This time of year you might be thinking of the wisest ways to spend your money. This week, we’re kicking off a series of holiday spending stories to leave you with extra cash.

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One way to entertain the whole family for less is through taking advantage of Minnesota’s thriving theater scene.

Inside Paradise Community Theater in Faribault, Minn., actors and crew work tirelessly to bring this empty restored movie theater to life.

“Community theater in Minnesota is thriving,” said Julianna Skluzacek. “The cool thing about community theater is the person you see on stage, might be your next door neighbor who sells real estate or it could be the doctor taking care of you.”

Skluzacek runs the Minnesota Association of Community Theaters.

She said next to Texas, Minnesotans have the most community theaters per capita — and for affordable prices.

“Almost less expensive than taking your kids to a movie now-a-days,” she said.

Most local theater tickets range from $15 to $18, with student prices usually less than $10 — almost $50 less per ticket than what you’ll pay at professional theaters.

This musical production of “Miracle on 34th Street” is no exception, according to the show’s director Rachel Haider.

“It has some magic to it. It has love. It’s about relationships. It’s really about humanity and about believing in something that’s bigger than just ourselves,” she said.

She said these smaller community productions even give rising stars a push on to the professional theater stage.

Real talent and entertainment — at a price you can afford even around the holidays.

The show kicks off this Friday, and tickets are still available.

Below is a list of community theaters offering great, inexpensive live family entertainment.

Paradise Center for the Arts — 321 Central Ave N, Faribault
Masquers Theatre — 20196 Falcon Ave N, Forest Lake
The Play’s The Thing Productions — 16593 Interlachen Blvd, Lakeville
Northfield Arts Guild — 304 S. Division St., Northfield
Phoenix Theatre — 17593 235th St Way, Welsh
Lyric Arts Co. of Anoka — 420 E. Main St., Anoka
Cross Community Players — 7356 Quantico Ln N, Maple Grove
Eden Prairie Players — 14117 Holly Rd, Eden Prairie
SOAR Regional Arts — 113 Oak Ave SW, St Michael
County Seat Theater — 1319 Harner Lane, Cloquet
Words Players Theater — 14 4th Ave SW, Rochester
Rochester Civic Theatre — 20 Civic Center Drive SE, Rochester
Lake Benton Opera House — 414 S. Fremont, Lake Benton
Great River Educ’l Arts Theatre — 919 W. St. Germain #3000, St. Cloud
Alexandria Area Arts Assn. — 618 Broadway, Alexandria
Bemidji Community Theater — 7128 Fergeson Ct NE, Bemidji
Soapbox Players — 807 W 3rd St, Red Wing
Lakeshore Players — 4820 Stewart Ave., White Bear Lake
Rosetown Playhouse — 2660 Civic Center Dr., Roseville
Buffalo Community Theater — P.O. Box 23, Buffalo
Chaska Valley Family Theatre — 1661 Park Ridge Dr., Chaska
Theatre in the Round Players — 245 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
Duluth Playhouse — 506 W. Michigan St., Duluth
Alexandria Area Arts Assn. — 618 Broadway, Alexandria
Prairie Wind Players — P.O. Box 246, Barrett


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