too freely. A timeless examination of mismatched spouses, broken lives, and dreams that seem impossible to fulfill.
—J.T.

Octet. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Octet. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Octet and Killer Pig
James Sewell Ballet
at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University
www.jsballet.org
Nov. 4–6
Felix Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 is a work of great emotional range and scope that sings and soars. Killer Pig was created by choreographers Sharon Eyal and Gai Behar; a choreographic language that is both full of passion and amazingly delicate, presented with intensely uncompromising honesty and physicality.
—S.L.

The Oldest Boy
The Jungle Theater
www.jungletheater.com
Nov. 4–Dec. 18
Master comedic playwright Sarah Ruhl shows what happens when an American mother must deal with her son, who is thought to be the reincarnation of a high Buddhist Lama. A crisis erupts when Tibetan monks ask to take him away from her and her Tibetan husband. Will they get to take him to India for spiritual training?
—J.T.

Cinderella. Photo by Dan Norman

Cinderella. Photo by Dan Norman

Cinderella
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
Nov. 8, 2016–Jan. 8, 2017
CTC’s Cinderella has worked its way into the hearts of audiences and the magical, fantastical, and all-too-hilarious Cinderella returns to the stage for their holiday season. Freshly updated with all new songs, gags, and mayhem, you’ll jeer at the deliciously dysfunctional stepmother and sisters as much as you’ll cheer for Cinderella.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: The Black Forest Inn
www.blackforestinnmpls.com

The German roots of one of our favorite fairy tales makes a pre–show dinner at the Black Forest particularly perfect. Aschenputtel herself would feel right at home amongst the bratwurst, spaetzle and sauerbraten.


Five
20% Theatre Company Twin Cities
at Dreamland Arts
www.tctwentypercent.org
Nov. 11–30
A collaborative work from one of the area’s top queer theater groups looks at being five years old, learning how to lie and how to count beer bottle caps. Clearly, a questionable environment for a child. Gender roles, queer identity, family fragility, and abuse intersect in a statement about trust and childhood.
—J.T.

Orange. Photo by Bonni Allen

Orange. Photo by Bonni Allen

Orange
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.mixedblood.com
Nov. 11–Dec. 4
Mixed Blood Theater has been a solid producer of plays about persons dealing with disabilities. A young woman on the autism spectrum goes on a joyride the night before a family wedding with her cousin and the cousin’s boyfriend. That night becomes a look into fear, family, and being different.
—J.T.

A Gone Fishin’ Christmas
Yellow Tree Theatre
www.yellowtreetheatre.com
Nov. 11–Dec. 23
Jessica Lind Peterson’s brand new comedy will light up Osseo this holiday season. Two sisters go home to Duluth to catch big ones at the Northland’s biggest ice fishing contest. But an unseasonably warm winter threatens to break apart the ice. Complete with sled dogs!
—J.T.


Das Rheingold
Minnesota Opera
at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.mnopera.org
Nov. 12–20
Das Rheingold begins the epic cycle of the ring. This tale of seduction, deception, and betrayal features the Minnesota Opera Orchestra on stage as a dramatic central character, and is reimagined with innovative video and staging.
—S.L.


A Christmas Carol
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Nov. 16–Dec. 30
No show gets the true spirit of Christmas as soulfully and fulfillingly as a great stage version of the Charles Dickens classic. The emotional deadliness that comes from greed and lack of empathy is annually given a mega-popular and splendidly powerful production at the nation’s flagship regional theater.
—J.T.

Away in the Basement
Plymouth Playhouse
www.plymouthplayhouse.com
Nov. 16–Dec. 31
Once again, this holiday favorite takes us back to 1959 on the day of the Sunday school Christmas program. The Lutheran ladies are tending to goodie bags and the pieces for the nativity scene. However, when trouble unexpectedly arises, they must step up to the plate!
—J.T.

Crazy Glue
Single Shoe Productions
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Nov. 17–20
Sometimes no words say it all. Through physical comedy, mime, and a 1930s soundtrack, a happy couple seems to have it all with a car, plenty of food, and a kid on the way. But Crazy Glue asks if these are enough to make a relationship and a family successfully work.
—J.T.

