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|What's Happenin': Thursday, December 12, through Wednesday, January 8|
|Lifestyle - Noteworthy Events|
|Written by Mike Schulz|
|Tuesday, 10 December 2013 06:00|
Matt & Ben
Saturday, December 14, 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 15, 3 p.m.
If you’re in your early 20s or younger, you probably know Matt Damon as the cool, laid-back star of Elysium and the Jason Bourne movies, and probably know Ben Affleck as the cool, laid-back director/star of Argo and The Town. Regardless, and depending on your level of vitriol about Affleck playing Batman, you probably like the guys. But if you can believe it, there actually was a time, not so very long ago, when both celebrities were ... . Gosh, what’s the word ... ? Hated. A lot.
And nowhere will you find that hatred more pronounced, or more hilarious, than in the stage comedy Matt & Ben, which opened in New York in 2003, and which will be performed at Rock Island’s Rozz-Tox venue December 14 and 15. Written by Brenda Withers and The Office and The Mindy Project star Mindy Kaling at the height of the nation’s collective Damon-and-Affleck fatigue (which arose primarily because of Damon’s seemingly unearned ubiquity and Affleck’s tabloid-bonanza romances), this 70-minute, inside-show-biz farce pulls absolutely no punches toward its leading subjects. Or any other subjects, really.
Matt & Ben opens with the titular pair in Affleck’s apartment, struggling to write a film version of The Catcher in the Rye. (Affleck, typing away, mostly struggles with spelling.) But then a screenplay miraculously drops from the ceiling boasting the title Good Will Hunting. Whatever will our young, hungry Hollywood tyros do? Continue with their Salinger project, or attach their names to an already-completed work?
If you know your Academy Awards history, you know what they do, and what transpires in Matt & Ben is a viciously funny satire on pop culture, the creative process, and fame that the New York Times called “a deliciously spiteful send-up” that’s also “unsentimental and smart about long friendships.” And if that’s not enough to get you in Rozz-Tox’s door, check out the casting of directors Chris Causer’s and Bryan Tank’s outing: Sara King as Affleck, and Kelly Lohrenz as Damon. The ladies should be careful, though: In a fight scene during one of the play’s first off-Broadway performances, Kaling (who also played Affleck) actually broke the nose of Winters (who played Damon). Told you there were no punches pulled.
Tickets to Matt & Ben are $7 at the door, and more information on the performances is available by calling (309)200-0978 or visiting RozzTox.com.
A Christmas Messiah
Augustana College’s Centennial Hall
Saturday, December 14, 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 15, 2 p.m.
For many decades, Augustana College’s presentation of Handel’s Messiah – performed by the Handel Oratorio Society singers – has been a Quad Cities holiday tradition. On December 14 and 15, the tradition continues with the college’s Centennial Hall performances of this musical masterpiece. But if you attend, you’ll likely notice something different about this year’s concert event even before it starts, as the program is now titled A Christmas Messiah. And you’ll certainly notice something different about it when it ends, particularly if you’re wearing a watch.
“We’ve always done about three-quarters of the piece,” says Messiah conductor Jon Hurty, “because if you did the whole thing, it would last three and a half, four hours. But this year, what we’re planning on doing is a straight performance, with no intermission, that’s pretty close to an hour and a half.”
He stresses, however, that audiences worried that a shorter Messiah will be an inherently less satisfying Messiah shouldn’t fear. “The piece is divided into three parts,” says Hurty, “and what we’ve decided to do is concentrate on the first part, which is really the part that probably has the most popular choruses in it, things like ‘Glory to God,’ and ‘For Unto Us a Child Is Born,’ and a lot of the Advent/Christmas texts. And then we’re doing tony bits from the second and third parts, and it just so happens that those have some of the really popular pieces, like the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus and ‘Worthy Is the Lamb.’”
The impetus to shorten this year’s Messiah, says Hurty, was partly a desire to lighten the participating students’ holiday workload. “This takes up a lot of their time both in rehearsal and performance, so hopefully this’ll allow the students to experience the piece without being overwhelmed.”
