Minneapolis and
St. Paul, Minnesota

Listeners of public radio's A Prairie Home Companion will know that Garrison Keillor's home base is the Fitzgerald Theatre in St. Paul, but the stages of this area also include one of the country's foremost collaborative ensembles, the 25-year-old Theatre de la Jeune Lune of Minneapolis. The company's idiosyncratic interpretations of classic work are famous in the global industry, and you can see these athletic artists in The Ballroom through April 10, then in The Golem, May 8 to June 27.

Even better known in traditional theater circles for its classically based repertory, the Guthrie Theater stages Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet through April 10, then mounts Artistic Director Joe Dowling's evocation of the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta The Pirates of Penzance on May 8.

And Minnesota is nothing if not musical. Just to flag a couple of upcoming high points: The Minnesota Opera stages The Magic Flute at the Ordway Center in St. Paul, May 15-22; and the Minnesota Orchestra (which tours Europe this winter with its new music director, Osmo Vänskä) is at Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis with guest baritone Nathan Gunn performing Gustav Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer (Yakov Kreizberg conducting), April 8 and 9, and with Leonard Slatkin conducting Igor Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring, April 15-17.

Winnipeg, Manitoba
A lot of dance fans, worldwide, can barely hear "Winnipeg" without "Royal" in front of it and "Ballet" after it. The Royal Winnipeg Ballet, founded in 1939, is one of the continent's premier companies, and its aggressive, sexy mix of a classical and modern repertoire might remind many Americans of the Joffrey Ballet in its New York-based glory days. Seeing the Royal Winnipeg is worth a detour, they're that good. And you'll be glad you found yourself at Concert Hall on Main Street for choreographer Mauricio Wainrot's setting of Carl Orff's Carmina Burana, March 17-21, or Rudi van Dantzig's staging of the Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet, May 5-9.