If you love local theater, consider the Theater All Year program offered by the Twin Cities Media Alliance, the Daily Planet's parent nonprofit. For only $99, you can buy six vouchers good for tickets to shows by dozens of top local theater companies.

(The Theater All Year program is run independently of the Daily Planet's editorial coverage, and participation in the program does not affect the likelihood or content of any Daily Planet previews or reviews.)

THEATER REVIEW | "Jonah and the Whale" wows at the Guthrie Theater

Photo credit Heidi Bohnenkamp

Jonah and the Whale: A New Musical, now playing in the Dowling Studio at the Guthrie Theater, is the fourth production by local company 7th House Theater. I saw the words “bluegrass musical” and the lovely image of Jonah in the water on the Guthrie’s website and knew I had to see it. Those few things I knew about it were all such bold statements it was bound to be either a train wreck or amazing and just had to know which it was. I won’t draw this out for dramatic effect: It’s on the amazing end of the scale and the show runs through December 28th so don’t wait to get your tickets.

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THEATER REVIEW | "Motown the Musical" strikes a chord at the Orpheum Theatre

Photo credit Joan Marcus

Motown the Musical is playing, joyously, at Hennepin Theatre Trust's Orpheum Theatre through December 28th, 2014. Get yourself a holiday gift and go get a ticket. Based on Motown founder, Berry Gordy Jr.'s (sic), book "To Be Loved," the musical celebrates Gordy's talents as a writer, producer, entrepreneur, also his legacy and character while telling the story about the music and stars created at "Hitsville U.S.A." 

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THEATER REVIEW | "2 Pianos, 4 Hands" two Hours of laughs and music at Park Square Theatre

Friends and sometime rival pianists Richard (Peter Vitale, left) and Ted (Michael Pearce Donley, right) relax between notes. Photo courtesy of Park Square Theatre

The story of 2 Pianos, 4 Hands, if you wanted to analyze it, is about chasing dreams, obstinance, frustration, and the quest for identity. Alternately, you could say that it is a string of theatrical vignettes that are alternately funny and poignant. A little myopia might focus on moments recalling Victor Borgia’s musical humor or perhaps what it might look like if Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck had to play a piano duet together (Daffy Duck vs. Donald Duck at the piano isn’t quite the same thing, although Bugs has a solo turn or two at the piano himself). The larger point is not that this play with music is one of these things, but that these are just some of the types of things interwoven into this piano-filled show. 2 Pianos, 4 Hands is much more than the sum of its parts, as excellent as they are individually.

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'Motown: The Musical' actress-singer delights in her multiple legendary roles

(Photo by Joan Marcus) Patrice Covington as Martha Reeves (center) with other members of the touring cast in Motown: The Musical.

Motown: The Musical, the hit Broadway musical now touring the country, arrives next week for a 13-day run at the Orpheum Theatre in downtown Minneapolis.

Grammy-nominated artist Ashley Támar Davis plays several roles, including Gladys Knight and Motown founder Berry Gordy’s sister Esther. She talked about her parts in a MSR phone interview.

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THEATER REVIEW | St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre goes local with "Don't Hug Me, We're Married"

Aristotle described three primary forms of theatre in his Poetics: comedy, tragedy, and the satyr play. Although the mediums, varieties, and forms of theatre have expanded in the intervening millennia, the conceptions Aristotle recorded remain surprisingly valid in describing today’s theatrical entertainments. (See, for example, this video exploring the Aristotelian conception of the tragic hero in Star Wars.) Don’t Hug Me, We’re Married, now playing at the St. Croix Off Broadway Dinner Theatre in Hudson, WI, is a satyr play.

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Interview: Jenna Zark on 'The Chanukah Guest'

TC Jewfolk sat down with playwright and TC Jewfolk writer Jenna Zark to talk about her new play The Chanukah Guest, now being performed at the Minnesota Jewish Theatre Company.

TC Jewfolk: What drew you to adapting The Chanukah Guest, a children’s book into a play for the MJTC?

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Performing arts gift wish list

Still looking for holiday gift ideas? Try this entirely arbitrary list of ideas.

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THEATER REVIEW | Ridiculous humor abounds in Ordway’s "A Christmas Story: The Musical"

Ralphie (Jake Goodman, center) with the object of his holiday desire. Photo by Christian Brown.

Perhaps the best summary of A Christmas Story: The Musical comes from a couple’s exchange during intermission at a recent performance. “It’s so ridiculous!” said one. “I know, said the other. “And that’s why it’s so wonderful. I need to make all of my friends come see it.” If the volume of laughter is any measure, that performance’s audience wholeheartedly agreed.

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ARTS REVIEW | Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker inspires awe at Orpheum Theatre

Photo courtesy Moscow Ballet's Great Russian Nutcracker

When a speechless performance can get the crowd at Orpheum Theatre to applaud and give “woos,” there’s something magical about what’s being presented on stage and the Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker was no exception.

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Workhouse's Greenhouse Project features Deborah Yarchun in Public Reading Series

Minneapolis-based playwright Deborah Yarchun is a two-time Jerome Fellowship winner at the Playwrights’ Center. She is also the subject of a hat trick of play readings at the Workhouse Project, including tonight’s free reading of her play Portmanteaux at the Warren Artists Habitat in the Victory neighborhood of Camden. The Daily Planet sat down with Workhouse Vice President Bethany Hummel to discuss this unusual programming concentration.

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