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Theater Latté Da to bring back ‘La Bohème,’ Thornetta Davis at the Dakota

A world premiere, a homecoming and the return of a storied production from the Loring Playhouse days are among the treats in Theater Latté Da’s 2019-20 season, its 22nd, announced yesterday.

We’ll see Regina Marie Williams and Britta Ollmann twice, together in two separate productions. But no Tyler Michaels King? He just finished “Hedwig” and will start “To Let Go and Fall” later this month, and he’s been on every Latté Da season since 2012-13’s “Cabaret.” No doubt he’ll pop up again.

The new season will start in September with the razzle-dazzle of “Chicago,” the legendary John Kander/Fred Ebb/Bob Fosse show that’s Broadway’s longest-running American musical. Set in 1920s Chicago, based on real-life crimes and trials, it centers on vaudeville star Roxie Hart and nightclub performer Velma Kelly, both in jail for murder. Women rule. Peter Rothstein will direct. (This is production 1 with Williams and Ollmann.) Sept. 18-Nov. 3.

A scene from the New York production of “All Is Calm.”
Photo by Dan Norman
A scene from the New York production of “All Is Calm.”
“All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914,” written by Rothstein, premiered in 2007 and became a holiday tradition. Except for a single weekend, it spent last year at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture in its off-Broadway debut, where it earned a Drama Desk Award nomination. This year it will spend the holidays here, with the same cast everyone loved in New York. “All Is Calm” will settle into the Ritz for a nice, long run, Nov. 27-Dec. 22.

The New Year will bring the area premiere of Michael John La Chiusa’s “Bernarda Alba,” the musical based on Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1936 play and fueled by flamenco. Williams will lead an all-women cast (this is production 2 that also includes Ollman). Crystal Manich, recently appointed artistic director of the Mill City Opera, will direct. Jan. 15-Feb. 16.

We’re thrilled about the next production in the season. In 2005, in its former home at the 120-seat Loring Playhouse, Rothstein premiered an Ivey-winning version of “La Bohème” that distilled Puccini’s grand opera to its essence. With a small cast and an even smaller band of Parisian street instruments – accordion, piano, guitar, violin, and clarinet – he created a “Bohème” that critic John Townsend called “moving and exquisite.” We can’t wait to see it again. Will it be as good as we remember? Or even better? March 11-April 26. BTW here’s what the Metropolitan Opera’s production of “La Bohème” looks like. (Plus a full orchestra in the pit.) Lattê Da’s won’t look like that.

The world premiere is “Twelve Angry Men,” with music and lyrics by Michael Holland and book by David Simpatico. Based on the teleplay by Reginald Rose that was originally broadcast in 1954 on Westinghouse Studio One, it’s both courtroom drama and a crash course on the basics of a fair trial and the presumption of innocence. Rothstein will direct.

Rounding out the season, the 2019 Next Festival will feature three works-in-progress. Next Festival works often become full productions. Harrison David Rivers’ new work “To Let Go and Fall,” which ends Lattê Da’s 2018-19 season (and opens in previews on May 30), was part of last year’s Next Festival.

Season tickets are on sale now. “All Is Calm” and the Next Festival are season add-ons. Single tickets will be available later this year.

The picks

Tonight (Thursday, May 9) at the Cowles: Composer/Choreographer Meet-Up. Collaborations between music and dance are the hot thing, from the Bon Iver-TU Dance “Come Through” to performances at Icehouse involving musicians and dancers. How do they work? Where do you start? The American Composers Forum and the Cowles Center have teamed up to host an event that might help to answer those questions. Tonight’s program includes an artist meet-up at 7 p.m., a conversation with producer-performer-composer Bionik at 7:30 p.m., and MIXTAPE’s dress rehearsal at 8 p.m. Free, but RSVP. Refreshments provided. For composers, choreographers and the curious.

Friday through Sunday at the Cowles: MP3: MIXTAPE Part III. This collection of Twin Cities choreographers on the urban and street dance scene will present an evening of breaking, krump, house and New Jack Swing. Choreographers Al Taw’am, Herbert Johnson III, Joelle Fernandez, Darrius Strong and J-Sun curated, mentored and choreographed alongside Andy Asong-Morfaw and Frankie Hebres this year; Bionik returns as a fellow collaborator. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. FMI and tickets ($18/21).

Craft'za
Courtesy of Craft'za
Shop clothing, jewelry, pottery, cards, textiles, dog collars, prints, bath and body products, and more at Craft’za.
Saturday at the Grain Belt Bottling House: 2019 Spring Craft’za. A juried show of all kinds of handmade goods by 60 local artists, including 22 new this year. Shop clothing, jewelry, pottery, cards, textiles, dog collars, prints, bath and body products, and pretty much anything else you have a yen for. This show is also an incubator for artists; fashion designer Christopher Straub got his start at a Craft’za. 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Food trucks. FMI. P.S. Mother’s Day is Sunday.

Thornetta Davis to perform Saturday night at the Dakota.
Thornetta Davis to perform Saturday night at the Dakota.
Saturday at the Dakota: Thornetta Davis. “Detroit’s Queen of the Blues,” Davis has won dozens of Detroit music awards, backed Bob Seger and Kid Rock, and opened for legends like Ray Charles, Etta James and Bonnie Raitt. She’s on her own now, with two albums to her credit including “Honest Woman.” Here’s a video. This will be a great Saturday night. 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($20-35).

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