Fall Arts & Dining Pairings


Produced by Linda Raines and Chris Tarbox
Arts Sections by John Townsend
Dining Sections by Bradley Traynor

Mamma Mia!
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
Through Feb. 22, 2020

The celebrated dinner theater company has created one big lollapalooza of a jukebox musical hit! The extended run of the ABBA parade of favorite songs frames the story of a young woman who wants her dad to walk her down the aisle for her wedding, but she doesn’t know who he is!

Dining 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.


5 Presidents. Photo courtesy of Old Log Theatre

Five Presidents
Old Log Theater
Through Oct. 5, 2019

The occasion is the 1994 funeral of Richard Nixon. The play imagines what the five other living Presidents at the time may have been thinking: Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Emmy-winning playwright Rick Cleveland wrote for Mad Men and The West Wing.

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.


The Birds. Image courtesy of Theatre in the Round

The Birds
Theatre in the Round Players
at Theater in the Round
Sept. 6-29, 2019

Birds on the attack en masse! Two strangers holed up in an isolated cabin, only to be joined by a mysterious woman whose volatility becomes threatening. Playwright Conor McPherson draws from Daphne due Maurier’s story which inspired the classic Alfred Hitchcock film.

Pairing: Revival
I can’t think of a more delicious way to get back at a frightening flock of winged evil than to inhale an entire order of Revival’s famous southern fried chicken. Fried chicken, grits, and homemade biscuits are a worthwhile way to gird the loins for an evening of masterful melodrama.

Our Town

Artistry at Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center at Schneider Theater
Sept. 6-29, 2019

Gay master playwright Thornton Wilder broke new ground with a play that extolled the traditional values of small town USA in the early 20th century while dismantling conventions of traditional theater. Winner of the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Pairing: LYN65
It’s not quite Bloomington, but whenever there’s a show nearby, I love to direct people to LYN65. Tucked away just south of Highway 62, this little secret garden of a restaurant is perfect for a pre-show dinner date. Especially if you love food. And if you didn’t love food, why are you reading this? I suggest small-plating your way across the menu. Don’t skip the bologna sandwich either, or we’re no longer friends.

Smokey Joe’s Cafe
The Ordway
Sept. 10-22, 2019

An award-winning smorgasbord of classic pop and rock hits from the last century, Smokey Joe’s Cafe: The Songs of Leiber and Stoller made history as the longest-running musical revue on Broadway. Enjoy classic tunes ranging from “Jailhouse Rock” and “Stand By Me” as the show makes its Minnesota debut.

Ride the Cyclone
The Jungle Theater
Sept. 11-Oct. 20, 2019

What started out as a cabaret act in Canada became a musical that takes you on a truly bizarre ride. Six teenage choir singers die in a sudden freak roller coaster accident, but a mechanical fortune teller helps them come to terms with it in an afterlife spirit realm.


The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night-Time. Photo by Woodford Sisters

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Yellow Tree Theatre
Sept. 13-Oct. 13, 2019

A teenaged math prodigy on the autistic spectrum becomes a suspect in the murder of a canine. This stirs him to conduct his own investigation, leading him to some interesting places in the physical world and the world within. Winner of the Tony Award for Best Play.


The Glass Menagerie. Photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

The Glass Menagerie
Guthrie Theater at Wurtele Thrust Stage, Guthrie Theater
Sept. 14-Oct. 27, 2019

Gay master playwright Tennessee Williams drew from his own relationship with his mother and his sister to write one of the most enduring plays in American theater. The unreasonable expectations of a parent has seldom been so painfully and delicately portrayed. Joseph Haj directs.


Circus Abyssinia. Photo by Andy Phillipson

Circus Abyssinia – Ethiopian Dreams 
Children’s Theatre Company
Sept. 17-Oct. 20, 2019

Juggling, back flips, extraordinary contortions of the physical human body, amazing feats of wonder! This troupe of masterful performers from Ethiopia also perform hand vaulting, a dazzling pole act, and clowning. They tell the story of two brothers who see their dream of circus performing come true.


Chicago. Photo by Allen Weeks

Theater Latte Da at the Ritz Theater
Sept. 18-Nov. 3, 2019

It’s the 1920s in the Windy City, and mobsters run rampant. Aspiring vaudeville performer Roxy Hart goes to jail for killing her lover, where she meets the double-murderer Velma Kelly. The classic Kander, Ebb and Fosse musical is based on the 1926 play by news reporter Maureen Dallas Watkins.

