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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: December 2010

Broadway Billy logo
Giuseppe Bausilio, Faith Prince, and Patrick Wetzel
in Billy Elliot the Musical
(© Michael Brosilow)
The West End and Broadway mega-hit Billy Elliot the Musical makes its Twin Cities premiere this month at the Orpheum Theatre (December 16 - January 9). Tony Award-winner Faith Prince stars as dance teacher Mrs. Wilkinson in this stage adaptation of the eponymous film about a young boy in small North England mining town who just wants to dance. Giuseppe Bausilio, Michael Dameski, Kylend Hetherington, Lex Ishimoto and Daniel Russell alternate in the physically challenging title role.

The holiday season will be in full swing when the perennial favorite from Theater Latte Da, All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 returns to the Pantages Theatre (December 16 - 19). This performance will once again be broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio. Another local favorite, A Don't Hug Me Christmas Carol plays the Sun Country Theatre (December 2 - January 2). The Guthrie continues their holiday tradition of presenting Kevin Kling in his one-man show Tales from the Charred Underbelly of the Yule Log (December 6). Sounds of Blackness returns to the Guthrie with The Night Before Christmas - A Musical Fantasy (December 13).

Of course, what holiday would be complete without a production of The Nutcracker? This year, Minnesotans have several productions from which to choose. Moscow Ballet's The Great Russian Nutcracker plays the State Theatre (December 3 & 4). Later in the month, The State also plays host to Loyce Houlton's Nutcracker Fantasy (December 17 - 19). Simultaneously, Ballet Minnesota presents their own classic staging of The Nutcracker at The O'Shaugnessy (December 17 - 19).

December offers plenty of holiday concerts too. International Christmas superstars Mannheim Steamroller play the Orpheum (December 3 & 4). Pianist Lorie Line brings her holiday show, Making Spirits Bright to the State Theatre (December 11 - 12). Minnesota's musical elite come out for an acoustic performance in Home for the Holidays: A Minnesota Christmas (Pantages Theatre, December 12). Two days later, John Trones takes to the Pantages for the eighth annual performances of his holidays concert, Christmas in the City (December 14). Also at the Pantages, Minnesota native and Broadway veteran Linda Eder performs Home for the Holidays (December 21).

Of course, not every show is holiday-related this month. Ordway Music Theater presents Andrew Lloyd Weber and Tim Rice's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (December 7 - January 2). This much-anticipated production stars American Idol finalist Anthony Fedorov as Joseph. At Gremlin Theatre, director Ellen Fenster helms a production of Lanford Wilson's Burn This (December 3 - 19). Meanwhile, Park Square Theatre has the two-man show 2 Pianos, 4 Hands (December 7 - January 2). Actors Michael Pearce Donley and Peter Vitale play everyone from pushy parents to eccentric teachers all while performing a piano repertoire ranging from Bach to Jerry Lee Lewis.

Naked Stages, the development program for the Pillsbury House Theatre culminates in a public performance this month (December 1 - 11). This year's showcase will include work by Janaki Ranpura, Andrea Jenkins, Esther Ouray, and M. Cochise Anderson.

Finally, you will not want to miss the world premiere production of Jon Ferguson and John Heimbuch's S. Gunter Klaus and The Story Before (The Southern Theater, December 10 - 23). Told by an ensemble of some of the most exciting local theater artists, this retelling of the story of Santa Claus promises to become a Twin Cities holiday tradition too.

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