The Fall 2013 Arts Guide to Culture, Museums, and Entertainment

Arts Guide

A lineup of the season’s best performances, exhibits and attractions

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Performing Arts

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

In celebration of Chanhassen Dinner Theatres’ 45th anniversary, Fiddler on the Roof returns to the Main Stage for the first time in 20 years! In the little village of Anatevka, Tevye, a poor milkman is trying to keep his family’s traditions in place. Yet, times are changing. And when Tevye’s daughters want to make their own matches, he must choose between his daughters’ happiness and those beloved traditions that keep the outside world at bay. Ultimately, it is Tevye’s love of family, pride, and faith that help him face the dangerous forces in Anatevka that threaten to destroy the very life he and his fellow villagers are trying to preserve.

Fiddler on the Roof opens Sept. 27 with a rousing, heartwarming score, including: “Tradition,” “Matchmaker, Matchmaker,” “If I Were A Rich Man,” “Far From the Home I Love,” “Do You Love Me,” “Sunrise, Sunset” and more.  Few other musicals weave together music, dance, poignancy and laughter into such an electrifying, unforgettable experience.

Resident artistic director Michael Brindisi will once again collaborate with his creative team on the staging of Fiddler: Choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson, musical director Andrew Cooke, set designer Nayna Ramey, costume designer Rich Hamson, lighting designer Sue Ellen Berger, sound designer Russ Haynes, and production stage manager Susan Magnuson.

Dinner and show tickets for Fiddler on the Roof range from $54 (student ticket price) to $82 (Saturday evening). Discounted show only tickets can be purchased 10 days prior to performances through the box office. Discounted group pricing (12 or more) is also available.

Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, located 25 minutes southwest of Minneapolis, is the nation’s largest professional dinner theater, and the state’s only year-round professional musical theatre company. Since opening in 1968, more than 8 million visitors have been through its doors. Local designers, artists and directors create every element of productions in-house, including the sets and costumes, as well as the casting, designing and execution of all technical and artistic aspects of their shows. This differs greatly from a presenting theatre, which brings in touring shows from larger markets and presents them in rental houses.

The Chanhassen Concert Series includes talented cover bands and artists on the Chanhassen’s Fireside Stage, ranging from a tribute to Fleetwood Mac to a Christmas concert with Keri Noble. See the website for a detailed list of concerts and dates. And don’t forget that the Chanhassen is the place to see fast-paced, clean, and funny improv comedy. Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret will make you laugh every Friday and Saturday night in the Playhouse Theatre.

All seats are $25.

For more information, call 952-934-1525 or visit www.ChanhassenDT.com.
 


Burnsville Performing Arts Center

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t always have to drive to Minneapolis or St. Paul for quality shows or cultural events. You can also drive to the suburb of Burnsville to see national talent performing in the beautiful Burnsville Performing Arts Center. The facility is modern and comfortable, there is ample (free!) parking, and the friendly, helpful staff truly is the crème de la crème.

The 2013-14 season lineup includes a little bit of Cash, a little bit of Broadway, a little bit of church basement comedy, a Beatles concert, and dazzling visuals and illusions. All tickets range from $30-$40.

The first show in the lineup is Ring of Fire – The Music of Johnny Cash on Sept. 11, one of the “best jukebox musicals” of our time, celebrating Johnny’s life from the cotton fields to the Grand Ole Opry.

On Sept. 20, catch The Broadway Boys, an evening full of popular show tunes presented with contemporary flare.  

 The Church Basement Ladies in: A Mighty Fortress is Our Basement will be “gracing” the stage at BPAC on Jan. 9, set in 1960s-era East Cornucopia Lutheran.

On March 14 enjoy a unique brand of storytelling during Lightwire: The Show, including music, visual effects, 16-foot tall birds, and cats fighting with light sabers in a struggle of good vs. evil.

On March 15, head out on a musical journey through 1964: The Tribute, and relive a Beatles concert back when John, Paul, George, and Ringo ruled the world.  

The last show of the season, Spencer’s: Theater of Illusion is March 20, promising magic theater full of drama, danger, and cutting-edge illusions.

For tickets, call 800-982-2787 or visit www.burnvillepac.com for more information. 
 


Children’s Theatre Company

Charlotte’s Web is not just a story about a pig and a spider; it’s a “gentle and beautiful piece about innocence, friendship, and community while dealing (very movingly and sensitively) with some of the harder situations we face as we grow older,” says Greg Banks, who is directing the Children’s Theatre Company’s production, based on the beloved 1952 children’s book by E.B. White.

