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Strong cast in deft 'Next to Normal' at Mixed Blood

Weekend Best Bets from Minnesota Monthly
Friday, October 5

Drama Club

WHAT: Next to Normal
WHERE: Mixed Blood Theatre, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

This 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winner for drama, a musical that deftly explores a family’s struggle with mental illness, came through town not so long ago. But this cast is way above normal: Regina Marie Williams, Brittany Radford (returning to Mixed Blood after moving to New York last year), AditiKapil, and more. mixedblood.com

Friday, October 5

The Biggest Loser

WHAT: Results Not Typical
WHERE: Bryant-Lake Bowl, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7 p.m.

Colleen Kruse heads up this all-women comedy set in a suburban weight-loss clinic, about the lies we tell ourselves trying to lose those last few pounds. Zach Curtis, perhaps the best comedic director in town, keeps this show on the scales, er, rails. Learn more at bryantlakebowl.com.

Saturday, October 6

And Justice For All

WHAT: Ten Thousand Things’ Measure for Measure
WHERE: Open Book, Minneapolis
WHEN: 8 p.m.

Few directors have distilled the accessible essence of Shakespeare’s plays like Michelle Hensley of Ten Thousand Things. Zach Curtis, Sonja Parks, Nathan Barlow (the former Children’s Theatre Company favorite, all grown up), and other top actors perform what is nominally a comedy but steeped in issues of mercy, justice, and man’s ability to dish out either of them in fair measure. Learn more at tenthousandthings.org

Saturday, October 6

The Cuban Connection

WHAT: Septeto Nacional de Ignacio Pineiro
WHERE: Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7 and 9 p.m.

This show kicks off a kind of Cuban fall in Minnesota, made possible by a slight easing of cultural-exchange programs with the island nation. Septeto, an evolving band, dates back to the late 1920s and is credited with popularizing son, a musical hybrid of Spanish and African influences, as well as salsa. On Sunday, the Dakota welcomes Alex Cuba, a Cuban-born Canadian who is taking his homeland’s music in a more contemporary, pop-soul direction. Learn more at dakotacooks.com.

Sunday, October 7

The Cinematic Singer

WHAT: Norah Jones and Cory Chisel
WHERE: Orpheum Theatre, Minneapolis
WHEN: 7 p.m.

The inspiration for Jones’ latest album, an atmospheric and stylish departure from her rootsy earlier romps, came from vintage movie posters. The undercard here, Cory Chisel, is no less intriguing: the Appleton, Wis., native recorded one of the finest cuts on the latest album of local Beatles covers, and brings a more ’60s-ish feel to Avett Brothers-style folk-rock. Learn more at hennepintheatretrust.org.

Sunday, October 7

The Ghosts Inside

WHAT: Torch Theater’s Turn of the Screw
WHERE: Theatre Garage, Minneapolis
WHEN: 2 p.m.

Stacia Rice’s Torch Theater returns with Henry James’s searing suspense story, freshly adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and just in time for the Halloween season. The story, briefly: a new governessarrives at an English manor house where the previous governess drowned herself and the valet was found dead—and now she’s starting to see their ghosts. Or is she? Learn more at torchtheater.com.

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