Hello Dolly at Theater Latte Da
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Where to See Live Theater in Minnesota

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"Hello, Dolly!" at Theater Latte Da  / Dan Norman

Where to See Live Theater in Minnesota

By Devon Cox

In 2024, Minnesota spent $9.62 per capita on public funding for the arts, making us the #1 ranked state in public arts spending. That’s because Minnesotans have long valued the arts as part of a vibrant, thriving community, and nowhere is that commitment more observable than in the quality, breath, and depth of Minnesota’s theatrical landscape.

From long-standing institutions to upstart companies, Minnesotans are never at a loss for a show to go see, and no matter your taste (or age), there’s a theater producing work tailor-made for you.

Guthrie Theater Minneapolis

The Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis

REGIONAL / LOCAL PRODUCTIONS 

GUTHRIE THEATER 

Not only is the Guthrie Minnesota’s flagship theater and a feat of modern architecture; it’s the birthplace of the American regional theater movement. Founded in 1963 on the principle that the highest-caliber theater shouldn’t require a trip to Broadway, the Guthrie clinched the regional theater TONY Award in 1982. In 2006, the theater moved from its Loring Park home to a brand-new, 285,000-square-foot facility on the Mississippi River, designed by famed French architect Jean Nouvel.  

The Amber Box at Guthrie Theater

The "Amber Box" at Guthrie Theatre  / Bonnie Fechter

The Guthrie is still considered the crown jewel of American regional theaters, attracting world premieres from the likes of Tony Kushner and Mark Rylance, and its stunning building is open to the public (whether or not you have a ticket to a show), including the iconic cantilever bridge and amber box.

Now producing a mix of Shakespearian classics, musical theater, world premieres, broadly appealing comedies and lesser-known works, any trip to Minneapolis should include a stop at this shining example of artistic excellence.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

An American Tail at Children's Theatre Company

"An American Tail" / Children's Theatre Company

CHILDREN'S THEATER COMPANY

The only children’s theater in the nation to win the TONY award for best regional theater, Minneapolis’ Children’s Theatre Company (CTC) is the nation’s largest and most acclaimed theater for young audiences. With offerings for children of all ages (including as young as preschool-aged) across two stages, CTC has premiered Broadway-bound works like “A Year with Frog and Toad” and, more recently, the stage version of the Disney classic “An American Tail”.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Chicago at Theater Latte Da

"Chicago" at Theater Latté Da  / Dan Norman

THEATER LATTÉ DA

The Twin Cities’ premiere company for intimate musical theater, Theater Latté Da is located in Northeast Minneapolis’ vibrant arts district. Producing a mix of well-known favorites and bold new work, Latté Da is the only nonprofit theater in the nation that exclusively produces musicals, and has won the American Theatre Wing’s National Theater Company Award and multiple Drama Desk awards. You may have also seen the PBS broadcast of TLD’s original production, “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914”.   

Plan a trip to TLD’s cozy, historic Ritz Theater and visit some other Northeast Arts District favorites like the James Beard-winning Young Joni, Diane’s Place, and Hai Hai, or hit a high quality brewery like Indeed, Bauhaus, or Fair State.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

The Owl Answers at Penumbra Theatre

"The Owl Answers" at Penumbra Theatre / Allen Weeks

PENUMBRA 

One of the nation’s first Black theater companies, Penumbra was founded in 1976 by Lou Bellamy and launched the career of legendary playwright August Wilson. Today, Penumbra’s mission has expanded to be a center for racial healing that nurtures Black artists and advances equity, which still includes producing a wide range of plays that celebrate and uplift the Black American experience.

Located in the beautiful Summit-University Neighborhood of St. Paul, a trip to Penumbra could start with a meal at Saint Dinette, Brasa, or J. Selby’s

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

The Hatmaker's Wife at Ten Thousand Things Theater

"The Hatmaker's Wife" at Ten Thousand Things Theater

TEN THOUSAND THINGS 

Ten Thousand Things proves that the only thing you really need to tell a story is actors, a script, and an audience willing to go along for the ride. Founded on the concept that exceptional theater should be available to all audiences, TTT employs the Twin Cities’ top talent to perform no-frills, stripped-down productions for those who are currently incarcerated, experiencing homelessness, and in other residential situations where they may not normally have access to the arts.  

Each production usually has a run that is open to public audiences, and these superbly performed, expertly directed plays and musicals are some of the best our state has to offer.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

The Tempest at Great River Shakespeare Festival

"The Tempest" at Great River Shakespeare Festival

GREAT RIVER SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL 

Minnesota’s largest and most recognized summer Shakespeare festival, Great River Shakespeare has been producing professional theater on the banks of the Mississippi for more than 20 years. Located in beautiful Winona, GRSF produces a June-to-July season of the Bard’s greatest works, perfect for a weekend getaway. 

