Let freedom sing

“Underground Railroad” explores Minnesota’s role in the history of emancipating African-Americans from slavery. Self-described “vocal activist” Melanie DeMore headlines a program featuring the VocalEssence Chorus plus choirs from Twin Cities middle and high schools. Together, they’ll perform songs celebrating liberation and freedom.

TERRY BLAIN

4 p.m. Sun., Orchestra Hall, Mpls., $10-$40, vocalessence.org

“Dr. Seuss’ The Sneetches,” Children Theatre’s adaptation of Seuss’ segregation-era story about creatures with and without stars on their bellies, is quite resonant. The production has standout performances by Natalie Tran, Kim Kivens, Reed Sigmund and Bradley Greenwald as magnetic con man Sylvester McMonkey McBean. Altogether, they make this show a fun and pun-filled parable for our times.

ROHAN PRESTON

Ends March 26. Children’s Theatre, Mpls., $15-$71, childrenstheatre.org

This week Brazilians are celebrating the annual festival of Carnaval do Brasil, a pre-Lenten ritual of dance, music and revelry. The Afro-Brazilian dance company Contempo Physical Dance brings a slice of the action to Minnesota with “Balacobaco,” an energetic new work inspired by the festivities. The show features pieces by Twin Cities choreographer Marciano Silva dos Santos with music by Brazilian composer Divan Gattamorta.

SHEILA REGAN

7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Cowles Center, Mpls., $16-24, thecowlescenter.org

After big-name fans including David Byrne and Kurt Cobain discovered Os Mutantes’ collectible 1966-1974 albums, this psychedelic tropicalia garage-rock band from Brazil re-formed in the mid-2000s and has been going strong ever since under original co-leader Sérgio Dias. Their first U.S. tour in four years promotes a wild new album, “Fool Metal Jacket,” and includes the opening party for the Art Institute of Chicago’s “Hélio Oiticica” exhibit after Minneapolis.

CHRIS RIEMENSCHNEIDER

7:30 p.m. Tue., Cedar Cultural Center, Mpls., all ages, $22-$25, TheCedar.org

The movie “Hidden Figures” has captivated the country, drawing big audiences and earning an Oscar nomination for best picture. But, you know, the book came first. Margot Lee Shetterly’s book of the same name was published last fall, telling the true story of the black female mathematicians who worked for NASA in the early years of the space program. Shetterly will discuss her books with Michele Norris.

LAURIE HERTZEL

6 p.m. Tue. Northrop auditorium, Mpls., free but tickets required.

 

 

Hugh Wolff’s name may be familiar to many classical concertgoers in the area. He served as principal conductor and later music director of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra in the late ’80s and ’90s, leading many notable recordings. Wolff returns to the Twin Cities for three concerts with the Minnesota Orchestra, where the main works are Mendelssohn’s Scottish Symphony and Bartok’s Second Violin Concerto.

TERRY BLAIN

11 a.m. Thu., 8 p.m. Fri., 6 p.m. Sat. Orchestra Hall, Mpls., $25-$79, minnesotaorchestra.org

Soulful singer Valerie June made a splash with her 2013 disc, “Pushin’ Against a Stone,” produced by Dan Auerbach. On record and in concert, she established herself as an idiosyncratic but irresistible music maker of various styles of American music, from Appalachian to gospel. On March 10, she’ll drop the follow-up album, “The Order of Time,” which is sparser in sound but the lead single, “Shakedown,” is a head-bopping, foot-stomping blues rocker.

JON BREAM

7:30 p.m. Wed. Cedar Cultural Center, Mpls., sold out, thecedar.org

Composer John King, who grew up in Minnesota, first got John Cage’s attention in the early 1980s by sending him music made with fishing tackle. That led to a close relationship with the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and a front-row seat to musical history. This month, King curates “Music for Merce,” a two-night performance featuring longtime collaborator David Behrman, composer Christian Wolff and Radiohead drummer Philip Selway.

JENNA ROSS

8 p.m. Thu.-Fri. Walker Art Center, Mpls., $22.40-$28, or $50 for both nights, walkerart.org

History and science merge together for a day of intellectual play. Families can enjoy a day of hands-on programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math. See how science is used in everyday activities, including kitchen chemistry in the baking lab. Witness a flour dust explosion, and find out what caused the Washburn A Mill to explode in 1878. Make an eco-friendly cleanser, and solve the “Mystery of the Disappearing Waterfall.”

MELISSA WALKER

11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sat. Mill City Museum, Mpls., $6-$12, mnhs.org