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The Guthrie to produce the Henriad; Drone Not Drones at the Cedar

ALSO: “Porgy and Bess,” live from the Met; “Aquarela” at the Walker; and more.

The new production of the Henriad will run in repertory on the Wurtele Thrust Stage in spring 2021.
The new production of the Henriad will run in repertory on the Wurtele Thrust Stage in spring 2021.
MinnPost file photo by Corey Anderson

One word: Wow. As part of its 2020-21 season, the Guthrie will produce the entire Henriad. For the first time since 1990. Directed by Joseph Haj, the Guthrie’s artistic director, who was a member of the Guthrie’s acting company and performed in the original productions.

And what, you might reasonably ask, is the Henriad? This is a word Shakespearean scholars use for a particular cycle of Shakespeare’s history plays: “Richard II,” “Henry IV” Parts I and II, and “Henry V.”

A sweeping saga and a massive undertaking, the Henriad is rarely performed because it’s demanding, exhausting, and big: “nine hours of Shakespeare,” as the New Yorker described a 2014 production at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. (It can run longer.) “The sheer number of lines is daunting,” the New Yorker went on to say, “and the actor playing Prince Hal must turn himself from a rakish layabout enthralled by his lowlife friend Falstaff into Henry V, who has inherited the heavy crown his father has wrenched from the head of Richard II.”

The Guthrie’s 1990 production, directed by Garland Wright and Charles Newell, was hailed as “an extraordinary achievement in almost every way. It bowls you over with its sheer scope and ambition. … With this cycle, the Guthrie company takes a huge step forward.”

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The new production will run in repertory on the Wurtele Thrust Stage in spring 2021. It will be produced with one company of actors. You’ll be able to see it over the course of the run (chronological order is recommended) or, depending on your stamina, in a single weekend.

The Henriad deals with leadership, politics, power and the cost of war, so this undertaking “offers meaningful opportunities for a national symposium among industry professionals, Shakespeare scholars and our local community,” according to the Guthrie’s press release. It seems we can expect events, discussions and conversations related to the plays and their topics.

In the 1990 production, Haj played Bagot, one of King Richard’s friends. The cast also included Stephen Yoakam as Bolingbroke/Henry IV, Stephen D’Ambrose as Green, Sally Wingert as Queen Isabel, Nathaniel Fuller as Lord Marshal and Richard Ooms as York.

The Guthrie’s complete season will be announced in March.

Winter Jazz Festival will pop up in Uptown

The summer Twin Cities Jazz Festival, which turns 22 this year, was born as a one-off, one-day event on Peavey Plaza in 1999. In 2004, it expanded to Mears Park in St. Paul and had a foot in each city through 2008. That was the year the festival almost died. It was the height of the Great Recession, and funding had dried up. Then St. Paul rolled out the welcome mat. Jazz Fest has been held in Mears Park and its surroundings ever since.

But don’t we need hot music even more when it’s cold? Founder Steve Heckler has tried for years to establish a smaller-scale indoor jazz fest during the winter months. Winter Jazz Fest was a pop-up before pop-ups were a thing. It was held at the old Dakota in Bandana Square, at MacPhail when it was brand-new, at the Millennium Hotel, the Doubletree in St. Louis Park, a heated tent in Landmark Plaza in downtown St. Paul (bad idea) and the Holiday Inn in Minneapolis. It spent a few years at the Saint Paul Hotel, then moved to Crooners in Fridley for 2018 and 2019.

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On Sunday, March 29, the 2020 Winter Jazz Festival will take place in Uptown for the first time. Specifically, at the newly renovated Suburban World Theater, now the Granada Theater. Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombone-playing member of the NEA Jazz Masters family, will headline, Cuban pianist Jorge Pacheco will make his Twin Cities debut, and Yolande Bruce, a member of Moore by Four, will sing. The day will open with a youth performance. More young jazz musicians will play nearby on the Williams Uptown Stage.

Here’s the schedule (subject to change): Youth performance, 1:45-2:15 p.m. Yolande Bruce, 2:45-3:45. Jorge Pacheco, 4:15-5:15. Delfeayo Marsalis. 6:45-7:30.

Delfeayo Marsalis
Zac Smith Photography
Delfeayo Marsalis, the trombone-playing member of the NEA Jazz Masters family, will headline the 2020 Winter Jazz Festival.
Tickets are $35 in advance, $40 at the door. VIP tickets (which include a buffet, front-row seating and meet-and-greet) are $100. Order here.

The picks

Tonight (Thursday, Jan. 30) at Juxtaposition Arts: Opening reception for “Jamie Robertson: Making Reference.” Houston-based photographer Robertson uses self-portraiture to explore histories of colonial photography in the Americas and confront perceptions of her own identity. Ethnographic photographs and paintings from the Caribbean, South America and North America serve as reference points as she photographs herself. When we first learned of this show, we thought of Cindy Sherman, but Robertson’s work and Sherman’s are very different. See for yourself. 6-8 p.m. FMI. Free. RSVP on Facebook. On view through March 7.

Tonight in the Walker Cinema: Free screening of Victor Kossakovsky’s “Aquarela.” Giant waves, rising sea levels, violent storms, crumbling glaciers. With no voiceover, this is a cinematic journey through water in all its might and many forms. Here’s the trailer. Co-presented with the Great Northern, paired with “The Emergency Brake,” created by high school students to an excerpt of a speech by climate activist Greta Thunberg. 7 p.m. Free. Part of Winter at the Walker, with drinks, crafts, and s’mores in the lobby.

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Friday night and Saturday morning at the Cedar: 7th Annual Drone Not Drones. The annual all-night/all-day drone benefiting Doctors Without Borders draws fascinating musicians and listeners who bring pillows and blankets and settle in. The music is one seamless, uninterrupted 28-hour drone; as one artist or group finishes, the next is setting up, and the musical baton is smoothly passed. Performers include more than 50 local and national bands, drone choirs, Indonesian gamelan groups, drone robots, throat singers and more. This year’s big names include Clarice Jensen, artistic director of the American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME).  KFAI Fresh Air Community Radio will stream the concert live on air; a video livestream will also be available. Here’s this year’s trailer. 7 p.m. Friday-11 p.m. Saturday. FMI and tickets ($20 advance, $30 day of show).

Friday through Sunday: The SPCO: Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” with Richard Egarr. With Ruggero Allifranchini on violin, and Artistic Partner Richard Egarr directing from the harpsichord, this promises to be a delightful concert, no matter where you see it. The program also includes some lesser-known Baroque works; Egarr is a Baroque expert. 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Friday at Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, 9 p.m. Saturday at Saint Paul’s United Church of Christ, and 3 p.m. Sunday at Saint Andrew’s Lutheran Church in Mahtomedi. FMI and tickets ($11-26 adults, kids and students free).

“Porgy and Bess”
Bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue in the title roles of “Porgy and Bess.”
Saturday at a movie house near you: The Met: Live in HD: “Porgy and Bess.” James Robinson’s new production of Gershwin’s beloved opera has proved so popular that three performances have been added – a first in the Metropolitan Opera’s modern history. With bass-baritone Eric Owens and soprano Angel Blue in the title roles, an all-star ensemble that includes Denyce Graves, Golda Schultz, Alfred Walker and Ryan Speedo Green, and choreography by Camille A. Brown, it’s a must-see. Audra McDonald will host the live transmission on Saturday, which starts at 11:55 a.m. Go here to find your theater. P.S. The Showplace ICON in the West End just added more seats.