Pairing: Young Joni
There are plenty of great eats within walking distance to The Ritz, but lately I’ve been craving pizza, so I’m sending you to Young Joni. James Beard Award-winning Chef Ann Kim does the same creative magic to pizza what Latté Da does to theater. Craft cocktails, wood-fired pizzas and equally sumptuous surroundings make for the perfect pre- or post-show nosh.

Park Square Theatre at Andy Boss Thrust Stage, Park Square Theatre
Sept. 20-Oct. 20, 2019

A Korean-American chef tends to his dying father in hospice. Acclaimed playwright Julia Cho says Aubergine “at its core is also just a play about life: about the things that we carry with us, the things that we eat, and why we eat the things we eat.”

The Rocky Horror Show
Park Square Theatre at The Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
Sept. 27-Nov. 2, 2019

The groundbreaking ’70s rock musical that boldly expressed transgender themes. When the wholesome, All-American couple Brad and Janet seek refuge in a castle, they become privy to the wild experiments of Dr. Frank ‘N’ Furter. Witness his oh-so-hot creation: a beefy stud named Rocky Horror!

Gloria: A Life
History Theatre
Sept. 28-Oct. 20, 2019

Emily Mann, who created the scripts for the Harvey Milk play Execution of Justice and the adaptation of Having Our Say, has turned her focus to Gloria Steinem. The legendary feminist renowned for founding Ms. Magazine is celebrated. Featuring Charity Jones.

Pairing: Meritage
There are plenty of perfect dining experiences to be had in St. Paul, but Meritage is a perennial favorite. It’s the perfect little place for a romantic nibble prior to a St. Paul production. My partner and I had one of our best date night meals ever here. If the chilled lobster is still on the menu, do yourself (and your relationship) a favor and order it.

Snow White
Children’s Theatre Company
Sept. 29-Dec. 8, 2019

Only two actors play Snow White, the Seven Dwarfs, the huntsman and the prince. The multi-character approach where just a few actors portray them all has been done with other CTC adaptations, so it’s time that this fairy tale fave steps onto the roller coaster.

Pairing: Glam Doll Donuts
Magic mirror on the wall, who is the fairest one of all? Donuts, of course! What better antidote to a poison apple from an evil queen than a mouthful or five of Glam Doll’s delicious taste treats. Just around the corner from the Children’s Theatre, Glam Doll is a perfect pre- or post-show stop, especially during fairytale season.

Mean Girls
Hennepin Theatre Trust at Orpheum Theatre
Oct. 1-13, 2019

Comedian Tina Fey adapted her screenplay from the hit 2004 movie into a Broadway musical ideal for this decade. When a new student from Kenya enrolls in a U.S. high school, she sees firsthand some twisted interpersonal dynamics from the other kids there.

Pairing: 4 Bells
The food at 4 Bells is so good, you can almost hear the voice of Gretchen Weiners from the kitchen saying, “
I’m sorry that people are so jealous of me. But I can’t help it that I’m popular.” And popular she is. 4 Bells, that is. Chef Scott Pampuch is doing wonderfully delicious things on the edge of Loring Park. From fresh seafood to their signature fried chicken, you’ll be hard-pressed to pick a better spot downtown. Sorry, Regina, they don’t have cheese fries.

Pipeline: Is There No Way Out?
Penumbra Theatre Company at Penumbra Theatre
Oct. 3-13, 2019

A mother is caught in an agonizing dilemma. Should her son attend an elite prep school where he could be tormented by a racist faculty member? Or should he remain with her, where negativity in the neighborhood will prey upon him?

Elektra: The Brink of Madness
Minnesota Opera at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Oct. 5-13, 2019

Revenge for the murder of her father by her own mother. However, does Elektra confuse let her rage overpower her? The ancient Greek tragedy by Sophocles (Oedipus Rex, Antigone) re-imagined in operatic form by Richard Strauss.


The Comedy of Errors. Image courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Comedy of Errors 
Theatre in the Round Players at Theatre in the Round
Oct. 11-Nov. 3, 2019

William Shakespeare takes a vacation on Bikini Beach where TRP resets the popular mistaken identity play in the style of those delightfully cheesy movies from the ’60s with Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. Ride the surf on a wave of biceps, slapstick, and beach blanket bingo!

