Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Let It Show! Let it Show! Let it Show! (Holiday Theater Picks 2019)

David Beukema as the D'Ysquiths
(photo courtesy of Old Log)
The winter holidays are always rich in Twin Cities theatergoing opportunities. From Austen and murder to Krampuses and the apocalypse, here are a few shows we are particularly looking forward to this winter.

Traditional(ish) Theater

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder - Old Log Theatre (Oct 18 - Feb 15)
Set in London in 1907, this show centers on Monty Navarro, a penniless clerk who is informed after the death of his mother that he is ninth in line to inherit the earldom of Highhurst, controlled by the wealthy D’Ysquith banking family.
Hilarious performances by Max Wojtanowicz (as Monty) and David Beukema (as all of the D'Ysquiths) and gorgeous singing by the endearing cast makes this a holiday must-see.

Another Miracle on Christmas Lake - Yellow Tree Theatre (Nov 8 - Dec 29)
A hilarious sequel to the smash hit comedy Miracle on Christmas Lake! Join Martha, Neil and some zany new characters as they try to save their beloved town of Christmas Lake from annexation. A Hollywood location scout arrives, hailing Christmas Lake the perfect spot to film a new adaptation of It’s a Wonderful Life. Colin and Tess scramble to put on a sparkly pageant that will draw tourists and hilarity ensues.
THIS CAST: Ryan Nelson, Jason Ballweber, Elise Langer, Anna Leverett, Damian Leverett, Neil Skoy, & Abby Day.
See also: Miracle on Christmas Lake - Camp Bar (Dec 5 - 28)

Miss Bennet - Jungle Theater (Nov 20 - Dec 29)
The beloved Bennet sisters and their spouses gather at the Darcy home for Christmas a few years after Jane Austen left off their story. When the middle Miss Bennet, Mary, unexpectedly encounters shy bookworm Arthur de Bourgh, she finds a kindred spirit and intellectual equal. But, since Arthur is a “single man in possession of a good fortune,” she’s hardly his only suitor. Mary must learn to be the heroine of her own story in this charming holiday romance.
Because Mary Bennet is always given such a hard time. She deserves her very own holiday romance!

Six - Ordway Center (Nov 29 - Dec 22)
The wives of Henry VIII join forces for an electrifying pop-concert spectacle—shining a spotlight on these six women as never before. The queens take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a power-packed celebration of twenty-first-century female empowerment.
Friends who caught it in Chicago loved it, and it's going to Broadway, baby! See it here first for full theater bragging rights.

Adventures in Mating: Holiday Edition - Daleko Arts (Nov 29 - Dec 22)

From Twin Cities native, Joseph Scrimshaw, Adventures in Mating: Holiday Edition is a romantic comedy where YOU play the role of cruel fate! When the dysfunctional couple on a terrible blind date can't make simple decisions such as red or white wine, leave or stay, kiss or slap, the audience votes and the show takes off in wildly different but always hilarious directions.
We heart Daleko Arts. And shows about the comedic possibilities in dating.

The Norwegians - Dark & Stormy Productions at the Grain Belt Warehouse (Dec 5 - Jan 5)
Olive and Betty are two southern women living in the land of snow, lutefisk, co-ops, and Norwegians. They have something else in common: they both want their ex-boyfriends dead. So, they hire the only hit men they can find in Minnesota: really, really nice ones.
Sure, it's comedy, but this is Dark & Stormy: it's going to be at least a little dark (and stormy) and we need a little of that. Plus, the cast is Luverne Seifert, Sara Marsh, Jane Froiland, and Avi Aharoni. Come on.

Hanukkah Lights in the Big Sky - Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company (Dec 6 - 22)
When a brick is thrown at a menorah set in a child’s window for Hanukkah, community leaders of all faiths come together to help spread a message of tolerance and peace. With the help of school children, 10,000 families display menorahs in their windows for Christmas in solidarity. Based on true events that occurred in Billings, Montana in 1993, this family play, an MJTC original, is newly adapted for everyone age 6 & up.
Peace and solidarity, y'all. Yes, please.


Getting Plowed: A Holiday Survival Guide - Brave New Workshop (Nov 7 - Jan 4)
The holidays are stressful enough. Sometimes you just need to laugh. Really hard. Plus, it's written and performed by Lauren Anderson, Denzel Belin, Taj Ruler and Tom Reed. How could you could do better than that for your holiday hilarity?

Family Dinner - Huge Theater (weekends through December)
Family Dinner – The improvised holiday show you can relate to – returns! A family coming home for the holidays, each with a secret you suggest…It’s just like your family, if your family were played by some of the funniest improvisers in the Twin Cities!

A Very Die Hard Christmas - Bryant-Lake Bowl (Nov 30 - Dec 21)
Don't miss this yuletide tradition combining the action and suspense of Die Hard with the sentiment of everyone's favorite TV Christmas specials loaded with music, magic, and mayhem!

