2017 Spring Arts & Dining Pairings


Produced by Linda Raines & Andy Lien
Arts Pairings by John Townsend
Dining Pairings by Bradley Traynor

Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches The Musical. Photo by Dan Norman

Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches The Musical
Children’s Theatre Company
Through March 26
Philip Dawkins has emerged as a resounding voice in the realm of queer-themed playwriting with such breakthrough works as Le Switch, which played at the Jungle last year, and Charm, which played at Mixed Blood. With his new adaptation of The Sneetches he shifts stylistic gears with Dr. Seuss!

Frank Theatre
at Intermedia Arts
Through April 2
Six actors inquire into views of race. The subtle ways in which persons of color are judged, profiled, and negated by certain white people tap into current controversies. Celebrity sports figures like Serena Williams are contemplated as well as those not so famous. This play is based on Claudia Rankine’s book.

King Lear. Photo by T Charles Erickson

King Lear
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
Through April 2
Joe Haj has directed a vivid production of William Shakespeare’s towering tragedy. Sun Mee Chomet delivers a chilling performance as King Lear’s ungrateful daughter, Regan. Nathaniel Fuller and Stephen Yoakam alternate in the title role. No drama exposes the folly of flattery and the audacity of unfiltered ambition like King Lear.
Pairing: Brit’s Pub
What better way to whet the appetite for Shakespeare than with a little hop across the culinary pond for some inspiration? Brit’s Pub is an unnecessarily oft-forgotten hotspot of British food fun with traditional favorites like bangers and mash, fish and chips, and, of course, their famous Scotch eggs.

Six Degrees of Separation. Photo by Joe Dickie

Six Degrees of Separation
Theater Latté Da
at The Ritz Theater
Through April 9
A young black man fools a wealthy Manhattan couple into thinking he is the son of Oscar-winning actor Sidney Poitier. Playwright John Guare’s 1990 comedy was nominated for both the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Tony Award for Best Play. Directed by Peter Rothstein. Contains full-frontal nudity.

Realish Housewives of Edina Season 2
Hennepin Theatre Trust
at New Century Theatre
Through April 15
The second edition stage parody of the reality television series franchise promises to be a fun-fest of catty proportions. Rich suburban ladies and the show’s gay-codified host air their expensive dirty laundry. In this era when Chatty Kathy media rules and The View actually influences voting, this show is onto something.

The Savannah Sipping Society
Old Log Theater
Through May 20
Southern Gothic comedy always delights and renews. An impromptu happy hour prompted by Fate becomes a gateway into the reclamation of enthusiasm for life! From the authors of the comedy The Dixie Swim Club and TV’s The Golden Girls. Featuring Colleen Barrett, Bonnie Allen, Mary Gant, and Teri Parker-Brown.

Church Basement Ladies in Rise Up, O Men
Plymouth Playhouse
Through May 21
It’s women versus men in this sixth musical comedy in the beloved Church Basement Ladies series. When some hard-working, well-meaning farmers unintentionally disrupt the women who regularly volunteer to work in the kitchen, all heck breaks loose! If you are looking for solid entertainment, this is it!

Booty and the Beast: A Tinderella Story
Brave New Workshop
Through June 24
Dating in 2017 is not what it used to be. See the region’s premier comedy theater weigh in on the world of relationships in our time of online omniscience and privacy invasion. The troupe’s impeccable actors for this show include Lauren Anderson, Denzel Belin, Ryan Nelson, Taj Ruler, and Tom Reed.

Grease. Photo by Dan Norman

Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
Through Oct. 28
One of the most popular musicals in history is revived by the nation’s flagship dinner theater. Grease takes us back to the simple days of high school in the bobbysox era. Chanhassen’s exceptional vocal talent delivers classic tunes including “Summer Nights,” “Greased Lightning,” and “You’re the One that I Want.”
Pairing: Chanhassen Dinner Theatre
Perhaps the easiest pairing on the list for obvious reasons, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre takes dinner and a show to a whole new level. Literally. Every time I sit down to enjoy a meal at this classic Twin Cities theater venue, I’m immediately reminded how the food matches the magic happening on stage. Don’t miss the Chicken Chanhassen.