But, as Hurty says, “I also think that if we shorten it and focus on the Christmas parts of the Messiah – which is appropriate to the season – then it may bring some new interest in the piece. These days, I think it’s harder and harder for people to say, ‘Yeah, I’m going to go to a concert for two and a half hours ... .’ But maybe at 90 minutes ... .
“So if people have come in the past and thought, ‘Oh, it’s a little bit long,’ they may want to give it a try again this year.”
A Christmas Messiah will feature soloists Michelle Areyzaga, Eric Ashcraft, Lauren McNeese, and Liam Moran performing alongside the Handel Oratorio Society and the Handel Oratorio Society Chamber Orchestra, and more information and tickets are available by calling (309)794-7306 or visiting Augustana.edu/arts/tickets.
Under the Streetlamp
Thursday, December 19, 7:30p.m.
The touring pop quartet Under the Streetlamp arrives at Davenport’s Adler Theatre on December 19, and the group’s members have adopted as their performance mantra “Retro never sounded so now.” Replace “sounded” with “looked,” and that would be my mantra for my wardrobe. (It’d be a lie, but it’d still be my mantra, damn it.)
But once you hear the glorious solos and harmonies sung by these exceptionally gifted talents – Michael Cunio, Michael Ingersoll, Christopher Kale Jones, and Shonn Wiley – you’ll wholly understand their collective confidence. Composed of four former cast members from Broadway’s Tony-winning Four Seasons smash Jersey Boys, Under the Streetlamp treats audiences to beloved hits from the repertoire of “The American Radio Songbook” from the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s, and does so in tandem with explosive choreography, wild comedy, and audience participation. What results is a veritable pop, rock, and soul party featuring hits you always loved, and hits you never realized you loved quite so much.
It should go without saying that you’ll probably hear a few of the Four Seasons’ signature tunes during Under the Streetlamp’s Adler set, as the ensemble has been acclaimed for their renditions of such timeless numbers as “Candy Girl,” “Stay,” and “Working My Way Back to You.” But what else might you hear? As preparation for the night, try matching a few of the songs from Under the Streetlamp’s self-titled debut CD with artists known for making those songs hits:
1) “At Last”
2) “Baby, I Love You”
3) “Dance to the Music”
4) “Happy Together”
5) “Nowhere to Run”
6) “Rock and Roll Is Here To Stay”
A) Martha & the Vandellas
B) The Chords
C) The Ronettes
D) Etta James
E) The Turtles
F) Danny & the Juniors
G) Sly & the Family Stone
For tickets to Under the Streetlamp’s Davenport engagement, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Answers: 1 – D, 2 – C, 3 – G, 4 – E, 5 – A, 6 – F, 7 – B. That last song could also be my mantra, but only because I tend to trip and fall down a lot.
The Cerny Brothers
Friday, December 20, 9 p.m.
“Wake up, Mike!”
“Uh ... Jeff? What time is it?”
“Early. I needed to throw this at you before it was too late. I want to usurp one of your What’s Happenin’ slots for an article on the Cerny Brothers.”
“Didn’t you write about them last year?”
“I did. But their self-titled album hadn’t been released yet, and I’d like to talk about it before their December 20 show at RIBCO. While I enjoyed their 2011 LP Dream, the decision to make the group more of a band on this record gave their Americana more breadth, depth, and muscle. And remember that even though Robert and Scott are based in L.A. now, they’re from Sherrard, so the local angle makes it worth a double dip.”
“Fine. Less work for me.”
“I’ll focus on some stand-out songs. There’s the aggressive acoustic rock of ‘Whiskey,’ and that side of the band is balanced on ‘The Mountain Song’ by a haunting, poignant interplay between the banjo and guitar. And – ”
“How long have you been rehearsing this pitch?”
“Shut up. I’m not finished. And in its quieter moments – even when the lyrics are a bit plain – the execution is so heartfelt and graceful that the songs feel genuine rather than rote. ‘Out of Time’ is a male-female duet, and the intertwined vocals at the end are simply gorgeous. But my favorite is probably ‘Ohio’ – although it’s not that ‘Ohio.’ It remembers a lover with the fondness reserved for childhood places and parents, and it’s incredibly sweet until its subtly devastating closing line – with the vocal delivery suggesting a final goodbye. And I promise I won’t close with one of those stupid self-referential jokes you’re so fond of.”
