Here on the drama desk we’re referring to this weekend as “Stagezilla!”
Are theater companies hoping to cash in on Valentine’s date nights? Is it the phase of the moon (waxing crescent), or just a wild stab that the second weekend of February is the perfect time to open a show?
Whatever it is, there is a huge stack of theater — as Ralph Wiggum would say — to choo-choo-choose from. So if your best boo says they’d love to take you out but there’s nothing going on, take the hint — it’s time to browse eHarmony.com.
Besides the Jungle’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” here’s an overview of openings this weekend:
‘Only One Sophie’
Director Michael Robins plumbs his family history for a new musical, written with composer Roberta Carlson. Actor Kersten Rodau will portray Sophie, Robin’s grandmother, who left Russia in 1905, walked across Poland and eventually found her way to St. Paul. Through stories and songs, Robins explores the Jewish immigrant experience of the early 20th century. His cast at Illusion Theater includes Bradley Greenwald, Bonni Allen, Jay Hornbacher, Beth Gilleland and Randy Schmeling.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Thu. Ends March 5. Eighth floor, 528 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $25-$42. 612-339-4944 or illusiontheater.org.
‘The Snowy Day and Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats’
Children’s Theatre Company presents the second world premiere of the weekend. Playwright Jerome Hairston has adapted the work of the renowned children’s book author. Peter Brosius and celebrated Italian puppet master Fabrizio Montecchi direct the production, which marks Keats’ 100th birthday year. The cast consists of Ivey winner Mikell Sapp, Joy Dolo and longtimer Dean Holt.
7 p.m. Fri., 2 & 5 p.m. Sat.-Sun., 7 p.m. Wed.-Thu. Ends March 20. 2400 3rd Av. S., Mpls. $10-$58. 612-874-0400 or childrenstheatre.org.
‘The Working Dead’
Brave New Workshop has tuned up a new collection of sketches satirizing the current workplace. It follows on the heels of the Workshop’s highest-grossing show ever, “The Trump Who Stole Christmas.” Artistic director Caleb McEwen says “this show is much more lighthearted and silly as we gear up for the topical issues of the fall.” His actors/writers this time around are newbies Nissa Nordland and Kory Pullam and veterans Lauren Anderson, Ryan Nelson, Tom Reed and Taj Ruler.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. Thu. Ends June 11. 824 Hennepin Av. S., Mpls. $28-$36. 612-332-6620 or bravenewworkshop.com.
Frank Theatre gives the area premiere to playwright Max Frisch’s “The Arsonists,” which has a double-edged message that would be interpreted many ways in today’s suspicious society. Longtime stage presence Jay Albright (Guthrie, Chanhassen) plays a businessman who dismisses the concerns of neighbors who have been torched by arsonists. He welcomes strangers into his house and eventually aids in his own demise as he refuses to recognize the danger around him. Wendy Knox directs a 2007 adaptation by Scottish satirist Alistair Beaton. Albright is joined on stage by Charlotte Calvert, Nastacia Foster and Becca Hart.
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 p.m. Sun., 8 p.m. Thu. Ends March 6. Ritz Theater, 345 13th Av. NE, Mpls. $20-$25; pay-what-you-can Feb. 13. 612-724-3760 or franktheatre.org
Walking Shadow Theatre Company presents another regional premiere, this one of a play by playwright Annie Baker, one of the hot new names out of New York (“Circle Mirror Transformation” and “The Flick,” which won a Pulitzer). John Heimbuch stages the work, which deals with three dudes who sell coffee, write songs, plan novels and annoy one another. The cast features Paul Rutledge, Paul LaNave and Spencer H. Levin.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., Mon., Thu. Ends Feb. 27. Red Eye, 15 W. 14th St., Mpls. $10-$26. 612-375-0300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife’
Sally Wingert portrays a moody woman from the Upper East Side who finds herself in the funk of midlife. She finds distraction in a childhood friend’s visit but nothing ends up tidy in this 2000 play by Charles Busch, a departure from his usual campy style (“Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”). Warren Bowles directs for Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company. The cast includes David Coral, Linda Kelsey and Maggie Bearmon Pistner.
8 p.m. Sat., 1 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Thu. Ends March 6. Highland Park Community Center, 1978 Ford Pkwy., St. Paul. $12-$32. 651-647-4315 or brownpapertickets.com.
‘Silence! The Musical’
Director Steven Meerdink partners again with Minneapolis Musical Theatre — a company he co-founded but quit in 2014 — for this unauthorized parody of “The Silence of the Lambs.” Emily Jabas plays FBI agent Clarice Starling, who engages with Hannibal (the cannibal) Lecter to catch a serial killer. The musical made its mark at the 2005 FringeNYC Festival. This is exactly the kind of piece Meerdink had great success with at MMT — unashamedly ridiculous in its satire.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 5 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Thu. Ends March 6. Lab Theater, 700 N. 1st St., Mpls. $30-$40. 612-333-7977 or aboutmmt.org.
‘The Naked I: Self-Defined’
Inspired by “The Naked I: Monologues From Beyond the Binary” by Tobias K. Davis, which 20% Theatre Company produced in 2009, the company uses monologues, short scenes, film and movement to explore queer and trans experience. The production features contributions by more than 50 artists.
7:30 p.m. Fri.-Sat., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sun., 7:30 p.m. Wed. Ends Feb. 20. Intermedia Arts, 2822 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls. $5-$25. brownpapertickets.com.
Graydon Royce • 612-673-7299