Murder on the Nile. Artwork courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Murder on the Nile. Artwork courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Murder on the Nile
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
Nov. 18–Dec. 18
Have you considered that Agatha Christie is not far behind the Bible and Shakespeare when it comes to popularity? When a serene cruise is jolted by murder, the usual colorful characters only Dame Agatha could have penned come to life. Produced by a theater that is an old hand at Christie stage classics.
—J.T.

Orphan Train
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
Nov. 19–Dec. 18
Between 1858 and 1929 over 100,000 orphan children were shipped by rail to Midwest farm families from the New York City slums. This play looks at some of those who ended up in Minnesota. A stirring folk musical that includes an African American girl who is adopted by a Buffalo Soldier’s family.
—J.T.


The Lion in Winter
McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Nov. 19–Dec. 31
It is Christmas season in the 1180s. Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II have got marital issues that involve the queen’s imprisonment, three ambitious sons, and temperaments that will shape the fate of England. James Goldman’s script is juicy and devilishly witty. An ideal classic and classical choice for the Guthrie.
—J.T.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Nov. 29–Dec. 4
Mark Haddon’s award-winning book became an award-winning play. Fifteen-year-old Christopher stands beside a dead dog, speared with a garden fork. Christopher is under suspicion, but his detective work, forbidden by his father, takes him on a frightening journey that upturns his world.
—S.L.

A Christmas Carole Petersen
Theater Latté Da
at The Ritz Theater
www.theaterlatteda.com
Dec. 1–4
The celebrated holiday comedy returns after a seven-year hiatus. Acclaimed storyteller Tod Petersen reflects on the yuletide season with his family in Mankato, Minnesota, and pays particular tribute to the show’s namesake: his mother Carole. Join in the fun for the long-awaited return of this hilarious and heartwarming Latté Da original.
—S.L.


Different After This
Hiponymous
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Dec. 1–4
The Hiponymous dancers, or movers if you like, go into the subconscious to manifest ideas into overt physical images. They pride themselves on their unpredictability in their performances. What are called tonal dramatic shifts go through their bodies in a mercurial way. Impulse is central to their approach.
—J.T.

Black Nativity
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
Dec. 1–23
Lou Bellamy directs with musical direction by Sanford Moore. Penumbra’s Black Nativity is a local tradition. This year, especially, you may want to make a special effort to see it as the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church Choir will sing and TU Dance’s brilliant Uri Sands will choreograph.
—J.T.


Wait Until Dark
Black Box Theatre, Ames Center
www.ames-center.com
Dec. 2–18
This suspenseful drama broke ground in the 1960s as a play and film that made people painfully aware of the risks experienced by our fellow blind citizens. Set in the ’40s in New York City, Susan navigates a horrifying situation in which she must find a way to save herself. It still hits hard all these decades later.
—J.T.

Nutcracker (not so) Suite. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Nutcracker (not so) Suite. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Nutcracker (not so) Suite
James Sewell Ballet
at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
www.jsballet.org
Dec. 2–18
Myron Johnson’s holiday favorite returns to the stage, returning Nutcracker to a coming-of-age tale much closer to E.T.A. Hoffman’s original, grittier story than the Sugar Plum Fairy version many of us know today. The production is full of colorful characters all accompanied by a musical mashup of hip-hop, R&B, contemporary tracks, and Christmas carols.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Heyday
www.heydayeats.com
Creative, irreverent, and thoroughly contemporary are words well chosen for both parts of this pair. Just as the Nutcracker (not so) Suite titillates your visual senses, Heyday will excite pretty much every taste bud in your mouth. And the visual is equally appealing. Fun and whimsy combine to make your night out more than memorable.


The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Dec. 2–31
Face it. You cannot go wrong with George and Ira Gershwin. Set in the early 20th century in New York City, three singers, a band, and George Gershwin himself express the folk, blues, jazz, Yiddish theatricality, cantor chants, and opera. Relish such tunes as “I Got Rhythm” and “Embraceable You.”
—J.T.


