Movin’ and Groovin
The legendary Twyla Tharp created an instant hit when she paired her choreography with 24 classic songs by Billy Joel, giving the piano man’s music some additional muscularity and building a bridge to the sometimes esoteric world of modern dance in the Tony Award–winning Movin’ Out. Seats go fast for this energetic show, which comes to the Orpheum Theatre August 3 to 14. It’s mostly plotless—but an eye-catching spectacle. • Orpheum Theatre, 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-673-0404.
Minding Her Own Beeswax
Local artist Margo Selski would still be charmingly retro if all she did was paint with colored beeswax (an ancient technique) and mimic old masters such as Vermeer. But as she demonstrates with “In the Balance,” a show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts that continues through September 4, her works’ melancholy symbolism is uniquely her own, a personal perspective she shares with her exhibition partner, the gender-obsessed doll- and puppet-maker Davora M. Lindner. • Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 S. Third Ave., Mpls., 612-870-3131.
The Cat’s Meow
If you were awed by the creative hyper-detail of The Lion King on stage, you’ll likely enjoy Dr. Dolittle at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts August 16 to 28—production designer Michael Currey is responsible for the elaborate look of both shows. The doc himself is played by Tony Award nominee Tom Hewitt (known for another “medical” role, Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Show). • Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul, 651-224-4222.
Instructors from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design will bring out their best works for a show August 26 to September 22. Genres will range from landscapes to stark modernist forms to vivid, almost cartoonish creations—cool pictures for the public, a frame of reference for students failing Painting IV. • Minneapolis College of Art and Design, 2501 Stevens Ave., Mpls., 612-874-3700, www.mcad.edu.
Seeing choreographer/dancer Susana di Palma weave her fluid flamenco moves into thoughtful theater pieces is generally treat enough. But to watch her dance alongside her inspiration and instructor, the world-renowned Manolete, is a must for fans of the fiery dance and a coup for the Southern Theater. The duo will perform Flamenco Festival 2005: Manolete, a Flamenco Legend, along with di Palma’s Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre, from August 18 to 21. • The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Mpls., 612-340-1725, www.southerntheater.org.
You’ve probably heard of shows that condense all of Shakespeare’s plays into two hours. “A Night at Theatre in the Round,” a benefit on August 19 for the venerable 54-year-old institution, offers something of an equivalent, spinning through the playhouse’s entire upcoming season in tantalizing sneak previews, with the Kenwood Chamber Orchestra serenading patrons before the performances. And yes, there will be Shakespeare. • Theatre in the Round, 245 Cedar Ave., Mpls., 612-333-3010, www.theatreintheround.org.
August 14 marks the 60th anniversary of V-J Day (Victory over Japan), and the Minnesota Historical Society is offering a weekend series of commemorative events with a “Minnesota’s Greatest Generation” theme. Just about every historic site, from the James J. Hill House to Mill City Museum, will feature a special tie-in. But the main theater of action will be the Minnesota History Center, which unveils its archive of photos, artifacts, and other World War II memorabilia on August 14, with music by Beasley’s Big Band and dancing by TC Swing. • Various locations; visit www.mnhs.org for more information.
Their publicity photo shows them in evening gowns, giddily serving each other tea, but the polished singers of Sopranorama IV!—Maria Jette, Janis Hardy, and Molly Sue McDonald—are sending up, not reinforcing, diva stereotypes. From opera to Broadway to art song, these veterans sing with a wink (and only minor glass shattering) August 26 to 28. • The Southern Theater, 1420 S. Washington Ave., Mpls., 612-340-1725.
Looking for something to do at 4 a.m. on August 28? Hit the historic Stone Arch Bridge for Landmark, a 24-hour performance coordinated by six artists, including nationally known playwright Lisa D’Amour, local dance sensation Emily Johnson, filmmaker Eleanor Savage, and visual artist Krista Walsh. Starting at sunrise on August 27, activities inspired by area history will be set into motion: dancing across the bridge, musicians sailing through the lock and dam, 1,000 candles floated at midnight, and storytelling. • Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Main, Mpls., www.localstrategy.org.
Death Becomes Her
Carson Kreitzer, who has won awards for her provocative playwriting (The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, for instance, produced by Frank Theatre), tackles the idea of celebrities in the afterlife with Dead Wait. Staged August 7 to 14 at the Jungle Theater, it’s only the second show produced by newcomer Emigrant Theater and certainly the first from the point of view of the late starlet Jayne Mansfield, whose gruesome death nearly overshadowed a career of voluptuous pulchritude. • The Jungle Theater, 2951 S. Lyndale Ave., Mpls., 651-209-6799.
It’s easy being green when you’re listening to the toe-tapping folk songs of the so-called godfather of Irish music, Tommy Makem (think Bono and Elvis rolled into one, and you’ll approximate his status in Ireland). Makem is headlining this year’s Irish Fair from August 12 to 14 at Harriet Island. Other highlights include the band Flogging Molly, who spike traditional tunes with punk energy, and a James Joyce exhibit that has spent the past year touring in honor of the 100th anniversary of Bloomsday. • Harriet Island Regional Park, across the Wabasha Bridge from downtown St. Paul; 952-IRISH-11.
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
Apparently, 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,” the artist examined himself as few others have; the resulting prints, photographs, and hyper-realistic paintings depict a sensitive, lovable lug. July 24 through October 16. • Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Ave., Mpls., 612-375-7600.
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.
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.