Aftermath of a murder
A black teenager is brutally killed after allegedly whistling at a white woman in 1955. But the tragedy of Emmett Till didn’t end then, and it had begun centuries earlier. That’s the thesis of Ifa Bayeza’s searing drama “Benevolence,” getting its world premiere at Penumbra Theatre. Its two acts follow first a white couple and then a black couple whose lives are permanently changed by the tragedy — “Empathy” would be another good name for the play. In the role of Beulah Melton, Dame-Jasmine Hughes’ emotional nakedness is riveting. Chris Hewitt
2 p.m. today and next Sun., 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 2 & 7:30 p.m. Sat. Ends March 10. Penumbra Theatre, St. Paul. $15-$40; 651-224-3180, penumbratheatre.org.
Since she was recruited to replace Cardi B as the opener on Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic tour last fall, Ella Mai has made big impressions on “SNL” and then at the Grammy Awards, where her playful but lovelorn single “Boo’d Up” won for best R&B song. The sultry but sly-sounding 24-year-old London singer is back out for her first major headlining tour mostly playing venues she’s already too big to play. Opener Kiana Brown doubles as an actor on MTV’s “Scream” series.
8 p.m. Thu. Varsity Theater, Mpls. Sold out.
Widely hailed as America’s leading mezzo-soprano, Joyce DiDonato just released “Songplay,” a new album boldly meshing her trademark operatic repertoire with jazz and tango. For her Ordway concert, DiDonato is backed by an ensemble of keyboard, double bass, drums, bandoneon and trumpet. Expect music by Vivaldi, Giordani and Torelli to rub shoulders with Duke Ellington and Richard Rodgers.
7:30 p.m. Mon. Ordway Music Theater, St. Paul. $34-$73; 651-292-3268, schubert.org.
Featuring favorites from “A Prairie Home Companion” and “Live From Here,” I’m With Her is the instantly lovable new acoustic trio featuring Boston-area folkie Aoife O’Donovan, Nickel Creek’s Sara Watkins and Texas throwback Sarah Jarosz. They were named artist of the year at last week’s International Folk Music Awards in Montreal following the release of their Rounder debut, “See You Around,” featuring tightly woven harmonies and lively string work.
8 p.m. Fri. First Avenue, Mpls. $35, first-avenue.com.
It’s tapping time, and the Warner Nature Center sugar bush is plump with syrup. On Maple Syruping Day, learn the history of maple syruping in Minnesota and see the whole process from sap to syrup. View tree tapping and sap boiling, then taste the sticky, sweet results. Enjoy family activities, crafts and more.
Noon-4 p.m. Sat. Warner Nature Center, Marine on St. Croix. $5, warnernaturecenter.org.
Louisiana treasures Marcia Ball and Sonny Landreth team up for a must-see pre-Mardi Gras doubleheader. A barrelhouse pianist and exuberant vocalist, Ball sounds upbeat and positive on 2018’s bluesy, rootsy “Shine Bright,” name-checking Neil Armstrong, Little Richard and Ruth Bader Ginsburg on her originals and adding fitting covers. King of “slydeco,” Landreth is a virtuoso slide guitarist steeped in zydeco, blues, swampy rock and all kinds of Bayou State sounds.
7 p.m. Wed. Dakota, Mpls. Sold out.
In Rodrigo Hernández’s exhibition, four mysterious sculptures hang on the wall. From afar, it looks like the Lisbon-based artist has carefully carved geometric shapes and curves into wood, but these sculptures are all singular monochrome, a gray reminiscent of egg cartons. The Mexico City native frequently references existentialism, surrealism, Mexican art history and countless literary figures in his work.
11 a.m.-5 p.m. Wed.-Sat. Ends March 30. Midway Contemporary Art, Mpls. Free; 612-605-4504, midwayart.org.
Did Mozart know that the beautiful, elegiac Piano Concerto No. 27 would be his last? Decide for yourself when former St. Paul Chamber Orchestra artistic partner Christian Zacharias returns as soloist. Also featured are works by Bruckner and Widmann, plus Zacharias conducting Beethoven’s Second Symphony.
11 a.m. & 8 p.m. Fri., Ordway Concert Hall, St. Paul, $12-$50. 8 p.m. Sat., Carleton College, Northfield, free. 2 p.m. next Sun., Ted Mann Concert Hall, Mpls., $11-$40. 651-291-1144, thespco.org.
Watch as mother owls raise their young. Learn about the various species of owls that live in Richfield’s Wood Lake area and other parts of Minnesota. As part of Wood Lake Nature Center’s Sunday Special series, guests can make an owl craft, and go out on the prowl and howl for owls.
3-4:30 p.m. next Sun. Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield. $3, richfieldmn.gov.