Relive many of the greatest shows, songs and humor of the decades with five memorable theater productions. Four regional theaters are staging lighthearted musicals this spring. Classics like “Mary Poppins,” “Cabaret,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” and “Camelot” are guaranteed to bring back memories for some and introduce younger patrons to the best of Broadway. A fifth theater production will serve to remind us of pervasive social schisms. See last year’s performances highlighted in “Best Spring 2014 Theater Productions In Minnesota.”

(credit: Jeremy Daniel)

(credit: Jeremy Daniel)

‘Mary Poppins’
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
501 W. 78th St.
Chanhassen, MN 55317
(952) 934-1525

Dates: Now through Aug. 29, 2015

“Mary Poppins” won five Oscars as a movie in 1964, but this magical English nanny was first blown by the east wind to the Banks’ household in London back in 1934 as described in the first of eight P. L. Travers’ children’s books. Now Mary pops in to the Chanhassen, filling the stage with magic and a dozen songs we know and love. “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” “Practically Perfect,” “Jolly Holiday,” “Cherry Tree Lane,” “Feed the Birds,” “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” “Let’s Go Fly a Kite,” “Step in Time,” “Anything Can Happen” and “A Spoonful of Sugar” are the most memorable. “As a bonus, the audience will be treated to imaginative theatre magic that promises not to disappoint,” says theatre publicist, Kris Howland. “It absolutely won’t disappoint anyone!”

Related: 2013 Minnesota Spring Theater Preview.

Rochester Civic Theatre
20 Civic Center Drive S.E.
Rochester, MN 55904
(507) 282-8481

Date: March 13-29, 2015

The play stormed Broadway in 1968 running 1,165 performances, followed by the 1972 film receiving 10 Academy Award Nominations. The many revivals of this musical, two of them on Broadway, are testament to the seriousness of the material and the significance of the music. “Cabaret” depicts Berlin in the late 1920s, offering social commentary between unforgettably buoyant tunes.

2nd Annual Opening Night Of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels"

‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’
Old Log Theater
5185 Meadville St
Greenwood, MN 55331
(952) 474-5951

Dates: March 20 through May 30, 2015

Clever, funny and sometimes outrageous best describe this musical comedy that is only a decade old. Nevertheless, Steve Martin fans may remember his role in the 1988 movie of the same name. Tony Award officials nominated the musical for 10 categories including Best Musical and the music album also received a Grammy nomination. Come relish the high life and casino culture of the French Riviera as two con artists, a suave European and a brash American, compete to be the first to swindle $50,000. They end up matching wits with the mythical American Soap Queen, Christine Colgate. Increasing complexities ultimately unravel in a surprising outcome.

‘The Crucible’
Guthrie Theater
818 S. 2nd St.
Minneapolis, MN 55415
(612) 377-2224

Dates: April 11 through May 24, 2015

Written in 1953 about the Salem Witch Trials more than two centuries before his time, Arthur Miller portrays a more serious side of history. Miller’s allegory for the anti-Communism clamor of his day is a harsh reminder of pain caused by societal rectitude. The play won “Best Play” Tony Award in 1953 but took a while before audiences and critics began to appreciate the play and the message. Joe Dowling will unwrap Miller’s masterpiece yet again, four decades after Guthrie’s earlier presentation.

Bran Castle

(credit: DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images))

Ordway Center
345 Washington St.
St. Paul, MN 55102
(651) 224-4222

Dates: May 12-17, 2015

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief, shining moment, that was known as Camelot.” Wistful poetry, written in homage to the legend of King Arthur, soon became a metaphor for the brief and celebrated few years of John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Other legends were made, as Robert Goulet become known through his signature piece, “If Ever I Would Leave You.” Though an enchanting fable, “Camelot” deals with serious issues of life, unfulfilled passions, subterfuge and betrayal.

Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at