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Weekend picks: It’s open-air arts season, with ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ at Caponi Art Park and jazz on the hill at the Walker

Plus: exhibits of two emerging Black Minnesota artists, International Day of Music in and around Orchestra Hall, Artaria performs the Razumovsky quartets, Dakota Spirit Walk at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary and an Asian American ‘Death of a Salesman’ at the Conn.

Gary Keast as Judas Iscariot, Van Nixon as Jesus Christ, Beverly Tipton Hammond as Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Gary Keast as Judas Iscariot, Van Nixon as Jesus Christ, and Beverly Tipton Hammond as Mary Magdalene in “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Photo by Bebe Keith

The joy of seeing performance outdoors continues this weekend, with arts, music and theater popping up all over city parks, landmarks and natural spaces. Whether you’re ready for some Andrew Lloyd Webber goodness at Caponi Art Park, in the mood for jazz on the hill outside of the Walker Art Center, ready to engage in some cutting-edge technology as you connect to Native culture and history at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary, or excited about the International Day of Music in and outside of Orchestra Hall, the arts are in the open air right now. For indoor activities, two exhibitions opened up at the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery featuring folks who have been a part of the museum’s artist in residency program, the Museum of Russian Art readies for an evening of Beethoven, and Theater Mu partners with Theatre 45° for a new take on “Death of a Salesman” featuring a cast of Asian Americans.

‘That Which Does Not Burn’ and ‘A Stone Egg Beneath the Black Rainbow’

Two emerging Black Minnesota artists, who are both part of the Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery’s artist in residency program, opened exhibitions of their work this week, which will be on view until the end of December. In “That Which Does Not Burn,” Maiya Lea Hartman has created sculptural, multimedia pieces using textiles, found objects and more in an exploration of healing, Black identity and ancestry. Meanwhile, Noah Lawrence-Holder’s “A Stone Egg Beneath the Black Rainbow” is made up of three sections that use the artist’s eye-popping digital illustration to explore issues around identity, social justice, mental health, queerness, intersectionality and more. Both shows are now open, and you can visit Tuesdays through Saturdays through the end of December at MAAHMG (free). More information here.

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‘Jesus Christ Superstar’

Theatre 55, the troupe that highlights the talents of senior actors and theater-makers, returns to Caponi Art Park beginning this weekend. Last summer, they presented a concert version of their successful “Hair” — originally subtitled “performed by those who lived it!” — when they produced it as the company’s first show in 2019. Now the company takes aim at a rock opera from around the same era: “Jesus Christ Superstar” by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Richard Hitchler, the founder and artistic director of Theatre 55, directs the piece, working with musical director Raymond Berg and choreographer by Patricia Brown. Runs Friday, July 15, through Sunday, July 24, at Caponi Art Park in Eagan ($15 or $30 for three to six patrons in one vehicle). More information here.

International Day of Music

The Minnesota Orchestra offers 12 hours of music inside and outside of Orchestra Hall for a night of summer fun that features music of all genres and arts of all kinds. In the Heart of the Beast puppets will be on hand, as will many guest musicians including Lady Midnight, rapper Tufawon, and Salsa del Soul, as well as the Minnesota Orchestra itself. After the orchestra performs a work by Mussorgsky, bells will ring from churches around the city, including St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, the Basilica of St. Mary, St. Olaf Catholic Church, Central Lutheran Church and Westminster Presbyterian Church. Noon to midnight, Saturday, July 16, at Orchestra Hall (free). More information here.

Artaria String Quartet
Jeannine Marie Photography
Artaria String Quartet, from left to right: Patricia Ryan, cello; Ray Shows, violin; Nancy Oliveros, violin; and Annalee Wolf, viola.

Artaria String Quartet performs the Razumovsky quartets

The Twin Cities-based Artaria String Quartet brings to life Beethoven’s series of quartets commissioned by Count Andreas Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador to Vienna, in 1805. The music was genre-bending at the time, moving the string quartet into the concert hall and creating much more challenging material for the art form. Take in this sumptuous music amidst the echoey space of The Museum of Russian Art. They’ll be performing Quartet in F minor, Op.59 No.1 “Razumovsky” and Quartet in E minor, Op.59 No.2 “Razumovsky.” 7 p.m. Saturday, July 16. Doors open at 6:15 p.m., with the galleries and TMORA Shop open prior to the performance ($20-$40). More information here.

Dakota Spirit Walk with artist Marlena Myles (Spirit Lake Dakota)

Marlena Myles, the creative force behind the “Dakota Spirit Walk,” augmented reality public art installation, will be hosting a discussion about the project and her work using technology to educate and honor Native culture and history. Myles created the project using the app Revelo, developed by local artist Todd Boss. The site-specific installation uses geolocation, audio and 3D animation as it facilitates encounters with spirits and beings from Native cultural traditions. 1 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary ($10). More information here.

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Free jazz: Dave King/Jeff Parker/Chris Speed Trio

Bring your blanket and/or lawn chair to the hill outside of the Walker for a night of jazz music at dusk. Saxophonist-clarinetist-composer Chris Speed, known for weaving in Balkan sounds and unexpected rhythms, performs with drummer Dave King, from the The Bad Plus as well as Halloween, Alaska, and Los Angeles-based guitarist and composer Jeff Parker. Large Faribault blankets will be available to rent. 7 p.m. Sunday, July 17, at the Walker Art Center (free). More information here.

Greg Watanabe as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”
Theatre 45°/Theater Mu
Greg Watanabe as Willy Loman in “Death of a Salesman.”

‘Death of a Salesman’

A theater company that navigates questions of spirituality, humanity and sometimes religious experiences — called Theatre 45°— is teaming up with Theater Mu to present a reading of “Death of a Salesman” with an Asian American cast. Playing the title role of the “Salesman” Willy Loman, who grapples with an American Dream just out of reach, is Greg Watanabe, most recently seen in Mu’s co-production of “Cambodian Rock Band” with the Jungle. Mu’s artistic director Lily Tung Crystal plays Willy’s wife, Linda, with Eric Sharp and Christopher Thomas Pow playing Biff and Happy Loman, respectively, in this one-night-only reading performance. 7 p.m. Monday, July 18, at the Conn Theater at Plymouth Congregational Church (free). More information here.