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Minneapolis/St. Paul Spotlight: April 2009

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Tony Kushner
(© Roy Zipstein)
The Guthrie begins a two-month celebration of Tony Kushner with his landmark musical, Caroline, Or Change (April 18-June 29). Featuring a score by Jeanine Tesori, Caroline, or Change is the story of an African-American maid and the Jewish family for whom she works in Lake Charles, Louisiana. Two more Kushner shows follow in May.

In April, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres opens a new production of Always...Patsy Cline starring Monica Heuser (April 3-October 31), who has been officially sanctioned by the Patsy Cline estate to play the role. This intimate musical is based on the true story of Cline's two-year pen pal relationship with Louise Seger. Heuser previously portrayed Cline in the national tour of A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline.

Recent Broadway hit Legally Blonde the Musical comes to the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts (April 29-May 10). Other musicals opening this month include Treasure Island, based on the Robert Louis Stevenson classic (Old Log Theater, April 28-July 25) and Quilters, about frontier women and their quilts (Wellstone Center, April 3-25).

Mixed Blood Theater presents a "play-within-a-Pow Wow" with Red Ink (April 23-May 10), an examination of gaming, sports mascots, sovereignty, and other Native American issues. Meanwhile, Minnesotans can continue to challenge their social consciousness with I Have Before Me a Remarkable Document Given to Me by a Young Lady From Rwanda (April 24-May 17). Also, Michelle Myers Berg plays over twenty different characters in her one-woman-show, Blue Collar Diaries (History Theatre, through April 19), about growing up in a working-class neighborhood in St. Paul in the 1960s.

Meanwhile, Theatre Pro Rata presents Bertolt Brecht's The Life of Galileo (Gremil Theater, April 4-19). Playwright Stacey Dinner-Levin explores raising a child with autism, inspired by her personal experience, in Autistic License (Illusion Theater, April 2 and 3). Another playwright who opens up her life on stage is Lisa Kron, whose 2.5 Minute Ride focuses on her family, including her 74-year old father Walter, a German-born Jew who escaped the Holocaust as a teenager (Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company, April 18-May 10).

The Southern Theater continues to present great dance theater with three new presentations in April, Shapiro & Smith Dance (April 9-12), Ragamala Dance (April 30-May 3), and The Flying Foot Forum (April 16-26).

The Children's Theatre Company opens two new shows this month. First is the American premiere of Circoluna (through April 26), a collaboration between Swedish Theatre Company, Dockteatern Titut and Teatro Gioco Vita featuring shadow puppetry. Next is Len Jenkin's stage adaptation of the Beverly Cleary novel, Ramona Quimby (April 21-June 7), about a seven-year-old girl and her trials surviving the third grade. Finally, The Magic Tree House: The Musical, based on the beloved children's books by Mary Pope Osborne, comes to the State theatre for two performances only on April 4.

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