Most theater stages go dark on New Year’s Eve -- people tend to feel like drinking and dancing, not sitting and thinking. Still, a few local artists are seizing the day and giving you a chance to enjoy a show before the ball drops. Here are some ways local theater lovers can enjoy a show, then raise a toast on New Year’s Eve 2016.
If you’re feeling Dangerous
No local company embraces New Year’s Eve like Dangerous Productions, which has an entire annual show dedicated to the holiday. Happy Crazy New Year 6 is the latest go-round for the extended Happy family, a contingent of characters spawned over the past several years in the farcical alternative universe run by writer/director Tyler Olsen and his regular collaborators. This year’s show is a sort of Big Fat Happy Crazy Wedding gone wrong. Every ticket includes a glass of champagne, and on New Year’s Eve the party will continue ‘til midnight at the Southern Theater.
There’s also an onstage party happening at the Bryant-Lake Bowl. Lorna Landvik is most widely known for bestselling novels including Patty Jane’s House of Curl and Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons, but she’s also an experienced comic who’s worked the West Coast standup circuit. There’s a special New Year’s Eve performance of her one-woman show Party in the Rec Room at 10 p.m. It’s preceded by two performances of The Big Baby New Year’s Eve Show, a show of family-friendly sketches by the reliable Comedy Suitcase team, for the “big babies” who want to be home long before midnight.
Downtown at the Brave New Workshop, an 8 p.m. performance of seasonal sketch show What the Elf? will be followed by a (separately ticketed) “New Year’s Improvaganza” that starts at 11 p.m. and carries on until 2017 with party favors and “a BNW-style midnight countdown.”
For that old-school flavor
The Chanhassen Dinner Theatres are presenting an elaborate New Year’s Eve fete: a multi-stage choose-your-own-adventure odyssey into 2017. You start your night with one of three shows: the polished and moving Camelot (appropriate viewing for those who plan to catch Natalie Portman as Jackie in the new Kennedy biopic), the nostalgic Andy and Bing Christmas, or Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret. After the shows, dancing and singing options feature the Chanhassen Orchestra, a DJ, and, of course, a piano bar. The champagne comes out at midnight, quickly followed by coffee and dessert.
The Old Log Theater is also getting into the swing of things with a performance of the jukebox musical Million Dollar Quartet, a spirited if uneven reimagining of the day Sun Studios hosted an impromptu jam session with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins. The theater’s Cast & Cru restaurant will hold an after-party, serving specials and counting down to the new year.
But wait! There’s more
If you want to catch a show on New Year’s Eve and don’t necessarily need the party included, a few more companies are keeping the lights on for performances on the 31st.
Triple Espresso, that reliable generator of good clean chuckles, has two back-to-back performances scheduled at the New Century Theatre. At Park Square Theatre, it’s your last chance to catch The Soul of Gershwin: The Journey of an American Klezmer. If you’re up for a matinee, choices include the Guthrie’s Lion in Winter, the Ordway’s White Christmas, and Cinderella at the Children’s Theatre Company.