The Day You Begin

Performance Dates: COMING SOON!

Update as of Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Performances have been DELAYED.
We want to provide our amazing artists, performers, youth performers, writers, designers, etc. with an opportunity to share the important, informative, beautiful works of theatre they have been creating over the last year.
The Day You Begin cast and crew has been working diligently to bring this inspirational book to life and we cant wait to share it with you! However, given the current restrictions on gathering, we have put the rehearsal process on hold and in turn will be DELAYING the performance schedule for this production. We will announce the NEW performance schedule as soon as is safely possible.
We ask that you hold off on cancelling or exchanging your tickets until we can determine and share the NEW schedule of performances. We will contact you as soon as it is available. If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Box Office at 952-979-1111, option 4. We will be answering phones Tues-Sat from noon-6pm.
**Please note the Hopkins Center for the Arts building is currently closed to the public.**


Approximately 60 MINUTES with no intermission. Check back closer to opening night.
Suitable For All Ages
Based on the Book by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Directed by Shá Cage
“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you…” and so opens The Day You Begin by National Book Award and Newbery Honor winning author of Brown Girl Dreaming, Jacqueline Woodson. This highly-acclaimed, lyrical picture book by the National Ambassador for Young People’s literature debuts on our stage in the spring. Capture the courage with us to take those first steps into a place where nobody knows you and yet somehow you open the door and walk in. There are lots of reasons to feel different but this world premiere musical celebrates the bravery it takes to venture forth into something new.

3-time Newbery Medal Winning Author

National Book Award Author for Brown Girl Dreaming

Coretta Scott King Author Award winner

Children’s Literature Legacy Award winner

Click on the performance date and time for more information.

Alena Thao (Nadja), Amilia Hinck (Heidi), Augie Lassig (Paul), Caidance Kue (Louise), Carter Kue (Robert), Dallas Downey (Leo), Ebrima Sarge (Jonathan), Grant Hudson (Dennis), Hannah Buss (Minjee), Jasmine Garry (Chayla), Javari Horne (Teacher), Joaquin Pliego (Rigoberto), Jordan Bailey (August), Judah Gardner (Angelina & Lena), Kennedy Lucas (Angelina & Lena), Maya Haugen (Harriet), Saniya Long (Little Sister), Sayer Keeley (Dashiell)


Jordan Bailey
Hannah Buss
Dallas Downey
Judah Gardner
(Angelina & Lena)
Jasmine Garry
Maya Haugen
Amilia Hinck
Javari Horne
Grant Hudson
Caidance Kue
Carter Kue
Augie Lassig
Saniya Long
(Little Sister)
Kennedy Lucas
(Angelina & Lena)
Joaquin Pliego
Ebrima Sarge
Alena Thao

Creative and Production Team

  • ARTISTIC DIRECTOR - Sandy Boren-Barrett
  • DIRECTOR - Shá Cage
  • STAGE MANAGER - Sandriea White
  • MUSIC DIRECTOR - Sarah Hohenstein Burk
  • COSTUME SUPERVISOR - Christa Ludwig
  • CHOREOGRAPHER - Laura Mahler
  • PRODUCTION MANAGER - Melanie Salmon-Peterson
  • PROPS DESGINER - Kenji Shoemaker
  • SET DESIGNER - Erica Zaffarano


