Theater That Thrills
Minnesota boasts a lively and eclectic theater scene, and more than half of its 440 theaters are in the Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs. When visiting Minneapolis Northwest, you’re only minutes away from the best theaters in the state. From Broadway productions and stirring stage plays, to children’s theater, the Minnesota Opera, and original, local performances, our theater scene thrills and delights your senses. Below are some of our favorite upcoming fall and winter shows!
Locally owned Yellow Tree Theatre is a hidden gem in Osseo that highlights the complexities of the human experience through quirky and original comedies, classic musicals, and heartfelt plays. This charming theater welcomes you into its lobby filled with couches, antiques, books, and sparkling lights, and you’ll immediately feel relaxed in the intimate surroundings. Soon celebrating its 12th season, read about Yellow Tree’s special 10th anniversary season and its founders, Minnesota husband-and-wife team Jason Peterson and Jessica Lind Peterson.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Sept. 13-Oct. 13) – A fifteen-year-old mathematical genius takes it upon himself to solve a murder, despite having never ventured alone beyond the edge of his road. Intense, hopeful and profoundly moving, Curious Incident has been hailed a phenomenal combination of storytelling and spectacle. Based on the novel by Mark Haddon, this play was the winner of five Tony Awards, including Best Play.
Another Miracle on Christmas Lake (Nov. 8-Dec. 29) – A hilarious sequel to the smash hit comedy Miracle on Christmas Lake! Join Martha, Neil and some zany new characters as they try to save their beloved town of Christmas Lake from annexation. There’s lutefisk and lizards, true love and tater tots, and best of all, unexpected miracles happen.
Get a taste of Broadway when you attend the Orpheum Theatre, a venue for world-class entertainment featuring the best and brightest touring productions from New York. This historic theater boasts an impressive auditorium with intricate designs and a majestic domed ceiling. Take a tour with the Hennepin Theatre Trust to get a behind-the-scenes look at this beautiful venue.
Mean Girls (Oct. 1-13) – Featuring a book by Tina Fey, Mean Girls tells the story of a naïve newbie who falls prey to a trio of lionized frenemies. Entertainment Weekly calls it “A MARVEL: dazzling and hilarious!” and USA Today writes, “We’ll let you in on a little secret, because we’re such good friends: GET YOUR TICKETS NOW!”
The Phantom of the Opera (Nov. 20-Dec.1) – Hailed by critics as “bigger and better than ever before,” this new production boasts many exciting special effects, new scenic and lighting designs, and new staging and choreography. The beloved story and thrilling score is performed by a cast and orchestra of 52, making this Phantom one of the largest productions now on tour.
The Band's Visit (Dec. 10-15) – With a score that seduces your soul and sweeps you off your feet, and featuring thrillingly talented onstage musicians, The Band’s Visit rejoices in the way music makes us laugh, makes us cry, and ultimately, brings us together. This critically acclaimed Broadway musical won 10 Tony Awards, making it one of the most Tony-winning musicals in history.
Live theater is always exhilarating at the Guthrie Theatre, located on the Mississippi River. The facility houses three theaters – a thrust stage, a proscenium stage and a black box studio – and offers backstage and architecture tours. Be sure to visit the Amber Box (a.k.a. the yellow room) on the 9th floor. In this observation box you’ll get a near 360-degree view of the Mississippi riverfront, including the Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls and Gold Medal Park.
The Glass Menagerie (Sept. 14-Oct. 27) – The Guthrie's new season opens with one of the most significant plays in the American theater canon, The Glass Menagerie. Amanda Wingfield dreams of her days as a Southern debutante while worrying about the future of her aimless son Tom and unmarried daughter Laura. When a gentleman caller arrives for dinner one evening, the family is flooded with hope. But it’s unclear if his presence will change things for the better or shatter their fragile illusions.
Steel Magnolias (Oct. 26-Dec. 15) – Through witty banter and wisecracks, a hodgepodge group of Louisiana women form friendships as strong as steel, which they are forced to lean on when tragedy strikes. Inspired by the play’s all-female cast, this production features a female director and an all-female design team.
A Christmas Carol (Nov. 12-Dec. 29) – Charles Dickens’ timeless tale continues to be a perennial favorite and holiday tradition that invites audiences of all ages to celebrate the merriment of the season with their family and loved ones.