S.H.E. in HerStory
Al Taw’am
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Dec. 8–11
Hip-hop dance is the vehicle for telling this story of pain, hope, self-discovery, personal growth, and sisterhood. Dance artist Al Taw’am explores identity and selfhood. A strong example of Southern Theater’s commitment to performance work that crosses the boundaries of the status quo.
—J.T.

White Christmas
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
Dec. 8–11
Based on the timeless film starring Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney, this sparkling musical will dazzle you with big dance numbers and the unforgettable songs of Russian Jewish immigrant, Izzy Baline, better known as Irving Berlin. You’ll hear songs like “Blue Skies,” “I Love A Piano,” “How Deep Is the Ocean,” and of course, the perennial favorite, “White Christmas.” And, inside the theater, there will be lots and lots of snow!
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Mancini’s
www.mancinis.com
What better way to celebrate a Christmas tradition than kick it off with a St. Paul tradition? Since 1948, Mancini’s has been a classic steakhouse staple, evoking the same bygone era as the one portrayed in Irving Berlin’s nostalgic post­-war musical. Surf and turf pairs nicely with the velvety voices of Christmas crooners.

Fun Home. Photo by Joan Marcus

Fun Home. Photo by Joan Marcus

Fun Home
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Dec. 13–18
Based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir, this groundbreaking and uplifting new musical explores and unravels the many mysteries of childhood and seeing your parents through grownup eyes. Fun Home introduces us to Alison at three different ages, as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood.
—S.L.


HoliDaydream
Minnesota Dance Collaborative
at The Southern Theater
www.southerntheater.org
Dec. 15–18
HoliDaydream is a festive tale of dance and drama told through the eyes of a young girl as she traverses the highs and lows of the holidays through a magical journey. Minnesota Dance Collaborative’s dynamic company showcases a multitude of dance styles and entertaining actors for a glamorous holiday experience.
—S.L.

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Theater Latté Da
at Pantages Theatre
www.theaterlatteda.com
Dec. 15–18
This year marks the tenth anniversary of this award-winning Theater Latté Da original that has been seen and heard around the globe. This moving work captures an astounding moment in history when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate the holiday together. Poetry, diary entries, official war documents, and letters home are woven together with iconic World War I songs, patriotic tunes, and European Christmas carols to create a truly unique and profound theatrical event.
—S.L.

Andrew Schneider: Youarenowhere
McGuire Theatre, Walker Art Center
www.walkerart.org
Jan. 4–7
A smash hit from New York’s downtown theater world, this rapid-fire, high-tech existential meditation teleports from physics lecture to pop culture and personal revelation while dissecting everything from parallel universes to missed connections and AA recovery steps. Andrew Schneider uses an array of electrifying visual and aural effects to produce a shifting landscape of sensory overload.
—S.L.

The Bodyguard. Photo by Paul Coltas

The Bodyguard. Photo by Paul Coltas

The Bodyguard
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Jan. 10–15
You may recognize The Bodyguard‘s U.S. tour star, Deborah Cox, from her performance at Twin Cities Pride in 2015 or from her status as an R&B star in her own right. Now Cox is stepping into the role made famous by Whitney Houston. Former Secret Service agent, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love.
—S.L.

Big Money
Boss Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Jan. 12–28
Game show fans, this is your show! This new Sandbox collaboration is about the ill-fated Michael Larson who won over $100,000 on Press Your Luck in 1984. After recording episodes of the show he discerned and memorized five patterns in the game and was able to predict the results.
—J.T.

A View From the Bridge
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
Jan. 13–Feb. 5
You cannot go wrong with playwright Arthur Miller. It’s pretty much settled science that he and Tennessee Williams are the top American playwrights of the mid-20th century. This play has much to say about struggles surrounding immigration and the dreadfully disruptive power of unconscious sexual desire.
—J.T.

Flower Drum Song. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

Flower Drum Song. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

Flower Drum Song
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Jan. 20–Feb. 19
Rodgers and Hammerstein created a musical set in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1950s. It reflects the process of adapting to the United States as a person from across the Pacific. This new and revised version was written by David Henry Wang (M. Butterfly) and his text was nominated for a Tony. Presented by Mu Performing Arts.
—J.T.