Charlotte’s Web, by Joseph Robinette, will feature a memorable, talented cast including Emma Thvedt as Fern, Ethan Davenport as Wilbur, CTC newcomer Joanna Harmon as Charlotte, and a host of funny barnyard animals including a very greedy rat, a slapstick lamb, and silly geese.

Charlotte’s Web will run Sept. 17 through Oct. 27 on the UnitedHealth Group Stage. Charlotte’s Web is recommended for grades K+.  

Another fun show returning to CTC is the raucous production of Cinderella, performed in the enduringly popular panto style with the cross-dressing stepsisters everyone loves to hate. This classic fairy tale is turned on its head with side-splitting physical comedy and enough romance and splendor to soften hearts and inspire audiences of all ages to seek their happily ever after. Cinderella, starring lauded Twin Cities actor Traci Allen, will run from Nov. 12 through Jan. 5.

Tickets to both shows range from $10-52 (prices subject to change).

Order tickets by calling 612-874-0400 or by visiting www.childrenstheatre.org.
 


History Theatre

History Theatre’s 2013-2014 season will include three world premieres, two regional premieres, and one returning favorite. These six distinct plays and musicals will explore what it means to be an American “hero.” What is promised and sacrificed when ordinary people are faced with extraordinary circumstances?  

The season will begin with musical Baby Case, covering the sensational 1932 Lindbergh baby kidnapping and the “Trial of the Century.” This play, running Oct. 5-Nov. 3, explores the media’s role in the search; going beyond news coverage into actually creating the story. Back by popular demand, Christmas of Swing—from Nov. 23-Dec. 22—will feature a bigger band and a larger ensemble to swing along with returning “Sisters” Ruthie Baker, Stacey Lindell, and Jen Burleigh-Bentz. From Feb. 1-23, History Theatre will open the world premiere of a new play by Eric Simonson: The Incredible Season of Ronnie Rabinovitz, a play about a man who grew up in Sheboygan, Wis. and his friendships with Jackie Robinson and JFK. In March, two generations of veterans will be honored in Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried, a one-man show about the Vietnam War—running from March 15-April 6—and Lonely Soldiers: Women at War in Iraq March 16-April 6, giving voice to eight women who served in combat during the early years of the Iraq war.

Working Boys Band, from May 3-June 1, rounds out the 2013-14 season, revisiting the 1918-era band that was formed to give young people a way to constructively pass the time after working in factories. The world premiere was created by Minnesota artists playwright Dominic Orlando and composer Hiram Titus.

For ticket information to any of the shows, visit www.historytheatre.com or call 651-292-4323.
 

 

MacPhail Center for Music

MacPhail Expands to Chanhassen

With sites already in Minneapolis, White Bear Lake and Apple Valley, MacPhail is now expanding to Chanhassen. The new site is located across the street from the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres and will open in January 2014. However, MacPhail will begin offering lessons in the Chanhassen High School this fall until the new site is ready.

“We are proud to welcome the MacPhail Center for Music to downtown Chanhassen,” says Tom Furlong, city of Chanhassen mayor. “As a premier organization, the MacPhail Center for Music will complement other successful organizations in our area that are promoting the theater, music and arts. We expect that they will receive the same exceptional support that Chanhassen residents and businesses provide to these other organizations, and are confident that the MacPhail Center for Music will find their Chanhassen location to be a complete success.”

Offerings at Chanhassen will include individual lessons for ages 5-adult in flute, clarinet, oboe, saxophone, trumpet, French horn, trombone, percussion, voice, piano, guitar, violin, viola and cello; Suzuki talent education beginning as early as 3 to 6 years in violin and cello; group lessons for all ages; music therapy for all ages; early childhood music for ages 6 weeks to 8 years. (Held at the Family Learning Center in Chaska until the new site opens in January.)
 

MacPhail Spotlight Series ­

The MacPhail Spotlight Series showcases the exceptional talents of MacPhail teaching artists and special guests, providing an intimate listening experience in MacPhail’s Antonello Hall. This ticketed performance series features music from various genres including classical, romantic, jazz, and more.

Concerts are on Saturday nights at 8 p.m. on Nov. 16, Feb. 22, March 22, and April 26.

Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for students and seniors. Tickets go on sale October 1.

MacPhail Center for Music is a non-profit organization committed to transforming lives and communities through exceptional music learning experiences. Each year, MacPhail opens its doors to more than 10,000 students.

To order tickets, call 612-767-5250. For more information, visit macphail.org.
 


