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items tagged with Ann Nieman

Jumping the Shark: "Happy Days: A New Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through June 4
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-03-28 12:00:00

Laura Miller, Courtney Crouse, and Andrea Moore (center), and Laurie Sutton, Liz J. Millea, and Maeve Martin in Happy Days: A New MusicalIf the goal of Happy Days: A New Musical – making its Midwestern debut at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse – is to have the feel of the 1970s TV series, then playwright (and series creator) Garry Marshall and songwriter Paul Williams are working against each other. The book is reminiscent of the sitcom, with similar character dynamics and situations, but it comes across as a caricature of the TV show – purely wholesome, without the slight edge and hints of rebellion present in its televised incarnation. Williams’ songs, meanwhile, don’t suggest the series at all; it’s as if the tunes were taken from some other 1950s-themed musical, and plopped into an episode of Happy Days without consideration for whether they fit the characters.


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Let Yourself Go: "All Shook Up," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through March 19
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2011-01-17 12:00:00

Jennifer Weingarten and Michael Karraker in All Shook UpGood God, is the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s All Shook Up fun. The high energy on stage kicks into overdrive with the first song, “Jailhouse Rock,” and barely lets up as the cast sings, dances, and emotes its way through many of Elvis Presley’s hits. I was thrilled with the opening-night performance, and my lingering excitement has me still smiling as I write this the day after seeing the jukebox musical.


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Gotta Lot of Rhythm in Her Soul: “A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline,” at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through November 6
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2010-09-06 12:00:00
Heather Beck in A Closer Walk with Patsy ClineI can't imagine anyone who likes the music of Patsy Cline not liking the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's current offering, A Closer Walk with Patsy Cline. Personally, I don't much care for the mid-20th-Century country style of Cline's songs. However, I very much appreciated Friday night's performance for its staging and its remarkable singing, and therefore, enjoyed music I'd otherwise ignore were I to hear it on the radio.
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Dream On: "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through March 20
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2010-01-18 12:00:00

Don Denton in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatDriving home from the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse on Friday night, after seeing the opening performance of the musical Joseph & the Technicolor Dreamcoat, I asked my husband, "Can you honestly think of anyone who wouldn't like this show?" We couldn't. And I still can't. With its appealing confluence of technical effects, engaging storytelling, musical styles, memorable characters, and lessons in forgiveness, humility, and hope, even those grudging types who would rather be dressed in bologna and tossed into a shark tank than see a musical can find something in Joseph to laugh at, mull over, be inspired by, or appreciate on a sensory level.


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Eight Times Five: Ensembles, Musical Numbers, Stagecraft, Couples, Newcomers, Collegiate Performers, Minors, & Exits
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2009-12-21 12:00:00

Five Inspiring Ensembles

Powerful lead performances and scene-stealing supporting turns are always welcome; one- and two-character shows can be a gas. But for my money, nothing quite beats the theatrical pleasure of watching a tightly knit ensemble in action, and the following five productions ensured that this pleasure was a continual one.

 


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