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‘Hamilton,’ ‘Hadestown’ among 2020-21 ‘Broadway on Hennepin’ shows

Eva Noblezada and the original Broadway cast of "Hadestown."
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Eva Noblezada and the original Broadway cast of "Hadestown."

Yes, “Hamilton” will return, as promised – this time for seven weeks.

But it’s not the only reason to get excited about the 2020-21 “Broadway on Hennepin” season, announced Monday afternoon by Hennepin Theatre Trust.

A few favorites will circle back, but most of the season will be touring productions new to Minnesota. All told, the 10 shows will bring 19 weeks of Broadway to the Orpheum’s stage. Together they have won 29 Tony awards, including three for Best Musical.

Let’s get right to it, in chronological order.

“Hamilton” (Oct. 6-Nov. 22, 2020). To ensure your “Hamilton” tickets, you’ll need to commit to the eight-show season package. For comparison, a pair of third-row seats to “Hamilton” at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City, its Broadway home since Aug. 6, 2015, will set you back $2,261.05. (That was Monday’s surge pricing. It’s probably higher now.) Winner of 11 Tonys.

“To Kill a Mockingbird” (Dec. 15-20). Not a musical. Just “the most successful American play in Broadway history,” per “60 Minutes.” Oscar winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork is another Tony winner.

“Oklahoma!” (Jan. 19-24, 2021). Not your grandparents’ (or great-grandparents’) “Oklahoma.” Stripped down and darker, Daniel Fish’s production tells a story of a community circling its wagons against an outsider. A Best Revival of a Musical Tony winner.

Ephraim Sykes, kneeling, and the cast of "Ain't Too Proud."
Photo by Matthew Murphy
Ephraim Sykes, kneeling, and the cast of "Ain't Too Proud."
“Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations” (Feb. 16-28). The first musical by MacArthur “genius” Dominique Morisseau follows the Motown legends from the streets of Detroit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Directed by Des McAnuff (“Jersey Boys”), with the Tony-winning choreography of Sergio Trujillo (“Jersey Boys” again).

“Jersey Boys” (March 16-21). The music- and dance-filled story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. In 2018, the last time it was here, “Jersey Boys” was the show of the year.

Four Tony awards.

Karen Olivo as Satine and Aaron Tveit as Christian in "Moulin Rouge."
Courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust
Karen Olivo as Satine and Aaron Tveit as Christian in "Moulin Rouge."
“Moulin Rouge: The Musical” (April 14-May 2). The musical version of Baz Luhrmann’s film (remember Nicole Kidman on a swing?) has been remixed with new tunes, including songs by Lady Gaga, OutKast and Katy Perry.

“The Prom” (May 18-23). A new musical comedy about big Broadway stars, a small town and love. Critics call it “big hearted,” “full of happiness” and “comic gold.”

“Cats” (June 8-13). “Cats” the musical, not, emphatically, “Cats” the movie. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s much-loved, long-running hit is back in a new production, including new choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler (“Hamilton) and direction by Trevor Nunn (“Les Misérables”).

“Hadestown” (June 22-27). Orpheus and Eurydice meet King Hades and Persephone in the musical that won eight 2019 Tonys (including Best Musical) and the 2020 Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Created by singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell and director Rachel Chavkin (“Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812”).

“Tootsie” (July 27-Aug. 1). A “hilarious, thoroughly modern Tootsie” and New York Times Critics’ Pick, based on the Oscar-nominated film, with a Tony-winning book by Robert Horn and a clever score by Tony winner David Yazbek (“The Band’s Visit”).

The seven-show subscription package (starts at $290) includes “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Oklahoma,” “Ain’t Too Proud,” “Moulin Rouge,” “The Prom,” “Hadestown” and “Tootsie.” For the eight-show package (starts at $345), add “Hamilton.” All subscribers are guaranteed the same seats for each show. “Jersey Boys” and “Cats” may be added to a package. Call 1-800-859-7469 or stop by the State Theatre box office.

Tickets for individual shows will go on sale to the general public at later dates.

The picks

Now at HGA Gallery in the U’s Rapson Hall: “Elizabeth Scheu Close: A Life in Modern Architecture.” Close was a rarity: a woman practicing architecture in the mid-20th century.  With her husband, William Close, she founded the state’s first architecture firm dedicated to modernism, leaving an indelible mark on our built landscape and blazing a trail for future generations. This exhibition precedes a biography of Scheu Close forthcoming from the U of M Press in April 2020 and was curated by its author, Jane King Hession. Gallery hours 9-5 p.m. Monday-Friday, 1-5 p.m. Saturday. Free. Closes April 26. A book signing and closing reception will be held April 20 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Tonight at the Ordway Concert Hall: Accordo with Silent Film. You experience silent films differently when they’re accompanied by live, original music. You experience live, original music differently when you’re watching a silent film. In 2016, the chamber group Accordo gave its first concert of music by composer Stephen Prutsman, who joined them on piano as Buster Keaton’s “Sherlock Jr.” and the 1920 silent horror film “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” flickered on a screen nearby. Now in its fifth year, this delightful evening has become an annual thing. Tonight’s concert will feature four films (two old, two new) and music by three composers: Prutsman, John Novacek and Schubert Club Composer-in-Residence deVon Russell Gray. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets $36/31). If you’re curious about how this all got started, here’s the story.

Tonight at the Playwrights’ Center: “Malvolio.” With the Guthrie’s production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” just around the corner (previews start Saturday, Feb. 8), Betty Shamieh’s “Malvolio” is perfectly timed. Part of PWC’s 2019-20 Ruth Easton New Play Series, this sequel to Shakespeare’s romantic comedy finds Malvolio, now a famous general, fighting an endless war and encountering Volina, the daughter of Viola and Orsino. Doors at 6:30 p.m., performance at 7. Free, but seating is limited and reservations are required.

Lara Bolton
Courtesy of the artist
Lara Bolton
Wednesday and Thursday at Icehouse: Voxspex Featuring the Instrument of Hope. Keyboardist Lara Bolton created Voxspex, a fusion of opera tunes and trained voices with soul, jazz and pop performed on drum kit and keyboard, not the usual orchestra. For four performances at Icehouse, she arranged to borrow the Instrument of Hope, a trumpet made of bullet casings by Shine MSD, a nonprofit begun by students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. For Bolton, the connection with gun violence is personal: her two sons knew Philando Castile. The singers at Icehouse will be soprano Brittany Renee, tenor Dominique Wooten and baritone Nicholas Davis (seen most recently in Minnesota Opera’s “Flight”); Omar Abdulkarim will play the Instrument of Hope. Shows at 6:30 and 9 p.m. both nights. FMI and tickets ($20 advance, $25 door). Here’s a sample of Voxspex, without the trumpet.

Thursday at the Heights Theater: “Moonrise.” To make winter even darker, the Heights is screening a brilliantly titled series called “Cheap, Mean and Deadly: Noir from Poverty Row.” Turns out you don’t need fancy studios, big stars and budgets to make a good film. What you need is a good story. The studios that produced these films were Hollywood’s déclassé cousins, but you’ll be sitting on the edge of your seat. Directed by Frank Borzage, “Moonrise” stars Dane Clark, Gail Russell, and Ethel Barrymore in the tale of Danny Hawkins, who becomes a hunted man, just like his father. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($12). The series continues for four more Thursdays (through March 5). It’s being co-presented by the Trylon, so you can buy your tickets there if you prefer.

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