Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: April 2011
A Touch of Arsenic
The Tony Award-winning Jersey Boys plays the Orpheum Theatre (April 21- May 8), directed by Des McAnuff, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo. Featuring a book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, music by Bob Gaudio, and lyrics by Bob Crewe, the musical tell the story of four blue-collar kids, Frankie Valli, Bob Gaudio, Tommy DeVito and Nick Massi who became the pop sensation the Four Seasons. The show features their hit songs such as "Sherry," "Big Girls Don't Cry," and "Can't Take My Eyes Off You."
The Orpheum is also the place for kids to move it move it to Madagascar Live! (April 1-13), a new musical adventure based on the blockbuster DreamWorks film. Families can join Alex the Lion, Marty the Zebra, Melman the Giraffe, Gloria the hip Hippo and of course, the scheming penguins as they escape from their home at New York's Central Park Zoo and find themselves on an unexpected journey to the madcap world of King Julien's Madagascar.
Several musical classics also get a fresh new staging this month. Ten Thousand Things brings a distinctively barebones Man of La Mancha to life, April 15 - May 8 at the Minnesota Opera Center and April 29-30 at Open Book. Directed by Michell Hensley, and with music by Peter Vitale, this production features Steven Epp, Luverne Seifert, Regina Williams, Tracey Maloney, Matt Guidry, and T. Mychael Rambo. At the Children's Theater April 12 - June 12 is the beloved musical Annie. With book by Thomas Meehan, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Martin Charnin, and directed by Peter Rothstein of Minneapolis' own Theatre Latte Da, the show's titular plucky orphan and Sandy, her doggy sidekick, will sing and arf their way into hearts of Twin Cities audiences. Mu Performing Arts teams up with SteppingStone Theatre to produce their perennial favorite, The Magic Bus to Asian Folktales (April 29 - May 22) by R.A. Shiomi, Cha Yang, and Jaz Canlas, with music by Gary Rue. Three children are magically transported to Imperial China, to Laos, and to the Philippines where they discover wondrous tales that teach them about their culture, their ancestry, and themselves.
Lives wrapped up in law and music inspire the world premieres of new plays at Park Square and Penumbra. Park Square Theatre tells the story of America's most celebrated lawyer in Gary Anderson's Naked Darrow (April 11-17), as Clarence Darrow expert Gary Anderson takes a personal look at Darrow's confrontations with racism, social injustice and the death penalty. I Wish You Love by Dominic Taylor, directed by Lou Bellamy at Penumbra Theatre (April 21 - May 22), paints an intimate portrait of Nat "King" Cole, whose carefully manicured image and sweet songs distracted an entire generation of white fans from the reality of racial violence raging in the streets.