Alayne Hopkins as Laura in “The Glass Menagerie” at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis
In my world there are three sure signs marking the end of summer:
A. The State Fair has come and gone.
B. Neighborhood kids are going back to school.
C. A stack of season brochures from performing arts venues has appeared on my desk.
While I bid farewell to summer with a certain sense of nostalgia, that pile of brochures on my desk gives me lots to look forward to. And preparing for winter seems a little more tolerable when it’s accompanied by planning what shows we’ll see in the coming darker months. Here’s a look at the events that have particularly caught my attention this season. The list is so long I’ve broken it down month by month: check back tomorrow for October…
The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams
Opens September 10 at the Jungle Theater in Minneapolis
Sure, it’s an old classic, so why the interest? Coming on the heels of the successful “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and starring local great Wendy Lehr as Amanda Wingfield, this show is right up director Bain Boehlke’s alley. Also, themes of “quit desperation” and “unrealistic dreams” seem particularly poignant in today’s economy.
The Master Butchers Singing Club by Marsha Norman
based upon the novel by Louise Erdrich
Opens September 11 at the Guthrie Theater
I like the idea of the Guthrie bringing local writers’ work to the stage, and so I’m hoping this show is a hit. If you’re not familiar with the novel, The Master Butchers Singing Club “chronicles the intersecting lives of German immigrant and butcher Fidelis Waldvogel and sideshow performer Delphine Watzka as they settle onto the plains and into the small town of Argus, North Dakota.”
Untitled, by Alec Soth, 2008
Opens September 12 at the Walker Art Center
It’s been a pleasure watching Minneapolis photographer Alec Soth rise to fame over the past decade. Now the Walker is hosting the first “survey” of his work in the United States, featuring more than 100 images taken over the last 16 years. Included is his newest series, Broken Manual, exploring places of escape in and individuals who seek to flee civilization for a life “off the grid.”
Opens September 17 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts
This exhibition may only consist of 20 images, but they’ll each be depicting millions of dollars. This timely collection examines what wealth looks like today, depending on where you live.
Opens September 17 at Mixed Blood Theater
Anything that brings together Sonja Parks, Regina Marie Williams and Isabell Monk O’Connor is going to get me to see it. Directed by Marion McClinton, this production imagines the family of A Raisin in the Sun living in upper middle class America in 2010. With humor and and intelligence these characters take on everything from gentrification to modern-day feminism through the lens of contemporary African-America.
Sept 20 – The Ivey Awards
Sept 20 Per Petterson, author of Out Stealing Horses and I Curse the River of Time speaks at the Guthrie Theater.
Sept 21 Jonathan Franzen, acclaimed author of The Corrections and Freedom, speaks at the Fitzgerald Theater.Did you know the characters of his latest novel live in the Ramsey Hill neighborhood in St. Paul?
Performed by Ralph Lemon at the Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater
September 23, 24, 25
Inspired by his seven-year collaboration with Walter Carter, a 102-year-old former sharecropper from the Mississippi Delta, Ralph Lemon’s new four-part multimedia performance explores the complexities of impermanence and time. Drawing from myths and realities, How Can You Stay in the House All Day and Not Go Anywhere? reminds us, as Lemon says, of “the special, ordinary, and inspiring human commonality of how one lives a life.”
Performed by Ali Momeni and Minneapolis Art on Wheels (MAW)
Presented by Northrop Auditorium
Using the universal themes of water, artist and U of M professor Ali Momeni and Minneapolis Art on Wheels (MAW) will premiere their film art installation “Seaworthy” onto the front façade of Northrop as part of the U of M Grito y Danza Fiesta.
Rick Warden in Black Tulips by David Edgar
from The Great Game: Afghanistan, Part 2: 1979-1996 Communism, The Mujahideen & The Taliban
(Photo by John Haynes)
God bless the Guthrie Theater’s WorldStage Series, which brings some of the most compelling theatrical productions from England and elsewhere to the Twin Cities. For three weeks beginning September 29, London’s Tricycle Theatre explores Afghan culture and history in a three-part event. Each of the three parts of The Great Game: Afghanistan is made up of four one-act plays, each by a different playwright, each exploring a critical period of modern Afghan history. Want to immerse yourself in Afghani history and culture? Go on a weekend and see all three parts back to back.
Disclaimer: this is by no means a comprehensive list, and yes, it reflects my personal taste. Want to give a shout out to a show not listed here? You can always leave a comment.