Tag - Stages Theatre Company

New MELSA smARTpass Program – An Arts Access Program for Metro Public Library Users
12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events
3 Twin Cities Free & Budget Family Events for Nov. 21-22, 2015
12 Free & Cheap Things To Do in November
Lots of Theatre for Children in March
James and the Giant Peach at Stages Theatre Company
The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Stages Theatre Company
Archived: A Syrupy Weekend Wish List for March 7-8, 2014
Christmas-style Theatre

New MELSA smARTpass Program – An Arts Access Program for Metro Public Library Users

Last year the MELSA Libraries (Anoka County, Carver County, Dakota County, Hennepin County,Ramsey County, Saint Paul, Scott County, Washington County), rolled out the smARTpass Program. Library patrons now have another option for free or reduced-price tickets to arts activities and museums with this program.

MELSA smARTpass program Read More

12 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

10 Twin Cities Early Holiday Events

night-trainsNight Trains @ Twin City Model Railroad Museum, St. Paul 

When: Ongoing Sat Nov 5-Feb 25, 2017 • 6-9pm
Cost: $15/pp, family rates available, children 4 & under FREE
Details: A special holiday tradition at the Twin City Model Railroad Museum, Night Trains season magically transforms the museum layouts. Buildings and street lights glow, and throughout the museum the layouts are adorned with Christmas lights.

Nature Arts & Crafts Fair @ Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington

When: Saturday, Nov 5 • 10am-3pm
Cost: Free admission
Details: Local artisans of jewelry, felting, painting and more display their wares; afterward enjoy the park reserve. All vendor fees donated to the VEAP-Bloomington Food Shelf.

Santa’s Arrival Ceremony @ Mall of America

When: TBD
Cost: Free
Details: The holiday season officially kicks off at Mall of America with Santa’s Arrival Ceremony. Santa will be greeted in holiday style with live performances.

tm asi christmas

Family Day: Celebrations of Light @ American Swedish Institute, Minneapolis

When: Sunday, Nov 13 • noon-5pm
Cost: $5-$10/pp
Details: Explore Nordic holiday traditions, see the historic Turnblad Mansion decked out for the season, and join in family craft activities. Included with museum admission.

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical @ Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins

When: Runs Nov 18-Dec 28, 2016
Cost: $25/pp, $5/lap passes for children ages 3-4, under 3 are free. Nov 20 is pay-what-you can day for this particular performance. These special accessible tickets are available at the box office only.

bachmans2Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play
@ Bachman’s on Lyndale, Minneapolis

When: Saturday, Nov 19 • 9am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Join us as we welcome Santa and his sleigh Saturday morning and kick off the holiday season! Visit Bachman’s on Lyndale for treats, shopping, and season’s greetings during store hours. Kids can visit the live reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee available for snacking! And of course, see the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10am, 11:30am, 1pm and 3:30pm.

Rice Park Tree Lighting Ceremony, St. Paul

When: Nov 19 • 5pm
Cost: Free
Details: Rice Park sparkles with thousands of twinkling lights! The tree will be up through January 1, 2017. The other lights will stay up and illuminate the park through the end of the Winter Carnival.

HLNewLogoPlain[1]Holiday Lights in the Park @ Phalen Regional Park, St. Paul

When: Runs nightly Nov 22-Jan 1, 2017 • 5-10pm
Cost: $10 cash per vehicle at gate or $8 online ticket only
Details: All of the net proceeds from the event will be distributed to a community non-profit. 60 holiday light sculptures and animated displays entertain guests as they cruise through the park in the evening hours.

Winter Lighting Ceremony @ Nicollet Commons Park
Nicollet Avenue and 126th Street, Burnsville

When: Wednesday, Nov 23 • 6-6:45pm
Cost: Free
Details: Making an appearance are local choirs, refreshments, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, 200,000+ lights, and a 30-foot-tall tree.

thO0PBFN04Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park, Minneapolis

When: Begins Friday, Nov 25 • 5-9m
Cost: Free
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 22, 2016.

Taylors Falls Lighting Festival

When: Friday, Nov 25 – Sunday, Nov 27
Cost: Free
Details: Family highlights include the Grand Lighting & Santa Parade (11/26), Christmas at the Folsom House (11/25-27), storytime with Mrs. Claus and wagon rides.

Tree Lighting Ceremony @ 50th & France, Edina

When: Saturday, Nov 26
Cost: Free
Details: Holiday Market is open 12-5pm followed by tree lighting, carolers and visits with Santa.

