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‘This Funny Thing Called Love’ and other Valentine’s Day fun

ALSO: “Stewardess” at the History Theatre; celebrations and tributes to Willie Murphy; and more.

Back for its sixth year, Kevin Kling & Friends: The Love Show.

Valentine’s Day is Thursday. You know that, right? If you already have plans – or you just don’t care – you can skip ahead to Michael Christie’s Grammy win below. If you’re looking for ideas, we can help.

Wednesday, Feb. 13 at Crooners: This Funny Thing Called Love: A Lighthearted Valentine. Why wait until Thursday when Wednesday will be sweet and swinging? Joined by a sympatico trio of friends – Mary Louise Knutson on piano, Graydon Peterson bass, Dave Karr on saxophone – Connie Evingson will bring the love. 7:30 p.m. in the cozy Dunsmore Room. Tickets here ($25); 763-760-0062.

Crooners, a place that loves love and tribute concerts, has basically made all week V-Day, and it has two rooms – the main room and the Dunsmore Room – with events going on in both. Tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 12), Erin Schwab will give a laugh-out-loud Valentine’s performance. On Feb. 14, singers Maud Hixson and Jason Richards will share the story of celebrated couple Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé and the duets they made famous (“Side by Side,” “Darn It Baby, That’s Love”), with Rick Carlson on piano. Also on Feb. 14, Mark Lickteig will sing the music of Otis Redding. On Friday, Feb. 15, Cookie Coleman and Patrick Frederick will present “Songs for Lovers and Fools.” And Lisa Wenger will host an evening with real-life lovers and music partners Jennifer Grimm and Joe Cruz, Camille Gross and Chris Olson, Mary Louise Knutson and Michael B. Nelson, and Laura MacKenzie and Gary Rue. On Saturday, Feb. 16, Dan Chouinard, Gary Rue, Richard Kriehn, Joe Savage, Gary Raynor and Peter Johnson will perform classic country songs from the hi-fi era in “A Lush Country Valentine.” We did not know Prudence Johnson could yodel, but of course she can. She can do anything. FMI and tickets for all; 763-760-0062.

Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Dakota: Valentine’s Day Late Show: Mina Moore Sings Songs for Lovers. The Twin Cities-based singer-songwriter will draw from her book and background of R&B and neo-soul for an evening of upbeat love songs. This will be an intimate lateish-night event in a classy venue that won’t break the bank. 9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($25/30); 612-332-5299.

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Thursday, Feb. 14 at the O’Shaughnessy: Kevin Kling & Friends: The Love Show. Back for its sixth year, this one-night-only V-Day extravaganza will feature stories and songs by Kling, Marc Anderson, Dan Chouinard, Prudence Johnson, Simone Perrin, Claudia Schmidt and Dane Stauffer, with special guest Ali Selim. No one tells a tale like Kevin Kling. 7 p.m. FMI and tickets ($27; discounts available); 651-690-6700.

Thursday’s performance of Theater Latté Da’s production of Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” has sold out, but a few (very few) tickets are still available for tonight, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. It’s beautiful, it’s romantic, it’s funny and touching. The whole cast is superb, with Sally Wingert and Mark Benninghofen showing once again (after “Sweeney Todd” and “Six Degrees of Separation” at Latté Da, “Shooting Star” at the Park Square and “Juno and the Paycock” at the Guthrie) that they belong together on stage. FMI and tickets ($40-57); 612-339-3003.

A love letter from the golden age of musical theater, “She Loves Me” continues at Artistry through Sunday, Feb. 17. Tickets are available for Wednesday through Sunday. Benjamin McGovern directs, and the cast includes Ryan London Levin, Sarah DeYong and T. Mychael Rambo. FMI and tickets ($46/41/15); 952-563-8575.

