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The Arts

The Arts

Killer Musical

Weeds got you whining? Check out the bloodthirsty plant in Little Shop of Horrors at the Orpheum Theatre July 19 to 24. The lighthearted musical, based on the 1960 Roger Corman film, follows florist Seymour Krelbourn, played by local veteran actor Jonathan Rayson, as he tries to woo the girl of his dreams with the help of a nightmarish plant. • Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404

 

Profound Prairies

If summer travels take you across the great Midwestern prairies, or what has replaced them, you’ll see the subject of Richard Krogstad’s paintings. The St. Bonifacius artist captures the many moods of the fields in oil paintings that are careful studies of a landscape he finds “more subtle than spectacular” but “nonetheless profound.” His work is at the Groveland Gallery through July 30. • Groveland Gallery, 25 Groveland Terr., Mpls., 612-377-7800

 

Play Dates

Illusion Theater’s annual series of new productions, Fresh Ink, runs July 7 to 31. It includes a new work by burgeoning playwright Jordan Harrison called Act a Lady, the true story of a play put on in Lanesboro before World War I in which men portrayed women, and vice versa. Other highlights are Autistic License, about raising an autistic child; Mrs. Man of God, the working title of a show about a gay minister and his partner; and Driving the Tractor down the Big Hill, a performance piece on returning to the family farm. • Illusion Theater, Hennepin Center for the Arts, Eighth Floor, 528 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-339-4944.
 

T.G.I. Guthrie

Skip the restaurant—hit the Guthrie Theater’s front-page-worthy His Girl Friday, which opens its new season July 2 to 31 with Angela Bassett (How Stella Got Her Groove Back, What’s Love Got to Do with It) and Courtney B. Vance (The Preacher’s Wife, Law & Order: Criminal Intent) in the lead roles. Directed by Joe Dowling, the American premiere of this celebrated new adaptation by John Guare combines elements of the 1939 Howard Hawks film and original Broadway hit The Front Page, with editor Walter Burns attempting to win back reporter and ex-wife Hildy Johnson. • Guthrie Theater, 725 Vineland Pl., Mpls., 612-377-2224.

 

Cool Classics

The Minnesota Orchestra’s Sommerfest (July 15 to August 7) continues to get cooler—and jazzier. This year’s lineup includes two 11 p.m. concerts by jazz piano great Fred Hersch and pianist Christopher O’Riley, who will perform his arrangements of Radiohead songs. A People’s Choice concert on July 16 has conductor Osmo Vänskä leading audience favorites selected from e-mail submissions. Peavey Plaza erupts regularly with free hot swing. The July 31 Minnesota Idol concert allows patrons to vote for their favorite student musician. And the annual Marshall Field’s Day of Music July 15 offers an aural overkill of 300 musicians and 24 hours of sound. Roll over Beethoven—we’ll see you in fall. • Orchestra Hall, 1111 Nicollet Mall, Mpls., 612-371-5656.

 

Close and Personal

Chuck CloseApparently, the Queer Eye guys haven’t seen Chuck Close’s Big Self-Portrait, a staple of the Walker Art Center’s collection, or they’d be all over the artist’s unshaven mug like flies on roadkill. Not that Close would take offense. As demonstrated in “Chuck Close: Self-Portraits 1967–2005,” which opens at the Walker July 17, the artist examined himself as few others have; the resulting prints, photographs, and hyper-realistic paintings depict a sensitive, lovable lug. • Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7600.

 

Kidding Around

Strolling the woodsy grounds of the Old Log Theater during intermission is so pleasant, you might regret having to go back inside. But this summer the shows warrant full attention. Since March, the Old Log has been running Weekend Comedy, about two couples who rent a cabin in the Catskills for the same weekend. And now through August 6, the playhouse is adding The Jungle Book to the mix for children. Take in Kipling’s classic, then monkey around Lake Minnetonka. • Old Log Theater, 5185 Meadville St., Greenwood, 952-474-5951.

 

History Matters

When a British tour guide who embellishes the past meets a government guardian of truth, they clash but then conspire, realizing their mutual love of bygone eras must be shared with the public by any means necessary. This is the charming setup of Lettice and Lovage, performed by Theatre de la Jeune Lune through July 31. The play was written by Peter Shaffer, whose masterful Amadeus and Equus reflects the kind of clever, humane portraits that Jeune Lune, at its best, delivers like no other company. • Theatre de la Jeune Lune, 105 N. First St., Mpls., 612-333-6200.

