Sounding the call
Even though he makes instrumental music, Grammy-winning jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard likes to be topical. His 2007 album, “A Tale of God’s Will,” was about Hurricane Katrina; 2015’s “Breathless” was sparked by Eric Garner’s death at the hands of New York police. Now he’s recording a project inspired by Black Lives Matter, going to three cities that saw shootings by police officers. Because of the Philando Castile incident in Falcon Heights, Blanchard will record with his new quintet, the E-Collective, live in front of an audience in the Twin Cities.JON BREAM
7 p.m. Mon.-Tue. Dakota Jazz Club, Mpls. $40-$50, dakotacooks.com
What did Dan Wilson do before he wrote hits for Adele and the Dixie Chicks? What did John Munson do before he crooned and cracked wise with New Standards? They teamed up in the 1990s pop trio Semisonic, which enjoyed radio success with “Secret Smile” and “Closing Time.” Drummer Jacob Slichter also distinguished himself post-Semisonic with a well-told rock memoir. Never officially disbanded, Semisonic reunites once again — for two nights.
8 p.m. Thu. Turf Club, St. Paul; 9 p.m. Sat. First Avenue, Mpls. Both sold out.
Director Michael Brindisi has sprinkled fairy dust on a beautiful, old-fashioned revival of Lerner and Loewe’s “Camelot.” He gets some magical performances from his love-triangle cast: the magnetic Keith Rice as idealistic Arthur, effervescent Helen Anker as love-torn Guenevere and charismatic Aleks Knezevich as muscle-bound Lancelot. This show reminds us that fairy tales can have social value, and not serve merely as escapist fantasies.
Ends Feb. 25 Chanhassen Dinner Theatres. $45-$85, chanhassendt.com
Just when the kids are about to go stir crazy, In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre opens its 18th season of Saturday morning puppet shows. These 45-minute treats are endearingly scrappy and reliably low-key (read: Bring your imperfectly behaved kids). Things kick off Saturday with the Spanish-language “Nalah and the Pink Tiger.” A flurry of brand-new shows runs Jan. 14-Feb. 4, starring a chorus of owls, a pair of amoebas, a turtle and a fox.
10 a.m. & noon Saturdays through March 11. In the Heart of the Beast, Mpls. $7, hobt.org
“What the Elf,” the Brave New Workshop’s irreverent and often funny holiday show, sends up David Bowie and Prince. The troupe has a knack for finding the funny in things that sometimes leave us with questions or make us uncomfortable. They apply modern standards to old tales or launch into sensitive areas with gusto, such as re-imagining the Nativity manger as an Airbnb, where a teenage mother and her husband are seeking refuge.
Ends Jan. 28, Brave New Workshop, Mpls. $32-$38, bravenewworkshop.com
The weather outside may be a tad frightful, but inside the colorful and fragrant Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, the view is simply delightful. Walk in the warmth among hundreds of poinsettias of different varieties, a holiday tradition since 1925. Visitors can take a break from the fast seasonal pace to view the gardens and neighboring animals at the Como Zoo.
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sun.-Mon. Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, St. Paul. comozooconservatory.org
Raspy-voiced powerhouse Melissa Etheridge is well suited to the material on her latest album, “Memphis Rock and Soul.” But it’s pretty much high-quality karaoke hearing her do faithful renditions of hits by Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, the Staple Singers and others. Those songs have been dominating the set lists on her current tour, which also features her own classics, including “Come to My Window.”
7:30 p.m. Thu. Ordway. $22-$99, ordway.org
“Million Dollar Quartet” is the story of an impromptu jam involving Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins in 1956. When the young performers (especially Eric Morris as Lewis) cut loose on two dozen classics such as “Blue Suede Shoes,” “I Walk the Line” and “Great Balls of Fire,” the show is pure joy. But when it comes to plot, this musical needs a remix.
Ends Feb. 18, Old Log Theater, Excelsior. $29-$40, oldlog.com
Belgium may not be known for churning out classical composers, but the lowlands country can certainly brew beer. Put the two together and you have 2017’s first “Pint of Music,” a chamber series featuring Minnesota Orchestra musicians performing in Twin Cities taprooms. Expect a convivial gathering when brass players convene at the Belgian-focused Lakes & Legends Brewing Co., located on the ground floor of LPM Apartments in Loring Park.
7:30 p.m. Thu. Lakes & Legends, 1368 LaSalle Av. S., Mpls. Free, minnesotaorchestra.org.