While you’re there, be sure to check out the Marine Art Museum’s one-of-a-kind collection, climb (or at least look at) Sugar Loaf Bluff, and grab one of the maple Long Johns that’s made Bloedown Bakery one of the country’s most beloved doughnut shops.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Ride the Cyclone at The Jungle

"Ride the Cyclone" at The Jungle

THE JUNGLE

Known for top-quality productions of bold, smaller-scale works, The Jungle’s cozy, glamorously lush theater, located in the vibrant Lyn-Lake neighborhood, is perfect for a date night. Led by legendary Minnesota actress and director Christina Baldwin, the Jungle also employs an artist’s cohort that includes Native actress and playwright Isabella Starr LeBlanc (from HBO’s “True Detective”), and Hmong playwright Katie Ka Vang, whose work has been seen at London’s Royal Court Theatre and Los Angeles’ East West Theater.  

All tickets to the Jungle’s shows are available “Pay as You Are,” so audience members can choose their own ticket price based on their level of financial access.

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Interstate at Mixed Blood

"Interstate" at Mixed Blood / Rich Ryan

MIXED BLOOD

Founded in 1976 as a specifically multiracial theater (one of the first in the nation) and housed in a former fire station, Mixed Blood has spent nearly 50 years adapting to the needs of the community, making sure its programming is reflective of the diverse Cedar-Riverside neighborhood it calls home.  

Mixed Blood has long served as an incubator for new work, and has hosted countless world premieres, including the play by Katori Hall that would later become the Starz drama series “P- Valley.”  

The theater practices “radical hospitality” in every aspect of their work, including at their box office. (A limited number of tickets to each performance are always available free of charge.) 

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Cambodian Rock Band at Theater Mu

"Cambodian Rock Band" at Theater Mu / Rich Ryan

THEATER MU

Theater Mu is the largest Asian-American arts organization in the Midwest, and the second largest in the country. Mu does not have a performance space of their own, and they partner with other professional theaters in town to present their productions, including the Jungle, the History Theatre, and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.  

Known for consistently excellent shows that uplift and celebrate the diverse Asian-American experience, productions by Theater Mu are worth seeking out. 

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Jersey Boys at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

"Jersey Boys" at Chanhassen Dinner Theatres / Dan Norman

CHANHASSEN DINNER THEATRES

No one does big, splashy musicals quite like Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. Director Michael Brindisi’s keen eye for talent and attention to detail have kept this dinner theater at the top of their game for years and years after most dinner theaters ceased operations. Think less dusty dinner theater of yore and more new-school Broadway classics (“Jersey Boys”, “The Prom”, “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical”) at production values and performance standards that rival Broadway tours.  

Part of CDT’s magic is their longstanding team of behind-the-scenes artisans like costume designer Rich Hamson, whose show-stopping craftsmanship has been a part of the audience experience for years. CDT also has a second space where they host everything from comedy cabarets to drag shows. 

See what’s on and get tickets. 

The Little Prince, produced by The Moving Company

"The Little Prince", produced by The Moving Company and Guthrie Theater / Dan Norman

THE MOVING COMPANY

The Moving Company is the reincarnation of the TONY-winning, much-missed Theatre de la Jeune Lune, which wowed local and national audiences with their visually stunning, wildly inventive shows from 1978 to 2008.  

Company members Dominique Serrand, Steven Epp, and Nathan Keepers have continued to make their signature style of highly physical, European-influenced, sensory-driven theater, and their shows are frequently presented by partner theaters like the Guthrie and the Jungle.  

If you’re ever lucky enough to be in town while a Moving Company show is running, don't miss it. And keep an eye out for their wonderful collaborations with the Minnesota Orchestra, which illuminate the history of classical music in a blended theatrical experience. 

See what’s on and get tickets.

A Prelude to Faust at Opene Eye Theatre

"A Prelude to Faust" at Open Eye Theatre / Bruce Silcox

OPEN EYE THEATRE

You can often find the Minneapolis cool crowd piled into Open Eye’s tiny, historic jewel-box theater, where they’ll be sipping on glasses of wine and taking in one of the company’s signature puppet-driven (or “figure”) pieces. These puppets aren’t for kids, though. Open Eye shows often explore big, existential topics, and one of their best-known pieces is a retelling of Goethe’s “Faust”.  

