First Avenue's 51st Anniversary
Saturday: After the pandemic abruptly spoiled its big 50th anniversary shows last year, Minneapolis' main live music depot at least has the capability to host a virtual celebration this April 3, the date of its inaugural 1970 concert by Joe Cocker. Indie-rockers Bad Bad Hats and rapper Nur-D will each perform live, with host Sophia Eris representing the young scene thriving there today. Footage will also be shown from recent livestream sets at the club by Trampled by Turtles, Soul Asylum, Hippo Campus, Charlie Parr, Dizzy Fae and Curtiss A. (7 p.m. Sat. Free, first-avenue.com)
The Night Before Easter — Music to Inspire You
Saturday: We can't think of two more heavenly Twin Cities voices to share a live show with this title. Ever-versatile Robert Robinson, the Pavarotti of Gospel, teams up with well-traveled Gwen Matthews, who has worked with Passage, Women Who Cook and Synergy. The repertoire will draw from gospel, pop and R&B, including material associated with BeBe and CeCe Winans, Josh Groban, Mahalia Jackson, Carrie Underwood, Whitney Houston, Bill Withers, the Temptations, the Clark Sisters and James Taylor. (6p.m. dinner, 8 p.m. show Sat. Chanhassen Dinner Theatres, 501 W. 78th St. $40, $58 with dinner, chanhassendt.com.)
Wednesday: "What is the valid American Indian experience?" asks Twin Cities playwright Rhiana Yazzie with her new drama/comedy, which will have a virtual reading hosted by the Playwrights' Center. Her imagination was sparked when, doing research for another project, she discovered that the late Nancy Reagan was a descendant of Pocahontas. Juxtaposing Reagan with a character named Esmerelda, Yazzie, who grew up in a home where her dad spoke Navajo, examines how Native culture is appropriated and suppressed. (7 p.m. Wed. Free, reservations required at pwcenter.org.)
'Freddie — Break Free: A Ballet in the Making'
Thursday: Ballet Co.Laboratory has sailed through the pandemic with a dancer-first business model, keeping its artists employed with virtual content and Zoom ballet classes. The company's production of "Freddie — Break Free," about the life of Freddie Mercury, was set to debut in 2020, but things didn't work out as planned. The piece, which was to include 20 dancers and the Queen tribute band Ready Freddie, will now premiere in 2022. Get a sneak peek with this livestreamed documentary about the making of the cross-genre work, with rehearsal footage, artist interviews and behind-the-scenes fun. (7:30 p.m. Thu. Free, register via thecowlescenter.org.)