The New One
The Ordway
Oct. 17-19, 2019

Acclaimed stand-up comedian and filmmaker Mike Birbiglia, best known for directing indie hits such as Sleepwalk With Me and appearing on shows like Orange is the New Black and Broad City, is stopping by Minneapolis for his touring Broadway comedy show. Hilarious and heartfelt, get ready to roll with laughter when Birbiglia waxes eloquent on the joys of parenthood.


A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder. Photo courtesy of Old Log Theatre

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Old Log Theatre
Oct. 18, 2019-Feb. 15, 2020

After his mother’s death, a lowly broke clerk finds out he is ninth in line to inherit an earldom connected to a very rich banking family. So when his claim is dismissed, all of the sudden, the eight ahead of him in line start to die in different ways, some of which seem suspicious. Hmmm…

A New Brain 
Artistry at Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center at Schneider Theater
Oct. 18-Nov. 9, 2019

A gay composer of a children’s TV show collapses at the table one day and wakes up in a hospital where he floats in and out of consciousness. He thinks of those he loves, including his best friend, mother, and boyfriend. Created by William Finn (Falsettoland).


Steel Magnolias. Photo courtesy of the Guthrie Theater

Steel Magnolias
Guthrie Theater at McGuire Proscenium Stage
Oct. 26-Dec. 15, 2019

Five women of varying generations bare their souls at Truvy’s beauty salon in a small town in Louisiana. Southern charm and the sisterhood of women are portrayed with warmth and humor. Includes how the women process the idea of gayness.


Cinderella. Photo by Dan Norman

Children’s Theatre Company
Nov. 3, 2019-Jan. 5, 2020

The fairy tale classic is turned on its head with wildly madcap exuberance! The timeless story of the young woman exploited by her stepmother and stepsisters goes full out postmodern with some wacky additions such as a Kiss Camera, cake, T-shirt cannons, jokes on current events, and pop tunes.

Another Miracle on Christmas Lake
Yellow Tree Theatre
Nov. 8-Dec. 29, 2019

A Hollywood location scout heads up North to Christmas Lake, Minnesota where a remake of It’s a Wonderful Life is slated for production. When Colin and Tess stage a pageant to reel in the tourist trade, be prepared for lutefisk, lizards, tater tots, true love, and of course, miracles.


The Barber of Seville. Photo by Karli Cadel

The Barber of Seville
Minnesota Opera at the Ordway Center of Performing Arts
Nov. 9-16, 2019

A comedic opera milestone that even those who don’t go to the opera know of. The Gioachino Rossini hit has universal appeal because a quick-witted barber named Figaro sees the injustice of a young woman on the path to hitching up with a man she shouldn’t hitch up with.


A Christmas Carol. Photo by Dan Norman

A Christmas Carol
Guthrie Theater at Wurtele Thrust Stage at Guthrie Theater
Nov. 12-Dec. 29, 2019

When the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future pay a haunting call to the bitter and miserly Ebenezer Scrooge on Christmas Eve, he is confronted by the root of his psychic malady. The Charles Dickens classic call for empathy and generosity always captures a splendid Victorian atmosphere.

Pairing: Murray’s 
One good classic deserves another. It’s not quite Dickens, but you’ll still travel back in time when you walk through the doors of this culinary Minneapolis landmark. A vintage steak house with all the service and style of a bygone era, Murray’s has been making steaks melt in your mouth for more than 70 years. As much a tradition as the very show you’re about to see.


The Emperor’s New Clothes. Image courtesy of Old Log Theatre

The Emperor’s New Clothes
Old Log Theater
Nov. 12-Dec. 31, 2019

An adolescent emperor named Marcus is about to ascend the throne of the kingdom. However, a swindler steps in and proposes magic clothes that are only invisible to fools, supposedly. But will Marcus heed the help of Arno, a humble mop boy, who sees through the deception?


Towards Zero. Image courtesy of Theatre in the Round

Towards Zero
Theatre in the Round Players at Theatre in the Round
Nov. 15-Dec. 15, 2019

Only recently discovered, this thriller, by not only the most popular mystery author ever, but the most popular female playwright ever, Agatha Christie, takes us seaside. Crisis strikes a man, his wife, his old flame, and a murder victim at a house party!

Pride and Prejudice
Park Square Theatre at the Proscenium Stage at Park Square Theatre
Nov. 15-Dec. 22, 2019

Jane Austen’s classic novel unfolds on stage. In early 19th century England, the highly codified interactions within the middle and upper class complicated how men thought women felt about them, and vice versa. Romantic Elizabeth Bennett struggles mightily with this.