She Went To War
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
March 17–April 2
The Telling Project is a national nonprofit whose mission is to deepen public understanding of military and veterans’ experience. The combat experience of four female veterans is given an autobiographical performance treatment. This production will journey into the horrifying world of life in the battlefield with women in the line of fire.

Macbeth. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Park Square Theatre
March 17–April 9
Jeff Hall-Flavin is known for his brilliant Park Square staging of William Shakespeare’s comedy, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Therefore, his staging of what is perhaps the bard’s most diabolical tragedy, Macbeth, is eagerly awaited. A consummate tale of political ambition and the deep recesses of evil.

The Paper Dreams of Harry Chin
History Theatre
March 18–April 9
Jessica Huang’s new drama, set in 1939, looks into the true story of Harry Chin, a Chinese national who ended up in the U.S. because of a loophole in the Chinese Exclusion Act. The play portrays dreadful conditions at the Seattle Immigration Station and Harry’s longing for his old life.

Live Action Set
at The Southern Theater
March 21–25
The celebrated movement-oriented theater troupe, Live Action Set, presents a series of improvised dances with live music. What makes this presentation different from most is that if you want to, you as an audience member can join the performance and engage as a participant.

The Three Musketeers. Photo by Ron Ravensborg

The Three Musketeers
Theatre in the Round Players
March 24–April 16
Ken Ludwig adapted the classic Alexandre Dumas swashbuckler into a stage play for England’s prestigious Bristol Old Vic Theater. The codes of manly honor are expressed through Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and young d’Artagnan, whose sister, Sabine, pretends to be a male servant. They nobly unite to defend the queen against the diabolical Cardinal Richelieu.

Matilda The Musical
Orpheum Theatre
March 28–April 2
Originated by the prestigious Royal Shakespeare Company, this non-Shakespeare children’s fantasy musical based on the book by Roald Dahl won four Tony and seven Olivier Awards. A child prodigy must overcome obstacles at home and a monstrously negative atmosphere at a school run by a tyrannical headmistress.
Pairing: Travail Kitchen & Amusements
Matilda’s super fun, off-the-wall spirit screams for a pre-show experience that’s equal parts whimsy and wonder. Travail is as theatrical a dining experience as you can have in the Twin Cities. Their equally highly trained, talented staff will execute the same level of intricate choreography you can expect from the Broadway show you’re about to see. And the flavor is just as rich and satisfying.

To Begin With. Photo by Paula Keller

To Begin With
Hennepin Theatre Trust
at Historic Wesley Center
Mar 28–April 15
Charles Dickens epitomizes the very essence of social consciousness. His To Begin With, written for his four children as an adaptation of the New Testament gospels, is adapted for stage by Jeffrey Hatcher and stars Gerald Charles Dickens, the actual great-great grandson of Dickens!

Animal Engine
at The Southern Theater
March 30–April 1
This re-imagining of J.M. Barrie’s classic, Peter Pan, takes the perspective of Mr. and Mrs. Darling, two parents struggling with the loss of their children. During the day they search for them and at night they tell tales about Neverland with its mermaids and pirates.

Titicut Follies: The Ballet
James Sewell Ballet
at The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts
Mar 31–April 2
A dance performance based on a documentary is not typical. Frederick Wiseman’s film about the Bridgewater State Hospital for the criminally insane in Massachusetts is the source. Music by Lenny Pickett. Set by Steven Rydberg. JSB is among the region’s great dance companies.

Side Show
The Chameleon Theatre Circle
at the Black Box Theatre, The Ames Center
March 31–April 23
It’s the 1930s when Siamese twins advance their careers from freak show obscurity to vaudeville star status. Based on the true story of Daisy and Violet Hilton, Side Show portrays true marginalization. Henry Krieger and Bill Russell’s striking songs include “Come Look at the Freaks” and “Typical Girls Next Door.”

