Looking for entertainment to nudge you in the right direction this Valentine’s Day? Whether you’re paired up, poly-ed up or single, these plays and movies are a great way to get in the mood for love.
Desire and disguises lead to bubbly mirth and amorous confusion in Shakespeare’s frothy rom-com at the Guthrie. In the play, fraternal twins Sebastian and Viola are separated in a shipwreck in a strange land, with Viola donning a male disguise to survive even as she-as-he is falling in love with the duke who, himself, has fallen for countess Olivia. Joe Dowling staged a memorable production in 2000-01 with Daniel Sunjata as Sebastian and Opal Alladin as Viola and an A-list cast that included Charles Keating, Kathryn Meisle and Sally Wingert. Wingert returns in a pants role to the latest production, which marks the Guthrie debut of director Tom Quaintance and features dynamos Emily Gunyou Halaas, Joy Dolo and Sarah Jane Agnew (through March 22. $15-$79 at 612-377-2224 or guthrietheater.org).
Greta Gerwig’s perfect adaptation of the Louisa May Alcott classic hasn’t received enough attention for either the skill with which Gerwig’s screenplay works on two levels, as an adaptation and as semi-biopic of Alcott, or for how piercingly romantic it is. In fact, the best scene in the movie may be the alternately hilarious and heartbreaking one when Laurie (Timothée Chalamet) proclaims his love to Jo (Saoirse Ronan) with results that leave both of them unsatisfied because in the movies, as in real life, love isn’t always enough. In theaters
“Romeo and Juliet”
The Shakespearean theme continues at Collide Theatrical, but in a dance redux. Star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet are portrayed by real-life couple Rush Benson and Renee Guittar in choreographer Regina Peluso’s re-imagined concert version that features a dozen dancers, five musicians drawn from the Minnesota Orchestra and two singers doing songs of Rihanna, Lady Gaga and Nirvana, among others. The show promises some gender-bending, body twisting heart stops. (Fri.-Feb. 23, Cowles Center for Dance, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $33-$39 or thecowlescenter.org.)
“I Lost My Body”
If you’ve heard of this gem from France, you’ve probably heard that it’s about a disembodied hand, trying to find its way back to its owner. What you may not have heard is that the whole sweet, funny film builds to a powerfully romantic conclusion. It didn’t win the Oscar Sunday night, but it should have, not only because it’s such a complex and provocative tale but also because it’s impossible to imagine it working in any form other than animation. Netflix
Hayley Finn directs this new play by Joshua Harmon (“Bad Jews”) at Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company about a young gay man’s search for love in New York. Jordan’s loneliness comes into sharp focus as his mostly female friends pair off, leaving him hungrier for love. (Sat.-March 8, Minnesota Jewish Theatre, Highland Park Library, 1978 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul. $23-$38. 651-647-4315.)
It’s now a Broadway show, as well as the music a million competitive figure skaters triple-axel to, but the Baz Luhrmann romance returns to the big screen at midnight this weekend. An over-the-top mishmash of dozens of songs and styles of music, it’s also a showcase for the surprisingly strong tenor of Ewan McGregor, the athletic sultriness of Nicole Kidman, the over-the-top hilariousness of Richard Roxburgh (he makes even the brief line, “What?” a sidesplitter.) and the more-is-more production and costume design, which won the film a pair of Oscars. Midnight Fri.-Sat., Uptown Theatre
“The Love Show: Skyway to Heaven”
Master storyteller Kevin Kling is joined by singers Bradley Greenwald, Prudence Johnson and Dane Stauffer alongside pianist Dan Chouinard for the seventh annual Valentine’s concert and hootenanny at the O’Shaughnessy. (7:30 p.m. Fri., the O’Shaughnessy at St. Catherine University, 2004 Randolph Av., St. Paul. $25-$29. 651-690-6700 or theoshaughnessy.com.)
The movies have all but abandoned romance, unless it’s two superheroes kissing in the midst of saving the world, and this one’s even more of a unicorn because it features black leads. Issa Rae, who worked with director Stella Meghie on her HBO series “Insecure,” stars with LaKeith Stanfield, who was so poignant in “Short Term 12” and unsettling in “Get Out.” They play lovers in a comedy-drama that Rae says harks back to one of her favorites, “Love & Basketball.” If you watch the first trailer from several months ago and a new one, you’ll note that the producers have decided to go ham on the romance. The sexy new trailer is all about Rae and Stanfield’s characters awkwardly falling in love. No hint of the plot. An earlier one, though, indicated that Stanfield’s character is a reporter writing a story about Rae’s late mother, whose own parallel romance is revealed in flashbacks. That means if you’re looking for a Valentine’s Day movie twofer, this could be your ticket. In theaters.