Capri Theater to host multi-week run of ‘A Brown Tale’; Wits announces fall season

Photo by Allen Weeks
On Sept. 6 James T. Alfred brings his one-person show “A Brown Tale” to the Capri Theater.

In its 87-year history, the Capri Theater has been a movie house, a music venue (where Prince played his first shows as a solo artist), a retail space (with a drugstore), a classical concert hall, a jazz club, a community center, a training ground for students, and more. But it has never hosted a multi-week theatrical run. At least, not that anyone can remember. That changes Saturday, Sept. 6, when James T. Alfred brings his one-person show “A Brown Tale” to Broadway in Minneapolis for what everyone hopes will be a lengthy stay.

Directed by Lou Bellamy, performed by Alfred, “A Brown Tale” premiered last September at Penumbra’s Purdy Festival, when it ran for eight performances. Afterward, Alfred started looking for another venue that would work for his show, a comedic narrative about growing up in the projects on Chicago’s south side. Meanwhile, the Capri had recently completed a series of focus groups and an online survey to learn more about what its audiences want. Turns out, they want more theatrical productions. And the Capri wants to offer more support to independent artists.

“We saw a lot of connections between James’s show – about growing up in an urban environment – and people in North Minneapolis,” Karl Reichert, the Capri’s director, told MinnPost. “Since we started the Capri renaissance in 2007, it’s been our goal to have a multi-week run. When James was looking for a space to bring back ‘A Brown Tale,’ Kevin West, one of our artistic directors, brought him over. He thought James’s show was well-suited for us, being in the heart of a North Minneapolis neighborhood.” Performances are scheduled through Sept. 21; the show can run longer if needed. Opening night is Saturday, Sept. 6. Order tickets here ($20–$32) or call TicketWorks at 612-343-3390. Previews are Sept. 4 and 5; $10 cash-only tickets at the door.

We’re officially excited about the Wits 2014 fall season. To drop a few names: “Weird Al” Yankovic (stop reading this, watch his new “Word Crimes” video, then come back), Colin Hanks (Tom’s son, Gus Grimly on TV’s “Fargo,” former serial killer on “Dexter”), Jeremy Messersmith (here he is on “David Letterman” earlier this week), Neil Gaiman, and Shara Worden’s My Brightest Diamond. Shows are at the Fitz – and at the Guthrie, and in St. Joseph. Presented by American Public Media and MPR, Wits is a live show that becomes a radio show heard on more than 125 public radio stations across the country. Tickets are available to Wits Social Club members at a special happy hour on Thursday, Sept. 4, from 4–7 p.m. and by phone starting at noon on Friday, Sept. 5. They go on sale to the general public starting Tuesday, Sept. 9. FMI and Social Club sign-up.

Is it too soon to think about Christmas? Don’t buy a tree quite yet, but you might want to know that swaths of tickets have already been sold to Lorie Line’s 25th Anniversary Christmas Special at the Ames Center in Burnsville, formerly the Burnsville Performing Arts Center (BPAC). Find yours here ($49), stop by the box office at 12600 Nicollet Ave., or call 952-895-4680.

Wondering why the Burnsville Performing Arts Center (BPAC) is now called the Ames Center? Naming rights were sold late last year to Burnsville’s Ames Construction Inc. in return for payments of $100,000 a year for 10 years. The money will be used to lower the center’s operating deficit and reduce the subsidy Burnsville taxpayers have been paying since BPAC, um, Ames opened in 2009. Meanwhile, the Bloomington Theatre and Art Center (BTAC), the name coined when the Bloomington Civic Theatre and the Bloomington Art Center merged in 2009, resulting in one of the most unfortunate logos ever, is now undergoing rebranding. The PR firm PadillaCRT is working with BTAC to develop a new name and logo by year end. Maybe they can also address the other layers of confusion caused by the fact that BTAC is located within the Bloomington Center for the Arts (which houses nine arts organizations) at the Bloomington Civic Plaza, which is also home to the police department and City Hall. The rebranding can’t happen fast enough. And did we really used to have both a BPAC and a BTAC?

The Picks

Opens tonight (Friday, Aug. 22) at the Old Log Theatre in Excelsior: “Life Could Be a Dream.” The venerable Minnesota playhouse kicks off its 75th year with an award-winning doo-wop musical. The hits keep coming: “Unchained Melody,” “Runaround Sue,” “Earth Angel,” “Stay.” Under new owners Greg and Marissa Frankenfield, the Old Log has undergone a $2.5 million facelift that includes a newly renovated theater, lobby, and box office and an upscale restaurant, Cast & Cru, with menu by Chef Remy Pettus, formerly of Cosmos. Show at 7:30 p.m. Through Jan. 3, 2015. Buy tickets ($16–$30) and reserve restaurant tables here.

Saturday at the Trylon Microcinema: Poster Sale. Mmmmm, movie posters. Doors open at 1 p.m., close at 3:45 p.m. for tidying up and marking down, then reopen at 4 p.m. for a half-price clearance. All posters priced from $10–$25.

Saturday at the Cedar: 25th Anniversary Dance Party. Dance to two of the region’s top world music acts, Making Movies (Kansas City) and De La Buena (Milwaukee). Worldwide Discoteque DJs will spin throughout the evening. Starts at 8 p.m. Free and open to the public, all ages.

Monday at the Washington County Historic Courthouse in Stillwater: Stillwater Music Festival Opener. The Brooklyn-based string quartet Brooklyn Rider plays music by Haydn, Kyle Sanna, Tobias Broström and John Cage, and the traditional “Little Birdie,” a traditional tune made popular by the late, great Pete Seeger, arranged by Colin Jacobsen. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($10/$25).

Monday at Walker Open Field: Christian Marclay’s “Graffiti Composition” screens to a live score by Screen Play (Laurent Estoppey, Ikue Mori and Anthony Coleman). The Walker’s Summer Music & Movies series, whose theme this year was “Playing with Time,” ends with a film by Christian Marclay, whose epic tour-de-force “The Clock” closes the same night. 7 p.m. Free. FMI.

Plan Ahead

People are already talking – a lot – about the Ben Frost show at the Amsterdam on Oct. 30. Last here in Feb. 2013 as part of the SPCO’s “Liquid Music” series, the Reykjavik-based electronic musician and composer gave an unforgettable performance you didn’t just hear but felt in every pore and fiber of your body. Frost is on tour with his latest album, “Aurora,” which is earning Album of the Year nods right and left. The October show will feature Frost solo. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8. Tickets here ($15).

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