Minnesota Opera

With five productions new to Minnesota audiences, three of which are company premieres, the 2013-2014 season promises to be an artistically rich experience at Minnesota Opera. Highlights include the return of James Valenti, who will star in the premiere of a revised The Dream of Valentino by Dominick Argento; an intriguing production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute; the return of two favorite sopranos in title roles—Kelly Kaduce in Puccini’s soulful and emotionally-charged Manon Lescaut and Jacquelyn Wagner in a stunning production of Strauss’ romantic comedy, Arabella; and Verdi’s chilling take on the Shakespearean thriller, Macbeth.


The season opens on Sept. 21 with Manon Lescaut, presenting the first tragic heroine in a long list of Puccini favorites. Maestro Michael Christie continues in his second season as music director conducting the Minnesota Opera Orchestra. In November, the Opera presents Richard Strauss’ Arabella–a stylish co-production with Santa Fe Opera and Canadian Opera Company. In January, the season continues with Giuseppe Verdi’s adaptation of Macbeth. Bass-baritone Greer Grimsley makes his long-awaited return to the Minnesota Opera stage as the ambitious and sinister King of Scotland with soprano Brenda Harris as Lady Macbeth. In March, the sixth production of Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative—a major revival of Dominick Argento’s The Dream of Valentino—stars internationally acclaimed tenor James Valenti as the 1920s film icon and sex symbol, Rudolph Valentino. The season concludes in April with Mozart’s masterful comedy, The Magic Flute, richly reimagined in a boundary-busting production by the British theatre group 1927.

“It seems a fitting tribute to the company’s 50-year rich history of new work that we are staging three company premieres and a whole season of productions new to our audiences,” says president and general director Kevin Ramach. “Beyond our mainstage season at the Ordway, Minnesota Opera also provides educational programs that engage communities statewide with a unique depth of interaction. Through our New Works Initiative, we will be reaching a wider audience with a PBS broadcast of Silent Night. As we move into our next 50 years, those activities will grow as we find new ways to reach out to our community.”

All operas are performed at Ordway in St. Paul.

For ticket information, call 612-333-6669 or visit www.mnopera.org.
 


The Ordway Center For The Performing Arts

The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ 2013-2014 season offers phenomenal theatrical, music, and dance experiences.  Featured are the Ordway co-produced classic Miss Saigon and an enchanting new production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Wizard of Oz.  A very special appearance of Blue Man Group and a diverse offering of World Music and Dance are just part of this exciting season.

From Oct. 8-13, don’t miss the extraordinary love story Miss Saigon, based on Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, a tragedy of passion and beauty set during the Vietnam War. Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg—who brought us Les Misérables—have created another masterpiece in Miss Saigon, a production full of inspiring music and lyrics.

 World Music performances follow in October, the first on Oct. 25 when singer-songwriters Lizz Wright and Raul Midón—as seen on David Letterman and deemed an “eclectic adventurist” by People magazine—join forces to present exciting jazz, R&B, soul and gospel.  

The next World Music performance, Oct. 27, features the contemporary band Yemen Blues, in a gripping performance marked by horns firing, deep rhythmic percussion, and enchanting melodies.

The season continues throughout the holidays with The Wizard of Oz Dec. 4-29, presented in an exciting way by Broadway masters Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Developed from the Oscar-winning MGM screenplay, this new production contains all the beloved songs, characters, and memorable moments from the movie, plus creative new musical performances.

For more information, visit www.ordway.org or call 651-224-4222 for ticket information.
 


Park Square Theatre

Park Square opens its season September 2013 with David Lindsay-Abaire’s comedy, Good People, reviewed by Vanity magazine as a “tough and tender play about the insurmountable class divide.”

Good People, winner of the 2011 Tony Award for “Best Play,” is centered around the very different socio-economic classes of Margie and Mike. Both grew up in South Boston—aka “Southie”—a neighborhood rife with broken families, and dated briefly in high school. Mike, a successful doctor, believes that he got out of Southie due to his own skills and initiative. Margie, who is unemployed, believes Mike’s success is largely due to lucky breaks. When someone leaves Southie, is it due to good luck, or ambition and talent?

Margie will be played by Virginia Burke, who wowed audiences in Park Square’s production of August: Osage County, and Mike will be played by James Denton, famous as hunky plumber Mike Delfino on Desperate Housewives. This is Denton’s Park Square and Minnesota stage debut.

Old wounds of the heart and the new sting of Mike and Margie’s different lifestyles inspire both laughter and tears. “I’m a sucker for great writing, and Lindsay-Abaire’s script is one of the best in recent years: funny, pungent, lively, and thought-provoking,” says director Joel Sass. “He writes incredibly strong roles for women.”

