Mariah Carey, State Theatre, March 13
She has scored 18 No. 1 pop singles, collected five Grammys and sold more than 200 million records worldwide since 1990. And Mariah Carey has performed exactly 0 — zero! — concerts in the Twin Cities. There was a lip-sync cameo at KDWB’s all-star Last Chance Summer Dance in 1999 and a brief performance at Mall of America for NBC’s “Today” cameras in 2002. Carey has announced Twin Cities shows twice but canceled, including in 2018. Now, finally, on her 11th headline tour, the New Yorker with the grandiose voice will give a proper concert in the Twin Cities.
Jon Bream, music critic
‘Black Leopard, Red Wolf’ by Marlon James, Feb. 5
Fantasy? Not really my thing. Trilogies? Meh. But — but — I am not the only one excited for the February release of this book from Riverhead. James, who lives in Minnesota, won the 2015 Man Booker Prize for “A Brief History of Seven Killings,” but his latest is something entirely different. Rich with African legends and history, it’s a fantasy with shape-shifters and wizards and giants and a quest to find a missing child. And yes, it’s the first in the Dark Star Trilogy. All reviews say it’s stunning. I can’t wait.
Laurie Hertzel, senior books editor
‘Autonomy,’ Mixed Blood Theatre, May
I don’t love hanging out in my Honda Civic any more than I have to, but I’m willing to do it to see what Mixed Blood is cooking up. Director Jack Reuler believes the future of theater will happen outside of theaters and he is demonstrating that with a production of Ken LaZebnik’s play “Autonomy,” which will require audiences to drive from scene to scene (possibly in a parking garage, although that and the exact May dates of the play are still being worked out). The show has to do with car culture and Netflix-style binge-watching. Mixed Blood already is promising an explosive finish — for the play, let’s hope, rather than our cars.
Chris Hewitt, theater critic
FX’s ‘Fosse/Verdon,’ sometime this spring
I’ve never thought of Sam Rockwell as a hoofer, but that may all change with the eight-part TV series “Fosse/Verdon.” The recent Oscar winner plays the legendarily fast-footed, volatile choreographer Bob Fosse, keeping pace with Michelle Williams as Gwen Verdon, the stage sensation who was also Fosse’s wife. University of Minnesota grad Aya Cash and Chanhassen Dinner Theatres veteran Laura Osnes are also on board for what promises to be a celebration of Broadway, and bedlam.
Neal Justin, TV critic
ModernMedieval, Summit Center for Arts and Innovation, March 22-23
Picture a trio singing medieval works. Add newly penned pieces and plenty of electronics. Then squint a little, adjusting for the unexpected. Liquid Music and the Walker Art Center present an evening that toggles between 12th-century chants and world premieres. Vocal trio ModernMedieval — founded by Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, of the early-music group Anonymous 4, plus Eliza Bagg and Abigail Lennox of the buzzy, beautiful Roomful of Teeth — will perform new works by Ben Frost, Angélica Negrón and Julianna Barwick. Still fuzzy? Honestly, I always arrive at a Liquid Music performance a little uncertain, a feeling heightened by the series’ focus on the new and never-before-heard. But over six seasons, curator Kate Nordstrum has earned her audience’s trust.
Jenna Ross, arts and culture reporter
Minnesota Opera’s ‘The Fix,’ March 16-24
Shoeless Joe Jackson could smash a fastball, but can he hit high C? After bringing opera fans into the trenches of World War I, a Catholic school in the Bronx, a snowed-in hotel in the Rockies and 1930s Manhattan, Minnesota Opera’s New Works Initiative will take us out to the ballgame with “The Fix.” Inspired by the 1919 “Black Sox” scandal, it centers on the eight Chicago White Sox players accused of conspiring with gamblers to throw the World Series. Joshua Dennis, last heard in “Rigoletto,” sings Shoeless Joe to a score by Joel Puckett and libretto by frequent Minnesota Opera director Eric Simonson.
Tim Campbell, senior arts editor
‘Toy Story 4,’ June 21
This is a boom or bust movie. The first three installments set the bar so high that there’s no middle ground left. In fact, No. 3 wrapped up the story about Andy and his playthings on such a pitch-perfect note that we wonder why anyone even considered extending it. Little has been said about the plot, although we do know that most of the major players, including Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, will be back.