Conductor Michael Christie has won his first Grammy

Photo by Tim Trumble
Michael Christie
In 2017, Michael Christie led the world premiere performances of “The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs,” composed by Mason Bates, at the Santa Fe Opera. In 2018, Pentatone released the opera’s world premiere recording. On Sunday, Michael Christie – music director for the Minnesota Opera from 2012-2018 – won the Grammy for Best Opera Recording.

It was the first Grammy for Christie, who in January was named music director of California’s New West Symphony but still makes his home in Minneapolis. Christie also conducted the Minnesota Opera’s world premiere performances of Kevin Puts’ “Silent Night” in 2011; Putz received the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Both operas have something in common: librettist Mark Campbell, a Minnesota Opera favorite who has adapted Kate DiCamillo’s “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” for a new opera by composer Paola Prestini that will premiere in November.

Another Grammy with sort-of local connections went to the Punch Brothers, who won Best Folk Album for “All Ashore.” Their mandolinist, Chris Thile, hosts “Live from Here,” formerly known as “A Prairie Home Companion,” which occasionally airs live from here at the Fitzgerald and sometimes the State Theatre. OK, that’s a stretch, but we do what we can to wave the Twin Cities flag.

The picks

Tonight (Tuesday, Feb. 12) and Wednesday at the Edina Cinema: Back-to-back concert films. On Tuesday at 7 p.m.: “Josh Groban Bridges from Madison Square Garden.” With guests Idina Menzel and Jennifer Nettles, a 14-piece orchestra, a five-piece band, a chorus and that remarkable voice. FMI, trailer and tickets ($15). On Wednesday at 7 p.m.: “Joni 75: A Birthday Celebration.” An all-star gathering in honor of Joni Mitchell’s 75th birthday. Filmed over two nights at the Music Center at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles, with Mitchell in the house, performers include Brandi Carlile, Emmylou Harris, Seal, Norah Jones, Diana Krall, Kris Kristofferson, Los Lobos, Graham Nash, James Taylor and many more, singing songs from across Mitchell’s catalog of 19 studio albums. FMI, trailer and tickets ($15).

Photo by Getty Images for The Music Center
A still from Joni 75.
Now at the History Theatre: “Stewardess.” Kira Obolensky’s play spotlights the fight for gender equality in the workplace in the sky. Once upon a time, not that long ago, flight attendants were called stewardesses, and they were all women age 32 and under – weighed, measured, trained, smiling, unmarried (those were the rules) and underpaid. Tracey Maloney stars as Mary Pat Laffey, who began work as a stewardess for Northwest Orient in 1958, stood up to the corporate giant and made a difference. Directed by Noel Raymond. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($27-42). Through March 3.

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Saturday at the Dakota: Kandace Springs. Prince once said that Springs’ voice could melt snow. Meeting him in 2014 changed her life. Her first Blue Note release, “Soul Eyes,” came out in 2016; her second, “Indigo,” in 2018. Prince could always pick them; counting Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone and Norah Jones as her influences, Springs sounds like herself. And by the way, “Indigo” includes a track with trumpeter Roy Hargrove, who left us in November. 7 and 9 p.m. FMI and tickets ($35-45).

Saturday,  Sunday and Monday on the West Bank: Celebrating Willie Murphy. We lost a legendary Minnesota musician, songwriter, producer and character when Murphy died on Jan. 13 at age 75. (If you missed fellow musician Paul Metsa’s salute to Murphy in MinnPost, here it is.) On Saturday, Hoverston Chapel at Augsburg University will host a celebration of life service at 2 p.m. All are welcome. On Sunday at the Cabooze, the Bumblebees, the Willie Murphy Band, the Angel Headed Hipsters and guests Spider John Korner, Ipso Facto, Metsa, Phil Heywood, Tim Sparks, Curtis A and many more will gather for “Fairytales: A Celebration of the Life and Music of Willie Murphy,” an afternoon-into-the-night of music and stories emceed by Bobby Vandell. Doors at 3:30, music 4-10 p.m. $10 cash at the door; give more if you want. And on Monday, Palmer’s Bar will host a blues jam in memory of Willie.