3 Big Shows Debuting This Week

Three shows debuting in the Twin Cities this week: an ABBA-scored wedding, a dark comedy with sock puppets, and a drag-queen musical

A portrait of the stars from Mamma Mia.
Mamma Mia!

photo by Rich Ryan

Mamma Mia!

July 19-21

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, 345 Washington St., St. Paul

It’s an inspired concept: The hit songs of ABBA—that internationally renowned Swedish disco powerhouse—guide a wedding-centered plot of romance and misunderstanding that unfurls on a beautiful Greek island. Now, coming to St. Paul just in time for its film sequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, to hit theaters, Mamma Mia! opens at the Ordway.

The cast features a mix of Minnesota-based and national talents, including Minneapolis-based Caroline Innerbichler as the young Sophie, who invites three of her mother’s old flames to her wedding so she can determine which is her father. Local theater buffs will recognize Innerbichler from her recent run as Sandy in the Chanhassen Dinner Theaters’ production of Grease. Learn more.

The Legend of Georgia McBride

July 19-August 26

Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis

With the ’60s now a hazy memory, an Elvis impersonator must phase out of imitating the King and try his hand at a new industry emerging in town: becoming a queen. He embraces the world of drag, and with it comes self-realization, gaudy comedy, and a lot of showtunes.

Opening at the Guthrie, the 2015 play sees University of Minnesota-Duluth alum Jayson Speters in the leading role. And because drag shows are all about audience involvement, the front-row seats have been replaced with cabaret-style tables. Learn more.

Hand to God

July 21-August 19

Jungle Theater, 2951 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

Avenue Q made a splash back in 2003 as an off-Broadway show doing off-color humor with puppets. It crassly parodied Sesame Street and Broadway classics, and, you could argue, paved the way for Hand to God, a crasser, deeper use of puppetry that explores faith, morality, grief, sexuality, and other heavy human experiences—with an irreverent undercurrent of dark humor.

Now, the show that made its Broadway debut in 2015 is coming to Jungle Theater. It takes place in Texas, where a Christian ministry of dejected youth are supposed to use sock puppets to discuss their faith. Things get out of hand when one of those puppets appears to become possessed by the devil. As it spouts off difficult truths, incites outrageous conflicts, and creates a DIY version of Hell, playwright Robert Askins asks audiences to reflect on where we tend to place blame when things go awry. Learn more.