When theater companies scheduled shows for spring 2021, it seemed like a worst-case scenario that they would be shuttered for up to a year due to the pandemic. But here we are, with those productions postponed again until it's safe to gather in theaters.
The good news is that many companies are finding ways to connect with audiences outside of their artistic homes. Whether it's plays filmed for presentation online, interactive experiences that start with a video and branch out into the world, readings of works that playwrights are still developing or productions created to be viewed in your home, Twin Cities companies have your back.
The following list is not exhaustive. Like those tulip bulbs you planted last fall, many companies are doing work that's not ready to be seen. (The Guthrie, for instance, has commissioned a new drama from "Native Gardens" playwright Karen Zacarias.) So your best bet is to visit the site of your favorite venue in the Twin Cities (or, given the ease of commuting to your computer, in the world) and check to see what they are up to.
"Anansi the Spider: Respun": Tickets are free to this show about a mischievous arachnid, adapted from West African and Caribbean tales by England's answer to CTC, Unicorn Theatre. (Jan. 11-31, childrenstheatre.org)
"Mountain Goat Mountain": From Australia's Threshold Theatre, this immersive audience experience takes folks into a mysterious cave. (Tickets on sale Jan. 15.)
"Seedfolks": Originally planned for CTC's stages last fall, "Seedfolks" was postponed but it remains part of the season in a taped collaboration with Twin Cities Public Television. When the show appeared at CTC in 2014, the Star Tribune's Rohan Preston praised star Sonja Parks' ability to glide in and out of 11 characters who are part of a Cleveland community that comes together with the help of some lima beans. (March 8-21.)
"Audrey Saves the Universe": Written by and starring company member Autumn Ness, the world premiere careens into the mind of an egocentric 9-year-old filmmaker in the midst of creating her "8½." Ness' husband, Reed Sigmund, directs the show; dates TBA.
"I'll Be Seeing You Again": Third in the "Jungle Serial" series, actor JuCoby Johnson's audio drama blends music and the performances of Ryan Colbert, H. Adam Harris and Rajané Katurah in a drama set on the May 2020 evening when the world's eyes focused on events in south Minneapolis. The $20 ticket also covers two earlier "Serial" episodes (a $50 ticket includes the virtual comedy "Is Edward Snowden Single?"). (Through Jan. 17, jungletheater.org)
"Concordis — The Heart": Most of us have become all too familiar with Zoom, but "Concordis" sounds like a stunning use of the video-chat staple. Patrons buy tickets for one- or two-person performances with Brazilian artist Nina Vogel, who opens up a puppet theater she carries in her arms. The dialogue-free piece takes audiences into a heart in order to find out what makes it beat. Afterward, she'll chat with individual theatergoers about the experience. Tickets are $15 for one person, $20 for two. (Jan. 12-30, openeyetheatre.org)
"Getting There": The first of four titles remaining in the center's free Ruth Easton New Playwright Series, Dipika Guha's comedy/drama spins off from the meeting of two people who are concluding a miserable vacation in France when chance meetings change the course of their lives. (Jan. 13, pwcenter.org)
"This Much I Know": Jonathan Spector's "explosively theatrical" play takes wicked turns as a man searches for his missing wife. (Feb. 3.)
"Pulp Vérité": A filmmaker tries to enlist her friends in helping her get her sister released from ISIS captivity in Crystal Skillman's drama. (March 3.)
"Nancy": Rhiana Yazzie's phantasmagorical drama explores the legacy of Nancy Reagan, a ninth-generation descendant of Pocahontas. (April 7.)
"Out of the Box" is a series of four interactive "adventures" for families, which cost $50 apiece. Each begins when Stages sends patrons a literal box that includes games, recipes and props to be used in conjunction with an online production. Three of this year's "Out of the Box" presentations are encores (starting with "The Dot," which returns Jan. 15-March 18), but there's a new one: the scavenger hunt-like "Legendary: A Detect the Story Adventure." (March 19-April 29, stagestheatre.org)
"Twelve Blocks From Where I Live" launches Latté Da's "The Ghostlight Series," five online cabarets that feature top Twin Cities performers and will be available on demand through July at latteda.org. The series package is $75 per household. Starting this month, Regina Marie Williams and others will perform music (along with Sanford Moore) and show her photographs documenting "pain and promise at the intersection of 38th and Chicago."
"Re-cast," curated by Latté Da's Kelli Foster Warder, has actors performing excerpts from roles in which they would not likely be cast. (March.)
"Heroic Acts of Music" comes from Latté Da co-founder Peter Rothstein, who gathers moments in history when artists used music to face down oppression and violence. (April.)
"The Rap Pack" will be created by Q Brothers Collective, blending Vegas showmanship and hip-hop smarts. (June.)
"Music to Our Eyes: Designers Sing Out" brings offstage talents — set, costume, sound and lighting designers — into the spotlight to share their artistry. (July.)
"Today Is My Birthday": Loneliness at a time when thousands of strangers are just a social-media click away is the theme of Susan Soon He Stanton's comedy, which Mu will present in some live and some archived performances. Pay-as-you-can with a $5 minimum for each Mu show. (Feb. 6-21, theatermu.org)
"140 LBS: How Beauty Killed My Mother": Susan Lieu has toured around the country with her drama, in which a soon-to-be-married woman reckons with the death of her mother 19 years earlier. Now she's bringing it to the web. (March 26.)
"Man of God": There's a bit of "9 to 5" in Anna Moench's "funny feminist thriller," in which girls who discover their pastor has secretly filmed them vow to get revenge. Directed by veteran actor Katie Bradley. (July 9-25.)
"The Legend of Sleepy Hollow": The Star Tribune praised the "lively blend of gothic terror and tongue-in-cheek humor" of this adaptation of the creepy classic when it was on stage in 2013. A newly edited digital version snares Ichabod Crane (Ryan Lear) in both a romantic triangle and a community's suspicion of outsiders. Plus, there's the whole headless horseman thing. (Through Jan. 31.)
"21 Bad Breakups": Amy Rummenie adapted and directed a take on Mark Leidner's book about "love and its many catastrophes." (Feb. 1-28.)
"Gilgamesh": The late Charlie Bethel adapted and performed the epic tale of the legendary king. Filmed in 2014 but previously unseen, the performance benefits the Charlie Bethel Legacy Project. (March 1-31.)
Walking Shadow performances also include a live "watch party." Pay what you can, with a minimum of $10, or purchase a three-show package for $25 at walkingshadow.org/streaming.
"Lalo's Lunchbox": A free, interactive experience for kids takes them into the kitchen to learn about good food and, possibly, juggling. After the event, which you can view at the Osseo theater's Facebook page, the cast will chat with lunchers. (Jan. 16, yellowtreetheatre.com)
Chris Hewitt • 612-673-4367