It seems like forever since March 11 last year, when the Guthrie announced the most financially ambitious season in its history. (Kathleen Turner! The Henriad! Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “In the Heights”!) And March 13, just two days later, when the theater closed its doors to COVID-19 and ended both “Twelfth Night” and “The Bacchae” mid-run. And May 8, when Artistic Director Joseph Haj sent an email to staff saying the Guthrie wouldn’t reopen until March 2021 and “even a March 2021 opening could be optimistic.”
That was a bucket of ice water. Would the pandemic really last that long? It would and it has, and it’s not over yet. But it’s receding enough that we can start moving forward.
On Thursday, July 8, the Guthrie will reopen to the public. The lobbies will be open Thursdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., if you’re in the neighborhood and want to walk through. The outdoor terrace on the Endless Bridge and the Amber Box on Level Nine will also be open. Food and beverage service will not be available.
In October, a limited-run production TBA will open on the McGuire Proscenium Stage, and an all-new production of “A Christmas Carol” will open on the Wurtele Thrust Stage, adapted by Lavina Jadhwani and directed by Haj. From January to August 2022, the Guthrie will produce a five-play subscription season, with plays and stages TBA in June. We’re told we can expect the same full-scale productions we’ve experienced in the past when performances resume this fall.
So: Seven plays. Any guesses about the other six? Details will be announced in June.
Haj said in a statement, “After a year marked by the profound loss of lives and livelihoods due to the pandemic, it brings me great hope to share our reopening plans with the community and know that we will be gathering at the theater again soon.”
Meanwhile, the Guthrie has made building improvements, including increased air flow and the installation of high-efficiency MERV 13 air filters.
Tickets for “A Christmas Carol” will go on sale to the general public in September for previews beginning Nov. 8. Season ticket packages will be available this summer.
On June 25 at 7 p.m., the Guthrie will hold a virtual benefit featuring Tony and Grammy winner Leslie Odom Jr. in concert, with Regina Marie Williams as host. Registration is free. VIP tickets are available. FMI and registration.
ASI Community Fund’s first group of recipients
Shaken by the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police last May, the American Swedish Institute established a new community fund. ASI is located at 26th and Park in the Minneapolis’ Phillips West neighborhood, just two miles from George Floyd Square. The castle-like Turnblad Mansion on ASI’s campus was built for Swedish immigrants, Ohillips West is a neighborhood of immigrants, and longtime ASI president and CEO Bruce Karstadt has always felt a connection between them.
Each (non-pandemic) year, ASI hosts National Night Out, naturalization ceremonies for new citizens and graduation ceremonies for PICA Head Start children. It works with programs at Andersen and Bancroft Elementary Schools and Wellstone International High School. This summer, it will partner with Sisters’ Camelot to host a monthly series of food distribution events in its large parking lot.
ASI’s “Statement on the Killing of George Floyd,” released June 1, 2020, included this language: “We cherish our beloved community: our home – the Phillips West neighborhood – and the cultural vitality, creativity and partnerships we enjoy.”
Early ASI Community Fund donations went to PICA Head Start and Open Arms of Minnesota. Last week, ASI announced the first official group of recipients, chosen from an inaugural round of 20 applications.
Three awardees each received amounts between $1,000 and $2,000. Tamales y Bicicletas seeks to improve the health of low-income communities of color. The Semilla Center for Healing and the Arts brings arts learning experiences to underserved communities. The Somali American Women Action Center works to stabilize the lives of refugee and immigrant women and their families.
Meanwhile, ASI is now open Thursday nights until 8 p.m., having just added Thursday evening hours to its schedule. It has also loosened its reservations policy. You still need to specify a day when you want to visit, but you can arrive anytime during open hours. Reserve here or call 612-871-4907. Face coverings and social distancing are required.
V is for virtual, L is for live and in person.
V Tonight (Wednesday, May 12), 7:30 p.m.: Schubert Club: International Artist Series: Jamie Barton and Jake Heggie. Barton’s luscious mezzo-soprano and Heggie’s sensitive piano are paired in a generous concert featuring music by Schubert, Brahms and Florence Price and Heggie’s new song cycle “Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian.” Barton has won several prestigious awards, including the Beverly Sills Artist Award and BBC Cardiff Singer of the World; Heggie is the composer of the operas “Dead Man Walking” and “Moby-Dick,” among others. Livestreamed from the Ordway Concert Hall. Free. Watch on the Schubert Club’s website, YouTube or Facebook page. Available on demand through June 12.
V Friday, May 14, 8 p.m. on PBS: Great Performances: “The Arts Interrupted.” Vanessa Williams hosts an inside look at how arts organizations nationwide are managing during the pandemic, and how emerging artists have been affected by the country’s reckoning with systemic racism. FMI. TPT will air it on Sunday, May 16, at 2 p.m. on TPT Life.
V and L Friday, May 14, through Sunday, May 16: Art-a-Whirl Weekend. Once more, “the largest open studio tour in the country” will not be held as a normal event. It will be online, with individual studios, galleries, and businesses hosting their own in-person open hours. Thousands of artworks by hundreds of artists are available in the online shop, which you can search by medium, site/building, keyword, or artist’s name. A Who’s Open directory (with map) can guide you to artists, galleries, and food and beverage establishments that are open for in-person visits. Hungry for an experience? Browse pre-recorded online experiences or check out the available in-person and live online activities, from live music to studio tours. Know an artist, heard of an artist, curious about an artist? Here’s the member directory. So many artists have hung on for so long during this terrible year. Let’s keep them in business.
V and L Starts Saturday, May 15: Collide Theatrical Dance Company: “Wonderland.” A spin-off of “Alice in Wonderland,” told in Collide’s signature high-energy dance styles set against a modern pop-rock soundtrack. As Dr. Knight, a physician at a mental institution, treats a White Rabbit with anxiety and a Queen with narcissistic rage, he begins to ask, “What does normal really mean?” From May 15 (sold out) to May 30, Collide will perform outside the James J. Hill House in St. Paul. From June 5-20, they’ll be outside the Mill City Museum in Minneapolis. FMI including times and tickets ($22-36). Virtual tickets ($30) are also available for on-demand viewing.
V Starts streaming Sunday, May 16, 4 p.m.: VocalEssence: Witness 2021. The annual VocalEssence Witness concert has traditionally been one of the most inspiring and uplifting events of the season. This year’s concert, the 31st, features the VocalEssence Chorus, VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and VocalEssence Singers Of This Age (VESOTA) and music that calls us to “be the change.” The program includes audience favorites by Melanie DeMore, Rosephanye Powell, Alysia Lee and Ysaye Barnwell, and a new work by Minnesota pianist and composer Laura Caviani, “Rise Up and Lay Down Your Arms,” written in the wake of George Floyd’s murder and arranged for choir. Tickets are available as a single digital stream ($15) or as part of a VocalEssence on Demand 2020-21 digital season subscription ($49). FMI. Note: On May 29 and 30, this concert will be televised across Minnesota on TPT.