West Side Story
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
April 4–16
The Romeo and Juliet story re-imagined in terms of white versus Puerto Rican gangs in 1950s New York. The awesome trio of writer Arthur Laurents, composer Leonard Bernstein, and lyricist Stephen Sondheim lifted musical theater into a new realm of social consciousness with tunes like “Tonight” and “Officer Krupke.”
Pairing: Hola Arepa
“Puerto Rico, my heart’s devotion…” The arepas at Hola Arepa might be Venezuelan, but a few bites in and you’ll forget where you are, longing only for a quiet spot on some far away Caribbean beach with a hefty plate full of these flavor-packed parcels of plenty. Just don’t go overboard or you’ll need a nap before showtime.

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

The (curious case of the) Watson Intelligence
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
April 7–30
Plays that “time jump” are lots of fun and can re-orient and transform how we look at time. This mystery play honors men and a machine: the sidekick to master detective to Sherlock Holmes, the actual engineer who made Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephone, and the computer that became a Jeopardy-winning champion.

Lone Star Spirits
The Jungle Theater
April 8–May 7
When Marley brings her new fiancé to her childhood home in small-town Texas, she finds herself stranded in the past. Hoping for a quick visit to her estranged father’s liquor store, she’s soon forced to deal with her football hero ex-boyfriend, a single mom insistent on a girls’ night out, and the ghost of the town’s bear-wrestling pioneer founder.

Mixed Blood Theatre
April 10–30
This comedic love story chronicles playwright Qui Nguyen’s parents meeting at an Arkansas relocation camp after they fled Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. Vietgone blends comic book style, martial arts, and hip-hop. Mixed Blood Theatre holds national significance as a multicultural bastion of play productions with non-Caucasian viewpoints.
Pairing: Quang Restaurant
Just as theater can tell stories of a culture, so too can food. And while there are certainly plenty of life-changing Vietnamese restaurants throughout the Twin Cities, the indefatigable Quang will always be my go-to. Full of fresh, vibrant, yet soul-warming comfort food, Vietnamese classic Quang is a family tradition.

Wicked. Photo by Joan Marcus

Orpheum Theatre
April 12–May 14
A musical that goes on defying gravity! The story of “good witch” Glenda and “bad witch” Elphaba takes place before Dorothy’s Kansas house was delivered by the cyclone into the Land of Oz. Wicked‘s brilliant creator Stephen Schwarz (Godspell, Pippin) made one of the biggest comebacks in American theater history!

McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
April 13–23
Four actors and a musician probe the tragic ramifications of a great war between rival members of the same family. A new king discovers he actually killed his half-brother in battle. A crisis of conscience ensues and he calls upon animal fables to get to the root of his despair.
Pairing: Gandhi Mahal
A theatrical work based one of the signature Indian epics deserves to be celebrated with an equally epic Indian feast. Indulge in all the traditional dishes you’d expect from one of the Twin Cities’ most beloved Indian restaurants. Kormas, vindaloos, and tandooris always tempt tastebuds, but be sure to order up my personal favorite: coconut nan.

One Man, Two Guvnors
Yellow Tree Theatre
April 14–May 14
Francis has two new jobs and two new bosses after being fired from a pop band. English playwright Richard Bean re-imagines the Italian comedy classic A Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldoni in a fabled beach resort, Brighton, in 1963. Jason Ballweber stars in the James Corden-originated role.

The Secret Garden
Schneider Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
April 15–May 14
Marsha Norman’s book and lyric adaptation of Frances Hogdson Burnett’s classic children’s novel with music by Lucy Simon. It centers on 11-year-old orphan Mary Lennox who lives with her reclusive uncle on his estate. Sadness seems to rule there but Mary’s spirit renews the energy. Norman’s book won the Tony.

The Bluest Eye
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
April 15–May 21
Pecola Breedlove, a black girl, comes of age in 1940s Ohio. Met with unfair and cruel attitudes she wishes she had the blue eyes of child star Shirley Temple, thinking that’s what stands in her way of being accepted by the white school girls. Based on Toni Morrison’s first novel.

