Best Bets: 'Singin' in the Rain' and more

Find something to do this week in the Northland.

Three light-skinned young adults in yellow raincoats hold red umbrellas and hold their hands out, smiling.
Trevor Hendrix, Emily Bolles and Jake Lieder star in "Singin' in the Rain" at UMD.
Contibuted / Derek Montgomery

DULUTH — With the snow (more or less, hopefully) behind us, it's time for April showers.

Singin' in the Rain

Three light-skinned young people in clothing evocative of the mid 20th century form a line as they dance onstage.
Jake Lieder, Emily Bolles and Trevor Hendrix star in "Singin' in the Rain."
Contributed / UMD

Did you know that Duluth has a rich tap-dancing tradition? That fun fact comes courtesy of Matthew Wagner, director of an upcoming University of Minnesota Duluth production of "Singin' in the Rain." According to a news release about the show: "Due to its unique location on the vaudeville circuit, Duluth was seen as an ideal environment to try out new shows and routines. Audiences in the Twin Ports became a sort of litmus test for future success."

UMD just happens to have a lot of talented tappers at the moment, so the Department of Theatre decided to stage this tap-forward musical based on the 1952 film. It opens Friday and runs through April 22; for tickets and information, see

Billy McLaughlin and Michael Gulezian

White man with long blonde hair holds acoustic guitar, standing in spotlight onstage.
Billy McLaughlin will share a bill with Michael Gulezian on Thursday night at Sacred Heart Music Center.
Contributed / Ethan Miller

Electric guitars may be flashy, but a virtuoso on acoustic guitar is just as dazzling. Duluthians will hear evidence of that on Thursday night at Sacred Heart Music Center: the historic venue is hosting a double bill featuring Billy McLaughlin and Michael Gulezian, both masters of finger-style performance. In addition to being a musician, McLaughlin is also a busy public speaker with an inspiring personal story of overcoming a neuromuscular disorder that forced the right-handed artist to learn how to play southpaw. For tickets and information, see

Roaring '20s party

View upward to an ornate ceiling decorated in Moorish style, with wooden details branching out from a central pillar.
The restored ceiling in the Moorish Room at Greysolon Plaza in Duluth, as seen in 2012.
Clint Austin / File / Duluth News Tribune

Glitterati Events has found an apt location for its Roaring '20s party on Friday: the Moorish Room at Greysolon Ballroom, located in one of downtown Duluth's most distinctive historic buildings. Dating to 1925, the towering structure that now houses Greysolon Ballroom and the Greysolon Plaza Apartments was built as the Hotel Duluth.


The Dixie Stompers will provide live music at the throwback party, which benefits the wildlife rehabilitation center Wildwoods. Organizers encourage attendees to "don your best zoot suit and get ready to shake those flapper beads!" Appetizers, dinner and dessert are included with admission to the 7 p.m. party. For details and tickets, see

Epic Elgar

Brazilian American man leans his elbow on a table near an open music score. A cello is visible in the background, lying on same table.
Gabriel Martins will perform Elgar's Cello Concerto on Saturday with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra.
Contributed / Geneva Lewis

Edward Elgar's intensely emotional Cello Concerto is famously associated with the late Jacqueline du Pre, whose 1965 recording with conductor John Barbirolli captured the volcanic talent of an artist who was forced to stop performing at age 28 due to multiple sclerosis. On Saturday at Symphony Hall, Brazilian American cellist Gabriel Martins will perform the piece with the Duluth Superior Symphony Orchestra, in a program that will open with an overture by Hans Rott and conclude with the third symphony penned by Rott's teacher, Anton Bruckner. For tickets and information, see

Art in Ordean Court

Vendors table on exterior plaza as people browse wares including tchotchkes. One potential buyer is holding something to their nose.
UMD student vendors showcase their wares at Art in Ordean Court.
Contributed / Karley Graves

After you finish spring cleaning, you can spruce up your space with work by a student at your favorite local public university. From 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, student vendors will be hawking "paintings, photography, jewelry, handmade gifts and other unique creations" in (technically) Bohannon Court. Then, from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m., the Tweed Museum of Art is hosting the Annual Student Exhibition reception, so you can see even more local students' creative output. For details, see and

Open the Door to Studio Four

"Studio Four" space at the Depot in Duluth
A wide view of the 2,250 square feet of space on the lower level of the Depot in Duluth called "Studio Four" as seen Dec. 28, 2022.
Dan Williamson / File / Duluth News Tribune

The door to Studio Four has been open for a while now: since moving in earlier this year, Minnesota Ballet has already performed and presented rental shows in the Depot space formerly known as the Underground Theatre. On Sunday, though, local musicians will make a racket in support of what Minnesota Ballet calls "a welcoming space for the local arts community." Tommy Wotruba, Gordon Thorne and Erin McCawley; the Maxi Childs Trio; Todd Eckart; Born Too Late; and the Fractals will all perform at the marathon show, with set times stretching from 2-8 p.m. For information, see

Members Only
Two theaters formerly used by the Duluth Playhouse will host a wide range of performances and events, including dance and chamber music.

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in 2022. His previous experience includes eight years as a digital producer at The Current (Minnesota Public Radio), four years as theater critic at Minneapolis alt-weekly City Pages, and six years as arts editor at the Twin Cities Daily Planet. He's a co-founder of pop culture and creative writing blog The Tangential; he's also a member of the National Book Critics Circle and the Minnesota Film Critics Alliance. You can reach him at or 218-279-5536.
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