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What's Happenin': April 2 - 8 PDF Print E-mail
Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 02 April 2008 02:10

Fresh Aire: Music of Mannheim Steamroller


Adler Theatre


Sunday, April 6, 7 p.m.



Fresh Aire: Music of Mannheim Steamroller



"Jeff! It feels like weeks since we've talked!"


"Yeah, whatever. I just read your piece on Fresh Aire: Music of Mannheim Steamroller. It's not exactly what I was looking for."


"What do you mean? There's great trivia there!"


"It's all trivia. You devote 200 words to Chip Davis."


"Of course I do! He founded Mannheim Steamroller and produces all their albums!"


"Yes, but do people really need to know that Davis began his career writing advertising jingles, wrote 1975's hit song ‘Convoy,' and is the president and CEO of America Gramaphone, which sells apparel, books, food, and bath-and-body products?"


"What would you prefer I wrote about?"


"How about the show?! How about Mannheim Steamroller's signature blend of classical and pop sensibilities that has resulted in Grammy awards and more than 36 million albums sold? How about the visual effects, synchronized lighting, and multimedia images that help make the group's Fresh Aire tours frequent sellouts? How about the fact that they'll be at the Adler Theatre on April 6, and that tickets can be ordered by visiting (!"


"Yeah, I thought about all that, but - ."


"But what?"


"But I knew you'd do it for me."


"Oh, no ... this is going be another one of those damned Jeff-and-Mike pieces, isn't it?"


"Sometimes you make this job so easy."



Moonlight & Magnolias


Richmond Hill Barn Theatre


Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 13



Jason Platt and Chris White in Moonlight and Magnolias

You see that guy in the accompanying photo who's desperately clinging to that other guy's leg? His name is Jason Platt. He's playing Scarlett O'Hara. And that sound you hear is Margaret Mitchell simultaneously spinning in her grave and laughing her ass off.


Running April 3 through 12, the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's latest offering is Ron Hutchison's Moonlight & Magnolias, a backstage (or rather, back-set) comedy that focuses on the days that followed producer David O. Selznick's firing of director George Cukor from Gone with the Wind, and the attempts of Selznick, new hire Victor Fleming, and screenwriter Ben Hecht to get the troubled production back on course.


Based on that photo, I'm assuming we shouldn't take Hutchison's reenactment as gospel truth (at least I'm hoping so), but there's every reason to expect comic fireworks from an acting quartet that features Richmond Hill veterans Platt, Chris White, Don Faust, and Ryan Mosher-Ohr. And as a devoted movie hound, it should be fun to watch even an imagined backstory to one of Hollywood's most cherished classics ... despite the fact that, you know, I haven't actually seen Gone with the Wind in its entirety.


I know, I know. Trust me, I've come dangerously close to losing both friends and credibility over that issue.


For more information on Richmond Hill's Moonlight & Magnolias, visit (



Movin' Out


Friday, April 4, through Sunday, April 6


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre


Tuesday, April 8, and Wednesday, April 9


Hancher Auditorium



Movin' Out

In case you weren't aware, April is National Hoofer Month.* And Iowa City is celebrating the occasion this week with two Hancher Auditorium events designed to put a springtime spring in your step.


On April 8 and 9, the venue presents one of the world's most respected dance companies: the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Founded in 1958, the African-American ensemble has brought its exuberant modern style to more than 21 million people in more than 70 countries, and a recent stop on the group's Golden Anniversary Tour found the New York Times raving about "the marvelous athleticism, vivid personalities, and sleek sensuality the company has long fostered."


And April 4 through 6, Hancher precedes this artistic coup with the Broadway smash Movin' Out (pictured), in which Billy Joel's music and Twyla Tharp's choreography merge to form a kaleidoscopic view of American life between the '60s and the '80s; while the dancers perform Tharp's vigorous, Tony-winning moves, dozens of Joel's most famous tunes are performed by an onstage band above them. When it first came out, I actually spent several months singing along to the Movin' Out CD, and have to say that I would totally cast myself in the show's Billy Joel role ... so long as all the performances took place in my car.


For tickets to both events, visit (


Shine a Light


Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre


Friday, April 4, through Thursday, May 29



Shine a Light

On October 29, 2006, former President Bill Clinton commemorated his 60th birthday by attending a Rolling Stones concert at New York's Beacon Theater. Here's the thing, though: While Clinton spokesperson Jay Carson called the invite-only show "the New York birthday celebration for President Clinton," the former commander-in-chief's birthday isn't actually on October 29. It's on August 19.


Lousy lyin' Democrats. (And this is where, if I were e-mailing this news to you, I'd use the "wink wink" emoticon.)


In any event, moviegoers can now experience that blowout in six-story-high splendor, as Martin Scorsese's concert doc Shine a Light debuts at the Putnam Museum & IMAX Theatre on April 4. Combining performance footage from the Stones' October 29 and November 1 Beacon gigs with new interviews with Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ron Wood, the production boasts the work of an astonishing 19 cinematographers - including Oscar winners Robert Richardson (The Aviator), John Toll (Braveheart), and Robert Elswit (There Will Be Blood) - and, like the recent U23D, should provide a suitably epic scale for an unquestionably legendary band.


I'm checking out the song list here, and it looks like viewers will be treated to performances of "Jumpin' Jack Flash," "Satisfaction," "Start Me Up" ... wait a minute ... . Almost 20 songs and no "Gimme Shelter"? Are we sure this is a Scorsese movie?


For the Shine a Light show schedule, visit (


Once Upon a Mattress


Prospect Park Auditorium


Thursday, April 3, through Sunday, April 6



John Weigand, Greg Golz, and Derek Bertelsen in Once Upon a Mattress

The first production in Quad City Music Guild's 60th season is the musical comedy Once Upon a Mattress, and when the show made its Broadway debut in 1959, it made a star out of leading lady Carol Burnett. So if for no other reason, you should attend one of Music Guild's April 3 through 6 performances out of sheer gratitude.


I'm guessing, though, that those looking for better excuses will find them. For one thing, there's the cast, which includes such gifted Music Guild veterans as Heather McGonigle (in the Burnett role), John Weigand, Valeree Pieper, Greg Golz, and Derek Bertelsen. But Once Upon a Mattress itself is one of American theatre's silliest, happiest musicals, finding its inspiration in the classic fairy tale "The Princess & the Pea" (with added complications arising from a scheming queen, a goofy jester, and an unexpected pregnancy), and offering a score filled with classic charmers for audiences of all ages, including songs titled "In a While," "Quiet," and "Yesterday I Loved You."


That's funny. The first two are what my editor, Jeff, says whenever I ask for a minute of his time. The last one is what he says whenever I mention him in a What's Happenin' piece. Guess I'll be hearing it twice this time, huh?


Once Upon a Mattress will be performed at Moline's Prospect Park Auditorium April 3 through 6, and more information is available at (



(A review of the April 1 preview performance will be available at on Thursday, April 3)

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