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Three premieres, a classic and a ‘Wimpy Kid’ to light up CTC’s 2021-22

ALSO: An evening with Stacey Abrams; the Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference Reading Series goes viral; Rita Moreno documentary now showing locally; and more.

“Annie” will run Nov. 7 through Jan. 9, 2022, spanning the holidays.
“Annie” will run Nov. 7 through Jan. 9, 2022, spanning the holidays.
Photo by Dan Norman

“Annie” was originally scheduled to end Children’s Theatre Company’s 2019-20 season. Instead, the rousing, uplifting seven-time Tony winner, directed here by Peter Rothstein, will begin 2021-22, the live and in-person “Tomorrow” we have all been waiting for.

The 44-year-old musical (it opened on Broadway in 1977), set during the Great Depression, remains timeless, a story of hope, determination and optimism. Rothstein notes that it’s also “a celebration of non-traditional and chosen families.” It will run Nov. 7 through Jan. 9, 2022, spanning the holidays. All ages.

The new season also marks Peter C. Brosius’ 25th anniversary as CTC’s artistic director.

The middle of the season is all new. Opening on the smaller of CTC’s two stages the same day “Annie” closes on the big stage, “Bina’s Six Apples” is a CTC-commissioned and developed world premiere, written by Lloyd Suh (“The Wong Kids”) and directed by Eric Ting. Inspired by stories Suh heard from his parents about their experiences as children during the Korean War, it traces the journey of a young Korean girl searching for her family. “Bina” will be a co-production with Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre. Jan. 9-Feb. 13, 2022. Ages 9 and up.

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Next up, the American premiere of “Circus Abyssinia: Tulu.” Deratu Tulu was the first Black African woman to win Olympic gold. Circus Abyssinia, which made its CTC debut in Sept. 2019 with “Ethiopian Dreams,” will feature high-flying acrobatics, hand balancing and juggling, sometimes with fire, backed by the beat of Ethiopian music. Jan. 8-Feb. 13. All ages.

Earlier this year, CTC created a video presentation of the children’s book “Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice” to help parents answer their children’s questions about the murder of George Floyd and the trial of Derek Chauvin — which have since been followed by the killings of Daunte Wright and Winston Smith. The video is still available to view on demand for free, with resources for families and educators available. CTC has commissioned the world premiere of a play based on the book. Written by Cheryl L. West, directed by Timothy Douglas, it will open Feb. 27 and continue through March 27. Ages 7 and up.

The 2021-22 season will end with the return of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical.” Based on the books by Jeff Kinney, developed by CTC with Broadway producer Kevin McCollum (“Six,” “Rent,” “In the Heights,” etc.) and first staged here in 2016, it follows a new middle-schooler desperate to improve his popularity ranking and make his mark. We thought the original was pretty rad, and CTC says “Wimpy Kid” has “continued its development” and offers “new surprises,” so we’ll be going back. April 22-June 18. All ages.

The 2021-22 season will end with the return of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical.”
Photo by Dan Norman
The 2021-22 season will end with the return of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical.”
Full season subscriptions and renewals are on sale now on the web or by phone (612-874-0400). Single tickets for “Annie” will go on sale in July, the rest of the season in fall 2021.

Wondering about COVID health and safety measures? CTC has upgraded its air filters and installed touchless fixtures in all public restrooms. Hand sanitizing stations and electronic ticketing will be available. Protocols will continue to be updated in accordance with state guidelines. There are no plans at present to restrict audience capacity, eliminate intermissions or make them longer. The time between same-day performances will be extended.

The picks

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

Courtesy of MSP Film Society
A scene from “Rita Moreno: Just Another Girl Who Decided to Go for It.”
L Now showing at local theaters: “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go for It.” For years, she was cast in stereotypical ethnic roles, sometimes in brownface. She was raped by her agent. She once asked the Mexican cooks at a Hollywood party for help escaping the predatory executives who were there; they were the only gentlemen she met all evening. Yet Rita Moreno from Puerto Rico survived, thrived, became an EGOT (winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards) and blazed paths in role after role: as Anita in “West Side Story,” as a guest on “The Muppet Show,” as Sister Peter Marie Reimondo in “Oz.” Directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria, Hector Elizondo and Gloria Estefan, this straightforward, direct documentary chronicles her struggles, successes and enduring star power. At the AMC Southdale and Marcus Oakdale.

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V All week: Minnesota Northwoods Writers Conference Reading Series. Held each year in June at Bemidji State University, MNWC went virtual this year and last because COVID. So did its evening reading series. This year’s schedule: Tonight (Tuesday, June 22), Nikky Finney; Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 23), Faith Adiele; Thursday, June 24, J. Drew Lanham; Friday, June 25, Danielle Evans; Saturday, June 26, Jennifer Foerster. (John Murillo read last night, Monday, June 21; his reading will be archived.) All are at 6:30 p.m., free with registration.

Stacey Abrams, above, and broadcast journalist Cari Champion talk about voter suppression and the urgency of ending it.
Photo by Katrina Hajagos
Stacey Abrams, above, and broadcast journalist Cari Champion talk about voter suppression and the urgency of ending it.
V Tonight (Tuesday, June 22), 6 p.m.: Next Chapter Booksellers: An Evening With Stacey Abrams. The occasion: the paperback launch of her New York Times bestseller “Our Time Is Now.” The reason: to hear Abrams and broadcast journalist Cari Champion talk about voter suppression and the urgency of ending it. The conversation will be followed by a moderated audience Q&A. Free with registration.

L and V Wednesday, June 23, through Sunday, June 27: Mizna Summer Film Series: Beirut: Youth in Resistance. Curated by Michelle Baroody and Ahmed AbdulMageed, this monthly film series coincides with the one-year anniversary of the Beirut port explosion. Three documentaries – two short, one feature-length – focus on the youth of Beirut as they live with and resist imperialist and sectarian forms of violence. Includes Jocelyne Saab’s “Palestinian Women” (1974) and “Children of War” (1976), shot near the beginning of the Lebanese Civil War, and Mai Masri and Jean Chamoun’s “War Generation” (1988), shot toward the end of the war. In-person screening 7 pm. Wednesday at the Trylon ($10), virtual on-demand screenings Thursday-Sunday (pay-what-you-can). FMI and tickets.