“That’s good. You’re not funny.”
“And I sure as hell won’t do one of those lazy Mike-and-Jeff pieces that inevitably end with a stupid self-referential joke.”
“Everyone will be grateful.”
“My holiday gift to you, and the Quad Cities. And one more thing, Mike.”
“You really should get that window lock fixed.”
– Jeff Ignatius
The Cerny Brothers will perform on Friday, December 20, at RIBCO (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island; RIBCO.com). The show starts at 9 p.m. and also features the Leadfoot Band.
What Else Is Happenin’ ...?
Thursday, December 12 – Trans-Siberian Orchestra: The Lost Christmas Eve. Progressive-rock band presents the final performance of their holiday-themed rock opera. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7:30 p.m. $32.50-63. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Friday, December 13 – LeAnn Rimes. Holiday concert with the Grammy Award-winning country-music superstar. Riverside Casino Event Center (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 8 p.m. $40-60. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit RiversideCasinoAndResort.com.
Saturday, December 14 – The Lennon Sisters. Concert with the famed Lawrence Welk Show singers and inductees in the National Vocal Group Hall of Fame. Riverside Casino Event Center (3184 Highway 22, Riverside). 7 p.m. $17-37. For tickets and information, call (877)677-3456 or visit RiversideCasinoAndResort.com.
Saturday, December 14 – Lynne Rothrock’s Christmas Cabaret. Third-annual event featuring humorous sketches and holiday music. Iowa Theatre Artists Company (4709 220th Trail, Amana). 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. $25. For tickets and information, call (319)622-3222 or visit IowaTheatreArtists.org.
Sunday, December 15 – Destino. Pop/opera quartet performs as Quad City Arts visiting artists. First Presbyterian Church of Davenport (1702 Iowa Street, Davenport). 2 p.m. $10-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1691 or visit QuadCityArts.com.
Sunday, December 15 – Zac Brown Band. Atlanta-based country/folk musicians in concert. i wireless Center (1201 River Drive, Moline). 7 p.m. $39-69. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit iwirelessCenter.com.
Sunday, December 15 – Classic Duets featuring Sarah Marie Young & Saalik Ziyad. Jazz vocalists educate and entertain in Polyrhythms’ Third Sunday Jazz Workshop & Matinée Series. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. workshop: $5/adults, free for students. 6 p.m. concert: $10-15. For tickets and information, call (309)373-0790 or visit Polyrhythms.org or RiverMusicExperience.org.
Sunday, December 15 – Benjamin Cartel and The Oarsman. Concert with the independent artists and progressive-folk musicians. Rozz-Tox (2108 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $5. For information, call (309)200-0978 or visit RozzTox.com.
Sunday, December 15 – Quad City Wind Ensemble Winter Concert. Area ensemble performs holiday classics and favorites. St. Ambrose University’s Galvin Fine Arts Center (2101 Gaines Street, Davenport). 3 p.m. Free admission. For information, visit QCWindEnsemble.org.
Sunday, December 15 – Bonnie “Prince” Billy. Indie-rock musician and composer in concert. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 7 p.m. $17.50-20. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Wednesday, December 18 – Church of Misery. Japanese doom-metal band in concert, with opening sets by The Horde and Obsidian Hammer. Rock Island Brewing Company (1815 Second Avenue, Rock Island). 8 p.m. $10-12. For information, call (309)793-4060 or visit RIBCO.com.
Friday, December 20, and Saturday, December 21 – A Nova Christmas. Annual holiday concerts with the professional vocal ensemble the Nova Singers. Friday: First Lutheran Church of Galesburg (364 East Water Street, Galesburg). Saturday: St. Paul Lutheran Church of Davenport (2136 Brady Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $15-18, students free. For tickets and information, call (309)341-7038 or visit NovaSingers.com.
