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5 Shows for Summertime

Start marking your calendars now for outdoor theater in the Twin Cities.

Courtesy Nik Albert/Unsplash.

Theater was never beaten by the pandemic, but with the announcement of the Guthrie's 2021-22 season and the reopening of arenas like the Southern Theater, we're hedging back toward normal. However, for those still wary of COVID-19—and for those who just want to enjoy the fresh air—here are five outdoor performances to go to in the next few weeks. I chose a mix of new takes on classics and family-geared shows, but if they're not your cup of tea, events by favorites like Wayward Theatre Co. and Illusion Theater are continuously popping up.

"The Amazing Cowboat," now through Aug. 15

While Open Eye Theatre has performed "The Amazing Cowboat" for its free, annual driveway tour before, puppetry artists Liz Howls and Oanh Vu have revamped the script and the main puppet's design. Puppeteers Tri Vo and Ty Chapman add their magic, too, and you and your family will find yourselves transported from a concrete slab in Minnesota to Binh's high seas quest for the lost crown of Lac Long Quan, dragon lord of Vietnam.

"A Midsummer Night's Dream," June 18 to July 18

For Classical Actors Ensemble's seventh summer of Shakespeare in Our Parks, they chose a play that was almost made to be outdoors among the flora. If you haven't seen a "Midsummer Night's Dream," think of love triangles with dramatic pining, a donkey named Bottom (pun intended), and some meddling fairies. And if you have, well… That means you know how alive and outrageous Shakespeare's comedies can be when it's live.

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," July 9 to Aug. 8

This summer, Stages Theatre Co. is upping downtown Hopkins' charm with its third rendition of "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown." The light-hearted musical features a local cast of actors ages 10 to 18 playing Linus, Lucy, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and more, and it'll be an hour of simpler times and Charles M. Schulz's empathetic witticisms. Make sure to grab tickets beforehand as no tickets will be sold at the amphitheater. If you don't want to bring a blanket to sit on the gentle hills around the stage, also pack some lawn chairs.

"Eurydice," July 16 to 18

The retelling of this Greek myth may start a little later in the night, but it's all the better to see the fire tricks with. Those familiar with Vox Medusa may have enjoyed its shows like "Medusa" (2017) or "Labyrinth" (2014) at past Minnesota Fringe Festivals, but this hourlong production takes the cake. In a mix of contemporary dance, fire circus tricks, spoken word, and more, you'll see the tragic tale of Eurydice and Orpheus' walk from the Underworld from Eurydice's point of view.

"The Odyssey," July 18 to Sept. 12

I must confess, I've never been to an opera. On the upside, after this summer, I'll be able to say my first opera was an eccentric adaptation of Homer's "Odyssey" in a mash-up that includes Monteverdi's 1639 opera and (apparently?) Dolly Parton melodies. Mixed Precipitation is bringing the epic tale to outdoor sites around the state via pickup truck, and while the family-friendly show is free, donations are suggested. After all, we know what gas prices are these days. Spread out the three half-hour episodes across the season or see them all in one day.


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