A night at the theater sounds expensive, but it doesn't have to be if you take in a show at one of the Twin Cities' many community theaters.
In the southwest, the Eden Prairie Players: They are showing a collection of one act plays, both comedy and dramas, served up with a side of light refreshments. Tickets for the acts and the snacks run $15 at the door, $13 in advance online, and on September 19th, it's "pay what you can" night. Opening night is September 13th, and runs through September 22nd. http://www.EdenPrairiePlayers.com
In the southeast, the Hastings Newbridge Theatre Company: This theater is staging The Fantastiks, the longest running production of any kind in the history of American Theatre. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for children and seniors. Newbridge also offers a discount if you buy tickets in bulk, called their "Flex Pass," so check that out if you're planning a group outing – or repeat visits to the show. Opening night is September 20th, and The Fantastiks runs in Hastings through September 29th. http://www.newbridgetheatrecompany.com
To the north, the Anoka Lyric Arts Main Street Stage: If you want to take in a serious, timely drama, the Lyric is for you. They are staging The Laramie Project now through September 22nd. This is essentially a live documentary about the Matthew Shepard murder. Tickets range in price from $13 to $22, depending on your age and where you sit, and there is a student discount available. The Lyric does say that this is a 15+ show, so please be advised. http://www.LyricArts.org
To the east, the White Bear Lake Lakeshore Players: For something much lighter, the Lakeshore Players are staging the comedy Everybody Loves Opal, now through September 29th. The show includes a feisty broad, a run-down mansion, 3 bumbling con artists, and attempted murder. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for children and seniors. http://www.lakeshoreplayers.com
And to the west, the Hopkins Stages Theatre Company, which is actually a children's theater: Take your kids to see a show you know they'll enjoy! The Stages is showing Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse, about a mouse, her friends, and her purple plastic purse. The show opens September 20th and runs through October 20th. Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for children and seniors. The Stages also offers what they call their "lap rate" for 3 and 4 year olds. Those tickets are just $5. Caveat! The theater charges an additional $2 per ticket handling fee if you order over the phone or online, so it may be cheaper for you to buy them at the theater. http://www.StagesTheatre.org.