At the Ordway in Saint Paul, you’ll find Broadway tours, as well as productions by the nationally recognized Minnesota Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, a variety of choral concerts, musical acts, and World Music and Dance. This elegant venue features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, a lush interior, and is located across the street from beautiful Rice Park.
Smokey Joe's Cafe (Sept. 10-22) – This refreshing, sizzling-hot, new production of Smokey Joe's Cafe will appear in Minnesota for the first time, bringing 40 of the greatest songs of the past century to a new generation.
The New One (Oct. 17-19) – Mike Birbiglia (Broad City, Orange is the New Black, Billions) is touring his smash hit Broadway show, telling his story about parenting in a new way. It's the same heart and humor you've come to expect from Mike with a hilarious new twist. Lin-Manuel Miranda called The New One “as perfect a night as you’re gonna get.”
Six (Nov. 29-Dec. 22) – The wives of Henry VIII join forces for an electrifying pop-concert spectacle—shining a spotlight on these six women as never before. The queens take the mic to reclaim their identities out of the shadow of their infamous spouse, remixing five hundred years of historical heartbreak into a power-packed celebration of twenty-first-century female empowerment.
The perfect place to introduce young children to the wonder of theater and spark their creativity is at Children’s Theatre Company (CTC), the largest professional theater for youth audiences in the country. From a one-woman puppet show for pre-schoolers, to an interactive Romeo & Juliet for teens and adults, the talented directors of CTC bring classic stories to life in new and unimagined ways. Not surprisingly, TIME magazine called it "the #1 children's theatre in the nation."
Circus Abyssinia: Ethiopian Dreams (Sept. 17-Oct. 20) – A whole new kind of circus is coming to town! The rhythm of Ethiopia comes alive as this internationally acclaimed, dream-filled adventure makes its daring Minneapolis debut. Jaws will drop as one amazing feat after another defies gravity and awakens possibility. Come be a part of the spectacle! It’s an incredible range of high-flying hilarity, hula hooping, death-defying tricks, and ridiculously joy-filled juggling with the music and movement of East Africa.
Snow White (Sept. 29-Dec. 8) – This is not your usual "Once Upon a Time." Classic? No. Wild? Yes! To start with, it’s a two-person play. Do the math. Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? Two fabulous, whip-smart, super-fast actors play Snow White, the huntsman, the prince, and all seven dwarves! And it’s funny. Really, really funny. So expect the unexpected in this fabulous fairy tale with a (spoiler alert) you-won’t-see-it-coming twist.
Cinderella (Nov. 3-Jan. 5) – You’re invited to a beautiful Victorian Holiday party—but be prepared to check your coat, and all sense of tradition, at the door. You have no idea what you're getting into in this high-spectacle, glamorously shameless comedy where anything can happen. And there may be audience participation: a kiss cam? Cake? T-shirt cannons? Jokes ripped from the headlines? See what the fun is all about!
Enjoy big city theater with hometown charm at Lyric Arts Main Street Stage, located in the heart of historic downtown Anoka. You can find a show for almost every taste, including musicals, dramas, comedies, children’s productions, and intimate live music events as part of its “Music in the ‘Burbs” Concert Series, which brings in some of the best musicians in Minnesota.
Bright Star (Sept. 6-29) – Inspired by a real event, Bright Star tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ’40s. Featuring the Grammy-nominated country, folk, and bluegrass score by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Bright Star is an uplifting theatrical journey which is as refreshingly genuine as it is daringly hopeful.
Proof (Oct. 18-Nov. 3) – Proof focuses on Catherine, an enigmatic young woman grieving the recent loss of her father, a brilliant mathematician who suffered from dementia. Just as Catherine begins to fear she might suffer from the same condition, people from her past bring to light a buried family secret which leaves Catherine wondering how much of her father’s genius—or madness—she might inherit.
A 1940's Radio Christmas Carol (Nov. 22-Dec.22) – It's Christmas Eve, 1943, and the Feddington Players are preparing for a live radio broadcast of their own version of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Complicated by noisy plumbing, missed cues, electrical blackouts, and the over-the-top theatrics of their special guest, the broadcast takes a hilarious turn when the performers are forced to improvise a hysterically unusual ending in order to “save the show.”
