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Guthrie to present ‘Acting Black’; ‘Disgraced’ to open

The Playwrights’ Center
Carlyle Brown

Announcing the Guthrie’s new Level Nine Initiative in April, Artistic Director Joe Haj promised “happenings” – periodic events in response to events in Minnesota and the world. The goal, in his words: to “create a safe place for our community to have a meaningful dialogue where we can heal and grow and understand.”

In early August, the Guthrie will use some of its $1 million Mellon grant to hold two free public performances of Carlyle Brown’s solo project, “Acting Black,” each followed by a discussion with the audience. Brown, a core writer at the Playwrights’ Center, described the 60-minute piece as “part spoken word, part stand-up comedy, part TED Talk. A performance that riffs on the roots of American racism and its consequences for all of us.”

Haj said in a statement, “In a gathering as a staff to discuss how we might be most useful to our community in these uncertain times, Carlyle’s performance quickly rose to the surface.”

Aug. 5-6, 7:30 p.m. in the Dowling Studio (the Level Nine theater). Reservations are available online, or call the box office: 612-377-2224, toll-free 877-44-STAGE.

Praise for the Minnesota Orchestra’s new Sibelius Cycle recording

It won’t be released in the States until Oct. 14 (no fair!), but British reviewers are already raving about “Sibelius: Symphonies Nos. 3, 6, 7,” the final disc in the Sibelius Cycle from Osmo Vänskä and the Minnesota Orchestra, recorded at Orchestra Hall in mid-2015 by the Swedish label BIS.

The Sunday Times’ Hugh Canning made it his Album of the Week and wrote, “With these recordings, Vänskä confirms his status as our greatest living Sibelian. Irreplaceable.” Malcom Hayes of the BBC Music Magazine gave the recording five stars and called it “stellar league Sibelius.”

The CD will be officially out in Europe on July 31, just in time for the orchestra’s European tour.

Hopkins Center to host Jack DeJohnette Trio

Hopkins Center for the Arts has announced a 2016-17 concert season that leans heavily toward roots and Americana, with one surprising exception: the Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Matthew Garrison trio, due here Feb. 4, 2017.

Photo by Peter Gannushkin
Ravi Coltrane, Jack DeJohnette and Matthew Garrison

Not that we’re complaining. NEA jazz master and Grammy winner DeJohnette is one of the greatest drummers in the history of jazz; saxophonist Coltrane is the son of John Coltrane; bassist Garrison is the son of Jimmy Garrison. The three played a one-off concert of Ravi’s dad’s music in Brooklyn in 1997 and are together again and touring behind their new album, “In Movement.”

Here’s the rest of the lineup: Oct. 22, 2016: St. Paul singer-songwriter Nicholas David (“The Voice”). Nov. 5: Twin Cities Americana/folk group Romantica and Erik Koskinen. Dec. 10: American roots legends Asleep at the Wheel celebrate the holidays.

Jan. 24, 2017: Minneapolis-based Americana group Rogue Valley. Feb. 25, 2017: jazz guitarist Julian Lage and bluegrass guitarist Chris Eldridge, a member of the Punch Brothers with new “A Prairie Home Companion” host Chris Thile. March 11: Singer, mandolinist and former child prodigy Sierra Hull. (By then, she’ll be an ancient 25.) March 21: Indie-American singer-songwriter Pieta Brown.

April 8: American folk musician, guitarist and singer-songwriter David Wilcox. April 25: Bill Frisell, who might play jazz or might not. But he certainly can if he wants to. May 2: Minneapolis-based, dreamy indie-roots band The Pines. May 13: Country singing star Suzy Bogguss.

Tickets go on sale Tuesday, Aug. 2, at noon.

The picks

Opens tonight (Friday, July 22) at the Guthrie: “Disgraced.” Directed by Marcela Lorca, Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play about racial prejudices continues the Guthrie’s exploration of race that began with Alice Childress’ “Trouble in Mind,” continues in its staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” (through Aug. 28) and just expanded with the addition of Carlyle Brown’s “Acting Black” in the Dowling. FMI and tickets ($34-$64). Starting Saturday, July 23, every performance includes a post-show discussion.

