Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


Fingers crossed for ‘Broadway on Hennepin’ dates; TPT launches ‘Racism Unveiled’

ALSO: The Fireside Reading Series goes virtual, with Kao Kalia Yang, Heid E. Erdrich and more.

Left to right: Chaundre Hall Broomfield, Ruben J. Carbajal, Bryson Bruce and Auston Scott from the “Hamilton” National Tour.
Left to right: Chaundre Hall Broomfield, Ruben J. Carbajal, Bryson Bruce and Auston Scott from the “Hamilton” National Tour.
Photo by Joan Marcus

We’re pinning our hopes on COVID vaccines, availability, rollouts, access, efficacy, and the willingness of theater-loving people to get vaccinated and use basic common sense and courtesy (translation: wear masks) around strangers.

But we’re closing in on a whole year of no live theater. So we also really, really need something to look forward to.

How about “Hamilton” at the Orpheum for a month, starting July 27?

Heartened by news of the vaccines, Hennepin Theatre Trust has been working with Broadway producers to get shows back on the road again, safely. On Thursday afternoon, HTT announced that 11 of the 12 shows previously announced for the 2020-21 season have been rescheduled for 2021-22. (Everything but “Tootsie,” which has been replaced by “Pretty Woman: The Musical.”)

Article continues after advertisement

Here’s the line-up:

“Hamilton,” July 27-Aug. 29, 2021

“Oklahoma!” Nov. 9-14, 2021

“Pretty Woman: The Musical,” Feb. 22-27, 2022

“Hadestown,” March 15-20, 2022

“The Prom,” April 12-17, 2022

“Moulin Rouge! The Musical,” May 18-June 5, 2022

“Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations,” June 28-July 10, 2022

These shows are optional additions to the season subscription package:

“Jersey Boys,” Jan. 4-9, 2022

“Cats,” Jan. 25-30, 2022

Article continues after advertisement

And these shows from 2019-20 have been rescheduled as special engagements:

“Come from Away,” Sept. 7-19, 2021

“Disney’s Frozen,” Oct. 7-24, 2021

“Anastasia,” Dec. 7-19, 2021

Subscription packages are available now online and by phone at 800-859-7469. Tickets for “Disney’s Frozen” are currently on sale; “Come from Away and “Anastasia” will go on sale later to the general public.

HTT will continue to follow the health and safety guidelines and be prepared for any unforeseen scheduling changes.

Cross those fingers and keep them crossed. Toes, too.

Article continues after advertisement

TPT launches ‘Racism Unveiled’

Minnesota can be proud of many things. Our record on racial disparities isn’t one of them. We rank near the bottom for racial equality. Over the next two years, Twin Cities PBS – TPT, for short – will shine a light on racial inequities in Minnesota in a new project called “Racism Unveiled.”

Launched this week, the multimedia, multiplatform storytelling project will examine the impact of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous and communities of color in Minnesota, how racial inequities came to be, how they hold us back and what we can do about them. A collaboration with community members and leaders, “Racism Unveiled” will also include community events (virtual, to start).

Stories in the form of articles, essays and short films are already being gathered on the TPT Originals website. You can read award-winning author Shannon Gibney’s “A Black Mother Contemplates What It Means to Defund the Police,” watch a story from “Almanac” about a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Pine Island and read an article from Minnesota Women’s Press, “How Generational Trauma Affects Our Financial Wellbeing,” to give a few examples. TPT is working directly with community members to source and produce more first-person narratives and journalistic reports.

Danielle Swift, a community organizer and activist from St. Paul, in conversation with host Sanni Brown-Adefope from “What’s the Right Way to Be an Activist?”
Screen shot
Danielle Swift, a community organizer and activist from St. Paul, in conversation with host Sanni Brown-Adefope from “What’s the Right Way to Be an Activist?”
The first community event, “Fight, Fight and Flow: Self-Healing,” will take place at 6 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 28. A panel of local Black experts from the health and wellness fields will explore the root causes of historical trauma, consider its emotional and physical impact on Black Minnesotans and share coping tools. It’s free, with an optional donation of $5. FMI and registration (required). Future events are planned for March 25 and May 27 on the topics of mass incarceration and employment.

The lead producer for “Racism Unveiled” is Bobby Edwards, whose essays frequently appear on “Almanac.” In a statement, he described the project as “a platform for people of color to share the honest truth about their experiences in this state and to find a way forward together.”

Fireside readings go virtual

You’ll have to provide your own coffee, cider and cookies. If you have a fireplace, set up your laptop nearby. The Fireside Reading Series starts next week, and even if we can’t meet at the Hamline Midway Library, its usual home, we can see and hear a stellar group of Minnesota authors, livestreamed from wherever they are to wherever we are, reading from books published during the previous year.

Presented by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library, the series has been a winter staple for 27 years. A pandemic is no excuse for stopping it now. Mark your calendar for the next six Wednesdays at 7 p.m. (It’s strangely satisfying to do that.) All readings are free, livestreamed on Zoom (registration required) or Facebook. Each will leave time for a Q&A after. And all will be recorded if you can’t be there in real time.

Article continues after advertisement

Wednesday, Jan. 20: Kao Kalia Yang: “Somewhere in the Unknown World: A Collective Refugee Memoir.” For her third work of literary nonfiction, the award-winning writer (“The Latehomecomer,” “The Song Poet”) and Hmong refugee interviewed other refugees from all over the world who call the Twin Cities home.

Lin Enger
Courtesy of the author
Lin Enger
Wednesday, Jan. 27: Lin Enger: “American Gospel.” On a small farm in Minnesota’s north woods, an old man waits for the Rapture, which God has told him will happen on Aug. 19, 1974. When word gets out, the farm becomes ground zero for The End, drawing zealots and reporters, including the old man’s son. Enger’s third novel resonates with our own times.

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Yelena Bailey: “How the Streets Were Made: Housing Segregation and Black Life in America.” Bailey, the director of education policy at the State of Minnesota’s Professional Educator Licensing and Standards Board, examines the creation of “the streets” and how they have influenced our understanding of Blackness in America.

Wednesday, Feb. 10: Carolyn Holbrook: “Tell Me Your Names and I Will Testify.” In a series of essays, Holbrook – once a pregnant 16-year-old incarcerated in the Minnesota juvenile justice system, now a celebrated writer, arts activist and teacher – tells the story of her life.

Wednesday, Feb. 17: Margi Preus: “Village of Scoundrels.” The New York Times bestselling author (“Heart of the Samurai”) tells how a group of young teenagers in France saved thousands of Jews during WWII. Based on a true story.

Wednesday, Feb. 24: Heid E. Erdrich: “Little Big Bully.” The award-winning Native poet applies her inventive voice and fierce wit to the deforming effects of harassment and oppression. The poems in this, her seventh collection, are immediate, personal, political and cultural.