Latté Da's new season to open with 'Ragtime'

Pamela EspelandMinnPost

June 14, 2016

Theater Latté Da had a stellar 2015-16 season that included the smash hit “Sweeney Todd,” a terrific “Gypsy,” a new “All Is Calm” and the world premiere “C,” based on “Cyrano de Bergerac.” The season before, the theater’s 17th, was wildly successful. Expectations ran hot for the 2016-17 season announcement Monday evening at the Ritz (which Latté Da is in process of buying; it’s still working out the purchase agreement).

Two words: Looking good. Eight shows include three Broadway musicals, the return of an old favorite, the 10th anniversary of a holiday classic and three yet-to-be-named musicals in Latté Da’s NEXT Festival, because creating new musicals is as important as presenting proven ones.

Season 19 begins with “Ragtime” by Terrence McNally, Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, nominated for 13 Tonys and winner of two. Peter Rothstein directs a cast including Sasha Andreev (“Steerage Song”) and Britta Ollmann (“Into the Woods”). David Murray and Traci Allen Shannon, an acting company member at the Children’s Theatre Company, make their Latté Da debuts. Sept. 21-Oct. 23 at the Ritz.

Back after a seven-year hiatus: “A Christmas Carole Petersen” by Tod Petersen and Rothstein, built on Petersen’s tales of Christmas with his family in Mankato. Nov. 30-Dec. 23 at the Ritz. “All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914”turns 10 this year. Written and directed by Rothstein, with Cantus’ founding Artistic Director Erick Lichte as music director, it has a short run at the Pantages: Dec. 15-18.

Tyler Michaels was born to play the emcee in “Cabaret” (which he did, for Latté Da), born to play Puck in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” (Guthrie), born to play Peter Pan in “Peter Pan the Musical” (Children’s Theatre). He’s Peter again in Latté Da’s take on “Peter and the Starcatcher,” winner of five Tonys. Black Label Movement’s Carl Flink (“Sweeney Todd”) is choreographer, and Joel Sass makes his Latté Da directing debut. Feb. 1-26, 2017, at the Ritz.

Spring brings John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation.” Rothstein directs a cast that includes Mark Benninghofen and Sally Wingert, last seen together in “Sweeney Todd.” March 8-April 9 at the Ritz. The NEXT Festival, formerly NEXT 20/20, will end the season with three new works TBA.

Season subscriptions are on sale now.

Wait just one minute. Where’s “Sweeney Todd” at the Pantages in March, previously announced as part of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Broadway Re-Imagined series? Here’s the official word from Latté Da:  “In working to produce the remount, the project encountered a series of challenges. Both arts organizations decided that it would be best not to move forward with the production at this time. We are disappointed; however, we both remain enthusiastic about future partnerships.” More on that when we know.