In addition to their main stage season, Open Eye hosts original works by new and emerging artists, serving as an incubator for the next generation of Twin Cities talent.  

While you’re there, check out some of the seminal restaurants near Minneapolis’ Eat Street, including Little T’s, Rainbow Chinese, Quang, and the new food hall Eat Street Crossing. 

See what’s on and get tickets. 

Not in Our Neighborhood at History Theatre

"Not in Our Neighborhood" at History Theatre / Rick Spaulding

HISTORY THEATRE

A national leader in producing original, historical works, St. Paul’s History Theatre has been illuminating Minnesota’s past and present since 1978. Covering topics as diverse as the Orphan Train movement and the destruction of the Rondo neighborhood when Interstate 94 was built, the History Theatre takes a wide lens as they simultaneously entertain and educate.  

History Theatre productions are always superbly performed, and never feel like a stuffy lecture, often illuminating the stories of those who have been historically overlooked. 

See what's on and get tickets. 

Jimmy and Lorraine at Pillsbury House

"Jimmy and Lorraine" at Pillsbury House / Rich Ryan

PILLSBURY HOUSE + THEATER

Pillsbury House + Theater has anchored the Powderhorn Park neighborhood for 30 years, producing a season of three productions that are always executed by a diverse roster of top-notch artists and performers.  

Pillsbury House is also dedicated to creating a just society through the arts, and hosts the annual Chicago Avenue Project festival, which pairs local youth with professional playwrights, directors and actors to create and produce their own original shows. 

See what’s on and get tickets. 

Once at Duluth Playhouse

"Once" at Duluth Playhouse 

DULUTH PLAYHOUSE 

Founded in 1914, Duluth Playhouse is one of the nation’s oldest non-profit theaters, and the largest professional company in Duluth. Producing musicals on their mainstage and contemporary plays in their underground space, Duluth Playhouse proves that Minnesota’s commitment to high-quality theater doesn’t end when you leave the metro. 

See our other top things to do in Duluth and Duluth’s best restaurants

See what’s on and get tickets. 

Toil and Trouble at Yellow Tree Theatre

"Toil and Trouble" at Yellow Tree Theatre 

YELLOW TREE THEATRE 

What if we told you that some of the Twin Cities’ most surprising, delightful theater can be found in a strip mall in the exurb of Osseo? From their cozy, delightfully transformed space (complete with a lobby full of string lights) to their eclectically programmed seasons, Yellow Tree is the little professional theater that keeps on giving. 

See what's on and get tickets. 

Interpretive dancers at The Playwrights' Center

A shot from the 2019 season of The Playwrights' Center

THE PLAYWRIGHTS' CENTER 

What do American Theater titans August Wilson, Paula Vogel, Craig Lucas, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ping Chong, and Lee Blessing all have in common? They all came to Minneapolis’ Playwrights' Center to nurture and develop their work. Since its founding in 1973, the Playwrights' Center has served as a national hub for exciting, important new work. More recent alumni include Melanie Marnich (showrunner of Amazon Original Series “The Expatriates”), Jordan Harrison (“Orange is the New Black” and the TONY-winning “Marjorie Prime”) and Carson Kretizer (Broadway’s “Lempicka”).  

All Playwrights' Center productions are developmental, and usually run only one or two nights. But if you’re lucky enough to catch one, know that you might be seeing the first live reading from theater or television’s next great writer. 

See what’s on and get tickets. 

Interact Center For the Visual and Performing Arts

Interact Center For the Visual and Performing Arts

INTERACT 

Interact is a performing and visual arts organization that produces exhibitions and productions featuring people with disabilities. Interact's collaboratively created, highly original productions often feature large ensembles (up to 50 actors) who do and do not identify as having a disability. Their runs of “Hot Funky Butt Jazz” and “Hot Dog Days” were both sellouts, and NPR’s Kevin Kling is a frequent collaborator.  

See what’s on and get tickets. 

Uncle Philip's Coat at Six Points Theater

"Uncle Philip's Coat" at Six Points Theater

SIX POINTS 

Founded in 1994 as Minnesota Jewish Theater Company, Six Points produces theater rooted in Jewish content and culture. Producing contemporary works that range from one-person shows to musicals and a holiday play geared towards young audiences, Six Points aims to illuminate the American Jewish experience for all audiences.

Their new works initiative, Wellsprings, is run by the Broadway and film actor and director Robert Dorfman, who starred in both the original production of Larry Kramer’s “The Normal Heart” and Broadway’s “The Lion King” (as Zazu).  

See what’s on and get tickets. 

