Musicals range from one about American Indian men to one based on “Top Gun.”
This forceful adult look into male American Indian identity uses songs, anecdotes and cultural commentary to express various concerns. From questionable attitudes about women to bravely vulnerable sharing about being gay, live performers and video interviews make unsettling assertions matched with evidence of American exceptionalism, Christian oppressiveness and suburban homogenization. These native men from various backgrounds are unafraid to speak their truths. United States complicity with deaths of indigenous Central Americans, incisive analysis of sports team emblems and probing insights on pretentious misuse of the term “warrior” enhance a compellingly confrontational production.
(8:30 p.m., Fri., 10 p.m. Sat., Rarig Xperimental, 330 21st Av. S.)
The History of Minnesota – Unscripted!
The Theater of Public Policy Players create lively improvisations very loosely based on actual stories from Minnesota history. A historical expert relates a story the actors have not heard beforehand. Out of this they shape scenes right on the spot. The players are mischievously clever, quick-witted and have no problem with cross-gender character portrayals. Though their work bears only sporadic resemblance to the actual story, they are great fun to watch and may very well stimulate your own curiosity about state history.
(5:30 p.m. Wed., 4 p.m. Fri., 7 p.m. Sat., Bryant-Lake Bowl 810 W. Lake St.)
The Second Oldest Profession
Peter Moore’s short piece is composed of little more than a litany of life lessons explicated through the lens of show business, but his genial stage presence offsets the occasionally pedantic material. When it works, truisms like “there are no small parts, only small actors” become the jumping -off point for some hilarious anecdotes and jokes about an array of famous figures ranging from John Barrymore to Moore’s father, veteran newscaster Dave Moore. When it doesn’t work, you wonder if you missed the theater and wandered into a motivational workshop instead.
(5:30 p.m. Wed., 7 p.m. Sat., 1 p.m. Sun., Rarig Center Arena, 330 21st Av. S.)
Writer Michael Mayket transplantsThornton Wilder’s classic play about small town life into contemporary Minnesota. The narrator (Brad Erickson), reminiscent of Garrison Keillor, makes it feel like a soft commentary on “A Prairie Home Companion.” Actors play modified bits from Wilder’s dialogue with Minnesota touches, including a Jesse Ventura impersonation. They slap mosquitoes, eat Jucy Lucy burgers and recall movies made in the state. Target Corporation’s bull’s-eye serves as a full moon. References to loons and Paul Bunyan pepper the action throughout this charmingly quirky spoof.
(10 p.m. Mon., 5:30 p.m. Fri., 4 p.m. Sun., Music Box Theatre 1407 Nicollet Av. S.)
Top Gun: The Musical
The hit 1986 film “Top Gun” makes its musical comeback with over-the-top, corny Broadway-style music and dance. The concept alone of turning the Tom Cruise star vehicle into a musical parody may be enough reason to check it out, but don’t be fooled by the hype. The live band was great, but played so loudly that you were at times unable to hear the actors. The sight gags and choreography were a bit too much. It was fun, sure, but unfortunately, “Top Gun” did not take my breath away.
(10 p.m. Wed., 5:30 p.m. Thu., 1 p.m. Sat., 5:30 p.m. Sun., Illusion Theater, 528 Hennepin Av. S.)