Saturday at the Chateau St. Croix winery: Chateau Jazz Festival. Listen to music, drink some wine (local craft beers also available), try a new food truck. Performers include Maud Hixson and Rick Carlson, the Zacc Harris Quartet, Pete Whitman’s Mississippi and Doug Little’s Charanga Tropical, a stellar lineup of area musicians. 12 noon-6 p.m. Free.

Saturday at Lake Harriet: ArtCars + ArtBikes Parade. There’s no telling what you’ll do to your own car and/or bike once you see these splendid examples of creativity, imagination and sheer nuttiness. Starts at the Rose Garden (4124 Roseway Rd.), then circles the lake, so you can watch from anywhere. 6 p.m.

Sunday in Rochester: Rochester City Jazz Festival. Heads up, Med City: you’ve got a brand-new jazz festival. Co-founded by indefatigable Twin Cities trumpeter Steve Kenny, it’s starting small – just one day, from noon-8 p.m. at the Rochester Civic Theatre – but quality. 12-12:45 p.m. on the patio: the Rochester-based jazz quartet D’Sievers. 1-4 p.m.: Jazz jam with D’Sievers. 4:30-6 p.m., indoors on the main stage: Steve Kenny’s Group 47. 6:30-8 p.m., also indoors on the main stage: Atlantis Quartet. Tickets $10 online or at the door.

Sunday at the U’s Lloyd Ultan Recital Hall: The Complete Flutist: Opening Artist Concert. Immanuel Davis (flute), Timothy Lovelace (piano), Pitnarry Shin and Käthe Jarka (cellos) play works for flute by Russian composer Nikolai Kapustan, two written especially for Davis. In Ferguson Hall, 2106 Fourth St. South. 6 p.m. Free. Reception follows.

Monday at the Ordway: “Behind Ordway’s Curtain: Paint Your Wagon.” Are you going to the Ordway’s production of Lerner and Loewe’s “Paint Your Wagon” in August? Or thinking about going? Get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the creators, the cast, and what it took to bring this “revisal” to the stage. Hosted by Ordway Producing Artistic Director James Rocco, the evening ends with a panel discussion moderated by Star Tribune theater critic Graydon Royce. 7 p.m. Free, but space is limited. RSVP here.

Monday and Tuesday at a movie palace near you: “Batman: The Killing Joke.” We’ve known about this for a while but apparently didn’t grok its full significance. Now showing at more than 1,150 locations across the U.S., it’s the biggest rollout in the history of Fathom Events, the company that broadcasts all sorts of things to cinemas nationwide including The Met: Live in HD, National Theatre Live, sports, comedy, premieres and classic films. Additional showings and second dates have been added for the premiere of an animated film based on the No. 1 New York Times best-selling graphic novel that pits Batman (voiced by Kevin Conroy) against the Joker (Mark Hamill) and chronicles the birth of a super-villain. Bonus material includes an interview with Hamill. 7:30 and 10 p.m. FMI and theater finder (click “Buy Tickets,” then enter your ZIP). Ticket prices vary.

Tuesday at Plymouth Congregational Church: “Tippecanoe and Gershwin, Too!” Pre-Twitter, and before presidential candidates started stealing from Queen, people wrote and performed actual campaign songs. This concert is a  timely tour of catchy tunes from “Tippecanoe and Tyler, Too” through “Click with Dick,” plus a Singers’ Digest version of Gershwin’s 1933 Broadway rarity, “Let ’Em Eat Cake,” the rather dark sequel to his 1931 hit, “Of Thee I Sing.” With vocalists Maria Jette, Lisa Drew, Vern Sutton and James Bohn, and Sonja Thompson on piano. 7 p,m. Free.

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