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Rock the Garden to feature women and nonbinary artists

ALSO: Theatre Elision, Artistry announce 2020-21 seasons; “Merges in March” at the Cowles; and more.

Tegan and Sara
This year's Rock the Garden lineup includes headliners Tegan and Sara, indie-pop duo, identical twins.
Courtesy of the artists

There’s never been a Rock the Garden like the one coming up Saturday, June 20. The all-day summer music festival on the Walker Art Center’s campus will be almost all women and nonbinary artists.

You read that right. The festival founded in 1998 by the Walker Art Center – annual since 2008, when it joined with 89.3 The Current and MPR, spotty before then – will feature eight bands led by women/nonbinary artists or with a woman in a leading role.

The lineup includes headliners Tegan and Sara, indie-pop duo, identical twins; Brittany Howard, leader of Alabama Shakes and, with the release of “Jaime” in 2019, solo artist; Poliça, the Minneapolis-based alt-rock/indietronic band led by singer-songwriter Channy Leaneagh; Joseph, a trio of Natalie Schepman and her sisters Alison and Meegan Closner, who named their band after a town in their home state of Oregon; “bedroom pop” artist Jay Som; Grammy-nominated, Amsterdam-based Turkish psychedelic folk band Altin Gün, whose lead singer is Merve Dasdemir; Minneapolis-based Sudani nonbinary hip-hop artist Dua Saleh; and the Minneapolis-based neo-emo band Gully Boys, an all-female trio whose members are Kathy, Nadirah and Natalie.

Doug Benidt, the Walker’s associate curator of performing arts, told the Star Tribune’s Chris Riemenschneider, “Each year we aim to book the best lineup possible, and the way things shook out this year allowed us to make these artists the focus and celebrate the fact that great music creators are not bound by genetics or politics.”

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Is it really that easy? Let’s hope the crowd size (capacity 11,000-plus) says yes. Tickets are on sale now. Member presale March 10 through March 13 ($69 general admission, $300 VIP), public on-sale March 13 ($74 general admission, $300 VIP). FMI.

P.S. We wish there had been room for jazz drummer Terri Lyne Carrington’s new band, Social Science. Or the all-female, all-star international jazz ensemble Artemis. It’s not as if RTG has never featured jazz or jazzyness. Past lineups have included Kamasi Washington, the Bad Plus and Medeski Martin & Wood.

Theatre Elision, Artistry announce 2020-21 seasons

Bringing new or little-known works to the stage, supporting the work of female artists, highlighting female characters, and performing in its own Elision Playhouse in Crystal, the musical theater company Theatre Elision yesterday announced its 2020-21 season, “Everyone Has a Story.” These are the five upcoming productions:

Sept. 10-13: “City Stories: Tales of Love and Magic in London,” a play by James Phillips with music by UK artist Rosabella Gregory. The U.S. premiere was Off Broadway in 2016. Gregory will join this Midwest premiere and perform her original music.

The fourth annual production of Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet,” now a Halloween tradition.
Photo by Amy Stockhaus
The fourth annual production of Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet,” now a Halloween tradition.
Oct. 21-24: The fourth annual production of Dave Malloy’s “Ghost Quartet,” now a Halloween tradition. This time, expect the ghost of Thelonious Monk.

Jan. 21-23, 2021: “A Flight of Short Musicals: We’re All Right.” Mini-musicals will explore the ways people cope with and overcome life’s uncertainties and challenges.

March 18-28, 2021: “Sea Cabinet” by Gwyneth Herbert. A woman walks the shoreline alone, collecting every washed-up object she finds. First presented at the Southern in 2019, back by popular demand.

May 6-22, 2021: “Islander,” book by Stewart Melton, music and lyrics by Finn Anderson. The top musical at the 2019 Edinburgh Film Festival also had a successful run in London. This US premiere is the story of a mysterious stranger who washes onto a beach on a Scottish island, changing life forever.

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Artistry Theater in Bloomington has announced a 2020-21 season of five fully produced musicals and one concert-style musical. All will be directed by Benjamin McGovern, who came to Artistry in 2015 after years at the Guthrie, Theatre de la Jeune Lune and Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater. “Musicals have become the lifeblood of Artistry,” McGovern said in a statement. Eleven actors often seen at Artistry have been named 2020-21 Affiliated Actors and will appear in multiple shows. Here’s the lineup:

July 17-Aug. 16: “Catch Me If You Can,” book by Terrence McNally, music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, the writers of “Hairspray.” Based on the popular 2002 film about Frank Abagnale, Jr., a boy on the run, with Ethan Davenport as Abagnale and a 1960s jazz score.

