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Theatre Madness: Minneapolis & Saint Paul

Billy Elliot at Hennepin Theatre Trust. Photo by Alastair Muir.

Trent Kowalik as Billy and ballet girls in Billy Elliot at Hennepin Theatre Trust. Photo by Alastair Muir

While larger cities like Chicago and New York boast more theater companies, Minneapolis and nearby Saint Paul support an incredibly busy theater scene (along with live music and art) that’s well-worth checking out. In-between theater-going, take a spin along the Twin Cities’ network of bike paths or enjoy the huge number of gorgeous lakes and parks.

Hennepin Theater District: Three restored theaters – the Orpheum, State, and Pantages — make up this historic district. The Orpheum hosts touring Broadway shows, while the State and Pantages specialize in live music and other acts.
Hennepin Theatre Trust
800 LaSalle Avenue #120, Minneapolis, MN 55402
612-373-5600
http://www.hennepintheatretrust.org/

The Great Game: Afghanistan, Part 3: 1996-2009 Enduring Freedom, at Guthrie Theater. Photo by John Haynes.

Jemma Redgrave, Tom McKay and Nabil Elouahabi in On the Side of the Angels by Richard Bean from The Great Game: Afghanistan, Part 3: 1996-2009 Enduring Freedom, at Guthrie Theater. Photo by John Haynes.

Guthrie Theater: One of the most prestigious theaters in the U.S., the Guthrie presents world-class performances of both classic and modern plays on three stages. Located on the west bank of the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis, the Guthrie specializes in Shakespeare but also offers live music, and has several restaurants and cafes for before and after performances.
818 South 2nd Street, Minneapolis, MN 55415
612-377-2224
http://www.guthrietheater.org/

Minnesota Fringe Festival: This 10-day long annual summer arts festival includes a variety of acts, from dance to drama, comedy and improv, at locations throughout Minneapolis/St. Paul.
79 Thirteenth Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis, MN 55413
612-872-1212
http://www.fringefestival.org/2010/

The Children’s Theater Company: Established 45 years ago, the CTC is the largest kids’ theater company in North America, with stage productions, theater arts training, and regional tours.
2400 Third Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55404-3597
612-874-0400
http://www.childrenstheatre.org/

Ten Thousand Things Theater: In addition to public performances at Open Book Literary/Arts Center and Minnesota Opera Center, Ten Thousand Things serves an audience that’s rarely exposed to theater: The group performs at prisons, homeless shelters, and low-income and community centers, without stages and special effects.
3153 36th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55406
612-203-9502
http://www.tenthousandthings.org

In nearby Saint Paul:

James Craven and Abdul Salaam El Razzac in Two Old Black Guys Sitting Around Talking at Penumbra Theatre. Photo by Ann Marsden.

James Craven and Abdul Salaam El Razzac in Two Old Black Guys Sitting Around Talking at Penumbra Theatre. Photo by Ann Marsden.

Penumbra Theater Company: presents plays through the prism of the African American experience.
270 North Kent Street, Saint Paul MN 55102
651-224-3180
http://penumbratheatre.org/

The 1,000-seat Fitzgerald Theater hosts “A Prairie Home Companion,” the popular weekly show heard on National Public Radio and hosted by Garrison Keillor. The theater also presents readings and other events.
10 East Exchange Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101
651-290-1200
http://fitzgeraldtheater.publicradio.org/

History Theater: produces new plays that explore Minnesota and America’s past.
30 East Tenth Street, Saint Paul, MN 55101
651-292-4323
http://www.historytheatre.com/

-By Anne Stein