Considering the weather has been more like London (minus the rampaging mobs of Keep Left signs) than the Twin Cities over the last few days, a pick-me-up was in order.
Bradley Greenwald's celebration of the solstice was just the ticket.
See also: Bradley Greenwald Prepares to Explore The Longest Night[jump]
The Longest Night doesn't offer much glitz, but it does have the extremely talented Greenwald accompanied by the equally skilled Sonja Thompson for a prime collection of nontraditional holiday songs, poems, and observations.
Greenwald the singer tackles all. There's a bit of opera, some show tunes, and even a bit of classic pop tossed in along the way. His sharp baritone cuts through anything the music tosses at him, from the stuttering of Purcell's "The Cold Song" to the genial warmth of Dar Williams's "The Christians and the Pagans."
A collection of seasonal songs from the duo would be a joy on its own, but Greenwald has crafted a full, hour-long journey in the show. He takes us deep into the darkness of this time of the year, connecting us to the ancient folks who wondered if the sun was going to come back as the days got shorter (it's a feeling that still persists, let me tell you).
It's not just songwriters who have tried to get under the skin of the season. We get poetry from Ezra Pound and Ogden Nash, and observations by Margaret Atwood and Joseph Campbell. (Greenwald is taking us into the dark forest for a reason.)
As the sun stops and the stage goes dark, Greenwald offers a path out -- and into a sing-along of Hair's "Let the Sunshine In." It's a beautiful, brilliant moment that offers a bundle of energy to get through whatever the next two weeks may offer.
It's a message that's popular, as Saturday's overflowing crowd proved. Best to call ahead and reserve if you want to take in one of the season's most beguiling shows.
IF YOU GO:
The Longest Night Through December 21 Open Eye Figure Theatre 506 E. 24th St., Minneapolis $15-$23 For tickets and more information, call 612-874-6338 or visit online.