Diana’s Garden
Minnesota Opera
at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.mnopera.org
Jan. 21–29
This opera is a sparkling comedy filled with witty social commentary on freedom and power. Doristo, a shepherd, unexpectedly awakens in a spectacular garden. Amore, the god of desire, informs him that he has been brought there to assist with a plot of revenge — the refuge, overseen by the goddess Diana, is devoted to chastity, which is contrary to Amore’s mission of love.
—S.L.

Little Shop of Horrors
Schneider Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
www.artistrymn.org
Jan. 21–Feb. 19
When a nerdy flower shop assistant named Seymour stumbles across a new breed of plant he names it “Audrey II.” Business booms, but when the plant’s appetite becomes insatiable, things get monstrously out of hand! Perhaps there has never been a B-movie musical adaptation that became an A-theater event and a doo-wop and R&B musical gem like Little Shop.
—J.T.

The Pink Unicorn. Photo by Blythe M. Davis

The Pink Unicorn. Photo by Blythe M. Davis

The Pink Unicorn
20% Theatre Company Twin Cities
at Open Eye Figure Theater
www.tctwentypercent.org
Jan. 26–Feb. 5
This award-winning solo piece taps into the turmoil a Christian widow living in a conservative Christian town must deal with because of her teenage daughter declaring she is genderqueer. Out of this emerges a chapter of the Gay-Straight Alliance at the local high school.
—J.T.

The Royal Family
McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Jan. 28–March 19
Edna Ferber rates as one of the great female American novelists and it’s just not right that people seem to have forgotten about her! Did you know that what’s often called the first Great American Musical, Show Boat, is based on her novel? Did you know that the 1927 comedy she co-wrote with Georges S. Kaufman is an absolutely fabulous spoof of America’s First Family of the Theater: The Barrymores?! That’s what’s meant by a royal family
—J.T.


Restaurant Pairing: Murray’s
www.murraysrestaurant.com
Get in the mood for vintage Broadway with a time travel trip back to a Minneapolis classic still cranking out one of the best steaks in town. Murray’s has been making steaks melt in your mouth for 70 years and lives up to the legend of the very family celebrated in The Royal Family.


Peter and the Starcatcher
Theater Latté Da
at The Ritz Theater
www.theaterlatteda.com
Feb. 1–26
Let your imagination soar in this Peter Pan prequel for grown-ups. Based on the best-selling novel, this comedy explores how a Victorian street urchin ultimately becomes The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up. Follow the nameless orphan and his ambitious friend, Molly, as they protect the world from a greedy band of pirates. Award-winning director and scenic designer Joel Sass takes on this story of unbreakable friendship that places childlike wonder at the heart of grownup theater.
—S.L.


Black Light
Penumbra Theatre
www.penumbratheatre.org
Feb. 2–12
The charismatic Daniel Alexander Jones is one of the nation’s foremost queer-themed performance creators. You will meet Jomama Jones and behold an exploration of song, monologue, diva-ship, and original tunes from the upcoming album, Flowering, created with Bobby Halvorson.
—J.T.


Corazón Eterno (Always in My Heart)
Mixed Blood Theatre
www.mixedblood.com
Feb. 3–March 4
Inspired by Love in the Time of Cholera by Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, this is a poetic, romantic adventure of love ignited, denied, rekindled, rejected, and renewed; and ultimately of love transforming the human experience. This production deepens and expands Mixed Blood’s decades-long dedication to bilingual theater.
—S.L.


Grace
Yellow Tree Theatre
www.yellowtreetheatre.com
Feb. 3–March 5
The suburban Yellow Tree Theatre has become a “go-to” place for strong productions of contemporary plays. In Grace, destinies collide as a Minnesota couple gears up big plans for opening a motel chain in Florida. Questions of faith and grace plumbed by acclaimed playwright, Craig Wright.
—J.T.