The Penelopiad
Theatre Unbound at Gremlin Theatre
Nov. 16-Dec. 1, 2019

A female perspective on the situations immortalized in Homer’s The Odyssey inspires Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid’s Tale). The story of the wife of Odysseus and women around her take the stage to tell their truths.

Beyond the Rainbow – Garland at Carnegie Hall. Photo courtesy of History Theatre

Beyond the Rainbow
History Theatre
Nov. 16-Dec. 22, 2019

Flash back to 1961 to Judy Garland’s “comeback” concert. Playwright William Randall Beard details her childhood in Grand Rapids, Minnesota onto her troubled, yet fabled career as one the greatest stars of Old Hollywood, and perhaps the greatest star of musical film ever.

The Phantom of the Opera
Hennepin Theatre Trust at Orpheum Theatre
Nov. 20-Dec. 1, 2019

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s enduring masterpiece is an unsurpassed statement on the perils of possessiveness. When a young singer is mentored by a spirit figure that haunts an old opera theater, her destiny and her loyalties are thrown into true chaos.

Black Nativity
Penumbra Theatre Company
Nov. 21-Dec. 22, 2019

Celebrate the miraculous birth with the internationally acclaimed theater troupe and the Kingdom Life Church Choir, a splendid ensemble that truly seizes that gospel sound, style, and spirit. Sanford Moore directs the music. Lou Bellamy directs the staging with choreography by Uri Sands.

All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
Theater Latte Da at Ritz Theater
Nov. 27-Dec. 22, 2019

At the Western Front in World War I, common soldiers laid down their arms to celebrate to celebrate Christmas. One of the region’s foremost producers of musical theater actually won a Drama Desk Award for what has become a Twin Cities holiday tradition! Folks, that’s significant.

The Ordway
Nov. 29-Dec. 22, 2019

The many wives of Henry VIII converge for an incredible pop-concert spectacular at the Ordway! The queens of the infamous king reclaim their identities and emerge from Henry’s shadow in song, serving as amazing celebration of female empowerment that brought the house down in the UK and in a sold-out run in Chicago.

Rita Moreno
The Ordway
Dec. 3, 2019

Long live the Queen. The legendary, incomparable screen and stage legend comes to the Ordway for a night of songs and stories that’ll remind you why Ms. Moreno is a Tony, Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Peabody winner. Be wowed by a diverse catalogue of musical performances by Rita that range from Broadway and Spanish selections to the American Songbook and even rap.

The Band’s Visit
Hennepin Theatre Trust at Orpheum Theatre
Dec. 10-15, 2019

A police orchestra arrives in Israel, and because of a misunderstanding rooted in a language barrier, takes a bus to an isolated Israeli town. Winner of both the New York Drama Critics Circle and the Tony Award for Best Musical.

Black Comedy
Theatre in the Round Players at Theatre in the Round
Jan. 10-Feb. 2, 2020

When the playwright who gave us Equus and Amadeus went small-scale, he shone with brilliance once again. Peter Shaffer takes on the reality of the artist who has to make a good impression on the wealthy who so very often pull the strings over what gets seen and what doesn’t.

Guthrie Theater at McGuire Proscenium Stage
Jan. 11-Feb. 16, 2020

On Christmas Eve, a new U.S. citizen prepares an Iraqi meal. However, she feels that she hasn’t been able to fit into her new country as well as her husband and son. But meal time offers a big surprise! Inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

24:00:00 Xtreme Smackdown 2020
Theatre Unbound at Gremlin Theatre
Jan. 11, 2020

The acclaimed feminist theater company annually facilitates an event where six new plays are written, rehearsed and performed within 24 hours. An opportunity for female artists and those interested in their work can dream up a play in a short span of time.


Bernarda Alba. Photo by Allen Weeks

Bernarda Alba
Theater Latte Da at The Ritz Theater
Jan. 15-Feb. 16, 2020

A musical based on the classic drama by gay master playwright Federico Garcia Lorca, The House of Bernarda Alba. Five daughters resent their domineering mother’s rigid code of decorum she imposes on the household after the death of her second husband. Words and music by Michael John Chiusa.

A Doll’s House, Part 2
The Jungle Theater
Jan. 15-Feb. 23, 2020

The original Ibsen play has a wife and mother shutting the door to her home and leaving. It was a watershed moment in world drama and in feminism. Playwright Lucas Hnath imagines what happens when a knock is heard on the same door many years later.

