The Day You Begin

Update as of Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Performances have been CANCELED.
With a truly heavy heart, we have made the decision to cancel this season’s production of The Day You Begin. It was a very difficult decision, but with the 2 week extension of the Stay at Home Order, it will be impossible for the cast and crew to put this piece of theatre together this Spring. We hope and plan to include this important production in a future season.
Options for your tickets are listed below.
DONATE the cost of your tickets to support Stages Theatre Company. The CARES Act relief initiative now allows taxpayers to deduct up to $300 of their monetary donations to qualifying organizations without itemizing deductions! Email
STAGES COUPON-transfer the cost of your tickets to a stages coupon that can be used for tickets, merchandise, and classes/workshops. Coupons are valid for purchases made through August 2021. To request a coupon, Email
EXCHANGE your tickets into a different production. To exchange your tickets, Email
A few recommendations:
CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, June 19-August 2, 2020, Recommended for ALL ages - Fly through the air and sail the seas this summer in this fantastical musical adventure based on the beloved film and children’s book Click Here for full performance schedule
HONK JR., Sept-Oct 2020, Recommended for ALL ages - HONK Jr. is based on the heartfelt tale by Hans Christian Andersen, set to memorable and charming music from the composers of Mary Poppins. Click Here for full performance schedule.
THE NORTH STAR, Jan-Feb 2021, Recommended for ALL ages - From the author of The Dot, this encouraging tale of self-determination, creativity and HOPE is brought to life in collaboration with Escalate Dance. ALL ages will enjoy this journey through the constellations! Click Here for full performance schedule
REFUND - Request a refund for the cost of your tickets. Email
If you are able to exchange or donate your tickets rather than requesting a refund, it would be very helpful in sustaining our organization as we navigate this situation. We are grateful for your support.
Refunds, coupons, and exchanges must be requested by June 15, 2020.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact the Box Office at 952-979-1111, option 4.
We will be answering phones Mon-Fri, Noon to 4:00 pm.
**Please note the Hopkins Center for the Arts building is currently closed to the public.**
Based on the Book by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

Script and Lyrics by Dr. Irma Mayorga
Music by Atim Opoka
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 (Script and Lyrics) - 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 (Music) 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