Founded in 1998, Theater Latté Da (TLD) is in its 22nd season of presenting original and re-imagined musical theater. Theater Latté Da seeks to create new connections between story, music, artist, and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater. TLD is dedicated to expanding the American Musical Theater with work that speaks to a contemporary audience. Theater Latté Da has fostered innovation and diversity since its conception. We believe in work that is bold and collaborative; we act with integrity and gratitude. These values are integral to the organization’s health and drives the discussion at every stage of decision-making. Through productions that transcend the conventional, the organization helps solidify the Twin Cities’ reputation as a place where progressive art plays a vital role.
Theater Latté Da is the only nonprofit professional theater in the Twin Cities that exclusively produces musical theater. Since its inception, TLD has presented 76 Mainstage productions, including 12 world premieres, and 12 area premieres. Each has garnered critical acclaim and earned its artists and TLD a host of awards, including: seven IVEY Awards for overall excellence, National Endowment for the Arts, the Gabriel Award for Broadcast Excellence, and the American Theater Wing National Theater Company Award. In addition to our Twin Cities presence, TLD’s original production All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914 celebrated its 12th anniversary with a national tour and an Off-Broadway debut at the Sheen Center in New York City this past November and December, which won the 2019 Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. TLD’s provocative staging of Ragtime was remounted at the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle, Washington in October 2017, and Asolo Repertory Theater in Florida in May 2018. TLD’s production of Sweeney Todd was remounted at Asolo Repertory in Spring 2019.
Since 1998, TLD has performed in venues throughout the Twin Cities, ranging from the intimate 120-seat Loring Playhouse to the Pantages Theater in downtown Minneapolis. To deepen our relationship with Twin Cities audiences and to better reach the communities we serve, Latté Da decided to make a permanent home in northeast Minneapolis. In 2016, TLD became the proud owner of the historic Ritz Theater, a 234-seat theater with administrative offices, rehearsal space, dressing rooms, and box office.
Theater Latté Da seeks to create new connections between story, music, artist, and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater.
We believe in work that is bold and collaborative; we act with integrity and gratitude.
We make bold choices in support of our mission and vision, both on and off stage. By illuminating the unseen, giving voice to the unheard, and empathizing with the unknown, we open eyes, ears and hearts.
We believe musical theater to be the most collaborative of art forms, incorporating music, drama, poetry, dance and design. We are inspired and strengthened through inclusive partnerships with artists, organizations and our diverse community, and embody a collaborative spirit in all we do.
We hold ourselves to the highest standards of artistic and fiscal integrity. We are committed to honesty, equality and transparency in all aspects of our administration and art.
We are grateful for our artists, audiences, donors, board and staff. We recognize that each individual plays an important role in this organization’s success, and we actively seek out opportunities to acknowledge each person’s contribution.
To Let Go And Fall
Harrison David Rivers’ (Five Points) world premiere play featured original music by Minneapolis-based Jelloslave cellists Jacqueline Ultan and Michelle Kinney. The production starred Mark Benninghofen, Austen Fisher, JuCoby Johnson, Tyler Michaels King, André Shoals, and Jon-Michael Reese and featured Conner Horak and Da’Rius Malone.
Todd and Arthur are two former ballet dancers who reunite at New York’s Lincoln Center Plaza having not seen each other for more than 25 years. This beautifully-told story takes us through the lives of both men, their choices, regrets, and coming to terms with age, illness and sexual identity.
Underneath The Lintel
Glen Berger’s renowned play was reimagined as a play-with-music by Theater Latté Da, with a brand new musical score composed by Frank London. Sally Wingert was joined by musicians Dan Chouinard and Natalie Nowytski to bring the new take on this play to life.
A Dutch librarian embarks on a quest to find out who anonymously returned a library book; a travel guide that is 113 years overdue. A clue scribbled in the margin of the book and an unclaimed dry-cleaning ticket then take her on a mysterious adventure that spans the globe and the ages. The librarian, who has never left her native town of Hoofddorp, grows determined to track down the offender. As she travels around the world on her obsessive search, she finds herself on a journey that not only unlocks ancient mysteries, but also moves her to new revelations about her place in the universe.
The latest and most ambitious musical world premiere to date brought together the talents of a dynamic creative team. The score is the work of Douglas Lyons and Ethan D. Pakchar, a New York-based songwriting team with significant Broadway credits. The book is written by the prolific Twin Cities-based playwright Harrison David Rivers. Theater Latté Da Artistic Director Peter Rothstein directed the production with Resident Music Director Denise Prosek.