 

The Highwaymen
History Theatre
www.historytheatre.com
Feb. 4–26
The displacement that comes from urban development is portrayed in this drama where St. Paul’s Rondo neighborhood was ripped apart literally and psychologically by the construction of Interstate 94 in 1956. The power dynamics behind the decisions made regarding this are fuel for urgent dramatic conflict even though it is 60 years later. Rondo was the heart of St. Paul’s largest African American neighborhood. And urban and road development have become hot button topics over the past few years. Past is prologue.
—J.T.

Nina Simone: Four Women. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

Nina Simone: Four Women. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

Nina Simone: Four Women
Boss Stage, Park Square Theatre
www.parksquaretheatre.org
Feb. 7–26
Back by popular demand with added music. This imaginative play with music by Christina Ham muses on the political transformation of singer-songwriter Nina Simone. In a bombed Birmingham church, she encounters three women who illuminate her understandings while she composes “Mississippi Goddam.”
—J.T.

Restaurant Pairing: Revival
www.revivalmpls.com
Just as Four Women evokes a strong sense of southern history and struggle, so too does Revival evoke a strong sense of southern culture through food. As a fan of both Nina Simone’s soul-­healing music and Revival’s soul-­warming food (soon to have a location in St. Paul in addition to Minneapolis), I can’t think of a better marriage for an evening of unrelenting emotion.


Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches — The Musical
Children’s Theatre Company
www.childrenstheatre.org
Feb. 7–March 26
Some Sneetches have green stars on their bellies while others do not, serving as a source of discrimination until Sylvester McMonkey McBean came to town with a machine to add and remove stars, forcing the Sneetches to question their differences.
—S.L.

Mamma Mia! Photo by Joan Marcus

Mamma Mia! Photo by Joan Marcus

Mamma Mia!
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Feb. 7–12
Mamma Mia! might be embarking on its farewell tour, but this ABBA-laden musical will forever live on in our hearts as the ultimate feel-good experience with a tale of love and laughter. Writer Catherine Johnson’s sunny tale unfolds on a Greek island paradise. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Upton 43
www.upton43.com
Ah, Sweden. Or shall I say ja, Sverige. Not that you need an excuse to dine at one of the best new restaurants in town, but you’ve got one nonetheless. If you’ve yet to enjoy the heavily Swede-­forward fare at Upton 43, now’s your chance. Combine the best of both Swedish worlds the Twin Cities have to offer: music and food.


The 39 Steps
Black Box Theatre, Ames Center
www.ames-center.com
Feb. 10–26
A mash-up parody of suspense and comedy best known as one of Alfred Hitchcock’s early film gems. The sylvan English countryside is the not-so-innocent setting where a femme fatale, an unsuspecting man, and a vast conspiracy all come together. Postmodern imagination and the classic thriller genre come together in a wonderful way.
—J.T.

Marie Antoinette
Walking Shadow Theatre Company
at Red Eye Theater
www.walkingshadowcompany.org
Feb. 10–March 4
Walking Shadow gave us a powerful Mary Stuart a few years ago. So it’s a good bet that this view of Marie Antoinette will be worth it. Oh how the mighty fall when revolution rears its head. The young French queen’s extravagant palatial life is reduced to a soggy dungeon as she awaits the guillotine.
—J.T.

Bad Dates
Black Box Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
www.artistrymn.org
Feb. 11–26
Heartache and hassle makes for comedy in this one-woman show about a successful restaurateur and single mom trying to get back in the swing of dating. Her enormous collection of shoes and unfortunate encounters seem to point to something gone wrong in her life, but then things shift!
—J.T.


King Lear
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Feb. 11–April 2
Plays really don’t come any greater than this one. Few plays examine the foolishness of men like this one. It also has three of the most riveting women’s roles ever written as three daughters of radically different temperaments handle the egomania of their royal father. But two of them are as cruel as their father is foolish.
—J.T.


Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.ordway.org
Feb. 14–19
This genre-bending, fourth-wall-smashing musical sensation, with a pulsing score and electrifying performances, tells the story of one of the most unique characters to ever hit the stage. The genderqueer singer, Hedwig, fronts a fictional rock and roll band as they embark on a tour of the U.S., telling her life story through a series of concerts at Bilgewater Inn seafood restaurants. Her tour dates coincide with those of arena-rock star Tommy Gnosis, a wide-eyed boy who once loved Hedwig, but then left with all her songs.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: The Bulldog, Lowertown
www.thebulldoglowertown.com
Loud, in your face, and genre-­bending apply to both Bulldog and Hedwig, making them a perfect pair for a night of food and fun. From pickles to poutine and some of the craziest, most delicious dogs you’ll put in your mouth, Bulldog makes a great pre-­ or post-­theater stop. The Oinker and the Chicago Dog will not let you down.

Deathtrap
Theatre in the Round
www.theatreintheround.org
Feb. 17–March 12
Decades ago this Ira Levin thriller was scandalous because it has a central gay relationship. When a playwright tries to surmount writer’s block and dwindling success, he takes advantage of a script penned by one of his students. When he invites that student to his home, some eyebrow-raising events take their turns.
—J.T.


We Are Proud to Present
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
www.guthrietheater.org
Feb. 21–March 12
In this piece, three black and three white American actors rehearse a stage presentation about a genocide in 1900s colonial Africa. They make connections between the past and present issues. Both comedic and dramatic, ideas about race, nationality, ethics, exploitation, and sovereignty are examined.
—J.T.

The King and I. Photo by Paul Kolnik

The King and I. Photo by Paul Kolnik

The King and I
Orpheum Theatre
www.hennepintheatretrust.org
Feb. 28–March 5
Many adaptations have been made, and rightfully so, for the story is one for the ages. Set in 1860s Bangkok, the musical tells the story of the unconventional and tempestuous relationship that develops between the King of Siam and Anna Leonowens, a British schoolteacher whom the modernist King, in an imperialistic world, brings to Siam to teach his many wives and children.
—S.L.

Restaurant Pairing: Sen Yai Sen Lek
www.senyai-senlek.com
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s lyrical melodies pair beautifully with the lyrical melodies meted out in the kitchen of one of the Twin Cities’ best Thai restaurants. Traditional dishes like nuea yang naam tok and pad bai gra pow certainly tell the tale of Thailand better than any mid-­century American musical, no matter how memorable.

Ballet Works Project. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Ballet Works Project. Photo by Sara Rubinstein

Ballet Works Project
James Sewell Ballet
at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
www.jsballet.org
March 2–5
JSB’s annual choreographic laboratory puts the audience at the heart of the creative process. This year’s program includes a piece choreographed by local artist Carl Flink of Black Label Movement as well as new work from company members Deanna Gooding and Shohei Iwahama.
—S.L.

Safe at Home
Mixed Blood Theatre
at CHS Field in St. Paul
www.mixedblood.com
March 7–12
The exploitation of professional sports continues to get a sharp look under the microscope. Eighteen characters reflect problems of U.S. immigration policies and Major League Baseball’s misuse of Dominican players. The problem of celebrity, an issue which minority groups, including GLBT folks, have yet to come to terms with, is among the issues probed here. This production will happen at the St. Paul Saints’ new minor league stadium.
—J.T.


Six Degrees of Separation
Theater Latté Da
at The Ritz Theater
www.theaterlatteda.com
March 8–April 9
Paul, a young black man, convinces a wealthy New York couple, Ouisa and Flan Kittredge, into thinking he is the son of Sidney Poitier. However, Paul’s ruse is soon undone leading to discoveries which leave them all forever changed. Nominated for four Tony Awards, Six Degrees of Separation is a tragicomedy on race, class, and manners inspired by the real-life con artist David Hampton.
—S.L.


Dinner at Eight
Minnesota Opera
at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
www.mnopera.org
March 11–19
In adapting the depression-era play by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber, Pulitzer Prize- and Grammy Award-winning composer William Bolcom (A View from the Bridge, A Wedding), and renowned librettist Mark Campbell (Silent Night, The Shining) have created a winning new work that successfully weds American musical comedy and opera. Manhattan socialite Millicent Jordan plans a lavish dinner party for visiting English nobility, unaware that her guest list abounds with invitees linked by business intrigues and romantic entanglements.
—S.L.

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