It may come as a surprise to some folks but aside from New York City and Los Angeles, the Twin Cities has some of the best theater in the country! We are well known for the performing arts making us the 3rd largest theater market in the U.S.
Probably one of the most well-known theaters is the Guthrie Theater. The original Guthrie was opened behind the Walker Art Center in May of 1963 and was the brainchild of several disenchanted Broadway actors, one of them being Sir Tyrone Guthrie. In 2006 the Guthrie opened their new theater on the bank of the Mississippi River in the heart of downtown Minneapolis. Aside from taking in a play, the new Guthrie offers 3 different restaurants, a lounge, a gift shop and amazing views from the cantilevered lobby they call the “Endless Bridge”. Standing on the end of the bridge you have a panorama view of the falls, dam, river area and park. On the sides of the bridge are long rectangular windows that are supposed to create a frame around the “picture” you are looking at. Anyone can access the bridge whether you are attending a play or not. If you are looking for something to do for the holidays, their production of Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol” is starting in about 2 weeks – reserve your tickets ahead of time!
The Children’s Theatre Company is another very well-known and wonderful theater in the area. Even though the plays are aimed at children, they are enjoyable for adults as well. One of their upcoming plays that promises to be a winner is “The Wizard of Oz”. The Children’s Theatre does a lot for community development and has many educational activities and projects for children and for school classes. Their primary goal is to challenge and inspire young people through the arts.
St. Paul’s Ordway Music Theater, opened in 1985, is one of the leading non-profit performing arts centers in the country! The Ordway has many educational programs for adults and children, including sponsoring students in grades 9-12 at the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Arts. This is a special time of year at the Ordway with special performances for the holidays including musicals, concerts and the “Glass Slipper Ball” on December 11. Check their website now for tickets!
Another fun place to go for theater is The Chanhassen Dinner Theater – one a few dinner theaters in the country that provide actual tableside dining to all their guests and the food is actually quite good! The theater opened in 1968 and has had many productions that just lasted and lasted including their 1971 production of “I do, I do”, scheduled for a 6 week run but lasted for 22 ½ years! Amazingly, after 500 productions, the 2 leading characters who were strangers when the play began in 1971, actually said “I do” for real and went on to have 2 children while still acting in the play! The theater has 4 running productions, one of which is a holiday production. Turn to their website for more information on a truly unique evening!
These are just a couple of the wonderful theaters in the Twin Cities – we have symphonies, art centers, comedy clubs and more, simply too much for one blog. I encourage you to take in a holiday play or musical at one of the theaters – it is really a fun time and often they have group specials if you want to take a lot of friends or family along but you do have to start planning now as productions tend to sell out quickly.