Miss Richfield 1981 Gender Fluids For The Holidays! - Illusion Theater (Dec 6 - 22)
In her all-new show, Miss Richfield 1981 will attempt to find non-binary answers to our increasingly complex world! With all new music, new videos, new costumes, and a healthy heap of help from the audience, this show promises to celebrate all the genders - both old & new.
As we said back in 2019, "don't take Miss Richfield 1981 for granted. (We interviewed her last year.) She is amazingly skilled at working the crowd, a mistress of subversive humor, and smarter than she gets credit for. Also, so so so funny. Oh, how we laughed."

Musical Celebrations

Black Nativity: Let Us Rejoice Together - Penumbra Theatre (Nov 21 - Dec 22)
It’s that time of year again! Penumbra’s timeless holiday tradition returns to light up the stage and your heart. Under the direction of Lou Bellamy and the musical direction of Sanford Moore, our homegrown Christmas show features exceptional lead vocalists, the outstanding Kingdom Life Church Choir, and the stirring choreography of Alanna Morris-Van Tassel. 
It's a holiday classic. My only question is WHEN will they have a sing-along Black Nativity? Please?

All Is Calm - Theater Latte Da (Nov 27 - Dec 29)
"The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it. 
After a successful Off-Broadway run (and winning a Drama Desk award), All is Calm returns with its unspeakably gorgeous music and a cast of staggeringly talented singer/actors. Beautiful and restorative to the soul.

Post-apocalyptic Shenanigans (yes, there's TWO)

Dog Act - Fortune's Fool Theatre at Gremlin (Dec 7 - 22)
In this tale, an unnamed disaster has totally fucked America's society, political structure, and environment. Zetta and Dog are vaudevillians traversing the wasteland, singing and dancing their way to a gig with the King of China.

The Ever and After - Theatre Pro Rata (Dec 7 - 22)
A cockroach and an Amazon walk into an apocalypse…A super-intelligent cockroach and his feral human ward discover a robotic woman in the ruins of civilization. Together, they must put aside their differences and venture into the belly of the human settlement to find the truth about this new world.

One Night Only (and Limited Runs)

From Gilbert & Sullivan to Broadway - The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company at Honey (Nov 30 and Dec 1)
The cabaret program will include songs from H.M.S. Pinafore, The Pirates of Penzance, and Gilbert and Sullivan’s other works, as well as music from Godspell, A Little Night Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Candide and Company, and many more!

Turn on that fireplace, hang that mistletoe, and enjoy all the fake soap snowflakes of the season at Strike Theater this December as jorts! and friends take on the timeless tradition of holiday romance movies as seen on the Hallmark Channel, Lifetime, and Netflix - and improvises a brand new one right in front of your eyes!

IMMORTAL | Workshop Performance - Trademark Theater at Camp (Dec 9)
In his first ever solo performance, Tyler Michaels King brings to life a brand-new character with his unique transformative and musical style. Part cabaret act, part storytelling journey, Immortal explores aging, the end of life, and mortality through the eyes of a fading entertainer standing before their final curtain.
Featuring music by Keith Hovis and starring Tyler Michaels King, this performance will highlight two of the most gifted musical theater artists in the Twin Cities. That is all.

The Great Strike Theater Improvised Bake-Off - Strike Theater (Dec 12 - 14)
A mix between the Great British Baking Show and shows like Master Chef, The Great Strike Theater Bake Off will feature be hosted by the amazing, Rita Boersma and Shanan Custer.The Great Strike Theater Bake Off is created and directed by Mike Fotis and Shea Roberts Gyllen.

The Loft Presents If: A Very Star Wars Cabaret - The Loft at Open Book (Dec 14)
The Skywalker Saga of Star Wars ends this Winter. As part of the Loft's fall theme 'If," this cabaret features writers and thinkers who are also fans of the blockbuster series sharing creative work involving Star Wars. Celebrations, critiques, and creature features abound! Featuring Saymoukda Vongsay, Matthew Kessen, Luis Lopez, Shannon Gibney, and Jodi Byrd.
Pro Tip: The Shop at MCBA (at Open Book) has fantastic, unique gifts for all of your creative friends and family. Go early. Bring money.

At long last – the monsters and fantastic creatures of the holiday season. From the resurgently popular Krampus to elves at the North Pole to snow golems animated into a grotesque mockery of life by enchanted headgear, to say nothing of the connection of a mystery ape from the Himalayas to the spirit of Christmas, all of these will be detailed in the Reverend Matt style! Opening entertainment by Nicholas Nelson!

Dan Chouinard's Holiday Sing-Along - Crooners Mainstage (Dec 22-23)
Check out the full Crooners calendar because you can see a fabulous night of holiday music any night in December, including Jennifer Grimm, Erin Schwab and Jay Fuchs, Debbie Duncan, the Steeles, Robert Robinson and Gwen Matthews, and so many more. Also, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.

Give yourself a present and go see a show this winter!