Paul Bunyan Playhouse
In its 64th season near the shores of Lake Bemidji, this landmark mixes Twin Cities and Bemidji performers. Zach Curtis, the longest-serving artistic director in the company’s history, is in his last season. Like L’Homme Dieu, Paul Bunyan has a dedicated base of local patrons and board members. Shows are performed in the historic Chief Theater, an old movie house. Shows run Wednesday through the weekend.
Info: “Prints,” July 1-11; “I Oughta Be in Pictures,” July 15-25; “Monty Python’s Spamalot,” July 29-Aug. 8; 1-218-751-7270 or www.thechieftheater.com.
Great River Shakespeare Festival
The Bard has found a pretty faithful audience in the Winona bluff country. The company, headed by Doug Scholz Carlson, just opened its three-play season. “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Romeo and Juliet” and Tennessee Williams’ “The Glass Menagerie” will run in repertory through Aug. 2. Great River draws from a national pool of talent so this is a chance to sample actors you wouldn’t normally see.
Info: Shows at Winona State University, Wednesdays to Sundays through Aug. 2. 1-507-474-7900. www.grsf.org.
An institution for more than a century, the playhouse hosts an active schedule that included a just-closed fairy tale that featured local heroes Trampled by Turtles. “Guys and Dolls,” one of the greatest of the great musicals, opens in a couple of weeks. Duluth Playhouse is a year-round venue in case you get up to the North Shore for fall colors. Shows are in a 282-seat theater in the St. Louis County Heritage and Arts Center.
Info: “Guys and Dolls” Wednesdays to Sundays from July 16 to Aug. 2; 1-218-733-7555 or www.duluthplayhouse.org.
Lanesboro is one of those perfect tourist towns, especially in the summer. You can bike the Root River trail, float in the bracing Root River or chill out in one of the many B&Bs. Commonweal Theatre is a local institution that commits to performing top-shelf productions year-round. This summer, “Woody Guthrie’s American Song” and the British farce “Charley’s Aunt” are playing in rep Thursdays through Sundays.
Info: “Woody Guthrie” through Sept. 28; “Charley’s Aunt” through Oct. 28. 1-800-657-7025. www.commonwealtheatre.org.
Minnesota Beethoven Festival
If excellent classical music is your bag, Winona again has the answer. Pianist Garrick Ohlsson and the Minnesota Orchestra performed in separate concerts this week. Upcoming are performances by soprano Dawn Upshaw (July 9), conductor Dale Warland and the Festival Chorale (July 11-12), and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra (July 19). Music aficionados swear by this festival.
Info: Concerts Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays through July 19. 1-507-457-1715 or www.mnbeethovenfestival.org.
Northern Lights Music Festival
Up on the Iron Range, artistic director Veda Zuponcic has put this series of concerts together at venues in seven cities including Aurora, Chisholm, Ely and Hibbing. The festival’s orchestra will play selections from “West Side Story” and “My Fair Lady” with singers who will also perform “The Merry Widow” on July 10-13. There’s a full pit orchestra for this production of Lehar’s classic opera.
Info: Concerts Tuesdays and Thursdays through Sundays through July 20. 1-218-780-2292 or www.northernlightsmusic.org.
Woodtick Musical Theatre
There’s no grocery story in tiny Akeley, Minn., but there is this theater, now in its 24th season with a repertoire of bluegrass, folk and gospel music. The Woodtick draws people from across northern Minnesota with its variety shows, put on by musicians from the area.
Info: Wed.-Sun. through Sept. 12. 1-218-652-4200 or www.woodtick-theater.com.