Broadway in Duluth opens with big 'Dreams'

"Cirque Dreams Illuminations" is full of balancing, hanging, posing, swinging, dancing and dangling from hoops, wires, chairs and swings, with a parade of costumes that are tight, shiny, striped, headless, ruffled, topless and/or civil servant-ish or mime-like.

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The Broadway in Duluth season opens with a bright-lights, big-city backdrop where everyday faces and inanimate objects roam the streets. The production includes 26 artists, a mix of dance moves and music ranging from jazz to ballroom to pop. A loose plot is told from the perspective of a newspaperman.

Robert Muraine, who appeared on Season 4 of "So You Think You Can Dance" and got raves for his popping style of dance, appears in the production.

From a reviewer at the Columbus Dispatch, after a performance on Sept. 30: "The inventive use of props and the welcome emphasis on dancing makes the show a bit reminiscent of 'Stomp,' while the bustling street scenes and some sailors evoke the 1940s-jaunty energy of 'On the Town.' "

Go see it

What: Broadway in Duluth: "Cirque Dreams Illumination"

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: DECC Auditorium

Tix: Start at $37 and are available at Ticket Master outlets including the DECC Box Office and Younkers, or by calling (800) 745-5331

Oh, joy, it's Beethoven

Next up for the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra: "Ode to Joy. Live."

The classical concert features Bombadier's "Antipode to Joy," Kodaly's "Dances of Galanta," and Beethoven's "Symphony No. 9," including the DSSO Chorus, and soprano Sarah Lawrence, alto Christine Hawkins, tenor David Ossenfort, and bass Andrew Gangestad.

Music director Markand Thakar said of this performance in an interview in September: "[Beethoven] is the Mount Everest of music that all composers look toward. And, certainly, it has lasted more than 200 years now."

Go see it

What: Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra's "Ode to Joy. Live."

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Where: DECC Auditorium

Tix: Call (218) 623-3776

'Big Bang' at the Shack

Two bumbling producers have taken on an ambitious theater project: the history of the world, complete with Attila the Hun, the Virgin Mary and Woodstock. This production comes with a hefty $83 million budget, and the heroes are using a borrowed apartment to woo investors with a theatrical presentation of their proposal. This means using the apartment's furnishings for props. You should see what you can do with curtains and a colander.

The Shack Dinner Theatre presents "The Big Bang," by Jed Feuer, with music by Boyd Graham. The two-act musical dinner theater production is directed by Cory Regnier, and stars Regnier, Greg Anderson and Nick Nyderek.

Go see it

What: "The Big Bang," by Jad Feuer and Boyd Graham, directed by Cory Regnier

Where: Shack Dinner Theatre

When: 6:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, and Nov. 20-21; noon, Sunday and Nov. 15 and Nov. 22.

Tix: $35 for evening shows; includes dinner of prime rib, salmon, shrimp or pasta; $30 for matinee, includes steak, salmon, shrimp or pasta. Reservations recommended. Call (715) 392-3463.

Witch hunt at UWS

The University of Wisconsin-Superior opens its theater season with a witch hunt -- "The Crucible," a story about the Salem witch trials in the 1690s that Arthur Miller wrote in response to McCarthyism in the early 1950s.

"The Crucible" opens with the minister's daughter, Betty, unconscious. She and her friends were caught dabbling in the occult in the woods by her father, who is domineering, greedy and not-so-well-liked. Betty passed out, and now he wants some answers. The girls begin proclaiming their love for God and naming women from the community who they "know" are witches.

Sometimes, the revelation indicates a woman whom one of the girls does not like. For instance, Elizabeth Proctor, the wife of one girl's former lover.

More people are tried in court for practicing witchcraft. Shackles ensue.

Go see it

What: "The Crucible," by Arthur Miller, directed by Cathy Fank

When: 7:30 p.m. today-Saturday and Nov. 21-21; 2 p.m. Nov. 22.

Where: Manion Theater, Holden Fine and Applied Arts Center, University of Wisconsin-Superior, Catlin Avenue and 19th Street, Superior.

Tix: $12 adults; $10 seniors and students; $2 UWS students with ID. Group rates available. Call (715) 394-8380.

A true story

Nic Zapko, a Twin Cities-based actor, will present the show she wrote: "A Look in the Mirror: The Memoir of a Deaf Performer," at 7 p.m. Friday in Bohannon Hall 90 at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The show is free.

Zapko's story is an autobiographical account of growing up in a family that included deaf and hearing people, and the way they became dismantled after the death of her mother. Zapko was broke, isolated and lonely, but eventually paved a way for herself in the theater.

The 90-minute show, recommended to an audience 13 and older, includes Zapko signing her story while Patty Gordon interprets.

In an interview posted on the blog 3-Minute Egg, Zapko talks about the way she videotaped herself signing the stories, which were then translated into a script, and given back to her and relearned. Scenes from the performance show an animated Zapko using a fluid mix of sign language, body language and stage movement to tell her story.

Go see it

What: "A Look in the Mirror: The Memoir of a Deaf Performer," by Nic Zapko

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Bohannon Hall 90, UMD

Minneapolis Guitar Quartet returns

When the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet last played in Duluth in 2006, reviewer Sam Black called the performance a tour de force, and said, "This was innovative music at its very best."

Matinee Musicale presents the ensemble at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Pilgrim Church, 2310 E. Fourth St. Tickets are $18, and $6 for students.

The lineup includes a range of material including Astor Piazolla's "Windy," Peter Maxwell Davies' "Farewell to Stromness," pieces commissioned by the quartet, including "Minnesota Winter" and "Chicago Summer," and Joaquin Rodrigo's "Cuatro Piezas."

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet is Steve Newbrough, Ben Gateno, Jeff Lambert and Joseph Hagedorn. They have toured around the country, including performances with full orchestras. They are involved in music education, and present workshops. They will present a master class for guitar players and students from 3-5 p.m. Monday at Weber Music Hall at the University of Minnesota Duluth. Those interested should send an e-mail to info@matineemusicale.org.

Go buy some art

The 29th annual PAVSA Art Auction is 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the Great Lakes Ballroom at the Holiday Inn, and includes a silent auction, a live auction and a dessert auction, featuring cheese, cakes and chocolates.

Art by local artists -- quilted wall hangings by Dorothy Christensen and glasswork by Michael Tonder -- are included in the auctions.

Appetizers and hors d'oeuvres will be served throughout the night.

Tickets are $50. Call (218) 726-1442 for more information.