Twin Cities Theater Scene Offers Plenty of Places to See a Show

A performance of "Dirty Business" at History Theatre in St. Paul
There are more than 200 theater venues in the Twin Cities featuring plays, musicals, comedy, improv and more.
History Theatre

In our opinion, Thalia and Melpomene have nothing on Minneapolis and St. Paul. While the Greek muses of comedy and tragedy might believe they’ve cornered the performing arts market, the Twin Cities likes to put on a show of its own—many of them, in fact, in more than 200 venues across the metropolitan area. Performances feature local and world-renowned talent and works that span the breadth and history of the performing arts. Here are just a few to consider:

Brave New Workshop Comedy Theatre has brought improv, comedy and satire to audiences since 1958. 824 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

Audience members don’t come to the Chanhassen Dinner Theatres just to play; they come to laugh, sing and be a part of regional dinner theater history. The Main Theatre’s lineup reads like a who’s who of American musical theater, drama and comedy, beginning with 1968’s How to Succeed in Business ... through today’s Mamma Mia! Stevie Rays Comedy Cabaret in the Playhouse Theatre offers a welcome foray into the world of improv. The venue’s Fireside Theatre hosts some of the state’s top musicians for its Concert Series, paying tribute to some of the music world’s best bands and solo artists. 501 W. 78th St., Chanhassen

Children’s Theatre Company strives to “educate, challenge and inspire young people” through its magical and imaginative productions. 2400 Third Ave. S., Mpls.

Cowles Center for Dance and the Performing Arts may be a bit off the hype grid, but give this venue a hard look for productions like The James Sewell Ballet, Who Brought the Humbug and a version of Romeo and Juliet that includes a score from Nirvana, The White Stripes and Lady Gaga. 528 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

The Fitzgerald Theater, St. Paul’s oldest standing theater venue offers 1,050 seats—all of which are no more than 87 feet from the stage (yes, including balcony seats!). From comedy shows, to music acts to podcasts, the theater has been bringing audiences in since 1910. 10 E. Exchange St., St. Paul

Guthrie Theater—revered and respected. Did founder Sir Tyrone Guthrie dream that his theater would emerge as a doyenne of American theater, producing works of dramatic literature and encouraging generations of artists? 818 S. Second St., Mpls.

History Theatre is a four-time IVEY Award-winning theatre and is known for its historical perspectives through its productions, including Gloria: A Life, Beyond the Rainbow: Garland at Carnegie Hall and Superman Becomes Lois Lane. 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul

Mixed Blood Theatre strives to promote health and civic engagement through its productions and works with its neighbors in the Cedar Riverside area, as well as the Latino and transgender communities. 1501 S. Fourth St., Mpls.

Northrup Auditorium has been bringing the performing arts to the University of Minnesota campus since 1929, including the likes of Iggy Pop, Il Divo, The Martha Graham Dance Company and the Minnesota Orchestra. (If you go, be sure take note of the venue’s Beaux Arts details.) 84 Church St., S.E., Mpls.

Orpheum Theatre may have sold out Gone with the Wind showings for three weeks in the 1930s, but it continues to pack the house with on-your-feet productions and concerts, including Fiddler on the Roof, Rent, Jesus Christ Superstar, My Fair Lady and Frozen. 910 Hennepin Ave., Mpls

Park Square Theatre‘s The Proscenium and the Andy Boss Thrust stages play host to a variety of shows in the historic Hamm Building. The 2018-2019 season includes Heaven, Jefferson Township Sparkling Junior Talent Project and Agatha Christie: Rule of Thumb. 20 W. Seventh Place, St. Paul

Pantages Theatre’s storied past began in 1916 as a vaudeville house. After time as a movie theatre (Gilda, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, et al), it now presents comedies, lectures, concerts and more, including Adam Ant, An Evening with Steve Hackett, Mystery Science Theater 3000 Live and more. 710 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

Penumbra Theatre was founded in 1976 to create an avenue for African-American voices of the local theatre community to be heard. Since then, it has welcomed a comprehensive repertoire, including the 2018-2019 season of The Brothers Paranormal, Benevolence and Black Nativity. 270 N. Kent St., St. Paul

Ritz Theater hosts company in residence, Theater Latté Da, which “seeks to create new connections between story, music, artist and audience by exploring and expanding the art of musical theater.” 345 13th Ave., N.E. Mpls.

Start young when it comes to learning to love live theater. Stages Theatre Company in Hopkins encourages kids and teens to discover, participate in and learn to fully appreciate theatrical productions like the beloved stories of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka as well as James and the Giant Peach! Round up your family for a special outing they’re sure to love at one of the largest professional theaters for young audiences in the country. 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins.

State Theatre was once described as “a gilded pleasure palace, dedicated to the Hollywood dreams that captured America’s heart in the roaring ‘20s.” That alone is worth the price of admission to this famed theater. Its lineup includes concerts, comedy shows and so much more. 805 Hennepin Ave., Mpls.

Walker Art Center’s McGuire Theater’s transformative quality “combines unusual elements—the technical sophistication to mount complex, large-scale, and unconventional performances within an environment focused on unforgettable live experiences …” 725 Vineland Place, Mpls.