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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MUSIC REVIEW | Understated timeless cool of Jeremy Messersmith at the Turf Club

(Photos by Ann Treacy)

Man, woman, child, I don’t care who you are – everyone has a little crush on Jeremy Messersmith. He could fit into almost any era with pompadour, dark glasses and cardigan. He could play with Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly or the Bing Crosby, banter with Mr. Rogers, give him a pipe he could hang with Beaver Cleaver’s dad. The themes of his song – mostly love lost – are just as universal. And that adds to the crushability!

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Local filmmaker's video tackles police brutality

(Photo courtesy Cathy Kostova) L to R, Mark Wojahn, producer; Cathy Kostova, editor; Jeff Schell, art department; Jon Jon Scott, producer; Deanna Johnson, make up; Muja Messiah, artist; and David Schnack, director of photography.

In the wake of the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., filmmaker Mark Wojahn wanted to bring more attention to racial profiling and police brutality on a local level so he teamed up with rapper Muja Messiah to direct a video for Messiah’s song “It Goes Down,” off his new album, “God Kissed It, the Devil Missed It.”

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Mizna shares artistic and literary contributions of Arab-Americans

Mizna executive director Lana Barkawi. (Park Bugle photo by Marina Lang)

Picture an ill-assorted group of urban dwellers who escape their stifling daily lives by spending their evenings smoking, drinking and joking, passengers aboard a houseboat as it floats down the River Nile under a jeweled sky.

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What will become of Dinkytown’s Southeast Library?

(Photo by Bill Huntzicker) The Southeast Library, designed by the late Ralph Rapson to be a credit union, has operated in its Dinkytown building since 1967.

Dinkytown could soon lose its public library, but Hennepin County will ultimately decide if that's worth it, or if they should replace or upgrade it.

The four neighborhoods that surround the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis are underserved by library services and space, said a consultant who organized a study that could be the first step toward determining whether the Southeast Library at Dinkytown will be updated or replaced.

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Review: "Life on the Edge of the Forest: Russian Traditions in Wood" at The Museum of Russian Art

(Photo via Museum of Russian Art website)

Minnesota’s forests helped to build the state we know today, but the forests we see today are far smaller than what used to exist.  In 1858, over half of Minnesota land was covered in deep sha

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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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This week in Saint Paul: Monday, December 15–Sunday, December 21, 2014

The days are getting shorter, but only for another week. In the mean time, taking in some festivities will help brighten the brief days. If you look at the Almanac arts calendar, you might get a little dizzy with everything that is happening. If you need some help choosing, here are some ideas.

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Ending racism in policing begins with the Red Tent

I was talking to Jose at work the other day about the recent deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner and the lack of indictments on the police officers who killed them. We both are appalled how it went down. While I’ve experience abuse of power at the hands of the police just a few times, Jose has had many negative, unprovoked, experiences in which the prejudice of the officer was the cause for the encounter and the tone of the exchange. As we talked I tried to make the point that while the officers are responsible for their actions the blame also is also on our culture and the police system that trained them. In part, they only did what they were raised to believe and trained to do.

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