February Arts and Entertainment Picks

Martha Reeves  and the VandellasMartha Reeves and the Vandellas

Today most of us remember the 1983 Motown 25th-anniversary special as the moment when Michael Jackson moonwalked his way to permanent pop deity status, but those days of mega-zillion network TV audiences also saw Martha and the Vandellas receive a major boost of recognition. Martha Reeves slayed that night with “(Love is Like a) Heat Wave,” saving “Dancing in the Street” and “Nowhere to Run” for lucky audiences in the years to come who continue to savor the taut snap and worldly optimism of the Motown Sound. dakotacooks.com (Photo Courtesy of Ideal Entertainment, Inc.)  


Is it possible she only moved here five years ago? Well, we’ll go ahead and claim her as one of our own in perpetuity. Easily one of the most original, compelling, and multi-dimensional forces in hip-hop today, Lizzo has absorbed the best of the collaborative Twin Cities music ethic and cut her teeth on major stages around the country and the UK, not to mention appearing on the iconic late-night talk shows. Just the mention of her tune “Batches and Cookies” is pretty much enough to put me in a state of ear-worm distraction for the rest of the day (oops, there it goes), and this show is a chance to catch this young, still-rising talent in a valedictory mood in front of the adoring audience she’s rightfully built in her adopted hometown. first-avenue.com (Photo courtesy of Q+A)

Two Gentlemen of VeronaThe Two Gentlemen of Verona

Shakespeare’s early comedy centers on youthful betrayal, rivalry, and a wild stew of danger and immorality that underpins a playful, anything-goes ethos. New Jungle artistic director Sarah Rasmussen helms this production featuring all-female actors, as she did at Oregon Shakespeare festival. Local powerhouse Cristiana Clark appeared in that production, and this one as well, and here she’s joined by an intriguing who’s-who of some of the most interesting female stage players in the Twin Cities. Both Rasmussen and new Guthrie honcho Joe Haj have come out of the gate this year with their signature Shakespeare productions, and this one comes with a reputation for fun and intensity. jungletheater.com (Photo by Jenny Graham)

A Chorus LineA Chorus Line

It’s been four decades since this bittersweet homage to the precarious nature of life in the performing arts debuted on Broadway—after which it ran for more than 6,000 performances and snagged Tonys, a Pulitzer, and an Olivier Award. It deserved all of it. Turning a New York dance audition into a meditation on individuality and the biography behind each soon-to-be faceless, washed-up hoofer is a brilliant device, and the show is written with infinite affection and deft understanding of its characters. Paul’s bum knee, Cassie’s flagging career, the irony of “One” at the end … there will be misty eyes. ordway.org (Photo by Rich Ryan Photography)

They Rose at DawnThey Rose at Dawn

There’s a certain cachet to having the New York Times call you a “vision of sculptural lucidity,” and Aparna Ramaswamy comes by it via her track record with the Minnesota-based Ragamala Dance Company. Here, her solo performance features a live Indian classical-music ensemble as she uses dance to evoke mystery and a sense of the mythic with the conceptualization of women as the holders of ritual—with her precise, otherworldly style inseparable from the hypnotic score. thecowlescenter.org (Photo by Christopher Pike)