Jeff Strickler, assistant features editor
Rosy Simas’ ‘Weave,’ Ordway Music Theater, Jan. 12
Twin Cities choreographer Rosy Simas explores the interconnectivity not just between people — but also in the natural world, right down to the cellular level. This Ordway co-commission was born of workshops and rehearsals conducted in various U.S. cities, with the entire process open to public observation, feedback and questions. It came “from a place of deep listening,” as “Weave” writer Heid E. Erdrich put it. Woven with movement, sound, projections and text by an international cast of collaborators, “Weave” is sure to be an abstract but visceral experience.
Sheila Regan, dance critic
March at the Palace Theater
Things are relatively quiet at the revitalized downtown St. Paul music hub through February, and then bam! The theater welcomes three fanatically adored but rarely seen acts in a short span — four if you count Massive Attack’s guest vocalist. There’s England’s ultra-chill AutoTuned-soul singer James Blake (March 4), Sweden’s “Dancing on My Own” electro-pop star Robyn (March 5) and then U.K. trip-hop duo Massive Attack (March 24), performing their 1998 “Mezzanine” album with the Cocteau Twins’ Liz Fraser. That month’s Palace calendar also boasts four frequently seen but consistently electrifying favorites: Dynamic L.A. rapper and Kendrick cohort Vince Staples (March 16), Alabama’s power-soul dazzlers St. Paul and the Broken Bones (March 23), alt-twang/cosmic-pop stalwart Jenny Lewis (March 29) and then ex-Minneapolitan punk legend Bob Mould (March 30), who’ll make his Palace debut with his blazing trio. Too bad they don’t sell monthly beer and wine subscriptions.
Chris Riemenschneider, music critic
‘Candide,’ Cowles Center, March 21-24
A world gone crazy, full of unpredictable perils and reverses of fortune. Sound familiar? It’s the back story to Leonard Bernstein’s operetta “Candide,” a rambunctious treatment of Voltaire’s famous satirical novella. Long considered inferior to “West Side Story,” “Candide” has come on strong in recent years. VocalEssence teams up with Theater Latté Da for a semi-staged production directed by Peter Rothstein. This one has “unmissable treat” written all over it.
Terry Blain, classical critic
‘The Body Electric,’ Walker Art Center, opening March 30
This big group show features works from the 1960s to the present, by various artists who investigate how photography, televisuals and digital media change the way we operate in the world — and in our own bodies. Artist Nam June Paik, a pioneer of video art, considers early experiments with the moving image, while younger artists such as Martine Syms unpack intersections of race, gender and sexuality.
Alicia Eler, art critic
‘Floyd’s,’ Guthrie Theater, July 27-Aug. 25
Playwright Lynn Nottage won a Pulitzer Prize for “Ruined” in 2009 and, just last year, a second Pulitzer for “Sweat,” her play about how opioids and racial tensions fill the hollow when jobs leave Rust Belt America. That wrenching drama played several Minnesota cities in the fall as part of the Public Theater’s tour to politically divided places. Nottage’s follow-up, “Floyd’s,” is actually a comedy. It’s set at a truck stop sandwich shop whose employees are ex-cons trying to stay on the straight and narrow. Director Kate Whoriskey, Nottage’s longtime collaborator, stages the world premiere of this Guthrie commission.
Rohan Preston, theater critic
‘Così fan tutte,’ Mill City Museum’s Ruins Courtyard, July 12-24
It’s not easy being a feminist opera lover — which is why I’m so excited for Mill City Summer Opera’s “Così fan tutte” under brand-new artistic director Crystal Manich. At a recent meet-and-greet, Manich suggested irony for the Mozart opera’s sexist title (translation from Italian: “They’re all that way,” with a feminine plural to be sure). So she won’t succumb to the fashion for revisionist takes, where the female leads outmaneuver their deceitful lovers. I’m still interested to see what she brings to this musically gorgeous but problematic work.
Christy DeSmith, assistant arts editor