Since 1998, Theater Latté Da has produced award-winning musical theater that connects story, music, artists, and audiences. The organization produces shows in the historic Ritz Theater in Minneapolis, and is consistently recognized for its quality, timelessness and imagination. It continues to receive critical acclaim and a host of national and regional awards. Past award-winning productions include Ragtime, Sweeney Todd and Cabaret.
Chicago (Sept. 18-Nov. 3) – Set in Chicago during the roaring 1920s and based on real-life murders and trials, Chicago follows Roxie Hart, a wannabe vaudevillian star who murders her secret lover. In the Cook County Jail, Roxie meets her hero, the famed double-murderess and nightclub performer Velma Kelly. Tensions come to a head as the two murderesses vie for the ultimate spotlight. Broadway’s longest-running American musical, Chicago is a female-driven powerhouse.
All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 (Nov. 27-Dec. 22) – The Western Front, Christmas, 1914. Out of the violence comes a silence, then a song. A German soldier steps into No Man’s Land singing “Stille Nacht.” Thus begins an extraordinary night of camaraderie, music, peace. A remarkable true story, told in the words and songs of the men who lived it.
For a truly unique theatre experience, you can’t beat Theatre in the Round, where the audience fully surrounds the actors! The theater’s arena stage, coupled with remarkable lighting and sound effects, make every production one-of-a-kind. When taking in a show, arrive a few minutes early to view the newly commissioned mural on the north side of the building and the art gallery inside.
The Birds (Sept. 6-29) – Masses of birds have begun attacking people, driving strangers Nat and Diane to take refuge in an isolated, abandoned cabin. With no electricity and scarce food, their precarious existence is threatened even more by the arrival of a volatile young woman. With a nod to Daphne du Maurier’s story (that inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s film), playwright McPherson creates his own dark, claustrophobic drama of survival in the face of society’s collapse.
Comedy of Errors (Oct. 11-Nov. 3) – Comedies about long-lost twins causing confusion and mayhem have been around for centuries, from stage to screen – right up to those beach-party movies of the ‘60s, where those antics fit into any plot featuring Frankie and Annette. And this production will do just that, bringing Shakespeare to the beach, mixing his slapstick comedy of mistaken identities with bikinis, biceps, and surfer rock music!
Towards Zero (Nov. 15-Dec. 15) – This compelling stage play by Agatha Christie was only recently discovered, unearthed by a researcher in 2015. The setting is Gull’s Nest, Lady Tressilian’s clifftop manor on the English seaside. When she invites her ward for a long weekend, he surprises everyone by bringing both his current wife and his old flame. And when a brutal murder interrupts the house party, the wonderful twists and turns of a true Christie script keep the audience guessing until the final moments.
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres (CDT) is the nation’s largest professional dinner theater with three stages under one roof. CDT is a must for any theater-lover visiting the area. Have a meal served to you in a classy dining space before enjoying some of the highest-caliber theater in the Twin Cities. In addition to musicals and plays, CDT hosts an exciting concert series with the best tribute shows around featuring the finest musicians in the region. This fall, don’t miss tributes to The Everly Brothers, Barbara Streisand, Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Aretha Franklin and David Bowie.
Mamma Mia! (March 1, 2019-Feb. 22, 2020) – One mom. One daughter. Three possible dads. And a trip down the aisle you'll never forget! The story-telling magic of ABBA’s timeless popular songs propel this delightful story of love, laughter and friendship. It’s sequins, spandex and feather boas on a Greek Island paradise! Get ready to have the time of your life with Mamma Mia!
Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret (Friday and Saturday nights) – Stevie Ray's Comedy Troupe creates instant laughs based on ideas you call out from the audience. If you like the hit TV show Whose Line is it Anyway?, you'll love Stevie Ray's.
Artistry Theater and Visual Arts
Brave New Workshop
HUGE Improv Theatre
Mixed Blood Theatre
Old Log Theatre
Park Square Theatre
Stages Theatre Company
Before being swept away by a magical evening of theater, have a fun and unique dining experience in Minneapolis Northwest. Opt for private dining if you’re planning a special group outing, and you won’t want to miss some of the best happy hours in the area!
Celebrate Special Occasions at the Best Private Event Rooms in Minneapolis Northwest
Come On, Get Happy with 10 Happy Hour Spots in Minneapolis Northwest