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Plays and Musicals

The Gift

Book by Janet Preus
Music and Lyrics by Ed Kee and T.W. Hale
Based on O. Henry's classic short story "The Gift of the Magi"


This timeless story of sacrificial love at Christmas has been expanded into a delightfully entertaining hour-long Broadway-style musical. Set in the early 1900's in New York City, this moving story is told with tenderness and humor, yet makes a powerful statement about love and sacrifice. Appropriate for all ages.


"The Gift is a splendid musical adaptation of the enduring story 'The Gift of the Magi' and as such, lends itself to community outreach. There is a natural flow between dialog and music which makes this musical a joy to perform. It is very singable; sprinkled with humor and seasoned with love."

~ Edna MacDonald, Franklin Christian Church


Published by Church Musicals Inc. To hear sample songs and to license this show, visit https://churchmusicals.com/product/the-gift.




Hank and Jesus (Hay-soos)

A play by Janet Preus

With songs by Janet Preus and Bryan Cumming


An alternative holiday show about home, family and writing a great county tune. Finally sober, Hank wants more than anything to have a hit song, but he's just not that good. Then Jesus shows up. Hank takes him home to be with his family for Christmas, something Hank hasn't done in years. It's a revelation all the way around, and the beginning of a true miracle.


"A very clever twist on the holiday play." ~ Maureen Kane Berg


This easy-to-produce play is well suited for community theaters.





Welcome to Hell, Please Choose from the Following Options

A play in two acts by Janet Preus


Surreal, dark, even funny. What's it like to live with verbal and emotional abuse? This is a play in two acts about making the "second act" of your life different from the first.


"What a nightmarish, absurd, surreal, and totally engaging mind-f**k. Anyone who's ever been trapped in the quicksand of bad life choices and desperate to find a way out will relate to Preus' work here, and the opportunities for inventive staging abound." ~ Doug DeVita


 Transformation Theatre presented a virtual reading in October, performed and directed by Deaf theater artists. https://www.transformationtheatre.org/.


Premier production by ThinkSelf as a fully accessible theater experience for Deaf audiences Sold out run! (http://www.openeyetheatre.org/thinkself-presents-welcome-to-hell).


Laurie Flanigan Hegge's report about this play, New Musical Theatre Exchange and more in The Dramatist: https://www.dramatistsguild.com/minneapolis-st-paul/

Winner of the 2012 Mary Blanton Creson Award


Two versions of the script are available: Hearing actors only, or a version to be played or co-played with Deaf actors.





Snip, Snap, Snute

What really happened to the Three Billy Goats Gruff

Book by Janet Preus

From an idea and with material contributed by Margi Preus

Lyrics by Janet Preus and Dieter Frank

Music by Janet Preus and Dieter Frank

Piano arrangements by Russ King


A family musical about trolls, clever girls and getting along with everybody. Suitable for little kids, medium sized kids and great big kids – or billy goats. Two young heroines learn to believe in themselves and set out to do what seems impossible. Because of them, perseverance and tolerance are rewarded, and everyone finds their "heart."  


"All of the elements that make great family theatre are here: Scenery-chewing villains, action, comedy and a sense of enchantment. A wonderful opportunity to tell a new story, as opposed to attempting to recreate a Disney movie." ~ Brian Vinero


Public readings in Chicago, Minneapolis and Fergus Falls.

Presented as part of "Pow!" Pantochino Original Works Festival, Milford, Conn.,  2019.

Full accompaniment CD is offered.

Available to license, Summer 2021.




Water from Snow

Book and lyrics by Janet Preus

Music by Janet Preus, Robert Elhai and Fred Steele

Music arrangements by Russ King, Robert Elhai and Fred Steele


A contemporary musical in development about a love rediscovered and coming home to stay

A single mom in small-town Minnesota rises above abuse and bad choices to finally make a life of peace and happiness for herself and her daughters. A popular music-laced score will give your performers a chance to show off and shine!


A Concert reading in 2022 at Mask & Rose Theatre at Mask & Rose  Theatre featured all Bemidji-area performers and sold out it's first performance. 


It was fantastic! Very talented group & Water from Snow was a wonderful play. Loved it! ~ Micki, Mask & Rose performance


Old Farts at the Bar was the sudden gem that we took home, more or less singing. Every good show must have one!  I doubt that we will ever again walk into one of our rural watering holes and not think of that poignant message. ~ Mask & Rose performance



"I know these people. Very believable."

"I can't wait to see the entire show!"

~ audience members at Rough Cuts, 2020


This had a public reading of the full show with musical numbers with an amazing cast of Twin Cities perforers in the fall of 2021. 


A reading of selected songs was presented in January 2020 as part of the Rough Cuts series produced by Nautilus Music Theater.


Please visit https://newplayexchange.org/users/2040/janet-preus for more information and to contact the writer(s).


Sample songs from the above shows are available here:



More ways to listen and more songs:

iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/janet-preus/id207156275

Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Janet-Preus/e/B001LI34PI

Spotify https://open.spotify.com/artist/0UsUTYKhfwn7hVMF9ODkT3

Broadjam http://www.broadjam.com/artists/songs.php?artistID=70899&mediaID=464478


Member, ASCAP, Dramatists Guild