Previews are Sept. 13-19. The show runs from Sept. 20-Oct. 6. All performances are in the company’s intimate 348-seat theater in St. Paul’s historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place.

For more information, visit www.parksquaretheatre.org or call 651-291-7005.
 


Plymouth Playhouse

Help the 1979-era Church Basement Ladies celebrate their church centennial celebration with hot dish, stories, laughs and tears as they reminisce about the past during the fifth—and final—chapter in an all-new musical comedy, The Last (Potluck) Supper, running now through Feb. 23 at the Plymouth Playhouse.

Based on the books of Janet Letnes Martin and Suzann Nelson, including the national bestseller Growing Up Lutheran, all four installments originated at the Plymouth Playhouse back in 2005. Over the course of the last four highly successful Church Basement Ladies musicals, audiences have grown to love these funny, touching “Steel Magnolia’s” of the church basement kitchen.

Travel back to 1897 and meet Vivian’s grandmother, one of the founding members of the church; see Karin as a newlywed, cautiously navigating her way through the politics of the kitchen; and be there in 1944 when Mavis first barreled her way through the swinging door.

The original cast returns with Janet Paone in the role of the “Widow Snustad” (Vivian), the matriarch of the kitchen; Greta Grosch as the able-bodied farm wife and jack-of-all-trades “Mrs. Gilmer Gilmerson” (Mavis); Dorian Chalmers in the role of “Mrs. Elroy Engelson” (Karin)—aka the best cook in the kitchen; and Tara Borman as Karin’s daughter Mrs. Harry Hauge (Beverly).  Tim Drake performs his usual pastoral duties.

Overnight stay and play packages are available, including a room for two at the Best Western Kelly Inn, Plymouth, a dinner voucher at the Green Mill, and two tickets to the show.

For ticket information, call 763-553-1600 ext.1 or visit www.plymouthplayhouse.com.
 

 

Museums

American Swedish Institute

The innovative world of glass-making is on display as part of a cutting-edge exhibit at the American Swedish Institute, Pull, Twist, Blow—Transforming the Kingdom of Crystal from now through Oct. 13.

Presented in partnership with The Glass Factory of Sweden, Pull, Twist, Blow makes its U.S. debut by showcasing innovative pieces by 11 Swedish artists: Fredrik Nielsen (morphed pitchers), Åsa Jungnelius, Simon Klenell, Helena Kågebrand (pickled tongues and glass dentures), Peter Hermansson (Graal objects), Karl-Magnus Nilsson (lost-wax castings), Charles Stern, Matilda Kästel, Ingalena Klenell (“Homeland,” a glass forest), Ludvig Löfgren and Annika Jarring (combs and suitcase). Each work will be presented side-by-side with more traditional glassworks from The Glass Factory’s extensive collection that served as a reference point for the modern creations.

Also highlighted in the show are eight Minnesota artists who are impacting the craft of glass making right here in the Twin Cities: Michael Boyd, Eoin Breadon, Todd Cameron, Spencer Cleland, Christopher Gray, Fred Kaemmer, David Royce, and Rich Schneider.

ASI seeks to engage the community with the medium of glass through events outside the traditional exhibit halls this fall, including “A Night of Social Wonder” on Oct. 9 (in partnership with the American Craft Council), and “Cocktails at the Castle: Hel’s Halloween Bash” on Oct. 31.

The American Swedish Institute, founded in 1929, serves as a gathering place for people to share stories and experiences around universal themes of tradition, migration, craft and the arts, all informed by enduring ties to Sweden.

The American Swedish Institute is located at 2600 Park Ave. in Minneapolis.

For more information about exhibits or events, visit www.asimn.org or call 612-871-4907.
 


James J. Hill House

Late artist Paul Kramer’s paintings are a lesson in history; an example of how the more things change, the more they stay the same. A highly respected teacher, gallery director, and award-winning artist,  his iconic scenes in and around St. Paul—of the High Bridge, Fort Snelling, Mickey’s Diner, and the Cathedral (among others)—“pay tribute to the artistic legacy of the state,” says Brian Szott, head of collections and art curator for the Minnesota Historical Society.

From now through Oct. 13, people can see Kramer’s paintings on display in “Other Realities: The Art of Paul S. Kramer,” in the gallery of the James J. Hill House mansion, operated by the Minnesota Historical Society located in the heart of St. Paul. Featuring more than 30 paintings—many from the Kramer family’s own private collection—the exhibit coincides with the release of a book by the same name, written by art historian Julie L’Enfant and published by Afton Press.   

Art gallery hours are Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday 1 to 4 p.m. Visitors can see the exhibit as part of the regular house tours or with a gallery-only admission of $2. Admission to tour the house is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and college students, $6 for children 6-17, and free for MHS members.