 

Kiss the Tiger in the Trademark Theater production Stone Baby

Kiss the Tiger in the Trademark Theater production of "Stone Baby" / Juliet Farmer

THEATERS TO WATCH

The Minnesota theater scene is expansive, and there’s countless companies producing thoughtful productions you’ll want to keep an eye out for.  

Trademark, actor Tyler Michaels King’s company, is the only company in the Twin Cities completely dedicated to new work. Dark and Stormy is known for immersive productions of contemporary American classics. Teatro del Pueblo explores how Latin American, Latinx, Chicano and Meso-American cultures and histories interact in a cross-cultural world. Frank Theatre produces plays that explore issues social and political concern.  

25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Artistry

"25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" at Artistry  / Dan Norman

Fans of musical theater in the north metro have Lyric Arts, while those in the south metro have Artistry. Red Eye is an artist-run lab that supports innovation in the performing arts, Nautilus Music-Theater both produces intimate versions of well-known musicals and workshops new ones, and Walking Shadow produces work that is, in their words, “quirky and subversive.”  

If you’re looking for more of an off-beat experience or want to see where the Twin Cities' most imaginative minds go to develop their projects, we recommend seeing what’s being programmed at the Bryant Lake Bowl, Southern Theater, and Hive Collaborative. 

Circus Juventas

Circus Juventas

FAMILY-FRIENDLY THEATER

While CTC is the biggest theater for young audiences in Minnesota (and in the nation), high-quality arts experiences can be had all over the state. Youth Performance Company and Stepping Stone Theater are Twin Cities-based, while Stages Theatre Company performs out of the vast and newly renovated Hopkins Center for the Arts.

For families looking for something a little more out-of-the-box, Circus Juventas is a nationally recognized youth circus performing highly impressive shows reminiscent of Cirque de Soleil.  

All of these organizations also provide classes, summer camps, and professional or pre-professional performance opportunities for kids who are interested in getting on stage. Alumni of CTC include Broadway and screen performers like Laura Osnes, Adam Shankman, Jessie Shelton, and Vincent Kartheiser, while Josh Hartnett spent his adolescence playing roles like Tom Sawyer at Youth Performance Company. 

Hennepin Theatre Trust presents Hamilton at Orpheum Theatre

Hennepin Theatre Trust presents "Hamilton" at Orpheum Theatre

BROADWAY & TOURING THEATER 

HENNEPIN ARTS  

Hennepin Arts is Minnesota’s largest organization hosting Broadway National Tours over their three historic theaters in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. In addition to their Broadway season, Hennepin Arts hosts concerts, stand-up comedians, and cabarets in their smaller venues.  

See what's on and buy tickets.   

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

Ordway Center for the Performing Arts

THE ORDWAY  

Saint Paul’s flagship arts venue, the Ordway, is the permanent home of the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Schubert Club, and Minnesota Opera, as well as a touring house for theater, music, and a producer of the occasional original production.  

Click below to see what’s coming up amongst the Ordway’s vast (but always top-notch) offerings, and while you’re at it, why not pick a restaurant in Saint Paul to go to before the show? 

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

The Mood Room at Walker Art Center

"The Mood Room" at Walker Art Center  / Maria Baranova

WALKER ART CENTER 

Not really a Broadway musical kind of theatergoer? The Walker Art Center has you covered. Bringing in a truly eclectic mix of experimental theater, dance, music, and live performance from across the U.S. and the globe, the Walker has hosted everyone from Bill T. Jones’ dance company to the unsettling Tina Satter production of Is This a Room, a live performance of the Reality Winner FBI transcripts.  

See what’s on and buy tickets. 

Exterior of Brave New Workshop comedy theatre

Brave New Workshop is the state's oldest improv theatre / Meet Minneapolis

IMPROV THEATER & COMEDY CLUBS 

Did you know that Minneapolis is home to the oldest sketch comedy club in the nation? Founded in 1958, Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop (now stewarded by Hennepin Arts) has been making Minneapolitans laugh for over half a century. Minnesota’s commitment to comedy doesn’t stop there.  

Those looking for improv (to watch or participate in) should check out HUGE Improv Theater and ComedySportz, while those who prefer stand-up should see what's happening at ACME Comedy Club or Comedy Club Underground

It’s not just local acts, either; ACME often books big-name comics straight off sold-out runs at major venues like Madison Square Garden. 

 

Devon Cox

Devon Cox is Explore Minnesota’s Digital Strategy Manager. You can spot her carting her public radio tote bag to Twin Cities bakeries, bookstores, and vintage shops. She thinks you should go out to eat tonight (sit at the bar).