3 Twin Cities Free & Budget Family Events for Nov. 21-22, 2015

Be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar for more inspiration on how to get out and about with your family this weekend and beyond!


bachmans2Holiday Open House featuring Santa & Albert’s Arrival and Annual Holiday Play
@ Bachman’s on Lyndale, 6010 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis

When: 9am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: Welcome Santa and his sleigh Saturday morning (9:30am) to kick off the holiday season! Kids can visit the live reindeer corral and stop by the craft counter for crafts and activities. Cookies, juice, and coffee available for snacking. And of course, see the annual Santa & Albert holiday play at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m.and 3:30 p.m.

2012-11-17_15-26-06_744[1]Math & Science Family Fun Fair
@ University of Minnesota TC
Coffman Memorial Union, 300 Washington Ave SE, Minneapolis

When: 10am-4pm
Cost: Free
Details: It’s a day jam-packed with hands-on STEM fun. (And this is coming from a mom who didn’t appreciate math and science until she had her own kids!) Highlights include free ExploraDome shows, playing with robots, and really cool exhibits that truly get kids excited about chemistry, engineering, physics and much more. Get the complete schedule here and note that the special “Physics Force” and “Energy and U” shows require (free) tickets that are picked up at the event check-in. My own kids had a blast at this event; plan to spend several hours.


A Charlie Brown Christmas
@ Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins

When: 4pm
Cost: Sunday’s 4pm show is a pay-what-you-can performance.
Details: Tickets to this show are available at the box office only.

12 Free & Cheap Things To Do in November

The novelty of back-to-school has worn off, the excitement of Halloween parties have wrapped up, and it’s still weeks until Thanksgiving break. And so we’re left with…November. But take heart, there’s plenty of free and budget family entertainment going on this month; you just have to dig a little deeper to find it. Here are 12 ideas to get you started:

tm straightlineWednesday Wiggles @ Straightline Dance Fitness
34 13th Ave NE, Suite 104, Minneapolis

When: Ongoing Wednesdays starting Nov. 4 • 10-11am
Cost: Free
Details: Join Straightline Dance Fitness every Wednesday for a playdate in their open studio. Balls, ribbons, mats, scarves, dress up clothes, and music provided.

Get Out For Nature Play!

Nature Play Fall Frolic @ Wargo Nature Center
7701 Main St., Lino Lakes

When: Thursday, Nov. 5 • 10-11:15am
Cost: $3/pp plus tax
Details: Head outside and look for the ways nature is changing and preparing for winter. This program is designed for 2-5 year olds who are accompanied by an adult. Pre-registration is required.

Nature Playdate @ Cleary Lake Regional Park
18106 Texas Ave, Prior Lake

When: Wednesday, Nov. 25 • 1-2pm
Cost: Free
Details: Explore, discover, and play in your local park. Meet families interested in getting their children outdoors. Wear appropriate clothes and shoes.

ExploraTots @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul

When: Wednesday, Nov. 11 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Join other families for outdoor adventures with a different theme each month! Search for clues that animals have left behind, enjoy hands-on activities and story times, and get up-close looks at treasures from our naturalist’s backpack. It’s a great way to get outside with your child and learn about the natural world and get inspired with ideas to take home.

tm exploratotsNature Play: Green Time @ Phalen Lakeside Activities Center
1530 Phalen Dr, St Paul

When: Thursday, Nov. 19 • 10-11:30am
Cost: Free
Details: Swap screen time for green time! Meet up with other families for unstructured nature play. Drop-ins are welcome.

Lil’ Explorer Thursdays @ Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr, St. Paul

When: Nov. 5 and ongoing Thursdays through April 28, 2016 • 10am-noon
Cost: Free
Details: The hall between the Visitor Center and the Conservatory is filled with hands-on activities, manipulatives, art projects and games perfect for the 4 & under set. Explore a different theme each week through April 2016. Donations appreciated.

Let’s Get StARTed Fall Series: Gobble, Gobble @ Silverwood Park
2500 County Road E, St Anthony

When: Sunday, Nov. 8 • 1-3pm
Cost: Free
Details: Drop in for art projects, explore the grounds, the sculptures, and the current gallery exhibit.

Ballet Tuesdays @ Landmark Center
75 5th St, St Paul

When: Nov. 10 and every second Tuesday of the month following • Noon-1pm
Cost: Free
Details: Bring a lunch to Landmark Center in St. Paul and enjoy a sampling of the Saint Paul City Ballet training and Company repertoire. Excerpts from Clara’s Dream:from the Nutcracker with audience participation will be performed Nov. 10. Great for budding ballerinas!