Girl Shakes Loose. Image by Andy Weaverling

Girl Shakes Loose: A Powerful Coming Of Age Musical
Penumbra Theatre Company
April 18–May 14
GIRL is the main character in this world premiere from the nation’s pre-eminent African-American theater company. GIRL has played by the rules but, after graduate school, her life still lacks something. What she comes to realize is that she is in search of herself. Created by Zakiyyah Alexander and Imani Uzuri.

A Year With Frog and Toad
Children’s Theatre Company
April 18–June 18
A revival of the Children’s Theatre smash that was nominated for three Tony Awards including Best Musical. An amphibian odd couple awaken out of hibernation and celebrate their differences. From the popular books by Arnold Lobel. The rest of the cast includes birds, turtles, mice, and an oh-so-slow snail.

The Great Divide: Plays for a Broken Nation
Pillsbury House + Theatre
April 19–30
Pillsbury House + Theatre is known for its inquiry into racial issues. Five new 10-minute plays by local writers comment on divisions within American society. Issues of civil unrest, disquietude over the recent election, and political animosity are considered in these works.

Le Petit Moulin. Photo by Dan Norman

Le Petit Moulin
Collide Theatrical
at The Ritz Theater
April 20–May 7
As World War I is winding to an end, the Parisian nightclub Le Petit Moulin faces the possibility of closing down. But two sisters and a group of gifted women take their love for dance and birth a new form: the cancan. This starts the most renowned cabaret in history!
Pairing: The Sheridan Room
One of my favorite little theaters in Minneapolis is right next door to one of my favorite little restaurants. The Sheridan Room serves up a solid scratch-made menu of comfort food classics, perfect for a pre-show nibble in Northeast. Highlights include the juicy beer can chicken, super sumptuous mac and cheese, and the burger.

Illusion Theater
April 25–30
Simon Wiesenthal was an Austrian Nazi-hunter and Holocaust survivor. In 1970 he exposed that Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky had four former Nazi Party members in his cabinet. Over 1100 Nazi war criminals were brought to trial by the tenacious man known as the “Jewish James Bond.”

Candy Box
Mathew Janczewski’s ARENA DANCES
at The Southern Theater
April 27–May 6
An eclectic gathering of performances, workshops, and public showings alongside ARENA’s full evening work, Picturing That Day, ARENA will be sharing some of the immense talent of the Twin Cities dance community by way of some of Janczewski’s favorite dance makers and the works of SuperGroup and Robin Stiehm’s Dancing People Company.

110 In The Shade
Theatre in the Round Players
April 28–May 21
Richard Nash’s classic play The Rainmaker is the source of this musical by the creators of the Off-Broadway record-breaker The Fantasticks. Before there was Starbucks the coffee shop, Starbuck, the supposed Rainmaker, was our culture’s common touchstone for the name. He dazzles a lonely young woman on a Texas ranch.
Pairing: Revival
Nothing conjures up a country cattle ranch quite like barbecue ribs, brisket, and Southern fried chicken. Good news for Twin Citians, Revival offers up all three without the need (or passport) for a trip to the Lone Star State itself. Do yourself a favor and go crazy with sides, especially grits, mac and cheese, and slaw.

Sweet Land, The Musical
History Theatre
April 29–May 28
You may know it as the most beloved Minnesota movie ever. But the stage version promises to be something special too. It’s the World War I era and Inge’s German heritage turns her new neighbors against a match with a bachelor farmer. History Theatre continues to create productions steeped in the rich Minnesota past.

Q-Stage: New Works Series
20% Theatre Company Twin Cities
Intermedia Arts, Minneapolis
May 5–7
20% Theatre Company Twin Cities has taken note that the term “queer” can mean very different things to different people. For them, it is a term of radical self-definition and can be related to personal gender or sexual identity, history, presentation, artistic approach and/or content. Q-Stage: New Works Series presents four new queer works.

