Theater Latte Da and "Our Town"

June 25, Graydon Royce, Star Tribune.

Several people have wondered what Theater Latte Da is going to do with “Our Town” next season. First, what the company is not doing: Ned Rorem’s opera based on the Thornton Wilder classic. It will be the play, said artistic director Peter Rothstein, with all the dialogue and scenes.

Behind the show, however, will be soundscapes and interspersed throughout will be songs sung by actors who play their own instrument. Actors who can do both, of course, don’t just grow on trees. Rothstein said over coffee that he plans to use contemporary dress and a multicultural cast that reflects a current community rather than the tweedy confines of Grover’s Corner, N.H. But the script will be just as it always has been.

Latte Da did something similar to this with 2012’s “Beautiful Thing,” which featured Erin Schwab stepping in and out to perform Cass Elliott songs between scenes. Also, 2003’s “Burning Patience” was a straight play with a soundscape that gave it a cinematic feel. Rothstein noted that “Patience” used a recorded score. “Our Town” will be all live, all the time. “Our Town” will run March 12-April 6 at the Lab Theatre in Minneapolis.

Latte Da starts its season in September with a fully staged “Steerage Song,” a piece that Rothstein created with Dan Chouinard a few years ago. They did a semi-staged concert version at the Fitzgerald Theatre in 2011. The show reflected the journey of European immigrants during the great wave that occurred around 1900. The creators have continued to work on the piece since then. It runs Sept. 25-Oct. 20, also at the Lab.

At the Pantages Theatre, Latte Da will partner up with the Hennepin Theatre Trust for two shows: “All is Calm,” with Cantus, is back for the Christmas slot, Dec. 19-22. Rothstein will stage “Cabaret” Jan.15-Feb. 9. Last season, Latte Da and the Trust started a collaboration called “Broadway Re-Imagined” with distinct takes on familiar musicals.

More information on the season is at