 

Ocean Architecture

Architect Frank Gehry attributes much of his inspiration to a group of 16 Venice Beach, California, artists who influenced his use of light, space, and industrial elements between 1962, when he opened his studio, and 1978, when he completed the famous remodeling of his Santa Monica residence. Gehry’s muses can be seen in the Weisman Art Museum’s “West! Frank Gehry and the Artists of Venice Beach, 1962–1978” exhibition, which is on view through September 11. • Weisman Art Museum, 333 E. River Rd., Mpls., 612-626-5302.

 

Film and Fireworks

The Soap Factory art gallery’s “Multiplex” festival of experimental films runs July 2 to 4, closing with the Ten Second Film Fest, unedited mini-movies captured on cell phones and digital cameras that will be projected on the backside of its building after Minneapolis’s Fourth of July fireworks over the Mississippi. • Visit www.soapfactory.org for more information.

 

Cinema under the Stars

Minneapolis has long had its movies and music in Loring Park. Across the river, St. Paul’s District del Sol puts on its Music & Movies series, now in its third year, every Thursday through August 11. This month’s offerings include Songs of Hope and Shrek 2 on July 7, the Bill Geezy Band and Best in Show on July 14, the Café Accordion Orchestra and The Return of the Pink Panther on July 21, and Fuego Flamenco and To Kill a Mockingbird on July 28. • Shows are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. in Castillo Park on St. Paul’s west side.

 

Much Ado about Winona

Wherefore art the greatest Shakespeare? The bard, it seems, is summering in fair Winona, where the Great River Shakespeare Festival debuted last year and returns with more lean, powerful productions. Catch Richard III and Much Ado about Nothing in repertory June 24 to July 24, bookended by lectures and live music along the river. • Performing Arts Center, Winona State University, West Howard and Johnson streets, Winona, 651-209-6689.

 

Marks of Excellence

Tattoo art is more than anchors and hearts that say “Mom,” and Rogue Buddha Gallery is putting evidence of that on display from June 10 to July 22 in “Marked Men: Fine Art of the Tattooist.” Featuring photographs of tattoo patrons by John Wyatt, a frequent tattoo parlor visitor since the late 1950s, the exhibit also includes renderings, stencils, Xerox transfers, and rubbings from pre-inking art. • Rogue Buddha Gallery, 357 NE 13th Ave., Mpls., 612-331-3889.

 

Theatrical Blessing

Imagine waking up on a mountain surrounded by water, having no idea how you got there, who the woman is beside you, or even who you are. That’s the opening scene in A Body of Water, a play by Minneapolis native and Pulitzer Prize nominee Lee Blessing that runs June 11 through July 3 at the Guthrie Lab. Proposing a tabula rasa view of the human condition, the play gradually fills in the blanks, each bit of knowledge prompting radical changes in how the two characters see themselves and each other. • Guthrie Lab, 700 N. First St., Mpls., 612-377-2224.

 

Never Say Never

Cathy Rigby will hang up her tights after her farewell tour of Peter Pan, which comes to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts June 28 to July 10. Rigby first flew to Neverland in 1974; now in her early fifties, the actress and former gymnast will end her run of the 100-year-old tale later this year. • Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, 651-224-4222.

 

A Life in Black and White

You’ve most likely seen his extreme close-up photographs of seashells and peppers (not to mention nudes), even if you can’t remember his name. “Edward Weston: Life Work” should clear that up. Running through July 10 at Fargo’s Plains Art Museum, the exhibition of 100 photographs traces Weston’s development from early studio images to striking nudes and other portraits to highly textured landscapes. One of the 20th century’s master photographers, he looks pretty good in the 21st, too. • Plains Art Museum, 704 N. First Ave., Fargo, 701-232-3821

 

Laughin’ to Keep from Cryin’

The vaudeville era wasn’t a standout for black performers. As if segregation and low wages weren’t enough, white actors in blackface were taking both their dignity and their roles. In Penumbra Theatre’s rollicking and poignant production of the musical Rollin’ on the T.O.B.A. from May 27 to July 3, the Theatre Owner’s Booking Agency has been nicknamed “tough on black actors” by the vaudevillians who toil for it. Even so, the characters keep each other on the bright side by “laughin’ to keep from cryin’” in this tale of friendship and perseverance. • Penumbra Theatre Company, 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul, 651-224-3180.


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