The Twin Cities are quietly home to one of the largest overall theater markets in the United States, a diverse, eclectic and robust scene anchored by several landmark organizations. Many people already know about the Guthrie Theater and Children’s Theatre Company (both Regional Tony Award winners), the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Penumbra Theatre, Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, and Mixed Blood Theatre, but for each of those organizations there are a dozen more producing beautiful, thought-provoking work. Pangea World Theater, the Jungle Theater, History Theatre, Mu Performing Arts, Theater Latté Da, Theatre Unbound and Cardinal Theatricals are just the beginning. Add to this group the number of excellent community and educational theaters and you will quickly see that whatever your personal theatrical poison, chances are the Twin Cities have it – and odds are excellent that you can afford it.
Depending on the time of year, there are many ways a frugal culture vulture can enjoy our lively theater scene. Visitors during the first week and a half of August, for example, can enjoy the wonderful wackiness of the Minnesota Fringe Festival. For the late night person, Ball’s Cabaret at the Southern Theater offers a weekly theatrical “open mic night”. If your taste in theater runs more to the traditional, the Minneapolis summer boasts many theater in the park events, from Shakespeare to new works, with our beautiful parks and urban backdrops serving as excellent theatrical venues. Don’t forget, many theaters offer free tickets to volunteer ushers, and of course many houses offer rush tickets on the day of a performance or discounts if you buy the season package. (Heidi Berg)