Theater Latte Da’s new season returns with old faves

Chris Hewitt
St. Paul Pioneer Press

June 13, 2016

Enjoyed the performers you’ve seen on stage at Theater Latte Da in the last couple of seasons? You’re in luck, because many of them are back for the just-announced 2016-17 season.

Sally Wingert and Mark Benninghofen, who appeared in Latte Da’s smash “Sweeney Todd” last year, were expected to be in a remount of that production that “encountered a series of challenges” and has been de-mounted. Instead, the actors will team in a production of John Guare’s bittersweet “Six Degrees of Separation.” Wingert appeared in a Guthrie Theater production of the play in 2003, in a different role.

Tyler Michaels, who was also in that “Sweeney Todd” as well as Latte Da’s “Cabaret” and “Gypsy,” will return in “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which re-imagines the tale of Peter Pan. He’ll play the title role opposite Robert Berdahl as villainous, Captain Hook-like Black Stache.

Traci Allen Shannon, David Murray and Sasha Andreev (who previously appeared in Latte Da’s “Steerage Song”) will lead the cast of “Ragtime” to open the season in September. And Latte Da will return three events: its Next Festival of new musical theater works, “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914” in collaboration with Hennepin Theatre Trust, and Tod Peterson in the wry holiday show, “A Christmas Carole Peterson.”

Season tickets are on sale and can be purchased, at 612-339-3003 or latteda.org, for the following shows (all are at Minneapolis’ Ritz Theater, with the exception of “All is Calm,” which is at the Pantages):

  • “Ragtime,” Sept. 21-Oct. 23: Based on E.L. Doctorow’s beloved novel, the epic musical weaves together the stories of three families in the early years of the 20th century.
  • “A Christmas Carole Peterson,” Nov. 30-Dec. 23: Tod Peterson (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid the Musical,” “Gypsy”) returns with his ode to the Mankato holidays of his youth.
  • “All is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914,” Dec. 15-18: Either someone is peeling onions in the theater or Latte Da’s classic has returned to move audiences with the true, song-filled tale of the Christmas when Allied and German soldiers laid down their arms on the battlefield.
  • “Peter and the Starcatcher,” Feb. 1-26: Led by Michaels and Berdahl, a small ensemble of actors takes on dozens of roles in a broadly comic prequel that tells how J.M. Barrie’s beloved characters got to “Peter Pan.”
  • “Six Degrees of Separation,” March 8-April 9: The brilliant tragicomedy is about how the lives of a wealthy New York couple (Wingert, Benninghofen) are uprooted when they meet a young charmer who claims to be the son of Sidney Poitier. It’s not a musical but there are a lot of “Cats” jokes in the show (they’ll be fresh again, too, what with “Cats” re-opening on Broadway this summer) and there will be live musical underscoring.
  • “Next Festival,” spring dates to be determined: Previous festivals have spawned such Latte Da shows as “C” and “Lullaby.”