Black Box Theater, Artistry at Bloomington Center for the Arts
May 6–28
Lesbian playwright Margaret Edson’s 1999 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner is as timely now as it was then. The wonders of the English language and the struggle with ovarian cancer are woven into this moving work. A professor of 17th century poetry and lover of Shakespeare gazes into the abyss.

La Bohème. Photo by Cory Weaver

La Bohème
Minnesota Opera
at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
May 6–21
Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera is an emblematic work about life in bohemian subculture. It is actually the inspirational source for the musical, Rent. La Bohème follows the pursuits of Marcello, a painter and his attic-mate, Rodolfo, a writer who warms the room by burning a manuscript.

Mom! The Musical
The Chameleon Theatre Circle
at the Black Box Theatre, The Ames Center
May 11–14
The ideal revival for Mother’s Day is a loving tribute to those sacrifices and difficulties that mothers are known for. How do you reason with a toddler having a temper tantrum or what if an upcoming parent-teacher conference causes intense anxiety? Witness the terror and the joy of parenting.

Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery
Mu Performing Arts
at the Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
May 12–28
Playwright Lloyd Suh sparked a theatrical firestorm with the canceled production of his play Jesus in India. The prestigious Asian-American performance group, Mu, will present one of Suh’s other plays, Charles Francis Chan Jr.’s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery. It is set in 1967 and features a literary hippie named Frank.

Red Velvet
Walking Shadow Theatre Company
at The Southern Theater
May 12–28
When 19th century stage superstar, Edmund Kean, collapses on stage, he leaves a London theater without an actor to play Shakespeare’s Othello. African-American actor Ira Aldridge is invited to take the role and the public is rioting in the streets for the abolition of slavery. High drama indeed!

Amy’s View. Photo by Petronella J. Ytsma

Amy’s View
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
May 12–June 4
British playwright David Hare (Plenty, Racing Demon) wrestles with topical issues. In this 1997 drama, he looks into pop culture, theater, and an investment scandal. Amy’s View is set in the controversial era when Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister. Featuring Tracey Maloney and Linda Kelsey as Amy and her mother.

The Moving Company
at the McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
May 13–June 11
Core members of the former Theatre de la Jeune Leune look into the lives of displaced people. Interconnected chapters, music, very physical movement, and video are part of this world premiere production that will be both cinematic and theatrical. Theatre de la Jeune (1978–2008)  was one of Minneapolis’s three Tony-winning theaters.

Broadway Songbook: Hollywood and Broadway
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
May 14–21
Broadway has been a source for some of the greatest movies ever, like The Sound of Music and West Side Story. In recent decades Broadway has also returned the favor with stage musical versions of non-musical film hits: The Color Purple, Legally Blonde, Kinky Boots. Here’s a song showcase for both!
Pairing: Mancini’s
What better way to celebrate Hollywood and Broadway traditions than kick things off with a St. Paul tradition? Since 1948, Mancini’s has been a classic steakhouse staple, evoking the same bygone eras that first witnessed shows like The Sound of Music and West Side Story. Surf and turf goes together just about as well as song and dance and a night with all four sounds simply divine.

Up: The Man in the Flying Chair
Theatre Pro Rata
at Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Park Square Theatre
May 24–June 11
Faded memories can still cling to us or we to them. A man attaches 45 helium-filled weather balloons to a lawn chair and finds himself floating above it all at 16,000 feet. He holds onto his dreams with great intensity wanting to make sure his feet never touch the ground!

Pike Street. Photo by Cade Martin

Pike St.
Pillsbury House + Theatre
May 31–June 18
Nilaja Sun is the OBIE-winning playwright of No Child which played at Pillsbury House featuring Sonja Parks for that first local staging. Now Sun herself comes to PHT for another solo show. Pike St. depicts three generations of a Puerto Rican family. The setting is Manhattan before a hurricane.

The Chameleon Theatre Circle
at the Black Box Theatre, The Ames Center
June 2–11
Two stories overlap in the same room almost two centuries apart. For those who have lived in old buildings this will especially intrigue, as you have to have wondered who lived there and what happened before you, even long before you. Considered by many to be Tom Stoppard’s best play.

