The Super Bowl Survival Guide for Minnesota Theater Fans

After months of preparation and weeks of street closings, Super Bowl LII is almost here. Events throughout the region start January 26 for residents and fans alike leading up to the big game on February 4 at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

If you’re looking to experience a different kind of drama on a big stage, we’ve got you covered. Here are some plays and musicals on stage during the Super Bowl hoopla. (Note: some of the companies are taking a day or two around the game off.)

Twin Cities Metro

The Underpants (through February 4)
Lakeshore Players Theatre, White Bear Lake

Actor and musician Steve Martin adapted this German play and put a hilarious spin on it. A woman is watching the King’s parade when her underpants fall down. And instead of her husband worrying about her safety, he’s concerned about his career. The White Bear Lake–based company promises some “special guest stars” will be on hand to play the King, which could be interesting.

Ishmael (through February 4)
Jungle Theater, Minneapolis

This performance is part one-man play, part concert. Director Leo Geter has transformed Herman Melville’s classic Moby Dick into a wild adventure with a bluegrass touch. Jack Weston plays the title character, and he’s joined by Jim Parker and members of the band Pert Near Sandstone.

Cardboard Piano onstage

Cardboard Piano at the Park Square Theatre. Petronella J. Ytsma

Cardboard Piano (through February 18)
Park Square Theatre, St. Paul

The intimate Park Square Theatre is home to the Midwest premiere of Cardboard Piano, a play about forbidden love in Uganda. A Ugandan girl (Kiara Jackson) and a white girl in the country with her missionary parents (Adelin Phelps) hold a secret wedding ceremony at the start of the new millennium. This might not be the most family-friendly option available, but it is still a strong, important play nonetheless. (Beware of Super Bowl and Winter Carnival traffic in downtown St. Paul, though.)

Sister Act (through February 24)
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres

If you want dinner and a show all in one, head southwest to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. The venue hosts concerts and other events, but they’re best known for musicals on the main stage. Case in point: Sister Act. This musical based on the hit movie tells the story of Deloris Van Carter, a woman who gets put in a convent after witnessing a crime. This isn’t the first time CDT has put on Sister Act, and many of the original cast members have returned for the current run. The show is taking Super Bowl Sunday off, but there are other opportunities to see it before and after game day.

The Wiz (through March 18)
Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis

The Children’s Theatre Company is teaming up with Penumbra Theatre, the state’s only professional African American theater company, for their version of The Wiz. The cast will sing songs from the movie and the Broadway versions of this musical based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. You may want to allow yourself a little bit of extra time to “ease on down the road,” since the CTC is only an eight-minute drive from US Bank Stadium.

Make Believe Neighborhood (February 2–25)
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, Minneapolis

One of the most inspiring lessons taught by the man known as Mister Rogers is to look for the helpers, the people who make your neighborhood a better place to live. The cast of In the Heart of the Beast’s original play Make Believe Neighborhood does just that, celebrating the residents of South Minneapolis. If you grew up with Mister Rogers—or are watching your children grow up with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood—you’ll surely love this play. Won’t you be my neighbor?

’Til Death: A Marriage Musical (February 2–24)
Art House North, St. Paul

We’re close to that point of the year when love is in the air. Whether Valentine’s Day makes you want to swoon, vomit, or something in between, everyone can find something to laugh about in this original musical put on by Minneapolis’s Bucket Brigade Theater.

’Til Death promotional image

Bonni Allen/Bucket Brigade Theatre

Miss Congeniality: A Drinking Game (February 3)
Phoenix Theater, Minneapolis

Need to forget that the hometown team isn’t in the Big Game? Want to see a new spin on a cult classic? Head to Uptown’s Phoenix Theater the day before the Super Bowl for Shadow Horse Theater’s take on the movie Miss Congeniality. This is an all-ages show, but there are drinks available for those 21 and up. The show starts at 10:30 p.m., so you might want to take a nap first.

Central Minnesota

The Mousetrap (through January 28)
Andria Theatre, Alexandria

If a mystery is what you seek, head two hours northwest of the Twin Cities to Alexandria for Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. A group of strangers find themselves stranded during a snowstorm before they start getting murdered. It’s a classic whodunit story with a twist that’s worth the drive.

Blithe Spirit (February 1–3, 8–11)
The Little Theatre of New London

If you’re convinced that ghosts are real or if you just want to laugh about the supernatural—or if you missed the recent Guthrie production of this play—New London may be the place for you with this tale of comedy and horror. Charles Condomine has a medium come to his house for a book he’s writing, when she summons his wife, Elvira . . . who’s been dead for seven years.

Anne of Green Gables (February 2–11)
Paramount Theatre, St. Cloud

The classic novel about an adopted girl in a new world gets a new light in this comedy musical. It’s playing for two weekends in St. Cloud, including Super Bowl Sunday (2:00 p.m.), which could make it a fun and short weekend trip out of the metro.

Anne of Green Gables poster

Great Theatre

Southern Minnesota

The Last Five Years (January 25–27, February 1–4)
Rochester Repertory Theatre

This popular musical tells the story of a couple in love from two different sides: Jamie from the beginning and Cathy from the end. Denise Ruemping directs, and Chad Campbell and Katie Hawley star.

1984 (February 1–11)
Minnesota State University, Mankato

This play put on by the students of MSU Mankato is based on the dystopian novel of the same name by George Orwell. It is not for the faint of heart, however, as you know if you’ve read the book. There were several reports of audience members fainting, throwing up, and yelling at the actors during its London premiere in 2013.

Northern Minnesota

The Jungle Book (January 27–February 4) and Mamma Mia! (February 1–18)
Duluth Playhouse

There are shows for kids and adults alike at the Duluth Playhouse during the Super Bowl activities. The Duluth Playhouse’s Theatre for Young Audiences presents The Jungle Book based on the classic movie, and all of its performances are in the afternoons, early enough for children. The theater’s main stage is also hosting the regional premiere of Mamma Mia!, inspired by the music of ABBA; a special grand-opening gala is set for February 1 before the show’s run begins the next day.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs! (February 3–4)
Fargo-Moorhead Community Theatre, Fargo

The musical version of the classic fable is just outside of the state border into North Dakota. If your travels take you west, this is a must-see. The FMCT will also hold a special sensory-friendly performance of the musical during the afternoon of February 3.

Looking for something other than theater to do during the Super Bowl festivities? Click here for 35 more ideas!

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