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2009 Fall Arts Preview

The 25 all-star, holy-cow, say-goodnight-Gracie, now-I-can-die shows everyone will be talking about this season

2009 Fall Arts Preview
Photo by Jupiter Images

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Ones to Watch

14. Guthrie veteran Randy Reyes is suddenly everywhere—and doing everything—including a star turn in The Romance of Magno Rubio with Mu Performing Arts (September 4 to 20) and directing King of Shadows, about runaway teens, at Pillsbury House Theater (October 2 to November 1). muperformingarts.org, pillsburyhousetheater.org

15. Steven Copes, the concertmaster of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, has fans who phone the SPCO to check on him if he misses a concert. Now he’s giving them more to love, having created his own chamber ensemble, Accordo, which opens its season at the Southern Theater on September 20 and 22. southerntheater.org

16. Bethany Ford, a veteran of Shakespeare companies, has formed Prufrock Theatre and will star in its first production, Landscape of the Body, John Guare’s part-musical/part-drama about the American Dream. Leah Cooper, who formerly headed the Minnesota Fringe Festival, will direct the play at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage from November 6 to 21. prufrocktheatre.org

17. The Bakken Trio is among the first prominent ensembles slated to take advantage of the gorgeous new concert hall in the MacPhail Center for Music, opening its season there October 18 with a rare theatrical version of Stravinsky’s masterpiece A Soldier’s Tale. Theatre de la Jeune Lune veterans Steven Epp and Nathan Keepers will reunite to enact the drama (an even rarer sight now that Keepers is often out of town). bakkentrio.org

The Classics

18. If you see just one Shakespeare production this year, it should probably be Ten Thousand Things’s Othello, starring Ansa Akyea (who turned Penumbra Theatre’s The Piano Lesson into a tour-de-force) and the sublimely comic Luverne Seifert, among others. Opening October 23 at Open Book in Minneapolis, it’s co-directed by Michelle Hensley and the gifted actress Sonja Parks, herself a veteran of many striking TTT productions. tenthousandthings.org

19. Radio Golf opens at Penumbra Theatre on October 1, continuing the theater’s journey through August Wilson’s monumental play cycle about 20th-century African-American life. What’s more, it stars James Craven, a veteran of many of the cycle’s plays, most recently Fences and Gem of the Ocean at the Guthrie. penumbratheatre.org

20. The Martha Graham Dance Company performs the iconic contemporary choreographer’s only full-evening work, Clytemnestra, on November 12 at Northrop Auditorium, showcasing the cinematic techniques—flashback, simultaneous narration, etc.—that Graham introduced to dance. northrop.umn.edu

21. Dan Graham: Beyond, opening at the Walker Art Center on October 31, is the first North American retrospective of the seminal conceptual artist, known for his arrestingly odd pavilions of steel and glass (one sits in the Walker’s sculpture garden), as well as his influence on such punk bands as Sonic Youth. walkerart.org

Guilty Pleasures

22. You don’t expect a play called She: Immortal Witch-Queen of a Lost World, about three Englishmen who discover an African society run by an irresistible woman with supernatural powers, to be very deep. But in the clever hands of Hardcover Theater, this adaptation of the popular Victorian novel, opening November 7 at the Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater, probes the provocative cultural questions behind the sensationalism
—without spoiling the fun. hardcovertheater.org

23. Strippers, adultery, and murderous ex-boyfriends—what else would you expect (or want) from a show called The Great American Trailer Park Musical, produced by Minneapolis Musical Theatre and opening November 6 at the Illusion Theater? aboutmmt.org

24. A year after breaking box-office records at the Guthrie Theater, Little House on the Prairie opens October 13 at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts. ordway.org

25. Perhaps the only two things you need to know about 101 Dalmations: The Musical, opening October 13 at the Orpheum Theatre, is that it features live canine actors and was co-created by Dennis DeYoung—the former lead singer of prog-rockers Styx. hennepintheatretrust.org

Tim Gihring is the senior writer and arts editor for Minnesota Monthly.

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