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PIONEER PRESS Fall arts: Local theaters explore the emotional joy of acting and action this season

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

By JARED KAUFMAN | | PUBLISHED: September 11, 2022 at 5:15 a.m. | UPDATED: September 11, 2022 at 10:33 a.m.

Theater is at its best when it’s accessible — at least, according to the folks at Ten Thousand Things Theater Company, a local group dedicated to inclusive performance. “Performing for audiences of all life experiences and backgrounds expands imagination,” they write on their website, “and challenges us to create work that is honest, relevant and representative.” The plays, musicals, and interactive shows taking place this fall in St. Paul and around the metro area are proof of this idea. From ancient Greek tragedies to renowned Broadway shows to deeply personal explorations of human culture, these are some of the many performances that use the power of song and speech to tell our stories. SEPTEMBER OPENINGS

“Iphigenia at Aulis” — Sept. 9 to Oct. 2. This musical show puts a modern take on the play by Greek tragedian Euripides that sees Iphigenia, daughter of Trojan War hero Agamemnon, take control of her life. Ten Thousand Things Theater Company holds itself to a strong inclusivity pledge and performs in nontraditional spaces so the audience feels part of the production. Ten Thousand Things Theater Company: locations vary to ensure accessibility. Tickets: pay-what-you-can;

“Vietgone” — Sept. 10 to Oct. 16. Billed as a “love and war comedy,” this show follows two Vietnamese refugees who meet in Arkansas after the fall of Saigon in 1975. And besides cultural observations of the Vietnam War’s aftermath, there are some rap breakdowns. Guthrie Theater: 818 S. Second St., Minneapolis. Tickets: $20 to $79;

“Circus Abyssinia: Tulu” — Sept. 13 to Oct. 23. The family-run Circus Abyssinia returns with a show telling the true story of the first Black African woman to win an Olympic gold medal, Ethiopian runner Derartu Tulu. Plus, the all-ages show is set to music ranging from 1970s Ethiopian funk to the country’s modern pop. Children’s Theatre Company: 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Tickets: $15 to $79, with lap passes available for kids under 3;

“The Humans” — Sept. 14 to Oct. 9. This Tony-winning family drama by contemporary playwright Stephen Karam finds both comedy and tragedy during a multigenerational Thanksgiving dinner. Lily Tung Crystal directs, and masks are required. Park Square Theater: Historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul. Tickets: $40–$55 with a “pay-as-you’re-able” show at 2 p.m. Sept. 25;

“The Table” — Sept. 15 and other dates. Talk about dinner and a show: This interactive theatrical performance is “an evening of feasting, fellowship, song and shenanigans” at various venues, both traditional and non, around the state. Each show also includes a meal prepared by different chefs each go-round; the St. Paul show’s menu is by K’s Revolutionary Catering, with East African dishes courtesy of northsiders Mariam Omari and Kotiareenia Taylor. Sod House Theater: rotating venues. St. Paul show (one-time performance) is at Frogtown Farm, 946 Minnehaha Ave. W., St. Paul. Tickets:



“Buddy! The Buddy Holly Story” — Oct. 1 to Oct. 30. As the title suggests, this show (“part bio-musical, part rock ‘n roll concert, and part toe-tappin’ & hand-clappin’ celebration) centers around icon Buddy Holly, whose 1959 concert in St. Paul was one of his last. History Theatre: 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. Tickets:

“Sally & Tom” — Oct. 1 to Nov. 6. A meta-play of sorts, the main character in this show is herself a playwright, who becomes increasingly entangled in her script examining the relationship between Sally Hemings and Thomas Jefferson, who owned her and fathered her children. Guthrie Theater, 818 S. Second Street, Minneapolis. Tickets $20 to $79;

“Carmela Full of Wishes” — Oct. 18 to Dec. 4. This play, aimed at youngsters aged 5 and up, follows Carmela on her cumpleaños (birthday) as she runs errands and makes wishes on a dandelion she finds. But “when a sudden accident crushes her dandelion before she can make her biggest wish, can her brother help Carmela believe in the power of wishes once again?” Children’s Theatre Company: 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Tickets: $15 to $69;

“Fire In The New World” — Oct. 19 to Nov. 6. “Sam Shikaze, hard-boiled private eye, fights crime in Vancouver’s Japantown in the years after WWII,” the theater’s website says — oh, and this is the world premiere! If the play were a movie, the theater notes, it would likely be rated PG-13. Park Square Theater: Historic Hamm Building, 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul. Tickets: $40–$55 with a “pay-as-you’re-able” show at 2 p.m. Oct. 30;

“Uncle Philip’s Coat” — Oct. 22 to Nov. 13. Staged by Six Points Theater (formerly the Minnesota Jewish Theater Company), this solo show featuring J.C. Cutler follows a struggling middle-aged actor who inherits the titular coat and traces its history. Six Points Theater: staged at Highland Park Community Center Theater, 1978 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul. Tickets: on sale Sept. 19;

“Cats” — Oct. 25 to Oct. 30. It’s a quick local stop — eight performances — for the famed Andrew Lloyd Webber musical based on poems by T.S. Eliot. This production keeps the original music and costuming but updates the sound design and choreography. James Corden not included. Orpheum Theatre: 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Tickets: $40–$139;

“Six: The Musical” — Oct. 25 to Nov. 6. The Edinburgh Festival Fringe-born comedy reimagines the ill-fated wives of Henry VIII — six in total — as members of a pop group. The production features an all-woman cast and band. Ordway Center for the Performing Arts: 345 Washington, St. Paul. Tickets: $50–$150;


“Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” — Nov. 8 to Jan. 8. Are these next few listings all holiday shows? Yes. But do they open early enough that they technically qualify for this article? Also yes. Here’s the situation: The miserly Grinch, as he tends to do, is about to destroy the favorite holiday of the Whos, until Cindy Lou, the smallest Who, steps in. It’s a classic. Children’s Theatre Company: 2400 Third Ave. S., Minneapolis. Tickets: $15 to $79;

“A Servants’ Christmas” — Nov. 19 to Dec. 18. Another addition to the lineup of early-opening holiday shows, this joyous musical — set in St. Paul in 1899 — follows Monica, who needs to keep her Jewish identity secret when she’s hired to the household of the devout Christian widower Mr. Warner. History Theatre: 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul. Tickets:

“Cirque Dreams Holidaze” — Nov. 25 and 26. This Thanksgiving weekend, marvel at a holiday-themed musical show with circus acrobatics that seem impossible any day of the year — let alone after eating turkey and pie. Four shows across the two days. Orpheum Theatre: 910 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis. Tickets: $33–$103;

“Beauty and the Beast: The Broadway Musical” — Nov. 30 to Dec. 31. You know it, you love it. The classic 1991 Disney animated film, but onstage, with songs from the movie and original music. Ordway Center for the Performing Arts: 345 Washington, St. Paul. Tickets: $40–$120+;

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