Park Square Theatre at The Proscenium Stage, Park Square Theatre
Jan. 17-March 1, 2020

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice probe the power-hungry narcissism of a glamorous Argentinian who aided her military general husband, Juan Peron. His “Peronist” movement centered on social justice enabled his dictatorship. Great tunes include High Flying Adored and And the Money Kept Rolling In (and Out).

Bob Marley’s The Three Little Birds
Children’s Theatre Company
Jan. 19-Mar. 1, 2020

Jamaica. Tropical storms. Evil spirits. However, young Ziggy learns “every little thing is gonna be alright” with the help of some feathered friends. Themes of peace and love to the beat of Bob Marley.

Jesus Christ Superstar
Hennepin Theatre Trust at Orpheum Theatre
Jan. 21-26, 2020

It was the beginning of the Andrew Lloyd Webber legend and a watershed moment when the subject of the New Testament Gospels was given a rock ‘n roll musical treatment. Savor memorable tunes like I Don’t Know How to Love Him and Everything’s Alright.

The Bridges of Madison County
Artistry at Bloomington Theatre and Arts Center at Schneider Theater
Jan. 24-Feb. 16, 2020

A tender tale of illicit love at midlife. Imagine the classic Clint Eastwood/Meryl Streep movie set to music with the Iowa farmland receding into the background. Music and lyrics by Jason Robert Brown. Book by Marsha Norman.


Flight. Photo by Steve Bartolomeo

Minnesota Opera at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts
Jan. 25-Feb. 2, 2020

Jonathan Dove’s opera portrays eight strangers grounded overnight at an airport. There is also a refugee, for whom the terminal serves as his residence. A story in which complete strangers must turn to each other if they’re to find their way up and out.

Skeleton Crew
Yellow Tree Theatre
Jan. 31-Mar. 1, 2020

Austene Van directs this co-production with New Dawn Theatre. The place is Detroit, where an auto-stamping plant is on its way out, which will leave four workers, one of whom is pregnant, jobless. Will the American Dream survive? Written by Dominique Morriseau.

Once On This Island
The Ordway
Feb. 4-9, 2020

The Tony-winning musical arrives in Minneapolis straight from Broadway! Winner of last year’s Tony for Best Revival of a Musical, Once On This Island recounts the tale of peasant girl Ti Moune, who sets out to reunite with the man who captured her heart. The fearless Ti Moune embarks on a journey of self-discovery with the ancient island gods helping her along the way.

Blue Man Group
Hennepin Theatre Trust at State Theatre
Feb. 4-9, 2020

One of the most popular physical performance groups on the face of the Earth. Their very tight-fitting costumes and signature kinetic style of movement dazzles with incongruous moments that will leave you stunned and tickled.

The White Card
Penumbra Theatre Company at Penumbra Theatre
Feb. 6-March 1, 2020

Playwright Claudia Rankine muses on a wealthy white couple, patrons of the arts, with a collection of art showing violent acts done to black people. When a black photographer dines with them at their home, you may be surprised over what is revealed.

Twelfth Night
Guthrie Theater at Wurtele Thrust Stage at Guthrie Theater
Feb. 8-March 22, 2020

Perhaps the greatest cross-gender play ever written. William Shakespeare’s comedy is a fascinating examination of gender presentation as an illusion in the eye of the beholder. A nobleman comes to question his desire when a young lass disguised as a young man aids him in courting a noblewoman.

Superman Becomes Lois Lane
History Theatre
Feb. 8-March 1, 2020

St. Paul’s Susan Kimberly was the city’s first deputy mayor, as well as the first deputy mayor of a major U.S. city. Before her transition, she was Bob Sylvester. The advance of a former President of the St. Paul City Council and investment banker is written in her own words.

Dog Logic
Theatre in the Round Players at Theatre in the Round
Feb.14-March 8, 2020

An ex-hippie talks to dead animals. As the owner of an abandoned pet cemetery, conflict heats up when a real estate issue turns his mother and ex-wife against him in order to secure land for a shopping mall.

Spamtown, USA
Children’s Theatre Company
Feb. 16-April 5, 2020

The 1985 strike by Hormel meat plant workers in Austin, Minnesota caused stark divisions between families. It signaled the end, not only of comforts, but of children’s dreams ranging from fashion school to sports to science projects. What happens when one is pushed to take sides?

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