Saturday, December 21, and Sunday, December 22 – O Holy Night Christmas Concert. The 24th-annual holiday event featuring the Sanctuary Choir, Chamber Chorale, Celebration Singers, Cecelian Carolers, Cathedral Choir of Young Men & Boys, and vesper bells, organ, and orchestra. First Presbyterian Church of Davenport (1702 Iowa Street, Davenport). Friday 7:30 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. Complimentary tickets required. For information, call (563)326-1691 or visit FPCDavenport.org.
Saturday, December 28 – Cornmeal. Progressive bluegrass musicians in concert, with an opening set by Mr. Baber’s Neighbors. The Redstone Room (129 Main Street, Davenport). 9 p.m. $12-15. For tickets and information, call (563)326-1333 or visit RiverMusicExperience.org.
Tuesday, December 31 – Remember the King. Robert Shaw & the Lonely Street Band in a New Year’s performance of Elvis Presley’s greatest hits. Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse (1828 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 7:30 p.m. doors, 7:45-8:45 p.m. buffet, 9:15 p.m. performance. $40-82. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.
Friday, December 13 – The Ultimate Christmas Show. A celebration and send-up of favorite holiday traditions with the Reduced Shakespeare Company. Orpheum Theatre (57 South Kellogg Street, Galesburg). 7:30 p.m. $25-35. For tickets and information, call (309)342-2299 or visit TheOrpheum.org.
Friday, December 13, through Sunday, December 15 – Casting Call. Christmas-themed dramatic comedy in which participants have to audition to be part of the Nativity. Wildwood Baptist Church (18717 Hubbard Road, East Moline). Friday and Saturday 7 p.m., Sunday 4 p.m. Free admission. For information, call (309)496-9397 or visit WildwoodChurch.com.
Friday, December 13, through Sunday, December 22 – A Christmas Carol. The City Circle Acting Company of Coralville’s presentation of the Dickens holiday classic, directed by Josh Sazon. Coralville Center for the Performing Arts (1301 Fifth Street, Coralville). Fridays 7:30 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 2 p.m. $12-27. For tickets and information, call (319)249-9370 or visit CoralvilleArts.com.
Tuesday, December 17 – Mamma Mia! The ABBA-filled musical-comedy smash, in a Broadway at the Adler presentation. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $39.50-64.50. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Saturday, December 28 – National Theatre Live: Frankenstein. Screening of the stage adaptation of Mary Shelley’s horror novel, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller. Englert Theatre (221 East Washington Street, Iowa City). 7 p.m. $15-18. For tickets and information, call (319)688-2653 or visit Englert.org.
Wednesday, January 8 – American Idiot. Tony Award-winning rock musical based on the chart-topping Green Day album, in a Broadway at the Adler presentation. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 7:30 p.m. $37-57. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Thursday, December 12, through Saturday, December 14 – Graduate/Undergraduate Concert 2013. Works choreographed by graduate and undergraduate students in the University of Iowa Department of Dance. University of Iowa’s Space/Place Theatre (20 Davenport Street, Iowa City). 8 p.m. $6-12. For tickets and information, call (319)335-1160 or visit http://www.Hancher.UIowa.edu.
Saturday, December 14, and Sunday, December 15 – The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic performed by the dancers of Ballet Quad Cities, accompanied by Orchestra Iowa. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). Saturday 1:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m. $12-35.99. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com or BalletQuadCities.com.
Saturday, December 21 – A Christmas Story. Screenings of the holiday classic hosted by “Randy” portrayer Ian Petrella, featuring a Q&A session, meet and greet, and an autograph signing following both screenings, with live commentary offered during the evening showing. Adler Theatre (136 East Third Street, Davenport). 2 and 7:30 p.m. $5-10. For tickets, call (800)745-3000 or visit AdlerTheatre.com.
Tuesday, December 31 – Bottoms Up Quad City Burlesque New Year’s Eve Show. Ring in the new year with the area burlesque artists and comedians. Circa ’21 Speakeasy (1818 Third Avenue, Rock Island). 10 p.m. $25. For tickets and information, call (309)786-7733 extension 2 or visit Circa21.com.
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