Arts make spirits bright


This holiday season, cultural wish lists embrace tradition—with unexpected twists. See beloved fiction transformed for the stage. Explore rituals from Nordic to African American. Discover how accessible the fine arts can be. Family outings, date night or “experience gifts” are all possibilities.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children’s Theatre Company. Sunday, November 6, 2022
(Photo/Glen Stubbe)

Theater classics

The Guthrie Theater reprises its 2021 production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” (through Dec. 31) but I’m anticipating “The Little Prince” (Dec. 10 through Feb. 5, 2023). Pilot-writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s 1943 fable of a crash-landed pilot’s mystical meeting with the title character wondrously asks Life’s Big Questions. Timeless magic infuses this story, suitable for adults and children ages 10 and up. 612-377-2224
The Children’s Theatre Company’s “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” is exhilarating. Dr. Seuss’ illustrations delightfully come to life in Tom Butsch’s sets and David Kay Mickelsen’s costumes. New songs join familiar ones from the 1966 TV animation. As the Grinch, actor Reed Sigmund is extraordinary, displaying an emotional range of hate, grief and

How the Grinch Stole Christmas Children’s Theatre Company. (Photo/Glen Stubbe)

opening his heart to love, while embracing manic mayhem and comedy. Also of special note is the Grinch’s dog Max, daffily played in youth by Audrey Mojica and in age by Dean Holt, serving as narrator. 612-874-0400

Celebrate live music

The Cedar Cultural Center hosts Afrobeats Dance Party (Dec. 10, 8 p.m., all ages) and the Griot Series: Kwanzaa 2022 (Dec. 19, 7:30 p.m.). Begun in 1966, Kwanzaa, a seven-day secular holiday, emerged from the Black freedom movement emphasizing celebration, reflection, affirmation and connection. Includes drumming, dancing, singing and storytelling, curated by Voice of Culture’s Kenna-Camara Cottman. The Fox & Beggar Theater’s “Vanaheimr: A Glimpse of Winter” (Dec. 23, 7 p.m.) will feature Nordic folk music, shadow puppetry, fire performance and theater converging around Norse mythology. 612-338-2674
The Eagles Club is open with music from salsa to swing, country to karaoke. 2507 E. 25th St. Complete calendar at

Anglophiles rejoice

The always-moving Twin Cities male choral group Cantus is best known for “All Is Calm,” inspired by the World War I Christmas Truce. (Look for it on TPT Public Television Channel 2.) Debuting a new CD (Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.) “Christmas with Cantus: Into the Light” updates the format of the Nine Lessons and Carols traditionally performed by the Choir of King’s College at the University of Cambridge. The Capri Theater, Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m. 612-643-2024
Already dreaming of New Year’s Eve? Brit’s Pub hosts a Tribute to The Beatles. 612-332-3908
Walker Art Center brings back a fave: the best of British TV ads with the 2022 British Arrows award-winners (Dec. 2 through Jan. 8, 2023). Mini-dramas to quirky humor, featuring Michael B. Jordan and Grace Jones. 612-643-2024
“Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberly” (through Dec. 23) continues the Jungle Theater’s series of Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon collaborations staging Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” This third chapter expands two minor characters, centering on female friendship. Austen’s wit and romantic intrigue continue to resonate with contemporary viewers. 612-822-7063
If you prefer a holiday Brit fix of mystery, Theatre in the Round presents Kate Danley’s stage adaptation of Agatha Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair At Styles” (through Dec. 18). A myriad of characters is thrown together in a 1916 manor, where one is poisoned, and all are suspects. This story introduced Christie’s beloved Belgian detective Hercule Poirot, in a fresh take by Ben Tallen, a Minnesota actor who has performed in plays ranging from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” to Neil Simon’s “The Odd Couple.” 612-333-3010

Visual art and gift-shopping

Northern Clay Center’s annual Winter Exhibition (through Dec. 24) reveals there’s no limit to what you can make with clay, from the artistic practicality of plates, teapots and coffee mugs to wall art and sculpture in every style imaginable. You’ll find the delicate Zen of white porcelain, earthy terra cotta reds and browns, or a riot of bright colors. Some pieces echo the comics of R. Crumb and punk sensibilities, while others channel the calm of Scandinavian sea blue. One-of-a-kind mugs are only $29. Local to international artists. Open seven days a week. 612-339-8007
Midtown Global Market includes The Art Shoppe, owned by a collective of 70 Minnesota artists, including fiber arts, watercolors, photography, jewelry and more. 612-562-5871
The Minneapolis Institute of Art is more relevant and accessible than ever. Mia regularly exhibits local, national and international artists of color, plus re-imagines permanent collections of works from Indigenous, African, Asian and Latin American artists by combining ancient and contemporary works. The photography collection is also marvelous. The gift shop offers art books, jewelry and gifts for kids.

Longtime favorites return

The Brave New Workshop’s improv/sketch comedy makes a hilarious recovery in “The Best Christmas Show in Three Years” (through Jan. 28, 2023) at Dudley Riggs Theatre. 612-332-6620
It’s worth it to make the trek to the Turf Club in St. Paul for rockabilly/country group Trailer Trash’s annual “Trashy Little Xmas Show” (Dec. 16 and 17, 8 p.m.) 651-647-0486

Lydia Howell is a Minneapolis journalist.

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