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Duluth Playhouse announces new season centered on NorShor Theatre

Except for a single Underground production at the Depot, the new season sees Playhouse programming entirely presented at the NorShor and nearby Zeitgeist.

NorShor Theatre marquee, seen in medium shot along Superior Street, advertising Duluth Playhouse production of "Ragtime."
The NorShore Theatre, home of the Duluth Playhouse, seen in March.
Contributed / Wes Drummond

DULUTH — The Duluth Playhouse has announced its 2022-23 season, the first since the company announced it would be vacating its longstanding space at the St. Louis County Depot to consolidate programming at the NorShor Theatre and the nearby Zeitgeist complex.

The season includes six Mainstage productions and four Family Theatre productions, all at the NorShor, and four Underground productions, the first of which will be the last Playhouse show to be presented at the Depot. "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," a reprise of the company's collaboration with Zenith City Horror, will be presented at that historic venue's Underground space, with the remaining three Underground productions staged at Zeitgeist.

Mainstage highlights include "Into the Woods" (March 17–April 2, 2023), the fairy-tale romantic comedy with music and lyrics by the late Stephen Sondheim, and Cyndi Lauper's "Kinky Boots" (July 14-30, 2023), the exuberant Tony-winning musical about a shoe factory that pivots to producing footwear for drag queens.

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In the Family Theatre's first NorShor season, young Playhouse performers will present shows including "The SpongeBob Musical" (Oct. 21-23, 2022), a show based on the Nickelodeon cartoon with music by an eclectic lineup of pop star songwriters. In addition to "Rocky Horror" and two other shows, the Underground series includes "Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play" (April 13-23, 2023), a story that imagines a post-apocalyptic society being rebuilt on the shared mythology of an episode of "The Simpsons."

In a statement, producing artistic director Phillip Fazio said: "We are excited to share this fantastic lineup of hit Broadway musicals, heart-wrenching dramas and hysterical comedies. An eclectic mix of contemporary works and longtime favorites provides something for everyone. We look forward to bringing these extraordinary stories to life in the HART District.”

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"HART" is an acronym for Historic Arts and Theater District, an area of downtown Duluth designated several years ago to highlight the city's aspirations for alchemy around the renovated NorShor. In March, the NorShor-based Playhouse announced that it would consolidate programming there, citing rising rent at the Depot.

When that announcement was made, Duluth Playhouse Family Theatre artistic director Amber Burns encouraged the company's young students to get excited about the opportunity to perform in a grander setting. "You are so professional," she said, "and you are so talented and you are ready for this stage."

Season renewals are currently available for existing members, with new season memberships going on sale June 1. The date for individual show ticket sales has not yet been announced, but is expected to be sometime this summer. For information, see duluthplayhouse.org.

Mainstage season

Presented at the NorShor Theatre

"Once"
Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
Book by Enda Walsh
Based on the motion picture written and directed by John Carney
Sept. 16–Oct. 2, 2022

"Little Women"
Book by Allan Knee
Music by Jason Howland
Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
Based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Dec. 2–18, 2022

"The Glass Menagerie"
By Tennessee Williams
Feb. 3–12, 2023

"Into the Woods"
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by James Lapine
March 17–April 2, 2023

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"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time"
Based on the novel by Mark Haddon, adapted by Simon Stephens
May 26–June 4, 2023

"Kinky Boots"
Music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Based on the motion picture written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth
July 14–30, 2023

Underground Season

Presented at the Underground at St. Louis County Depot ("Rocky Horror"), and Zeitgeist Teatro (all others)

"The Rocky Horror Picture Show"
A shadow play in collaboration with Zenith City Horror
Oct. 27–30, 2022

"A Doll's House, Part 2"
By Lucas Hnath
Feb. 23–March 5, 2023

"Mr. Burns, a Post-Electric Play"
By Anne Washburn
April 13–23, 2023

What She Said: New Play Festival
May 11–13, 2023

Children's Theatre Season

Presented at the NorShor Theatre

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"The SpongeBob Musical"
Based on the series by Stephen Hillenburg
Book by Kyle Jarrow
Oct. 21–23, 2022

"Tuck Everlasting (Theatre for Young Audiences Edition)"
Book by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle
Music by Chris Miller
Lyrics by Nathan Tysen
Based on the novel "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt
April 28–April 30, 2023

"Disney's Newsies Jr."
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Jack Feldman
June 23–25, 2023

"The Addams Family"
Book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice
Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Aug. 11–13, 202

Arts and entertainment reporter Jay Gabler joined the Duluth News Tribune in February 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; and a member of the National Book Critics Circle. You can reach him at jgabler@duluthnews.com or 218-279-5536.
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