June Arts & Entertainment Picks

5/23-6/28 Juno and the Paycock

The last play that Joe Dowling directs as artistic director of the Guthrie is the same Sean O’Casey classic that saw Dowling’s Broadway debut in 1988 and led to his long and impactful two-decade sojourn in the Twin Cities. It’s a family story based in Dublin after the Irish Civil War, with a blowhard pub-dweller dad, long-suffering mother, and a son living in fear that his actions during the war will lead to his destruction. It’s a play of working-class dreams and delusions and illusions, with a tumultuous heart that pretty much aches to break. It’s hard to imagine a better statement to close Dowling’s tenure. guthrietheater.org

Bette Midler
Bette Midler, photo by Jonathan Pushnik

6/7 Bette Midler

Midler’s has been a long and circuitous trip, making her way from an upbringing in Hawaii to stops in: the New York City gay bathhouse scene of the 1960s, Broadway, hit records, Down and Out in Beverly Hills, Beaches, a sitcom, Vegas—and now her first tour in a decade, playing both old favorites and material from her new collection of tributes to girl groups from the Andrews Sisters to TLC. Her charisma is massive, and there have been few others who can both lose themselves in various roles and personae while somehow making it all look like a coherent vision planned out with ramshackle grace. xcelenergycenter.com


6/12-21 Putting It Together, La Rondine

A pair of vocal productions via Skylark Opera’s annual Summer Festival—one a revue of familiar semi-contemporary greats, another a sumptuous romantic operetta. Putting It Together offers a mash-up of tunes from Stephen Sondheim musicals (Sweeney Todd, Into the Woods) set against a Manhattan cocktail party. La Rondine by Puccini is a later work by the master behind La Boheme and Tosca; it’s a love story with elements of his great operas, done in English, set in post-World War II Paris, and performed by a core of four up-and-coming, nationally acclaimed singers. Viewers can opt for both shows in repertory, or buy single-show tickets. skylarkopera.org


6/13 Northern Spark

This is the fifth year for this once-a-year overnight celebration of the northern summertime and its fecund impact on the imagination that takes place in locations throughout Minneapolis (mostly clustered around the Mississippi). Highlights this year include a giant light sculpture, a performance-art flea market, a video-game-inspired meditation on war, an animated dreamscape with beds, as well as short films, sound installations, and projections that transform the city into a thrilling and evocative dream space. NoDoz not included. northernspark.org

Damn Yankees
Damn Yankees, photo courtesy the Ordway

6/16-28 Damn Yankees

What a strange show: A middle-aged schlub fantasizes about his beloved Washington Senators beating the juggernaut 1950s Yankees and, after intervention from the Devil, is transformed into a young slugger. Throw in a seduction attempt from hell (literally) and a courtroom drama, and you have a stewing meditation on the depths of love and the anguish of hardball. This Ordway production promises a good deal of summer fun—not least because of the irony that the Senators eventually moved to the tundra and changed their name to the Twins (who might need otherworldly intervention to win another championship anytime soon). ordway.org