SHA CAGE (DIRECTOR) Sha Cage is a director, writer and performer whose work has taken her across the U.S and internationally. She's been called a Change-maker, one of the leading artists of her generation and a mover and maker. She's recently directed works at The Jungle Theater, The MN History Theater, Waterfront Productions at Mixed Blood Theater and The Playwright's Center. Her last theatrical production was directing Bob Marley's Three Little Birds at The Children's theater which closed in March. Cage is the recipient of several awards including Regional Emmys, Iveys, McKnight and TCG/ Fox Fellowships. When she's not working on stage or film she is busy shooting jump shots on the basketball court with her kids.
DR. IRMA MAYORGA (PLAYWRIGHT) - Dr. Irma Mayorga’s inquiry examines contemporary theater and performance by U.S. people of color, theater and performance by women, Chicanx Expressive Culture, and, more broadly, U.S. Latinx identic formations and self-representations. Her current manuscript project explores and theorizes manifestations of theatricality in differential modalities of Chicana Cultural Production. A fourth generation Tejana from San Antonio, Texas, certified army brat, and fanatic dog-lover, she holds an M.F.A. in Costume Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Joint Ph.D. in Drama and the Humanities from Stanford University. From Stanford, she also holds the distinction of attaining the first Ph.D. by a Latinx in the Drama Department’s history. Mayorga is also a director, dramaturg, and award-winning playwright. Her play Cascarones received invitation for development at the prestigious Eugene O’Neill Theater Center’s Playwrights Conference. Her playwriting has also been recognized by the Jane Chambers playwriting competition, PlayPenn, and most recently, her play Golondrinas: a texas story was named a finalist for the 2018 Carnaval of New Latinx Work. In 2014 the University of Texas Press published a second edition of her play The Panza Monologues (written with collaborator Virginia Grise). The second edition of the play in publication has been crafted as a dramaturgical casebook and hybrid text that seeks to intervene in the protocols of play publishing. The second edition features both the play's full text along with documentation of its development as well as creative guidance and pedagogical materials to help future producers organize new stagings in a wide variety of communities and settings. As Latinx Studies scholar Alberto Sandoval-Sánchez notes, The Panza Monologues, Second Edition “is the most original and historically documented theatre project to date in Latina/o theatre...It is a lesson in making theatre matter, and it spotlights how theatre is informed by lived experiences and historical processes….” In 2004, she founded the Latina/o Focus Group* of the Association of Higher Education in Theater—the first entity within ATHE to place scholarly focus on Latinx theatermaking. She sits on the Advisory Board of the newly formed Latinx Theater Commons following five years of rewarding service as an active Steering Committee member. The Latinx Theater Commons (LTC) is an important national movement guided by the principles of a commons-based approach to transform the narrative of the American theater by amplifying the visibility of Latinx performance-making. The field-shifting work of the LTC earned Theatre Communications Group's 2017 Peter Zeisler Memorial Award.** Mayorga is also always proud to mark that she has served as a cultural worker in numerous people of color arts and community organizations including New WORLD Theater, the Esperanza Peace & Justice Center, and the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. She has been an instrumental teaching-artist-scholar in theater, Latinx Studies, and Women's Studies at institutions such as the University of California--Berkeley, Williams College, the University of Texas-San Antonio, Florida State University, and Dartmouth College. Courtesy of Irma Mayorga's Website
ATIM OPOKA (COMPOSER) is a Songwriter/Vocalist/Actress/Teaching Artist in the twin cities. She is a bold force. Her comedic and versatile roles she plays are performed with passion. She can get a crowd rolling out of their seat with her comedic approach. As an actor, her previous theatre experience includes being featured as “Princess Tiana” in Princess Murder Mystery: Who Killed Ariel., “Mom” In Mom the Musical. “Gary Coleman” in Avenue Q, “Momma Shrek” in Shrek the Musical, as “Atim” in Sisters Are Doin’ It, and “Lucy” in You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown. She also loves doing improv with Smartmouth Comedy and other theaters in the twin cities. As a musician, Atim keeps busy writing and performing original material around the Twin Cities. Atim Opoka uses a varity of different styles to make a sound of her own. She focuses on fusion, blues, folk, hip-hop and pop influences. Atim is a charismatic, versatile vocalist with a passion for music. She has also worked with various bands as a backup vocalist. With enthusiasm for arts education, Atim works as a freelance teaching artist across the twin cities. She has worked with Steppingstone Theatre, Children’s Theatre Company, Ashland Productions, and Stages Company. She teaches beginning theatre class, stage make-up, and leads puppetry-based workshops at Devised Theatre. Atim also works as a Director and Musical Director. Atim Graduated with a Bachelors in Vocal Performance at McNally Smith College of Music. Courtesy of Atim Opoka's Website