FIVE POINTS is set in 1863 in the Five Points: a crucible neighborhood on Manhattan’s Lower East Side during the volatile years of the Civil War. The neighborhood is the new home of free African Americans and impoverished European immigrants. Inspired by the confluence of African American and Irish cultures, and the birth of American tap dance, FIVE POINTS tells the story of historical figures John Diamond and Master Juba, who risk everything for the chance to be a part of the American Dream.
Five Points debuted at the Ritz Theater in April 2018.
With book and lyrics written by Bradley Greenwald and music by Robert Elhai, this new musical adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s great play, Cyrano de Bergerac, reminds us of the power of language and gives new voice to one of its greatest champions.
Cyrano is a brash, strong-willed man of many talents. He’s a remarkable poet and a consummate musician who is deeply in love with the beautiful and intellectual Roxane. However, he is plagued with persisting self-doubt because of his extremely prominent proboscis.
C. debuted at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis in March of 2016.
Lullaby is a new play with alternative rock music that’s powerful and absolutely beautiful. In addition to original music from Michael Elyanow, the production features the music of national recording artists Garrison Starr and Chris Dallman.
In hopes of learning to play lullabies for her infant son, a widowed young mother seeks guitar lessons from a once almost-famous rocker. As the two very different women bond over tricky chords and haunted pasts, a hilarious and moving story of friendship and forgiveness emerges.
Lullaby received its world premiere in 2016 at the Ritz Theater in Northeast Minneapolis.
Created by Artistic Director Peter Rothstein along with musician and writer Dan Chouinard, this musical docudrama tells a story of the journey immigrants took from Europe to America through Ellis Island.
Rothstein and Chouinard spent over three years gathering immigrant songs from 30 different European countries then narrowed their selection to 40 songs. The production includes lyrics in 15 different languages, but the driving force is the universal language of music. Providing a context for the music are quotes taken from immigrant guidebooks, Ellis Island documents, immigration legislation, and articles about life in New York’s Lower East Side tenement district.
Steerage Song received its world premiere in 2011 at the Fitzgerald Theatre in partnership with Minnesota Public Radio. New partnerships are being formed to allow Steerage Song to live beyond its premiere.
Passage of Dreams
Theater Latté Da took musical theater to new heights—literally—combining intriguing stories, compelling music and the art of aerialism in this triptych of new musicals. The production was created in collaboration with New York-based team Katie Baldwin Eng, playwright, and Jeff Tang, composer.
The production was comprised of three short musicals, Passage of Dreams, Thirst and Bessie’s Birthday, all commissioned by Theater Latté Da and New York University’s Write/Act Festival. Passage of Dreams was developed at The Playwrights’ Center as part of PlayLabs in 2006, and had several workshops and readings in Minneapolis and New York. The Southern Theater run in 2009 marked the first time the works had been fully realized, demonstrating Theater Latté Da’s commitment to the development and production of new musical works.
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
In developing All Is Calm, Artistic Director Peter Rothstein wanted to create a work for the theater where the content dictated the form. In 1914, radio was the primary communication tool, so Rothstein conceived All Is Calm as a radio-docudrama. All Is Calm tells the story of the Christmas Truce of 1914 in the words and songs of the people who lived it, with dialogue created primarily through found text from letters, official war documents, autobiographies, World War I poetry, grave stone inscriptions and even old radio broadcasts.
Because theater is an art form that asks audience to engage their imagination to complete the story, Rothstein created a rich audio experience, and left the visual world up to the audience to imagine. The music was re-arranged for the production by Erick Lichte and Timothy C. Takach of the vocal ensemble Cantus.
In 2007, All Is Calm premiered at three Twin Cities churches in collaboration with Cantus. The world premiere was also broadcast live on Minnesota Public Radio and was heard worldwide through live streaming. The broadcast has since been aired each year locally, nationally and even internationally through American Public Radio. In 2008, Cantus and Theater Latté Da teamed up with Hennepin Theatre Trust to present All Is Calm at the Pantages Theatre. All Is Calm has since become a holiday tradition being performed annually at the Pantages and on tour throughout the country during November and December.
A Christmas Carole Petersen
In 2000, this holiday favorite received its world premiere at the Loring Playhouse in Minneapolis. Written by Tod Petersen and Peter Rothstein, A Christmas Carole Petersen is a lively musical that speaks to the power of the holidays to bring out the best and worst in all of us. Tod Petersen, acclaimed for his hilarious and moving performance, reflects on the Yule season with his family and in particular, the show’s namesake, his mother Carole. Elements of Christmas kitsch, nostalgia and music blend to remind us of the traditions and rituals that shape a family, as a Minnesota son struggles to rediscover the magic of the holidays.
A Christmas Carole Petersen was presented for seven seasons at the Loring Playhouse before moving to the Ordway Center’s McKnight Theatre in December of 2007 and 2008.