The Minnesota Historical Society values artwork that interprets Minnesota in colorful and unexpected ways. MHS owns a permanent collection of fine art, totaling more than 6,000 paintings, prints, and drawings relating to Minnesota and its history.

For more information, visit www.mnhs.org/hillhouse or call 651-341-7555 to make a reservation.
 


Science Museum of Minnesota

The Maya created one of the greatest civilizations of the ancient world. Learn about the rise and eventual decline of this fascinating society through Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed at the Science Museum of Minnesota, now through Jan. 5, 2014. At 15,000 square feet, this is the largest touring exhibit ever built by the Science Museum. It includes dozens of hands-on activities, hundreds of never-before-seen artifacts and immersive environments that let visitors explore and experience a temple room, an ancient tomb, a starry night sky and more.

Maya is designed to give visitors a glimpse at a cross-section of Maya life —from divine kings who ruled powerful cities to the artisans and laborers who formed the backbone of Maya society. Visitors will also get a close look at the scientific work being carried out at key Maya sites across Central America to understand exactly how we know what we know of the once-hidden ancient Maya culture.

Admission is $21 for adults and $12 for kids and seniors (ticket price includes admission to Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed and the Science Museum’s permanent exhibit galleries).

A perfect complement to the exhibition—Mystery of the Maya—will run in the museum’s Omnitheater. The film takes viewers on a journey back in time with the explorers who unearthed this majestic ancient civilization in the jungles of Central America in the early 19th century.

Detailed ticket information is available at www.smm.org/maya.
 


Dance

Northrop Dance

The 2013-14 season of Northrop MOVES at the University of Minnesota reflects a 95-year tradition of presenting world-class artists and a dedication to work that is fresh, exciting, and new.

The season launches Sept. 21 with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performing influential Swedish choreographer Mats Ek’s Casi-Casa.

The first Women of Substance event kicks off Oct. 12 with the physically explosive piece Blush from Andrea Miller’s Gallim Dance. On Oct. 30, after wowing Minnesotan audiences with Snow White, Ballet Preljocaj returns with the U.S. premiere of And then, one thousand years of peace. On Nov. 12, the Minnesota debut of Shanghai Ballet brings to life the storybook ballet The Butterfly Lovers, complete with the company’s trademark precise classical movement. On Dec. 5, the final Women of Substance performance from Kate Weare Company showcases excerpts from a brand new work, Dark Lark, as well as the visually austere and flirtatious Garden. On Jan. 14, Wayne McGregor|Random Dance returns with FAR, exploring ideas of the mind-body relationship through cognitive science and movement. On Feb. 8, the Minnesota debut of Royal New Zealand Ballet will include an impressive sampling of this classically trained ballet company’s repertoire. The season closes March 12-15 with Trisha Brown Dance Company in a copresentation with Walker Art Center. Her uncontested legacy as a pioneer of postmodern dance is celebrated with this farewell tour of works made for the stage.

Northrop performances will take place in the State and Orpheum Theatres in Minneapolis, The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, and Walker Art Center, until they move back to their revitalized space on April 4, 2014. A full schedule of grand reopening events will be announced in the fall.

To order tickets to any of the performances, call 612-624-2345 or visit www.northrop.umn.edu.
 


Ballet Minnesota

In celebration of 26 years of magnificent, magical ballet, Ballet Minnesota is pirouetting off their season with a free Fall Concert Oct. 25-26 at The O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine’s University, where all of Ballet Minnesota’s concerts will take place during the 2013-14 season. The free October concert will feature Igor Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring,” with spellbinding choreography by Andrew Rist.

From Dec. 18-22, Ballet Minnesota will perform the full-length, traditional Classic Nutcracker, a brilliant, moving performance from beginning to end. The German fairytale, written in 1816 (and first performed as a ballet in 1892), still appeals to audiences nearly 200 years later thanks to the timeless storyline, classic music, and graceful dancing. Ballet Minnesota’s Classic Nutcracker includes original choreography, a cast of more than 130 talented dancers, incredible set design, colorful costumes, and fun special effects that bring Clara’s dream to life. It’s the perfect festive holiday show for families of all ages.

During the weekend of May 3-5, Ballet Minnesota dancers will perform at the 26th Minnesota Dance Festival, showcasing the original choreographed work of Ballet Minnesota as well as the work of other regional dance companies.

For ticket information, call 651-690-6700, or visit oshaughnessy.stkate.edu. For more information about Ballet Minnesota, visit balletminnesota.org.
 

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