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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: October 2009

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Rachel York play Cruella de Vil in
The 101 Dalmatians Musical
Photo Courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust
This month, the Orpheum Theatre will play host to the world premiere of The 101 Dalmatians Musical (October 13 - 18). This brand new musical of the beloved children's novel by Dodie Smith features a score by Styx frontman Dennis De Young and direction by Jerry Zaks. The production features both actors playing dogs and fifteen real-life Dalmatians. The Minneapolis showing kicks off a multi-city bus tour for actors and canines alike. Drama Desk Award-winning actress Rachel York stars as Cruella de Vil.

Mixed Blood Theater opens its 2009-2010 season with the Twin Cities premier of Lynn Nottage's Ruined (October 16 - November 22), which recently completed an extended run Off-Broadway. Ruined is the story of Mama Nadi, a modern-day Mother Courage struggling to survive in the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Also fresh from New York is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's The King of Shadows, making its regional premiere at the Pillsbury House Theatre (October 2 - November 1). A writer on the HBO hit series Big Love, Aguirre-Sacasa presents the story of Nihar, a teenage runaway in foggy San Francisco.

The Guthrie has a slew of offerings for October including Brian Friel's Faith Healer, a play told entirely through four monologues delivered by three actors (October 23 - December 6). Interact Theater presents an unprecedented collaboration with Australia's Tutti Ensemble in Northern Lights/Southern Cross: Tales From the Other Side of the World (The Guthrie, October 22 - November 8), which tells the story of a regular Minnesota guy who has a motorcycle accident and wakes up on the other side of the world. The Guthrie will also present the Twin Cities reading of The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later (October 12). This epilogue to Moises Kaufman's groundbreaking examination of the murder of Matthew Shepard will be read by over 120 Theater Companies all around the world, culminating in a live talkback via satellite with Kaufman and other members of the Tectonic Theater Project.

After making its premiere at the Guthrie last fall, Little House on the Prairie the Musical comes back to the Twin Cities to play at St. Paul's Ordway Center for the Arts (October 13 - 25). Melissa Gilbert, who played Laura on the much-loved television series, returns to the Prairie to play Ma in this musical version of Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic book. Also at Ordway is Theatre Latte Da's production of the hilarious musical comedy, The Full Monty (October 15 - November 8).

Other musical presentations this month include Working at the Lakeshore Players Theatre (October 23 - November 22). Based on Studs Terkel's eponymous book of interviews about employment in America, Working features music by Stephen Schwartz, James Taylor, Micki Grant, Craig Carnelia, and Mary Rodgers. Lyric Arts presents Alan Menken's Little Shop of Horrors (October 16 - November 1), the musical tale of a Faustian bargain between the down-on-his-luck Seymour Krelborn and a bloodthirsty plant. Meanwhile, Chanhassen Dinner Theatre opens their production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, Oklahoma! (October 2 - January 23).

Park Square Theatre and Ten Thousand Things present dueling productions of Shakespeare's tale of jealousy and revenge, Othello. The Ten Thousand Things production plays at Open Book in Minneapolis (October 23 - November 8) before transferring briefly to the Minnesota Opera Center (November 13 - 15), while Park Square Theatre plays at their home in St. Paul (October 23 - November 8). The late August Wilson's final installment of the ten-play Pittsburgh Cycle, Radio Golf makes its regional premiere at St. Paul's Penumbra Theatre, at which Wilson debuted some of his earliest professional work. The story of Harmon Wilkes, a black mayoral candidate in Pittsburgh, Radio Golf is a critical look at race in American politics.

One of America's favorite Essayists and a regular contributor to National Public Radio, David Sedaris, stops by the State Theater for a reading of his work (October 14). The NPR crowd will also not want to miss Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion as it continues its fall season with a series of live broadcasts from The Fitzgerald Theater (October 3 - 24).

Always ready with new and exciting children's theater, The Children's Theater Company presents hip-hop theater for kids with The Mayhem Poets (October 13 - November 7), an interactive theater experience that blends slam poetry, rhythm, and improv. Equally daring, St. Paul's SteppingStone Theatre opens their new season with Hanuman & The Girl Prince (October 23 - November 8), a brand-new children's Bollywood-style musical that is the second play in SteppingStone's Hanuman Trilogy. If you have kids, don't miss either of these exciting productions.

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