The ride to freedom
In the powerful and transcendent “The Parchman Hour” at the Guthrie, director Patricia McGregor sweeps us up in her vivid depiction of the story of Freedom Riders who helped desegregate interstate transportation in the South in the early 1960s. The cast, featuring Zonya Love, delivers with gusto and aplomb.
Ends Nov. 6. Guthrie Theater, Mpls., $34-$67, guthrietheater.org
Colorado’s “Bittersweet” ’90s hitmakers Big Head Todd & the Monsters first explored their bluesy side in 1997 with a tribute to Robert Johnson. This time around, they’re reviving the songs of Willie Dixon with three special guests of pure blues pedigree: Billy Branch, who blew harp in Dixon’s Chicago Blues All-Stars band, plus reputable offspring Mud Morganfield and Ronnie Baker Brooks, the sons of Muddy Waters and Lonnie Brooks, respectively.
7:30 p.m. Thu., Cedar Cultural Center, Mpls. $40-$45, TheCedar.org
For the American premiere of “Gala,” Parisian choreographer Jérôme Bel will employ a cast of Twin Cities performers of all shapes, sizes, backgrounds and abilities. The idea? Rediscovering the raw impulse to dance without all the elitist baggage of what it should be or look like. “Gala” is the first installment in the Walker Art Center’s four-day “Jérôme Bel Bookend Festival.”
8 p.m. Tue. & Wed., $22, Walker Art Center, Mpls., walkerart.org
After unleashing his guitar heroics at the Minnesota State Fair in 2015, un-twangy country stud Keith Urban returns, promoting his new “Ripcord,” which manifests a newfound interest in electronica elements. The clever lead single “John Cougar, John Deere, John 3:16” with some looping gave the album a big start. The momentum has continued with the up-tempo “Wasted Time” and the slow-dance throwback “Blue Ain’t Your Color.” Opening are “Church” hitmaker Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge.
7:30 p.m. Sat. Target Center, Mpls. $49.50-$75, axs.com
Not sure if the members of NOH Band have ever played together, but each one is such a renegade stylist that the prospects are delicious. Saxophonist Tim Berne is the iconoclast-in-chief, who packed Icehouse with Snakeoil last year. Guitarist/effects wizard David Torn, who has produced Berne’s records, did a memorable solo show at the Cedar two weeks later. Drummer David King has become a locus point of cool gigs when he isn’t playing with the Bad Plus.
9:30 Mon., Icehouse, Mpls., $18-$20, icehousempls.com
As goldsmith to the czars and Russian nobility, Peter Carl Fabergé and his artisans created sumptuous bejeweled bibelots that continue to dazzle collectors. More than 50, on loan from private collections, are featured in this show, including enameled cuff links that belonged to Nicholas II and table ornaments associated with the imperial family.
Ends Feb. 26, Museum of Russian Art, Mpls. $9, tmora.org
Mill City Museum hosts an extensive guided tour of the historic mill, covering its architecture, milling history and preservation. Visitors can peek at nooks and crannies that give a glimpse of what life was like for the men and women who once worked there. Learn how the building functioned during its peak milling years, about the many changes to the structure over time and glance at some of the mill’s nonpublic spaces.
1 p.m. Sat. $12-$16. Mill City Museum, Mpls., reservations required, mnhs.org.
James Sewell Ballet’s fall program features “Killer Pig” by Sharon Eyal, who worked with Israel’s Batsheva dance company for 23 years. Also on the program is the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra with a performance of Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings in E-flat Major, Op. 20 and choreography by Sewell.
8 p.m. Fri. & Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., the O’Shaughnessy, St. Paul, $22-$32, oshag.stkate.edu
Classical music continues to go boldly where it has never gone before. Members of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra play Mendelssohn’s masterly Octet for Strings at the Turf Club, usually a rock venue. Tickets include a free drink. Food will be available. Do not chew loudly.
8 p.m. Thu., Turf Club, St. Paul, $20, thespco.org