The Current

Great Music Lives Here ®
Listener-Supported Music
Donate Now
News and Interviews

Ten theater events to see (in person or virtually) this winter

Olivia Lampert and Sun Mee Chomet in 'Bina's Six Apples' by the Children's Theatre Company.
Olivia Lampert and Sun Mee Chomet in 'Bina's Six Apples' by the Children's Theatre Company.Glen Stubbe Photography

by Jay Gabler

January 16, 2022

“The only constant is change” is a commonplace, but it’s rarely felt truer than during the Covid-19 pandemic, as week-to-week developments reshape the entertainment landscape. In the fall when we planned out our series of features celebrating 89 Days of Winter, I fully expected this would be the perfect time to highlight some of the promising, adventurous plays and musicals returning to Twin Cities stages.

Instead, due to omicron, everything’s up in the air again. Still, theaters are soldiering on - and if you’ve got your vaccine proof ready to show, there are still some sterling shows and other important theater events to take in this winter. Below are ten top options, including streaming events for those who must or who prefer to stay in. Needless to say, all dates are subject to change.

Bina’s Six Apples

Jan. 11 - Feb. 13 (in person, Children’s Theatre Company)

This world premiere production finds the young Korean protagonist dislocated by warfare, on her own with just six of her family’s famous apples. I have no idea what I’d do, but I have faith in Bina - as played by Olivia Lampert, in a cast that also includes Sun Mee Chomet. This production is recommended for ages nine and up.


Jan. 14 - Feb. 27 (online, Walking Shadow Theatre Company)

Walking Shadow’s winter offering might be just the ticket for quarantine cabin fever: it’s a combination of escape room and interactive theater, all available on your own personal computer via the magic of the internet. Audience members have been drawing connections to the cyberpunk aesthetic and Ready Player One, so consider pursuing this locally-crafted adventure instead of passively queuing up the latest Matrix movie.

Naked Stages

Jan. 15-30 (streaming via Pillsbury House Theatre)

No, not that kind of naked. Pillsbury House’s longstanding Naked Stages program encourages performance artists to get conceptually naked: to take risks, to be “their most bold and creative selves.” This year’s program, presented online, combines two cohorts of artists who’ve each taken several months to develop new and adventurous work that addresses issues including memory loss, maternal desires, transmasculine love, the Asian American experience, grief, and mental health.

La bohème

Jan. 20 - Feb. 27 (in person, Theater Latté Da)

Look out, Minnesota Opera: this acclaimed theater company, now based in the historic Ritz Theater, is coming for you with its pandemic-delayed and thus even more highly anticipated production of Giacomo Puccini’s 1896 opera. If you’re not familiar, you still might now the story, which was the inspiration for Rent. (While we’re talking Rent, have you seen Lin-Manuel Miranda’s film adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s Tick, Tick…Boom!?)

An Officer and a Gentleman

Jan. 20-23 (in person, touring production at Ordway Center for the Performing Arts)

If you’re going to watch a jukebox musical, why not stock the jukebox with ‘80s chestnuts by Pat Benatar, Rick Springfield, and Men at Work? (That’s a rhetorical question.) Of course the songs include “Up Where We Belong,” the Joe Cocker/Jennifer Warnes duet written by Jack Nitzsche, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Will Jennings. It won the Oscar for Best Original Song in the 1982 movie on which this stage musical is based, making Sainte-Marie the first Indigenous person to win an Academy Award.


Feb. 4 - Sept. 24 (in person, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres)

It might be a little bold to claim you’re getting one degree closer to Kevin Bacon by taking in this musical based on his 1984 movie, but…just a little. There aren’t many classic dinner theaters like the Chanhassen left in the United States, at least not with the kind of sterling performance standards the company still maintains. Bonus: the Chanhassen has a special place in Prince history, as the source of his Sign O’ the Times cover photo backdrop and ultimately the site of his final public guitar performance.


Feb. 5 - March 13 (in person, Jungle Theater)

The Jungle’s Redwood was poised to open in March 2020, until…well, yep, that. To the immense gratification of the Lyn-Lake theater’s artists and community, Brittany K. Allen’s play about an interracial couple facing the realities of historical trauma will finally play for the public nearly two years later. If you’d prefer to avoid larger crowds this winter, you may consider the 148-seat Jungle space as an alternative to a larger venue.

Man of God

Feb. 16 - March 6 (in person, Theater Mu at Mixed Blood Theatre)

Theater Mu, a company that “celebrates and empowers Asian Americans through theater,” according to their mission statement, is one of the sharpest companies in town. Billed as “a funny feminist thriller,” Man of God has members of a Korean Christian’ girls youth group discovering that their pastor has hidden a camera in their bathroom. They resolve to show him a thing or two - in a very different sense.

Pretty Woman: The Musical

Feb. 22-27 (in person, touring production at Orpheum Theatre)

When the musical based on Garry Marshall’s romcom opened on Broadway, it had songs by Bryan Adams (with Jim Vallance) and performed well enough to stick around for over a year despite reviews that weren’t so hot. It was missing one thing, though: the title song. Finally, on the song’s 55th anniversary in 2019, members of Roy Orbison’s family joined the cast onstage to inaugurate “Oh, Pretty Woman” as a permanent part of the show. It’s only fair for the song to do the musical a favor: the original movie did the song a favor when it became one of the biggest hits of 1990.

The Tempest

Feb. 26 - April 16 (in person, Guthrie Theater)

While the Guthrie Theater had to postpone one production and cancel another this season, they’re still slated to launch The Tempest before March comes in like a lion. Joe Dowling, the former artistic director who ushered the Guthrie into its new riverside home, is returning to direct this Shakespeare classic - with a woman, instead of a man, playing the leading role of Prospero.

BONUS: Let’s Talk: Criminal Justice

Feb. 7 (online, Penumbra)

Not a play, but a conversation hosted by Sarah Bellamy - artistic director of the landmark African American organization based in St. Paul. Last summer, Penumbra Theatre announced that it’s expanding its programming to become the Penumbra Center for Racial Healing, with theatrical productions unfolding alongside a range of racial equity work and culturally specific wellness services. This community conversation is part of that work.

Animated graphic with snow falling.
The long dark nights of Minnesota winter open our eyes to the wonders of the starry sky and the thrills of chasing the Aurora Borealis.
Marlena Myles for The Current

This feature is part of The Current’s 89 Days of Winter series, helping you enjoy the best of the season with weekly guides to events, entertainment, and recreation in the Twin Cities.

Clean Water Land & Legacy Amendment
This activity is made possible in part by the Minnesota Legacy Amendment’s Arts & Cultural Heritage Fund.