Private Lives
Theatre in the Round Players
June 2–25
Gay playwright extraordinaire Noel Coward is unsurpassed for sophisticated wit in 20th century theater. When a divorced couple re-marry they find themselves in adjacent honeymoon suites with their new spouses. This triggers a new round of conflict between the two. Did you know that Coward trained with Ian Fleming as a secret agent?

Rent. Photo by Carol Rosegg

Orpheum Theatre
June 6–11
The landmark musical that weaves queer identity, addiction, race, and housing stratification into a pop score that contains some of the great songs of contemporary musical theater like “Seasons of Love” and “Light My Candle.” Creator Jonathan Larson won three Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama posthumously for Rent.

Fly by Night: A New Musical
The Jungle Theater
June 10–July 23
A melancholy sandwich maker and aspiring musician gets caught between two captivating sisters who have recently moved to the Big Apple from South Dakota. Set against the East Coast blackout of 1965, Fly By Night was an Off-Broadway sensation nominated for the 2015 Drama Desk Award – Best Musical.

Ghost The Musical
Old Log Theater
June 10–Oct. 23
Oscar-winner Bruce Joel Rubin adapted his screenplay to the film, Ghost, into a remarkable stage musical. When Sam dies he is caught between two worlds. Therefore, this musical lives between the physical and the metaphysical. When his beloved Molly is in danger he turns to a psychic to save her.
Pairing: Cast & Cru (at Old Log)
Not quite dinner theater, but dinner and theater in the same place sounds just as nice, no? The Old Log Theater is a wonderfully warm and inviting venue with a talented chef-driven dining spot built-in right onsite. Grab your special someone for a beautiful drive out to Lake Minnetonka, enjoy an amazing meal, then settle in for a night of great local theater.

An American in Paris. Photo by Matthew Murphy

An American in Paris
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
June 13–18
Gay master playwright Craig Lucas wrote the book for the new Tony-winning musical version of the 1951 Best Picture Oscar-winner. You’ll experience the phenomenal music of George Gershwin and get a vivid sense of Paris at its romantically mysterious best after the ravages of World War II.

Might As Well Be Dead: A Nero Wolfe Mystery
Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
June 16–July 30
When a wealthy Nebraska businessman throws his only son out of the family business, he lives to regret his action. Eleven years later he wants detective Nero Wolfe to seek the son out. However, the son may not want to be found, and worse still, he may be guilty of murder!
Pairing: Handsome Hog
Anyone who knows Nero Wolfe knows the acerbic storied sleuth is also a famed gourmand. His appetite would do well to park itself in a booth at Handsome Hog, as would you. This temple of contemporary Southern cookery in St. Paul pays delicious, unctuous homage to the pig and all its permutations.

Sunday in the Park with George
Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
June 17–Aug. 20
Joe Haj, the new Guthrie artistic director, is becoming known locally for his big visions on stage, so the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical classic inspired by Georges Seurat’s famous painting is made to order. Two eras and different generations come into perspective featuring a painter and his great-grandson.
Pairing: Spoon and Stable
For one masterpiece, another masterpiece. Why not kick off a night of high art, steeped in Seurat and Sondheim, walking first into a culinary creation of equal importance. And joy. Dinner at Spoon and Stable is every bit as theatrical as anything you’re likely to see on a stage. Better than the best play, however, the smells, taste, and sated spirit linger longer on the palate and in the mind.

Idiot’s Delight
Girl Friday Productions
at Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Park Square Theatre
June 29–July 23
Girl Friday Productions is known for its vivid realizations of American classic drama presented every two years. This summer you can see a rarely done piece that is possibly the most eagerly awaited production of the year. Winner of the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, Robert Sherwood’s Idiot’s Delight.

