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FEATURE: Inside the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2019-2020 Theatre Season

The National Tour of Hello, Dolly! opens on April 16 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Photo by Julieta Cervantes.

Off in Denver, the national tour of Hello, Dolly! is playing in the Mile High City. In two weeks, that tour will wind itself to Minneapolis (via Des Moines) for an April 16 opening at the Orpheum Theatre. What’s a fan of big traveling musical productions to do in the meantime?

If you need a quick fix this week, Spamalot is currently playing at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN (through April 7). If you have your calendar for this season set but haven’t nailed down your plans for next season, however, it’s a good time to do some planning. New subscription sales for the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2019-2020 Bank of America Broadway on Hennepin season opened last Friday.

One of the great perks of a season package is that it comes with advance ticket purchases before general sales open – a very important thing if you like particular seats, or are trying to catch a megahit show like this season’s Hamilton). HTT season ticket buyers pick between three packages, which bring extra perks like same-cost ticket exchanges, improved seat selection, and invitations to special events in some packages. A complete 8-show ticket package includes the following shows:

  • Mean Girls, Oct. 1-13, 2019
  • The Band’s Visit, Dec. 17-22, 2019
  • Jesus Christ Superstar, Jan. 21-26, 2020
  • My Fair Lady, March 3-8, 2020
  • Anastasia, March 24-April 5, 2020
  • Disney’s Frozen, May 13-31, 2020
  • Summer: The Donner Summer Musical, July 14-19, 2020
  • Come from Away, Aug. 11-16, 2020

Three returning favorites can be added on:

  • RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Aug. 14-18, 2019
  • The Phantom of the Opera, Nov. 20, 2019-Dec. 1, 2019
  • Blue Man Group, Feb. 4-9, 2020

All shows take place at the Orpheum Theatre except for Blue Man Group.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour in 2017. Photo by Carol Rosegg.

Show by Show

RENT 20th Anniversary Tour, Aug. 14-18, 2019

First up on the 2019-2020 season is a return visit by the 20th Anniversary Tour of RENT. This modern-day classic tale of New York Bohemian artists sticking it to the man (so to speak) last touched down in Minneapolis during the summer of 2017, in a season that also saw its operatic inspiration La Bohème play across the river.

Mean Girls, Oct. 1-13, 2019

The formal opening of the season goes mean and back to high school, which might seem slightly redundant. This stage adaptation of Tina Fey’s 2004 comedy film of the same name features a book by Fey, lyrics by Nell Benjamin, and music by Jeff Richmond. Its choreography pokes fun at Broadway standards, and the New York Times‘ Ben Brantley praised Fey’s comedic writing as peerless.

The Phantom of the Opera, Nov. 20, 2019-Dec. 1, 2019

Still considered one of the best megamusicals ever written, The Phantom of the Opera returns to Minneapolis two years after its last stop. This tale of Gothic horror and romance includes a larger cast and even more lavish sets (and, yes, the famous crashing chandelier) than the production that first opened on Broadway in 1988.

The Band’s Visit, Dec. 17-22, 2019

This striking, elegant, and different musical – where characters aren’t neatly tied up in couples at the end, and where an evening’s diversion becomes a memorable moment – closes on Broadway this Sunday. The tale of an Egyptian band being stranded in a backwater Israeli town by a travel booking gone collected 10 Tony Awards (including Best Director, Best Book of a Musical, and Best Original Score) in 2018, with a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for good measure.

Jesus Christ Superstar, Jan. 21-26, 2020

Another Andrew Lloyd Webber classic descends on Hennepin Ave during the winter months. If Phantom aims to warm your heart with passion, Jesus Christ Superstar fans a fire of rebellion with the bellows of hero worship and Biblical fears. Judas never sounded so good as in this show.

Blue Man Group, Feb. 4-9, 2020

Physical comedy. Juggling. Sound, light, and splashing paint show. Percussion. Blue Man Group is a perennial, sensual favorite that requires nothing to enjoy and demands nothing in return – not even listening to the dialogue, because there’s none to hear.

My Fair Lady, March 3-8, 2020

Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s 1956 musical remains on many theatregoers’ favorites list, reinforced by a 1964 film and numerous revivals and local productions. The current Broadway tour was spawned by a celebrated 2018 revival at Lincoln Center.

Anastasia, March 24-April 5, 2020

Well before the present-day princess craze, tales about the Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia filled papers and drove rumor mills on both sides of the Atlantic. Although the real-life Anastasia was killed by Russian revolutionaries in 1918, several impersonators kept legends of her survival and escape alive for decades. A 1997 animated film for children with songs by Ahrens and Flaherty is one of the sources for this stage musical, which opened on Broadway in April 2017 and continues to play in New York.

Disney’s Frozen, May 13-31, 2020

In the run-up to the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s season announcement, Frozen was clearly the crowd-winning favorite. This stage version of the Disney animated musical film – yes, of “Let It Go” fame – is set to touch down on Hennepin Ave during the Minnesota spring. While a polar vortex run would have been poetic, the cast of the North American tour will ride out much of the winter with three months in southern California. Advance purchase strongly recommended.

Summer: The Donner Summer Musical, July 14-19, 2020

Forty-two Top 100 singles. Fourteen Top 10s. The perennial favorite “Hot Stuff”. These are just a few of the celebrated singer-songwriter Donna Summer’s credits. The queen of the disco and R&B charts’ expansive musical catalogue became the basis of this eponymous jukebox musical.

Come from Away, Aug. 11-16, 2020

This musical about stranded travelers in the aftermath of 9/11 has a local connection: James A. Rocco (formerly the Vice President of Programming at the Ordway) was one of the show’s Producing Partners on Broadway. Co-written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Come from Away tells the story of 38 planes’ worth of passengers who were unexpectedly sent to a small Canadian town as flights were grounded across the United States. Much-nominated at the 2017 Tony Awards, Come from Away slugged it out against stiff competition from Dear Evan Hansen, the Hello, Dolly! revival, and Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.

Twin Cities Arts Reader

The Twin Cities Arts Reader is an arts and lifestyles magazine whose coverage examines arts and selected activities in the state of Minnesota and across the country. It provides Minnesota's largest source of in-depth, critical theatre coverage, and reaches more than 600,000 readers per year.
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