Must-See Theater and Music in Minnesota This Winter
By Amy Rea
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Minnesota has an incredibly strong performing arts community. Venues range from venerable institutions to community-oriented startups and summer stock theaters.
At just about any time of the year, culture vultures can find noteworthy performances, including touring Broadway shows, locally produced dramas, concerts from regional and international musicians, modern and traditional dance routines, and standup sets from rising and reputable comedians.
Here's an overview of essential live settings throughout the state, along with some key programming in the upcoming arts season.
The Guthrie Theater
A world-class theater that’s well-known across the country, the Guthrie is currently celebrating its 60th anniversary. It was originally part of the Walker Art Center complex but moved into its own building on the Mississippi River in 2006. Its dramatic Jean Nouvel design is worth visiting for its widescreen views of the river and Stone Arch Bridge, along with multiple theaters that allow the company latitude to stage a wide range of works, from classics to comedies to experimental theater.
A Christmas Carol (Nov. 11 - Dec. 30)
Art (Dec. 16 - Jan. 28)
Dial M for Murder (Jan. 20 - Feb. 25)
On Beckett (Feb. 17 - March 24)
Hennepin Theatre Trust
The Trust is comprised of three historic venues: the Orpheum, State, Pantages and Dudley Riggs theaters. Together, they showcase touring Broadway troupes, a wide range of musical acts, and side-splitting comedy shows.
The Illusionists: Magic of the Holidays (Nov. 17 - 19)
Hip Hop Nutcracker (Nov. 24)
The New Standards Holiday Show (Dec. 1 - 2)
Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy (Dec. 16 - 23)
Brian Regan (Dec. 31)
Baby Shark's Big Broadway Tour (Feb. 17 - 18)
Intocable (Feb. 29)
Coming Up at the Pantages Theatre:
The Blenders Holiday Soul (Dec. 8 - 10)
Christopher Titus (Dec. 16)
Mary Chapin Carpenter & Shawn Colvin (Jan. 26)
Alan Cumming & Ari Shapiro in Och & Oy! (Feb. 4)
Ali Siddiq: I Got a Story to Tell (March 2)
Coming up at Dudley Riggs Theatre:
All I Want for Christmas is You... to Elf Off. (Nov. 9 - Jan. 27)
Orchestra Hall is home to the internationally renowned Minnesota Orchestra, which performs classical and contemporary pieces, often with such genre-jumping guest stars as Minneapolis’s own Dessa and the St. Cloud-based indie band Cloud Cult.
Handel's Messiah (Dec. 8 - 9)
Merry and Bright (Dec. 10)
Frozen in Concert (Dec. 15 - 17)
New Years Celebration with Thomas Sondergard and Stephen Hough (Dec. 31)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 in Concert (Jan. 25)
Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet with the Minnesota Orchestra (Feb. 9 - 10)
The Cowles Center
The Cowles Center focuses on dance in its myriad forms — everything from classical to international to modern.
Who Brought the Humbug? (Dec. 14 - 17)
The Conference of the Birds (Feb. 10 - 11)
This beautiful, historic building on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank promotes all manner of live performances, from dance to comedy to music.
Cirque du Soleil: 'Twas the Night Before (Nov. 24 - Dec. 3)
VocalEssence: Welcome Christmas (Dec. 9 - 10)
The Jinkx & DeLa Holiday Show (Dec. 11)
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (Jan. 25)
Les Grands Ballets Canadiens: Dancing Beethoven (Feb. 17 - 18)
Manual Cinema: Ada/Ava (Feb. 29)
Theatre in the Round
Minneapolis’ longest-running theater has the unique attribute of having a stage in the middle of its main room surrounded by viewers. It is also one of the state’s oldest community theaters, with a season that’s split between classic and contemporary plays.
The Secret of Chimney Manor (Nov. 17 - Dec. 17)
The Seagull (Jan. 12 - Feb. 4)
Silent Sky (Feb. 23 - March 17)
St. Paul’s jewel of a performance space is beautifully located across from Rice Park and the St. Paul Hotel. It is home to the Minnesota Opera and hosts Broadway tours, concerts and dance performances. The third-quarter months are quieter for the theater as it pauses before beginning its robust late-fall season.
Peter Pan (Dec. 6 - 31)
Bach's Brandenburg Concertos (Dec. 9)
Handel's Messiah (Dec. 16 - 17)
Christmas with Cantus: Three Tales of Christmas (Dec. 22)
Assad, Janacek and Smetana (Jan. 12 - 13)
Cassie Pilgrim Plays Strauss' Oboe Concerto (Jan. 26 - 28)
Express Concert: Haydn's Midday Symphony (Feb. 2)
Alina Ibragimova Plays Beethoven's Violin Concerto (Feb. 9 - 10)
Haydn's Salomon Symphony: What Makes It Great? (Feb. 16 - 17)
Leanne Morgan (Feb. 24)
Cantus and Canadian Brass (Feb. 25)
THE FITZGERALD THEATER
St. Paul’s historic gem near the MPR headquarters hosts a myriad of events each year.
Holiday Classic Nutcracker (Dec. 9 - 10)
The Last Waltz ft. Big Pink (Jan. 27)
Duluth Entertainment Convention Center
This beautiful convention center houses ballrooms and a concert hall that showcases the local symphony and touring Minnesota Ballet.
Minnesota Ballet: The Nutcracker (Dec. 8 - 10)
Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour (Dec. 14)
Jerry Seinfeld (Dec. 15)
Stars on Ice (Dec. 16)
Jesus Christ Superstar (Feb. 8)
Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra: MW4 (Feb. 24)
Mayo Civic Center
The home of the Rochester Civic Theatre Company has both performance and exhibit spaces within its 120,000-square-foot space, a major stop for touring musicians and live events in Southern Minnesota.
Girl Named Tom: One More Christmas Tour (Dec. 1)
Sister's Christmas Catechism: The Mystery of the Magi's Gold (Dec. 21)
Mania: The ABBA Tribute (Dec. 28)
Johnny Cash: The Official Concert Experience (Feb. 14)
Amy Rea is the author of several Minnesota guidebooks and writes about Minnesota food for Heavy Table. She grew up in northern Minnesota and now makes her home in the Twin Cities.
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