The New Griots Festival
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
July 6–16
Ten emerging black artists are featured in this festival steered by three lead producers: director-playwright Jamil Jude, actress Jamaica Meyer, and playwright Josh Wilder. Free community classes will also be offered. Part of the Guthrie’s Level Nine Series “devoted to community dialogue about today’s most significant topics and questions.”

History Theatre
July 6–30
Jeffrey Hatcher and Chan Poling’s terrific true story musical about a Duluth heiress who was mysteriously murdered. The Congdon family tragedy was a sensationalized nightmare in 1977. Speculation ranged from robbery to conspiracy. And it was most definitely a scandal! Was the historic Glensheen mansion the setting of murder most foul?
Pairing: The Lexington
A classic story deserves a classic prelude. The Lexington tells its own vintage tale, having risen from the ashes like a phoenix, serving a new generation of curious diners eager to indulge its storied past. I can’t think of a better pairing for a story equally mysterious, equally Minnesotan.

Red Herring
Theatre in the Round Players
July 7–30
Playwright Michael Hollinger likens his plays to musical compositions with the actors as the instruments, the scenes as movements, and inherent tempo and rhythm. In this screwball comedy he spoofs film noir during the McCarthy Era, as detective Maggie Pelletier tries to solve a mystery about a corpse.
Pairing: Hi Lo Diner
Nothing sets the stage for a story set in 1950s America quite like a 1950s Fodero diner that’s been remodeled and subsequently stuffed with some of the best post-Mid-century modern eats around. These ain’t no ordinary burgers and fries sitting before you. They’re scratch-made with the love and patriotic comfort food fervor only a good old-fashioned, red-blooded American could muster.

Motown the Musical. Photo by Joan Marcus

Motown the Musical
Orpheum Theatre
July 11–16
Barry Gordy went from being a boxer into becoming the music mogul who brought Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Smokey Robinson, and other big names into public consciousness and superstardom. The exhilarating Broadway smash contains some of your very favorite tunes like “My Girl,” “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,” and “Get Ready.”

Native Gardens
McGuire Proscenium Stage, Guthrie Theater
July 15–Aug. 20
Playwright Karen Zacarias deals with two couples and the fence between their properties. A Washington D.C. couple have a gorgeous English garden. A barbecue hosted next door turns into a border dispute that reveals profound differences between those involved. Zacarias was the first playwright in residence at Washington’s esteemed Arena Stage.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
July 18–23
Composer Andrew Lloyd Weber and lyricist Tim Rice rocked the world with their rock opera about the final days of Jesus Christ. When it first opened in 1970 it was charged with being blasphemous and anti-Semitic. Two classic tunes: “Everything’s Alright” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”

The Holler Sessions
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
Aug. 4–20
A Kansas City DJ broadcasts from a humble studio. His passion for the uniquely American art form of jazz is celebrated along with scathing comments, extended riffs, and scatological humor. Written by Frank Boyd in collaboration with THE TEAM (RoosevElvis), a Brooklyn-based troupe that inquires into roots of American culture.

Immigrant Journey Project
Mu Performing Arts
at Bedlam Lowertown
Aug. 4–20
Masanari Kawahari, who gave a great performance in the Jungle’s The Oldest Boy using a puppet and his physical body, creates a new project about the 21st century immigrant experience. Mu is the region’s flagship Asian-American theater performance company and some of their excellent core actors will play cameo roles.
Pairing: Zen Box Izakaya
The story of immigrants isn’t best told on the stage alone. Food is an equally entertaining and educational medium. Executive chef John Ng and general manager Lina Goh made their way to Minnesota with a passion for food few others were willing to share with its residents: Japanese comfort food. Whether hand-crafted ramen or warm and satisfying fried chicken, Zen Box is a perfect spot for most any night of the week

Kinky Boots. Photo by Matthew Murphy

Kinky Boots
Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Aug. 8–13
Cyndi Lauper and Harvey Fierstein showed themselves to be a marvelous creative duo with this vibrant musical story of a family shoe business shifting its paradigm. A small English town has its set ways shattered when the fabulous stiletto-heeled performer, Lola, guides everyone into new potentials for prosperity.

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