The cast of Torch Theater Company's
Mary Tyler Moore Show
(© Ann Marsden)
The cast of Torch Theater Company's
Mary Tyler Moore Show
(© Ann Marsden)
September marks the start of the season for many of the Twin Cities' theater companies. The Torch Theater Company opens their 2009-2010 programming with a live staging of The Mary Tyler Moore Show as part of an extended fundraiser (September 11-26). WCCO's Mark Rosen and Julia from FM107's Lori & Julia Show make special guest appearances and, in the final week, local favorite Linda Kelsey plays "Happy Homemaker" Sue Ann Nivens (originally played by Betty White), in the same episode Kelsey did back in 1974. All proceeds from this special, limited run go toward Torch's mission of creating accessible theater in the Twin Cities.

The national tour of Disney's Mary Poppins lands at the Orpheum this month (September 3 -20). Featuring music from the beloved 1964 film along with new songs composed just for the stage production, this spectacular show stars Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee, the original Mary and Burt from the Broadway production. Across the street at the State Theatre, comedian Mike Birbiglia performs his new stand-up show Mike Birbiglia: I'm in the Future Also for one night only (September 26). Birbiglia is a regular contributor to Ira Glass's This American Life and recently finished up an extended Off-Broadway run of his solo show Sleepwalk with Me.

The Guthrie starts autumn with a new production of Oscar Wilde's timeless comedy of manners, The Importance of Being Earnest (September 17-November 8), featuring Linda Thorson -- who starred as Tara King on the British television show The Avengers -- as Lady Bracknell. Also opening at the Guthrie is the world premiere of Super Monkey (September 17-November 4). Conceived and directed by award-winning theater-maker Jon Ferguson, this modern farce is about the status anxiety that exists between a group of yuppie condominium dwellers and the service class that exists around them.

Mu Performing Arts opens their fall season at Mixed Blood Theater with Lonnie Carter's The Romance of Magno Rubio (September 5-27). Directed by Orlando Pabotoy, who originated the title role Off-Broadway, the play follows a group of Filipino farm workers in the 1930s. Park Square Theatre in St. Paul presents Steven Dietz's Becky's New Car as their starter (September 11-October 4).

Opera-lovers will want to take in the opening of Minnesota Opera's new season: British fashion icon Zandra Rhodes has designed an all new production of George Bizet's The Pearl Fishers (Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, September 26-October 4). Meanwhile, the Southern Theater presents a wide variety of dance with Ananya Dance Theater (September 10-13), a screening of the dance documentary film Solo 1 x 2 (September 25 and 26), and Zorongo Flamenco Dance Theatre (September 26), which has been billed as a "multi-media flamenco puppet theater adventure for young audiences."

Family audiences will also enjoy the world premiere of a new musical comedy, Bert & Ernie, Goodnight (September 8-October 25), which opens the Children's Theatre Company season. Bradley Greenwald and Reed Sigmund star as Bert and Ernie from the ever-popular PBS children's show Sesame Street. Also promising to be fun for the whole family is Youth Performance Co's Bunnicula at the Howard Conn Fine Arts Center (September 24-October 11), a musical comedy about a cute little bunny that might just be a vampire.