Old favorites and five Minnesota premieres in Hennepin Theatre Trust’s 2016-17 Broadway on Hennepin season

Pamela EspelandMinnPost

January 29, 2016


“Wicked” returns. So do Roundabout Theatre’s Tony-winning “Cabaret” revival, and“Motown the Musical,” “Rent” and “Mama Mia!” But the 2016-17 Broadway on Hennepin season isn’t just about old favorites. Announced earlier this week by Hennepin Theatre Trust, it also includes five Minnesota premieres.

New to Minneapolis and the Orpheum stage will be “Fun Home,” winner of five 2015 Tony awards including Best Musical; “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” the 2015 Tony-winning Best Play; and “Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King and I,” the 2015 Tony winner for Best Revival of a Musical. The 2013 Tony winner“Matilda the Musical,” based on the book by Roald Dahl, will touch down, and “The Bodyguard,” based on the hit film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, filled with great songs (“I Will Always Love You”), will launch its North American tour here.

And – we are super excited about this –Theater Latté Da’s “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” which was just about everybody’s favorite musical last year, will make an encore presentation at the Pantages as part of Broadway Re-Imagined, the fruitful collaboration between the Trust and Latté Da. (Up next: “Gypsy” at the Pantages in February.) Mark Benninghofen, Sally Wingert and Tyler Michaels will reprise their roles as the demon barber, the pie maker and the apprentice.

The season begins with “Cabaret” in October and ends with “Motown” in July 2017.Season packages are on sale now. Single tickets will be available at a later date.

As you stroll to the theater from the Green Line or wherever you park, take in our “urban walking gallery” – the once-vacant windows filled with art by local artists for “Made Here,”a project of Hennepin Theatre Trust that will continue for at least two more years. Last week Andersen Windows, the presenting sponsor since the project began in 2014, renewed its commitment, as did the McKnight Foundation (for artist support) and Best Buy (for a second Young Artists Edition).

We had hoped to see the brilliant young Swedish clarinetist Martin Fröst on stage with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in February and March. Sadly, it’s not to be. After canceling his debut as a new SPCO artistic partner last November due to Meniere’s Disease – a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe vertigo, sickness and tinnitus – Fröst has withdrawn from all upcoming engagements through the 2015-16 season.

The Feb. 26-28 and March 4-6 programs have been changed and new guest artists engaged. French pianist David Fray will make his Minnesota debut with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor in February. In March, violinist and SPCO audience favoriteGil Shaham will play Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto in E minor. The SPCO’s website has been updated with all the details.

Fröst remains committed to his artistic partnership and looks forward to returning next season in good health.

In November, SPCO artistic partner Patricia Kopatchinskaja had to withdraw from a performance at the last minute due to an arm injury. She has since returned to the concert stage with tours throughout Europe this month, so we can expect her in April and June as planned.