In mid-May, the Guthrie announced a three-play season to begin in March 2021, a year after it closed along with everything else. In an email to all Guthrie staff, Artistic Director Joseph Haj noted that “even a March 2021 opening could be optimistic.”
At the time, way back then, the Guthrie was one of the first major arts organizations to push a reopen date out that far, and it seemed pessimistic, even shocking. Many of us still thought of March 2021 as a long way away. Since then, the Metropolitan Opera has canceled its entire 2020-21 season. Broadway will stay closed at least through May.
The Guthrie had planned to return in March with Lynn Nottage’s “Sweat,” followed by Noël Coward’s “Private Lives” and a third play TBA. Last Friday, in an email to patrons, Haj shared the news that it will not present this mini-season after all. It will go ahead with “Dickens’ Holiday Classic,” a virtual telling of “A Christmas Carol” (Dec. 19-31) and with Amir Nizar Zuabi’s “This Is Who I Am” (Nov. 29-Dec. 27), a collaboration with four other theaters. The Guthrie is also a commissioning partner on “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!” with dates TBA.
Works-in-progress continue to move forward, including commissions with Mark Rylance, newly minted MacArthur Fellow Larissa FastHorse and Ty Defoe. Another new work by Karen Zacarias has just been commissioned.
Take a moment to fantasize about the future. When theaters reopen, will their first plays be new? Because a lot of new work is being created at this time. Either way, casts will be more diverse, right? That has to happen.
When is that MSAB grant application due?
Last week, the Minnesota State Arts Board announced another round of its Creative Support for Organizations grant program, with wider eligibility. Now we know the deadline. Applications must be received before 4:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4. Applicants may request between $5,000 and $15,000. Grants will be approved in March 2021. FMI.
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person. Most things are virtual these days, but we like to leave things open for the occasional outdoor shindig. Also, it’s not our fault that so many things happen on Thursdays.
V Available now through Nov. 27 on Classical MPR’s website: Minnesota Opera presents Dominic Argento’s “Casanova’s Homecoming.” Oct. 27 would have been Minnesota composer Dominic Argento’s 93rd birthday. Melissa Ousley hosts an encore broadcast of the opera Argento wrote for the opening of the Ordway in 1985 and Minnesota Opera revived for its 2009-10 season, with John Fanning as Casanova and Naomi Isabel Ruiz as Barbara. This is the later version, with John Fanning as Casanova and Naomi Isabel Ruiz as Barbara. On the Classical MPR web page, you can peruse a gallery of production photos by Michal Daniel, a respected theater photographer who died in October in Prague. And you can read a digital version of the original program.
V Available today (Wednesday, Nov. 4) through Tuesday, Nov. 17 online: MSP Film Society: Wednesdays with Wiseman: “Hospital.” Now in his 90th year, American filmmaker Frederic Wiseman recently released his latest, “City Hall,” a four-and-a-half hour documentary about Boston’s city government. MSP Film is presenting a miniseries of three Wiseman films in his honor. Second in the series: a newly restored print of “Hospital” (1970), an Emmy winner about the daily activities of the Metropolitan Hospital in New York City. At 84 minutes, it’s probably one of his shortest. FMI including trailer and tickets ($10/5).
V Thursday (Nov. 5) online: Ragamala Dance Company and Northrop present “Foods for the Souls: Food Rituals in the Diaspora.” Ragamala is in the midst of an academic-year-long partnership with Northrop that will culminate in May with performances of its latest evening-length dance, “Fires of Varanasi.” For this online event, Ranee and Aparna Ramaswamy and award-winning chef Raghavan Iyer – all first-generation Indian Americans – will talk about food, ritual, and ways in which culinary traditions can make a new place feel like home. A cooking demonstration will leave you with a new recipe to try. Iyer is the author of several critically acclaimed cookbooks, including “660 Curries.” 5:30 p.m. Free. FMI and registration.
V Thursday (Nov. 5) online: Minnesota Humanities Center: “How Can We Breathe: The Artists and Meaning-Makers.” The Humanities Center has been holding a series of virtual community circles to amplify African American voices. At this event, artists and meaning-makers will discuss their role in shaping public dialogue after public events, specifically the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. How do they respond to crises, influence landscapes, drive narrative and inform the public? Whose work is privileged, who “owns” public artwork, and how is it preserved/memorialized? 5:30-8 p.m. Free. Register by Wednesday (Nov. 4).
V Thursday (Nov. 5) on YouTube: Norway House: Opening night reception: 6th Annual Gingerbread Wonderland. Norway House’s popular holiday tradition is a miniature world made of gingerbread, frosting and gumdrops. Thursday’s reception will include welcome messages, season’s greetings from Norway’s new ambassador to the United States, Anniken Krutnes, carols from the Kvinnekor Women’s Choir and a welcome message from some of Norway House’s trolls and nisser. 6-6:40 p.m. Register here. Limited tickets ($10/5) are available for in-person visits starting Nov. 6. FMI.
V Thursday (Nov. 5) on Zoom: Pen Pals: Nikki Giovanni. A towering figure in the Black Arts movement and a civil rights activist, Giovanni is a poet, griot, activist, educator, author of more than 20 collections of poetry, 13 children’s books, numerous essays and a memoir, “Gemini,” which was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her latest poetry collection, “Make Me Rain,” came out in October. Keep in mind that Pen Pals is an author lecture series, not a reading series (although some authors choose to read). It’s hard to imagine that Giovanni won’t have a thing or two to say about the election. 7:30 p.m. FMI and tickets ($45). Use code FALLSALE for $10 off.
V Sunday (Nov. 8) on Zoom: “Mizna: Queer + Trans Voices.” A virtual launch of the summer 2020 issue of the Twin Cities-based Arab American literary journal, with readings by Marlin M. Jenkins, Joe Kadi, Nihal Mubarak, Trish Salah and guest editor Zeyn Joukhadar. 12 noon. RSVP here. Read Joukhadar’s introduction here.