Family Volunteer Day Service Fair @ Midtown Global Market
920 East Lake Street, Minneapolis

When: Friday, Nov. 20 • 5-7:30pm
Cost: Free
Details: Hosted by Doing Good Together, a variety of family-appropriate service projects will be available to participate in. DTG is a proud participant of Family Fun Twin Cities’ Great Give Back Challenge!

thWW64I8J0A Charlie Brown Christmas – Pay-What-You-Can Performance @ Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins

When: Sunday, Nov. 22 • 4pm
Cost: Pay what you can, but note these accessible tickets are only available through the box office by calling 952-979-1111.
Details: Aimed at making theater accessible to all families, take advantage of this special pay-what-you-can offer and enjoy this classic Christmas tale presented by the young actors of Stages Theatre Co.

Volunteer with FFTC @ Feed My Starving Children
401 93rd Ave NW, Coon Rapids

Time: Monday, Nov. 23 • Noon-2pm
Cost: Free
Details: Pack meals with Feed My Starving Children. When the following link becomes live, you can reserve your space to join in!

thO0PBFN04Holidazzle begins @ Loring Park
1382 Willow Street, Minneapolis

When: Begins Friday, Nov. 27 • 5-9m
Cost: Free admission this year!
Details: Holidazzle has moved to Loring Park this year, is offering free admission to all, and there will be vendors, activities, food, and fireworks for all. Holidazzle will run Thurs-Sun from 5-9pm on Thursdays & Fridays and 11am-9pm Saturdays & Sundays through Dec. 20, 2015.

Lots of Theatre for Children in March

In the next week or so, it will be opening night for new shows at many of our favorite theatres.  Here’s a rundown for you so that you don’t miss any of them.

Updated on March 19, 2015.  Check out the newest addition!

Read More

James and the Giant Peach at Stages Theatre Company

The timing was perfect. Both of my elementary-aged kids (9 & 7) had just finished reading Roald Dahl’s classic children’s book James and the Giant Peach when opportunity knocked to see the story come to life at Stages Theatre Company. Having enjoyed the book, they were curious about how it would compare with a stage adaptation. You might say they were a smidge skeptical that Stages had somehow procured a colossal peach for the show…

Turns out – spoiler! – there is no actual fruit in the show that swells to mammoth proportions. There are, however, many cool tricks employed to convince the audience that they are, in fact, witnessing the growth of this miraculous peach and the bizarre ways in which it transforms the life of a young boy named Henry James Trotter. (I’m not gonna spoil those!)

with James of the Giant Peach!

If you aren’t familiar with the story, it centers around orphaned James, who, at the beginning of the tale, is living a miserable existence with his two aunts in England. While the book paints his life as tortured, the Stages version manages to remain sympathetic to James while making us all laugh out loud at the uproariously vain antics of Aunts Sponge and Spiker. The aunts drew the most laughs from my kids. Their favorite characters, however, were the band of musical insects who were, alongside the peach, bewitched by a satchel of magical crocodile tongues. James and the insects go on to have an adventure that will forever alter the course of the young boy’s life.

I don’t want to give any more of the story away. So here’s what I recommend:

  • Read the book by Roald Dahl should you decide to attend the show (it’s a pretty quick read for elementary-aged kids; youngsters should be a pretty patient 5 years to have the story read aloud) OR
  • watch the movie (Walt Disney Pictures) AND THEN
  • come see the show! It’s very important to note that a typical Stages Theatre performance lasts about one hour. It’s a great length of time for families bringing along younger children, especially those who might not be old enough to follow the story. The preschoolers I’ve observed have been well entertained by the upbeat, musical performances.

Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Now through October 19, 2014
Tickets: $16/general admission or check out prices for groups of 10 or more.

The Weekend Wish List for April 11 – 13, 2014

I was bowled over when I took a look at our Family Fun Calendar for this upcoming weekend! The list below is just a sampling of some of the family activities offered that caught my eye. There are also numerous springtime events going on at local parks and nature centers as well as more theater and concert options. All activities listed here have a fee attached; look for our Free List of weekend events later this week.

Leos Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen (The Adventures of Vixen Sharp Ears)
Ted Mann Concert Hall (University of Minnesota Opera Theatre)
2128 Fourth Street S., Minneapolis, MN 55455
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:30pm; Saturday, April 12 at 7:30pm; Sunday, April 13 at 1:30pm
Tickets: $20/adults, $5/students & children. Buy tickets online, by box office (612-624-2345) or at the Rarig Ticket Center Office.

