Now that summer is here, many theaters are rapidly finishing their current seasons while simultaneously announcing their new ones. The theaters around the Twin Cities have released their new 2018-2019 seasons and I'm pretty excited for a large variety of them. I wanted to take the time to spotlight and share my excitement for these fantastic productions.
Evita at Lyric Arts
While this list has no particular order, I will state this is up there as the show I am most excited for. I have always been a huge fan of it due to the strong female lead and iconic moments (yeah we all know those Patti LuPone arms at the end of Don't Cry for Me Argentina). I even typed an almost 15 page research paper on the show in college. It's a classic rags to riches true story about the first lady of Argentina, Eva Eva Perón. Matt McNabb directs the show and is used to directing big block buster style musicals at Lyric Arts. In the past he's directed ones including RENT and Young Frankenstein. He's very familiar in this intimate space so I'm thrilled to see what he does with this production.
This is the perfect time to do this musical as well as it is celebraitng its 40th anniversary. The musical is a masterpiece by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I'll most likely see it twice...or more...
The Children at Jungle Theater
Is it a type of story that has been done a lot? Sure. But I live for a post-apocalyptic world story and the Jungle is giving me that with their upcoming 2019 production of The Children by Lucy Kirkwood. The show is about two nuclear scientists who reside in a quiet cabin while the outside world has erupted into utter chaos. An old friend arrives and reveals a frighttening request. What is the request? What is this old friend asking? What chaos has erupted? Has a giant nuclear bomb already been set off or is it going to be soon? The teaser on the Jungles website alone has me swirling with millions of questions.
Most stories like this include some sort of zombie/monster type tie in. This one doesn't sound like that though. Just from the text on the website it seems and feels different, like a story we haven't seen before.
Mamma Mia at the Ordway Center for Performing Arts
Mamma Mia is a production that is being put on by the Ordway this summer. It opens in July and runs through end of August but according to their website is still apart of their 18-19 season. It's full of amazing Twin Cities talent (including a friend from high school, shout out to Andover HS). Mamma Mia is a jukebox musical featuring the songs of ABBA. It spawned a rather successful movie adaptation starring, my favorite, Meryl Streep. This is the perfect time for the Ordway to produce this also as Mamma Mia 2 will be airing in theatres.
At the end of the day, it's a charming and entertaining show. It's nostalgic for older generations while also introducing new music to the younger ones. I grew up on ABBA so I'm ecastic to see the songs in action.
Hamilton at Hennepin Theatre Trust
Let's be honest, was Hamilton not going to be on this list? Even if you aren't a theater fan, you've heard of the phenonmonan that is this show. Of course I'm beyond thrilled for Hamilton to be touring and coming to the Twin Cities. It's the "it" show of this generation and somehow...everyone has seen it except me! Hamilton is not leaving the Broadway scene anytime soon with it's almost record breaking Tony Award wins and transcending way of story telling. This show will eventually join the ranks and lists of "Longest Running Musicals." I'm honestly pretty excited for the entire season that HTT has set up including Dear Evan Hansen and Hello Dolly!. HTT continues to bring top quality theater to the already bustling arts scene that the Twin Cities has.
Victor/Victoria at Artistry
Victor/Victoria is an iconic musical, and later movie, both starring the iconic and legendary Julie Andrews. Honestly I haven't seen either and only know one song from it thanks to Glee. However the concept of a show has me biting at the bit to see it. Long story short, a struggling soprano botches an audition and later pretends to be a female pretending to be a male pretending to be a female. Yup. I'm so into it. This will be the production that I'd love to see and also get inside the head of whoever is playing this role due to the relevant themes and topics we see today about gender.
Dear Artistry team - Expect a call from me for some interview requests to some of the actors!
The Hobbit at Children's Theater Company
The Children's Theater is known for doing some incredible work. While their performers are always some of the best in the business, I've always been extremely intriguied in their set, costumes and special effects. They are innovative, different and unique which is why I'm pretty excited to see how they adapt J.R.R. Tolkien's beloved book, The Hobbit, onto the stage. J.R.R. Tolkien is a master writer when it comes to the world of Middle Earth and fantasy. Honestly it seems like the perfect match for this story to be brought to life on the CTC stage. I expect the sales of The Hobbit to skyrocket in local book stores after the premiere of this production.
Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Pageant at Park Square Theatre
It's always fun to see a show that I knew about or have seen before but it's even more fun to see something I know nothing about. Park Square is producing Jefferson Township Parkling Junior Talent Pageant which is described as a Avenua Q meets The Book of Mormon with a little bit of Heathers sprinkled in. All three of these musicals have nothing really in common other than they can have a bit of dark comedy in it. This production involves a Pageant that takes place twenty years after a contestant died on stage and permanently ended the show.
To me it seems like it could be the potential of a Honey Boo-Boo sequel story and I'm into it.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch at Theatre Latte Da
The main reason why I'm so thrilled for this production is the visibility it continues to give to the LGBTQ community, specifically to the T (Trans) and Q (Queer) in the acronynmn. This musical burst on the mainstream scene (after being a cult classic movie) a few years ago when Neil Patrick Harris played the iconic performer on Broadway, earning him a Tony award. The set, lights and costumes are blasts of color with some banger songs. Yes, banger. I'll be interesting to see how Latte Da can produce such a big show (metaphorically) on a smaller stage. I enjoy the intimate space that the Ritz has so I know they'll be able to pull it off.
One thing however I'm a bit upset about is the casting choice in Hedwig. While I believe Tyler Michaels is an unbelievable actor and amazingly talented, I'm a bit disappointing on how Latte Da casted this. During their season announcement, it was announced that Michaels called the Artistic Director Peter Rothstein inquiring about when they would do Hedwig. This is troubling to me because based off of that comment it seems auditions were maybe not held and other actors weren't considered for the role. You cannot let queer performers play queer roles if you don't give them the opportunity to even audition first.
Metamorphoses at the Guthrie Theater
Metamorphoses is a play written by Mary Zimmerman and based on the myths of Ovid. It involves an ensemble of actors embodying figures from Greek mythology and share well-known and rarely told stories of transformation. While I haven't read or seen this play before, I remember my theatre professors talking about it in college. The play is supposed to be visually stunning due to the fact that it should be performed in and around a large pool of water. Yes. Legit water.
Most theatres don't produce it simply because of that reason. Go big or go home and if your stage can't support the weight of the water, then it's not done. I'm beyond excited to see what the Guthrie comes up with.
Dear Evan Hansen at Hennepin Theatre Trust
It was a tough call but ultimately I had to pick two shows from HTT's season. Earlier in this post I mentioned Hamilton earlier but how could I not pick one more? There upcoming season is incredible. Dear Evan Hansen made headlines with a leading performance by Ben Platt (who won a Tony for this role) and songs like "Waving Through a Window" and "You Will Be Found." It was nominated for nine awards at the 71st annual Tony Awards and won six of them. The show also also talks about social anxiety and mental health which is something that I feel we don't see a lot on stage specifically in regards to musical theater. Check out Platt's performance on the TODAY show.