It's impressive, but can it carry a tune? The Kensington Runestone stars in "Runestone! The Musical," a staged reading at History Theatre. /Glen Stubbe

Two of the four shows presented in History Theatre's "Raw Stages" festival of new work last January ended up getting full stagings in the current season ("Dirty Business" and "Sisters of Peace"). Can the next "Raw Stages" keep the streak going?

The four staged readings to be presented in the January 2019 festival sound promising, led by a show about a rock. "Runestone! The Musical" is inspired by the Kensington Runestone, which was either inscribed and left in northern Minnesota by 14th century Viking explorers or a goofy hoax perpetrated by a 19th century Swede. With music and lyrics by Gary Rue and a book by Mark Jensen, "Runestone" will bring new meaning to the term "rock musical" under the direction of Tyler Michaels, currently starring in "Teen Idol: The Bobby Vee Story" at the theater.

Prolific Harrison David Rivers, who co-wrote last season's "A Crack in the Sky" returns with a play about legendary photographer/filmmaker Gordon Parks, a longtime St. Paul resident.

The autobiographical "Superman Becomes Lois Lane" has a confounding title, but it's Susan Kimberly's account of how she became the first transgender deputy mayor in the country. She was appointed to that position by Norm Coleman in 1998.

Rounding out the season is a return from the 2018 festival, Kim Hines and Barbra Teed's "Not for Sale," about segregation in Minnesota housing in the 1960s.

Tickets to each play are $15 or you can pay $30 and go to all four, Jan. 11-13, at History Theatre, 30 E. 10th St., St. Paul.
 

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