Inspired by cartoons the composer had seen in the newspaper, this all-ages opera combines music and dance with themes of “nature, the life cycle, and the spiritual side of life”. A discussion of the opera will begin in the lobby 45 minutes prior to the show.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Showtimes: Friday, April 11 at 7:00pm; Saturday, April 12 at 1:00 & 7:00pm; Sunday, April 13 at 2:00 & 4:30pm
Tickets: $15/all seats

Catch the opening weekend of this new show at Stages! The Big Bad Wolf is set to stand trial for his supposed role in that whole mess with the Three Little Pigs. You, the audience, gets to decide his fate. Based on the book of the same name but set to music, it’s sure to be good for some laughs.

Saturday Mornings on the Farm
Gale Woods Farm
7210 County Road 110 W., Minnetrista, MN 55364

Hours: Saturday, April 12, 9:30am – 12pm
Admission: $5 per participant, 20% discount for groups of 4 or more.

Spend Saturday mornings through August assisting a farmer with chores and other seasonal activities on this real, working farm. Springtime at Gale Woods means the arrival of the Farm Babies! Gianna has more details on meeting the animals and other events at Gale Woods Farm here.

Robot Day at The Works Museum
9740 Grand Avenue, Bloomington, MN 55420
Hours: Saturday, April 12, 10am – 4pm
Admission: $8/all ages

In honor of National Robotics Week, The Works is hosting their annual Robot Day this Saturday! The usual $8 admission fee will cover all of this hands-on museum’s fun exhibits plus special robotics demos from FIRST Robotics and FIRST LEGO League among others. A great opportunity for kids interesting in joining one of the FIRST programs.

Squish of Spring – Weekend Family Fun
Minnesota Landscape Arboretum
3675 Arboretum Drive, Chaska MN 55318
Hours: Saturdays & Sundays in April, 12:00 – 4pm

Admission: $12/person ages 13+, under 13 are free

Get ready to play in the mud weekends at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. April’s family program Squish of Spring gets hands-on with soil and includes a take-home planting experiment.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Stages Theatre Company

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Stages TheatreAlexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Stages Theatre Company
1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN
Box Office: (952) 979-1111
Dates: Now – March 23, 2014
All seats, all shows $15

You can’t help but root for this on-stage Alexander the moment he wakes up one morning with gum stuck in his hair. From a rocky start to the day to being taunted at school and finally an after-school trip to the dentist, this poor kid is possibly having the worst day of his life. But instead of taking on the rather glum tone I always thought the book character chose, this on-stage Alexander comes off as earnest, effervescent and eager to please until the end of his unlucky day.

The play closely hugs the popular children’s book with one notable exception. To supplement Alexander’s mishaps are several funny musical numbers sang by the talented young cast. My own 8-year-old son (my “play date” for the afternoon) especially snickered over the “If I Were in Charge of the World” tune about kids wiping out life’s “terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days”. Speaking of talented, most of the actors played more than one role in the show. Alexander’s antagonistic brothers, for instance, also play his buddies at school. The youth moved seamlessly into their different roles, keeping a constant stream of chuckles coming from the crowd.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day at Stages TheatreThe quick, bright pace of the show coupled with the length (one hour) made it perfect for junior-sized attention spans. I attended with my 8-year-old, but my younger daughters (ages 6 &4) would have both enjoyed and had no trouble sitting through the show without squirming.

Alexander’s misfortunes are greatly entertaining. They might even have your own kids admitting that their own lives are pretty great in comparison.

Celebrate 30 years of shows at Stages Theatre Company with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day! All ages will enjoy the show, and all seats are only $15 online or by calling the box office at (952) 979-1111.

Archived: A Syrupy Weekend Wish List for March 7-8, 2014

When it comes to my wish list for family fun, I find more and more I’m wishing for a date night.  I never used to need one of those — family dates were just fine.  But almost 9 years into the whole parenting experience, sometimes I just want to be with the love of my life without our offspring.  Where ever you stand in the parenting continuum, I say embrace it. If you don’t need special date nights, there are some great activities for the whole family.  If you want to hire a babysitter or send the little ones to grandmas house for the night, how about a Date Night at Silverwood Park?  No matter what, here are some wishful options for the upcoming weekend.


