With its national audience set to expand for its upcoming season, Minnesota Public Radio’s musical comedy series “Wits” didn’t seem to have any trouble attracting national-level guest stars.
The lineup announced this morning for the season that kicks off mid-March includes some of the hippest and hottest comedians out there -- including Hannibal Buress, Tig Nortaro and Patton Oswalt -- alongside some core music acts old and new from 89.3 the Current’s play list. They won’t just be performing for local audiences, though, as the show also announced it has been picked up for broadcast in many new markets, including Seattle, Austin, Philadelphia, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Las Vegas. It has also expanded the number of shows to 10.
Here is the full “Wits” spring/summer lineup:
March 15: Paula Poundstone and Robyn Hitchcock
March 29: W. Kamau Bell and Brendan Benson
April 12: Kristen Schaal and Rufus Wainwright
April 19: Tig Notaro and Kathleen Edwards
April 25: Michael Ian Black and A.C. Newman
May 3: Patton Oswalt and Ben Lee
May 10: Rob Delaney and Neko Case with Kelly Hogan
May 31: Colin Hanks and Jason Isbell
June 7: Hannibal Buress and Open Mike Eagle
June 14: David Koechner and Metric
One of the trade-offs for Minnesota Public Radio broadening “Wits” to a national audience, it seems, is the noticeable lack of any actual Minnesotan talent on the show this season outside of host John Moe, music boss John Munson and Munson's bandmates. The nearest thing to a local guest star on the lineup is Canadian songstress Kathleen Edwards, who was living part time near Eau Claire, Wis., while dating Justin Vernon.
All of the shows will be taped at the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul and start at 8 p.m., with a “pre-party” beginning at 7 p.m. featuring cheap cocktails to loosen up the crowd. Tickets go on sale in different phases, starting with season ticket packages that will be available Feb. 21 at 10 a.m. for a five-show bundle and noon for a 10-show pack. They are $37 for reserved floor seats or $27 for general-admission balcony seats. Single-show tickets will go on sale Feb. 26 at noon for $42 and $32. All the tickets can be purchased in-person at the Fitzgerald Theater box office, via phone at 651-290-1200 or online at www.fitzgeraldtheater.org starting at noon on February 26.