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STAR TRIBUNE 10 best and brightest theater shows to catch this fall

Updated: Sep 19, 2022

One of them is Uncle Philip's Coat

SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 — 10:19PM

By Rohan Preston Star Tribune

From premieres to revivals, the stages are alive with the sound of resilience.

'Merrily We Roll Along'

Director Peter Rothstein has tapped top talent for his revival of Stephen Sondheim's 1981 musical about soured friendships. The principals include Broadway actor Dylan Frederick ("The Inheritance") and Twin Cities standouts Becca Hart and Reese Britts. "Merrily" is notable for its songs, including "Not a Day Goes By," and for the fact that it is told backward. Interestingly, Theater Latte Da's production plays at the same time as an off-Broadway revival headlined by Daniel Radcliffe. (Sept. 24–Oct. 30, Ritz Theater, Mpls.)

'Sally & Tom'

Pulitzer winner Suzan-Lori Parks trains her sights on the fraught "relationship" between founding father Thomas Jefferson and his enslaved "mistress" Sally Hemings in the Guthrie Theater production, which is not to be confused with Thomas Bradshaw's 2017 work, "Thomas and Sally," or the 2005 musical "Sally and Tom (The American Way)," all grappling with the same subject. In "Sally & Tom," a contemporary couple try to put on a show about historical characters as the past keeps bubbling into the present. It will be staged by actor, playwright and director Steve Broadnax III. (Oct. 1–Nov. 6, Guthrie Theater, Mpls.)


A commission from Harrison David Rivers, the play orbits a couple beset by grief and loss, and the healing circle of women that surrounds them. It's directed by Colette Robert. (Oct. 13-Nov. 6, Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul.)

'Carmela Full of Wishes'

Writer Matt de la Peña and illustrator Christian Robinson were the team behind "Last Stop on Market Street," adapted into a Children's Theatre Company musical four years ago. Now the company is back with their "Carmela Full of Wishes," which follows a dreamy little girl on her birthday. Aimed at theater-going tykes and their companions, the show is staged by Tatyana-Marie Carlo. (Oct. 18-Dec. 4, Children's Theatre Company, Mpls.)

'Fire in the New World' R.A. (aka Rick) Shiomi has a distinguished history as a leader of Mu Performing Arts and co-founder of Full Circle Theater Company. Also a playwright, his new work centers on a private eye who battles criminals and discrimination in Vancouver's Japantown in the wake of World War II. (Oct. 19-Nov. 6, Park Square Theatre, St. Paul).

'Bull Jean Stories' Poetic playwright Sharon Bridgforth, whose "dat Black Mermaid Man Lady/The Show" lit up the stage at Pillsbury House Theatre in 2018, returns with "Bull Jean Stories," a chronicle of a "woman-loving-woman named bull-dog-jean." The play is set in the 1920s in the American South and adapted from Bridgforth's 1998 poetry collection of the same title. (Oct. 20-Nov. 13, Pillsbury House Theatre, Mpls.)

'Uncle Philip's Coat' If only fabrics could talk. Matty Selman's one-person play, follows a shabby garment inherited by a struggling actor. Turns out the coat saved a life during a Russian pogrom, was used to display items for sale on Coney Island and provided warmth in the cold streets of the Big Apple. Craig Johnson directs. (Oct. 22-Nov. 13, Six Points Theater, St. Paul.)

'Six' The splashy British pop musical about the fates of the six wives of Henry VIII ("divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived") would seem like an unlikely vehicle for women empowerment. But with its power ballads and concert stylings, "Six," which had a pre-Broadway run at the Ordway, has won over fans far and wide, not to mention snagging a Tony for best score. (Oct. 25-Nov. 6, Ordway Center, St Paul.)

'Les Misérables' The blockbuster musical by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg is acclaimed for many reasons, including its stirring music, inspiring performances and a story of long-sought redemption. This production has been here before and is welcome anytime. (Dec. 6-18, Orpheum Theatre, Mpls.)

'The Little Prince' Antoine de Saint-Exupery's classic on loneliness, love and loss has had many adaptations, including two musicals and two plays by composer Rick Cummins and playwright/lyricist John Scoullar. The Guthrie is producing one of their plays under the direction of Dominique Serrand, co-founder of the now defunct Theatre de la Jeune Lune. (Dec. 10-Feb. 5, 2023.)

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