Date Night at SilverwoodDate Night  –  How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You: Maple Syrup Making and Pitchers
Silverwood Park, 2500 County Rd. E,St. Anthony, MN 55421
Friday, March 7, 2014; 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
$25.00 per couple (Reservations required by Thursday)

Since March is Maple Syrup month, what better way to have a date night than by making some sticky sweet maple syrup and a pitcher to pour it from.  You’ll have something special to take home to the kids at the end, too.  Date Nights at Silverwood are always part indoor clay project and part outdoor — so this is a dress down date.  Dress to get dirty and stay warm.  But wear layers, because you are going to want to peel them off by the fire after all the fun.  “Wine and beer are allowed” — That sounds like a bring-your-own kind of deal.  Reserve your spot by Thursday by calling 763-559-6700 to make a reservation and reference activity number #237811-16. This program is for ages 21+.

Alexander graphicOpening Night: Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Stages Theatre Company, 1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343
Friday, March 7, 2014; 7:00 p.m.
$15 per person; Pre-Buy Tickets Here.

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Based on the children’s book by Judith Viorst, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day opens at Stages Theatre this weekend.  We visited Stages to see Aladdin earlier this year, as I said in my review of that production, the actors at Stages are gifted young people.  It is so worth it to get to these shows if you can.  Maybe if you take your kids to see Alexander, they won’t want to move to Australia.


Mu Daiko
Cowles Center For Dance and The Performing Arts, 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, March 8, 2014; 2:00 p.m.
Special Family Performance Pricing: $22 for Adults and $14 for students.

This weekend the Cowles Center will host Mu Daiko – a performance based on Japanese drumming.  Saturday’s show is cut a little shorter (45 minutes) and is specially priced for families.  It’s recommended for ages 3 and up.  If you go to one of the other performances, they suggest 7 and up.  After the show, your kids will be invited up on stage to try the drums themselves.  If you want to prep them for this show, you can watch several videos on YouTube, including the one below:

Little House in the Big WoodsIn Laura’s House: Sugar on Snow
Lowry Nature Center, Carver Park Reserve, 7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, MN 55386
Saturday, March 8, 2014; 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
$5 per person (20% discount for groups of four or more)

Like I said above, we’re all about the maple syrup experience this month.  There is no shortage of events throughout the Twin Cities during March.  However, when I think of maple syrup, I immediately think of that Chapter of Little House in the Big Woods, where they eat nothing but maple syrup for like 24 hours straight.  If that’s what you think of too, you may want to haul out to Victoria with your family to experience maple syrup Laura Ingall’s style.  Here some stories from the book – probably the syrup-gorging chapter, make a sugar on snow treat just like Laura, sample real maple syrup and sugar. You can even start a quilt sampler like Laura’s.




Christmas-style Theatre

Disclaimer:  We haven’t seen all these shows, but we are fairly confident these will be fun for the whole family.  If that is not the case, please can you let us know what you experienced?  We greatly appreciate it!

Children’s Theatre Companypicture3
November 12, 2013-January 5, 2014

Music Box Theatre
Triple Espresso
November 21, 2013-January 19, 2014

Stages Theatre Company (Hopkins Center for the Perfoming Arts)
Llama Llama Holiday Drama
November 22-December 29, 2013

Mounds Theatre
A Christmas Carol
December 2-December 18, 2013

The Ordway

The Wizard of Oz
December 4-December 29, 2013

Alexander Ramsey House
A ‘Little Women’ Christmas 
December 5, 2013–Reservations Required

Steppingstone Theatre
The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
December 6-December 23, 2013



James J. Hill House
Victorian Christmas Storieschristmasofswing
December 15, 2013  –Reservations Required

Pantages Theatre
All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914
December 19-December 22, 2013

History Theatre
Christmas of Swing
Ends December 22, 2013

Lyric Arts Main Street Stage
It’s A Wonderful Life
Ends December 22, 2013


Youth Performance Company
Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells
December 6-December 22, 2013


Lyric Arts Main Street Stage
Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smellsyellowtreechristmas
December 7-December 21, 2013

St. Croix Festival Theatre
A Christmas Story
November 30-December 29, 2013

Yellow Tree Theatre
Miracle on Christmas Lake 
Ends December 29, 2013

Open Window Theatre
A Christmas Pudding
November 29-December 29, 2013

Penumbra Theatre
Black Nativity
December 12-December 22, 2013

Lakeville Area Arts Center
Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells Batman Smells
December 13-December 29, 2013

Blue Water Theatre
The Music Man
 December 5-December 7, 2013


For Older Children

The Guthrie
A Christmas Carolachristmascarolimage
Ends December 29, 2013

Orpheum Theatre
The Phantom of the Opera
December 13, 2013-January 5, 2013

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