Sept. 12-27: Regional premiere of “String,” book by Sarah Hammond, music and lyrics by Adam Gwon. A show that reimagines the Greek Fates and asks, “What could possibly go wrong when you move one teeny, tiny thread out of place in the fabric of humanity?” Britta Ollmann, Jessica Staples and Janely Rodriguez will play the three sisters.

Oct. 16-Nov. 14: Regional premiere of “Meet Me in St. Louis,” book by Hugh Wheeler, songs by Hugh Martin and Ralph Blaine. A family musical based on the classic MGM film starring Judy Garland. Emily Scinto will step into Garland’s role as Esther Smith.

Jan. 22-Feb. 7, 2021: “Company,” book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. Riley McNutt will portray perpetual bachelor Bobby in a show whose original production earned 14 Tony nods and won six awards.

Feb. 12-21, 2021: “Lerner and Loewe’s Brigadoon: In Concert.” Anita Ruth will lead a full orchestra in eight performances.

April 16-May 16, 2021: “Sweet Charity,” book by Neil Simon, music and lyrics by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields. Angela Steele will star as Charity Hope Valentine, hopeless romantic, in the musical that launched Bob Fosse’s career.

This will be Anita Ruth’s final season as Artistry’s resident music director.

Season ticket renewals for current subscribers begin March 28. New subscriptions and single ticket sales start May 16.

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The picks

Tonight (Thursday, March 12) at Fallout Urban Arts Center: An Evening of Poetry + Protest with Mizna. A St. Paul-based nonprofit that promotes contemporary expressions of Arab-American culture, publisher of the journal Mizna: Prose, Poetry and Art Exploring Arab America, Mizna recently became a member of the Poetry Coalition, a national alliance. Here (and later this month in New York City), Mizna authors contending with Audre Lorde’s charge “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing” will read from their work. With George Abraham, Tarik Dobbs, Roy G. Guzmán, Marlon M. Jenkins, Maitreyi Ray and Yara Omer. Doors at 7, readings at 7:30. 2609 Stevens Ave., Minneapolis. FMI and tickets/RSVP (free; $5 suggested donation).

Filmmaker Jila Nikpay will appear in “Directors on Stage: A Conversation” on Saturday.
Courtesy of the filmmaker
Filmmaker Jila Nikpay will appear in “Directors on Stage: A Conversation” on Saturday.
Tonight through Sunday at the Walker: “Women with Vision: Then and Now.” Film fans will remember the Walker’s landmark “Women With Vision” (WWV) festival, which began in 1994 as “Women in the Director’s Chair: Homegirls” and ended in 2010, the year Katherine Bigelow (“The Hurt Locker”) won Oscars for Best Picture and Director. Melody Gilbert and Kelly Nathe, for whom WWV was a life-changer, were curious about what happened to other women filmmakers whose careers were kickstarted by the festival. So they put together this four-day program. A reunion, a celebration of legacy, and a look forward, it brings together screenings of films from then and now, on-stage conversations, and a reception to honor the service and influence of Sheryl Mousley, the Walker’s retiring senior curator of moving image, who led WWV for 11 years. Here’s the complete schedule with all the deets. Everything but the “secret screening” on Friday of the new documentary by Laura Gilbert (“City of Gold”) is free.

Starts Friday and Saturday at the Cowles: “Merges in March.” Three weekends of shows pair artists who have never performed together, crossing disciplines and forms to create something new. March 13 and 14: Berit Ahlgren and Nathan Keepers present “Give Ear,” a dance/theater collaboration based on the act of listening. March 20-21: Penelope Freeh and Alanna Morris-Van Tassel present “Bring it down under your feet,” an evening of two solo performances and a duet based on Rumi’s poetry. March 27-28: Helen Hatch and Darrius Strong present “Hybrid,” a program of pieces by their respective companies, Hatch Dance and STRONGmovement, and the premiere of a work fusing their choreographic ethics. All performances start at 7:30 p.m. All tickets $30.

Friday and Saturday: Bach Society and the Minnesota Chorale: Bach and Handel. Two artistic directors – Bach Society of Minnesota’s Matthias Maute and Minnesota Chorale’s Kathy Saltzman Romey – will team up for a program of three chorales, a cantata and Orchestral Suite No. 2 by Bach and selections from Handel’s final oratorio, “The Triumph of Time and Truth.” With guest soprano Sarah Brailey. Friday at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Saturday at the Summit Center. 7:30 p.m. both nights. FMI and tickets ($30/25/5 students, kids under 12 free).