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Taylor Mac to perform ‘Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!’ live; ‘A Christmas Carol’ radio play from Park Square Theatre

ALSO: Pianist Jim Brickman: “Comfort & Joy at Home Live!”; Minnesota Opera’s “A Holiday Special – Live!”; and more.

Taylor Mac will perform “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!” live on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Taylor Mac will perform “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!” live on Saturday, Dec. 12.
Courtesy of the artist

Into the mix of this year’s Christmas programming, mostly traditional fare including its own virtual telling of “A Christmas Carol,” the Guthrie will drop the human glitter bomb known as Taylor Mac.

Mac will perform “Taylor Mac’s Holiday Sauce … Pandemic!” live on Saturday, Dec. 12. The Guthrie is a supporter of the updated version of the holiday extravaganza that debuted in 2017 and sold out the Kennedy Center in 2019.

Mac is a prodigiously talented queer theater artist, a short way of saying Mac is a playwright, actor, performance artist, singer-songwriter, director and producer whose works encompass cabaret, burlesque, vaudeville and circus pageantry. Audacious, subversive and larger than life, Mac was a finalist for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, won a 2017 MacArthur “genius grant,” and recently became the first American to win the International Ibsen Award, known as the Nobel Prize for Theater.

Mac was last at the Guthrie in 2016 with part of his magnum opus, “A 24-Decade History of Popular Music: The 20th Century Abridged.” An appearance in Mixed Blood’s Zealous Hellions series scheduled for March 17 of this year was canceled.

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The live performance will start at 6 p.m. A filmed version will be available to stream on demand from Dec. 14-16.

A pair of trailers – one on the Guthrie’s website, the other here – will give you a taste of what to expect. Christmas as calamity! Razzle-dazzle, song and dance, hilarity and poignancy, fantastical costumes by Machine Dazzle. Produced by Pomegranate Arts, the show blends music, film, burlesque and “random acts of fabulous” to celebrate the holidays in all of their dysfunction. FMI and tickets ($10). Mature audiences.

In November, Mac released an album of songs from “Holiday Sauce.” You can hear it on Spotify or Bandcamp.

The picks

V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.

The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society: Eric Webster, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Tim Uren.
Courtesy of Park Square Theatre
The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society: Eric Webster, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Tim Uren.
V Tonight (Friday, Dec. 11) through Sunday, Dec. 13: The Mysterious Old Radio Listening Society and Park Square Theatre: The 1939 Mercury Theatre on the Air “A Christmas Carol.” A re-creation of the 1939 broadcast of Dickens’ tale, adapted by Orson Welles. The original cast included Lionel Barrymore; the current cast is Shanan Custer, Joshua Scrimshaw, Tim Uren and Eric Webster. Tonight and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2 p.m. FMI and tickets ($30). Each performance this weekend will include live introductions and the opportunity to participate in a pre-show lesson on sound effects, developed with SteppingStone Theatre for Youth, which joined forces with Park Square earlier this year. From Dec. 14 through Jan. 3, the show (minus the live parts) will be available to stream. Here’s the trailer.

Jim Brickman
Courtesy of Hennepin Theatre Trust
Jim Brickman
V Tonight (Friday, Dec. 11): Hennepin Theatre Trust: Jim Brickman: “Comfort & Joy at Home Live!” at 9 p.m. The best-selling solo pianist of our time, Brickman knows how to hold a crowd in the palm of his hand. A two-time Grammy nominee, with 22 Number One albums and 33 Top 20 radio singles, he has sold 8 million albums worldwide. Brickman is also a master of the Christmas album, having made at least five. This concert will be a front-row experience. Sales will benefit HTT’s nonprofit mission. FMI and tickets ($40, $75, $125).

V Saturday, Dec. 12, 7 p.m.: Walker West Music Academy: Rondo Community Music Series: Duncan & Robinson. Debbie Duncan, the Twin Cities’ beloved “First Lady of Song,” has been battling huge health challenges. The final concert in Walker West’s 2020 Rondo Community Music Series will be dedicated to her. It will feature Debbie’s brother, William Duncan, and gospel singer Robert Robinson performing gospel, jazz, and R&B songs with background vocals by the WDP (William Duncan Project). Free, with “save my spot” registration required.

Liv Redpath
Photo by Thomas Brunot
Liv Redpath
V Starts Sunday, Dec. 13, at 7 p.m.: Minnesota Opera: A Holiday Special – Live! The opera wraps its Fall 2020 season with a big holiday bow. Livestreamed from the Ordway Concert Hall stage, the program will feature music by Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Joni Mitchell, Jeremy Messersmith, Miguel Bernal Jiménez and more, performed by Minnesota Opera alumni. Soprano Liv Redpath and mezzo-soprano Zoie Reams are former members of Project Opera, Minnesota Opera’s youth training program. Tenor Daniel Montenegro and baritone Thomas Glass were part of the Resident Artist Program. All four have since launched promising careers. Joseph Li is pianist and arranger. Here’s the concert program. After Sunday, a filmed version of the concert will be available on demand through Sunday, Dec. 27. FMI and tickets (start at $15).

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V Tuesday, Dec. 15, 6:30 p.m. C.S.T.: Bob Dylan Center: “Road to the North Country: Interpreting Dylan.” Dylan’s recent decision to sell his entire song catalog to Universal Media Group for … $300 million? $400 million? … might come up in this previously scheduled panel discussion. Presented by the Bob Dylan Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma, moderated by theater and music journalist Elysa Gardner, it will feature the original cast members from the temporarily shuttered Broadway musical and videos of songs featured in the show. Free on Facebook, no registration required.