on location: midwest â?–
emily k. weber
M INNESOTA THEATER SAMPLER
In addition to natural splendor, the state offers groups a thriving arts scene
The cast of Steve Martinâ€™s Picasso at the Lapin Agile makes a toast at the Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, Minnesota.
hen visiting Minnesota, groups have the opportunity to experience some of the finest singing, dance and theater productions in the country. Minneapolis-Saint Paul boasts more theater seats per capita than any other U.S. city outside New York. The Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis is a Tony Award winner that has received recognition for theater performance, production, education and professional training. The nationally acclaimed repertory theater made
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its debut in 1963. In 2006 a new stateof-the-art building was constructed along the Mississippi River housing three different theaters with cumulative seating for 1,999 guests. Unique features include a thrust stage, a blackbox studio and a 178-foot cantilevered bridge. Private backstage tours are available for groups of 15 people or more. Tours with an architecture focus can be booked. Live performances this season include Heaven, Arms and the Man, Arsenic and Old Lace, In the Red
and Brown Water, How Do They Do That: God and Orla Fallon. (612-3772224, guthrietheater.org). The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in Saint Paul opened in 1985 after serving purely as an opera house for five years. Today it offers a wide array of events. Spring 2011 shows include the percussive dance extravaganza Stomp and a performance by the Beijing Modern Dance Company. (651-224-4222, ordway.org). The Orpheum Theatre in MinLeisureGroupTravel.com
The Guthrie Theater is one of Minneapolisâ€™ cultural gems.
neapolis, dating from 1921, was originally a vaudeville house called the Hennepin. Some of the first performers included the Marx Brothers, who drew more than 70,000 guests. In 1927 the Orpheum was transformed into a cinema house and in 1959 it began to bring in Broadway touring productions. The 2,600-seat theater underwent extensive renovations in 1993 and is recognized for its ornate design. The interior, done in deep Victorian colors, is highlighted by a 2,000pound chandelier made from brass and Italian crystal. 2011 productions include Madagascar Live!, Jersey Boys, Wicked, Rock of Ages, Billy Elliot and Hair. (612-339-7007, hennepintheatretrust.org). The State Theatre in Minneapolis was considered the most technologically advanced theater in the United States when it opened in 1921. Until 1973, the theater was primarily used as a movie house and in 1989 it was purchased by
TO E X P LO R E
Create unforgettable Minnesota experiences! Walk across the Headwaters of the Mississippi River. Gaze out over shimmering Lake Superior. Drive, hike or bike on numerous trails along lush river bluffs, native prairies, and 20+ Scenic Byways. Pick a festival for music, food, and fun! Discover professional theaters, star-studded concerts, art galleries and museums. For itinerary ideas visit exploreminnesota.com, traveltrade.exploreminnesota.com or call 1-888-VISIT-MN (1-888-847-4866). THEREâ€˜S MORE TO EXPLORE IN MINNESOTA
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on location: midwest ❖ the Minneapolis Community Development Agency, which sparked a twoyear renovation. The State Theatre hosts Broadway productions such as Avenue Q and Sweeney Todd. (612-3397007, hennepintheatretrust.org). Chanhassen Dinner Theatres in Chanhassen, a Twin Cities suburb, is a three-theater venue that allows people to take part in a quality dining experience while enjoying popular mainstream productions. It is the largest professional dinner theater in the nation and the largest privately owned restaurant in Minnesota. More than 200 plays have been produced and shown in front of more than 10 mil-
lion guests since 1968. 2011 shows include Jesus Christ Superstar, I Do! I Do! and Hairspray. (952-934-1525 or 800362-3515, chanhassentheatres.com). Commonweal Theatre Company in Lanesboro hosts six productions from April until December that range from classic to contemporary and newly developed productions. Because of the community’s significant Scandinavian population, Commonweal consciously produces works by Henrik Ibsen, a popular 19th century Norwegian playwright. Spring 2011 performances include An Enemy of the People and Sylvia with summer performances including Little Shop of Horrors and To Kill a Mockingbird. (800-657-7025, commonwealtheatre.org).
Obtain Minnesota visitor guides and itineraries – and contact groupfriendly suppliers directly – at leisuregrouptravel.com/instant-info
Great River Shakespeare Festival at Winona State University will take place from June 22 through July 31, 2011 and showcase Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream as well as Henry IV, Part 1 and an American musical favorite, The Fantastics. (507-4747900, grsf.org). Whether your groups are headed to the Twin Cities or beyond, they’ll find plenty of reasons to applaud the entertainment included in their itinerary. LGT
ONLINE EXCLUSIVE For more Minnesota theater options, see the article at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=22871. Also see the Minnesota Gardens feature at http://leisuregrouptravel.com/?p=22980
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