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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: February 2009

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A scene from A Prairie Home Companion
In February, Garrison Keillor comes home to Minnesota Public Radio's Fitzgerald Theater with four live tapings of A Prairie Home Companion (January 31-February 21). After that, Keillor takes his show on the road to Wisconsin, New York, Connecticut, Tennessee, Virginia, and Massachusetts.

Fans of Samuel Beckett will be pleased to know that two of the author's major works are being offered this month. The Guthrie presents Happy Days (February 14-March 8), the story of a chatty woman submerged in dirt and her mostly silent companion, Willie. After a month-long tour of area prisons, housing projects, and homeless shelters, Ten Thousand Things will have public performances of their new production of Beckett's Endgame at Open Book (February 27-March 15).

February provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see Fiddler on the Roof starring Israeli actor Chaim Topol, who played the role Tevye in the popular 1971 film and again on Broadway in 1990. Musical lovers might also enjoy The Chameleon Theatre Circle's production of Cabaret (Bursville Performing Arts Center, February 13-March 8).

Those looking for challenging and controversial plays will find them at Bedlam Theatre. First, writer and director Flo Razowsky presents Café Intifada, An Intellectual Salon (January 30-February 7). This interactive work dives head first into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Then, Twenty Percent Theatre offers The Naked I (February 12-15), a series of monologues about the bodies of transgender, gender-queer, and intersex individuals. Think The Vagina Monologues, except not all the women have vaginas, or are even women.

Penumbra Theatre Company presents the regional premiere of The Whipping Man (February 19-March 15), a play about a Jewish Confederate Soldier and his two former slaves circa 1865, the year black American slaves were set free in the South. Meanwhile, Mixed Blood Theatre explores modern American slavery with Lauren D. Yee's Ching Chong Chinaman (February 14-March 1), a comedy about an upper-middle class suburban Chinese family and their "indentured servant" Jin Qiang.

The Children's Theatre Company presents a new production of Shakespeare's classic Romeo and Juliet (February 10-March 8). Meanwhile, Illusion Theater presents Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate (February 13-March 7), about three high school misfits that come together to form a speech and debate club.

Audiences of all ages will enjoy the national tour of Annie (Orpheum Theatre, February 12-14), the beloved musical story of an ever-optimistic young orphan girl trying to make her way in New York City. Also perfect for the whole family is the classic musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (February 6-June 20).

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