The dancing deserves headlines in 'Newsies'
Choreographer Tamara Kangas Erickson's razzle-dazzle dances inject a dose of extra — Extra! — pizazz into director Michael Brindisi's neat production of this musical about striking news hawkers in late 19th-century New York. The movement, plus the strong lead performances by Aleks Knezevich, Ruthanne Heyward and Kersten Rodau, help the show to overcome some ho-hum material based on a 1992 dud of a movie.ROHAN PRESTON
Ends Sept. 29. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, Chanhassen. $50-$89, chanhassendt.com
A gigantic outdoor art installation featuring 23-foot-high bunnies by Australia's Amanda Parer will be the focal point of this year's Flint Hills Family Festival. The two-day event has 80-plus free outdoor performances by more than 450 local artists representing cultures from around the world. DJ Kool Akiem spins for a lunchtime dance party on Saturday. Activities include dance lessons, juggling and henna tattoos. Inside the Ordway, check out $8 performances from Lightwire Theater and others.
5-9 p.m. Fri.; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Sat. Ordway, St. Paul, ordway.org
Nick Swardson has a lot in common with '80s hair bands, most notably a mission to serve up loud, irreverent, stupid fun. So it's not a stretch for the Minnesota native to perform at First Avenue and Palace Theatre, two music venues. Swardson, who cut his teeth with local improv troupes and open mic nights at Acme Comedy, starts shooting "The Buddy Games" flick, with Dan Bakkedahl and director Josh Duhamel.
7:30 p.m. Thu. DECC Auditorium, Duluth, $26-$273; 7 p.m. Fri., First Avenue, Mpls., $39.50; 7 p.m. Sat., Palace Theatre, St. Paul, $39.50. nickswardson.net
After making big noise playing just bass and drums with Kitten Forever in recent years, ex-Baby Guts wunderkind Laura Larson has returned to singer/guitarist mode in a new all-star Minneapolis punk quartet charmingly named Scrunchies, with members of Bruise Violet, Tony Peachka and Sass. High expectations are met on their high-adrenaline, lo-fi debut album, "Stunner," with echoes of '80s blasters such as the Slits and Minutemen along with a little '90s grunge.
9:30 p.m. Fri. 7th Street Entry, Mpls., $10, etix.com
Too bad it was nearly impossible to become a successful female composer in the 19th century. Otherwise, the gifted Fanny Mendelssohn might easily have become as well-known as her brother Felix. The St. Paul Chamber Orchestra plays music by both siblings, including Fanny's Piano Trio and Felix's String Quartet No. 6. Associate concertmaster Ruggero Allifranchini leads a program that also includes Brahms' beloved Clarinet Quintet.
8 p.m. Sat., 2 p.m. Sun. St. Paul Academy and Summit School, St. Paul, $15, thespco.org
A musician-turned-artist-turned-gallery co-owner, Ryan Fontaine is having his own solo show at his gallery. An eclectic artist whose background is not that of an art school snob, he messes with a wide range of materials in this show featuring 14 new paintings and two kinetic sculptures. Fontaine is interested in traversing and breaking down formal definitions of each medium.
Ends July 31. Hair and Nails Contemporary Art Gallery, Mpls., hairandnailsart.com
On this month's "Wide Awake" album with producer Danger Mouse, New York's modern-day punks Parquet Courts have branched out. Their palette is broader, with influences ranging from the Beastie Boys to the Specials. The energy and vibe are definitely different on much of PC's sixth album. Love the funky, edgy title track, the urgent "NYC Observation," the fast, jangly "Extinction" and the Green Day-ish "Almost Had to Start a Fight/In and Out of Patience."
8 p.m. Thu. Fine Line, Mpls., $18-$20, etix.com
William Walton's "Belshazzar's Feast" is one of the more dramatic pieces in English choral music, telling the story of the Old Testament king who literally saw the writing on the wall. The Minnesota Orchestra teams up with the Minnesota Chorale for a performance led by former Sommerfest artistic director Andrew Litton, an outstanding Walton conductor. Also featured are Litton's favorites by Leonard Bernstein: "Chichester Psalms" and "Fancy Free."
8 p.m. Fri.-Sat. Orchestra Hall, Mpls.; $12-$96, minnesotaorchestra.org
It's hard to get a handle these days on popular-in-the-Twin-Cities folk-rockers the Head and the Heart because charismatic frontman Josiah Johnson is on a solo tour after taking a hiatus for addiction treatment. That means Jonathan Russell has stepped forward on lead vocals for the "Lost in My Mind" and "All We Ever Knew" hitmakers, along with newcomer Matt Gervais, husband of the group's Twin Cities-bred violinist Charity Rose Thielen.
8 p.m. Wed. The Armory, Mpls., $42, ticketmaster.com