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items tagged with Circa 21 Dinner Playhouse

Minnesota Nice: "Church Basement Ladies," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through May 26
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2007-04-04 08:24:38

Being raised Lutheran, I easily recognized the Lutheranisms on display in director Curt Wollan's Church Basement Ladies, currently playing at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse. (Growing Up Lutheran, in fact, is the title of the Janet Letnes Martin & Suzann Johnson Nelson book the show is based on.) And as written by Jim Stowell and Jessica Zuehlke, with music and lyrics by Drew Jansen, this comedy smartly dissects the customs of its Minnesotan characters, is filled with gently sly references, and is spot-on in revealing our sect's unique brand of hostility, in which insults are casually tossed off as conversation. (Handing the phone to her pastor, one of the title characters gets in a veiled, pointed jab with "It's your new wife.")


Read More About Minnesota Nice: "Church Basement Ladies," At The Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse Through May 26...


Tragi-comically Single: "Bad Dates," at the Nighswander Theatre through April 1
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2007-03-28 08:29:19

Lora Adams in There's a scene in Theresa Rebeck's one-woman comedy Bad Dates - currently being produced by New Ground Theatre - in which our protagonist, Haley, is seen trying on clothes. Actually, nearly every scene features Haley trying on clothes, but I'm referring to the opening sequence, in which she's preparing for the first date she's had since ditching her good-for-nothing husband in Texas and moving to New York. With the audience cast as Haley's confidantes, this single mom and restauranteur tells us of her divorce and her 13-year-old daughter and her recent experiences at a Tibetan Buddhist book benefit, and all the while she tries on skirts, blouses, and lots and lots of shoes; no ensemble, it seems, is working for her.

Finally, Haley finds an outfit to her liking - complete with a shoulder wrap that looks vaguely like a piñata - and steps in front of the (imaginary) full-length mirror to gauge the effect. "This," she states, "is a total disaster."


Read More About Tragi-Comically Single: "Bad Dates," At The Nighswander Theatre Through April 1...


What’s the Buzz?: Quad City Music Guild Showcases Female Musicians of the ’60s in "Beehive"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2007-03-21 08:23:43

 "I was really nervous," recalls Jackie Madunic. "I love Tina Turner - she's, like, one of my idols - and I was terrified."

Madunic is describing the first time she rehearsed her role as Turner in the Quad City Music Guild's production of Beehive, and the actress' fears are understandable. The revue, running March 23 through 25, is a celebration of the 1960s' most prominent female musicians - among them Turner, Janis Joplin, Lesley Gore, Aretha Franklin, Diana Ross, Connie Francis, and Annette Funicello - yet in addition to portraying one of our country's most identifiable rock icons, another factor is conceivably adding to the performer's nervousness: Madunic is white. (As, it should be noted, is actress Sarah Ulloa, who plays both Franklin and Ross.)


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Gang Busters: "West Side Story," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through March 24
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2007-01-24 08:26:31

Mishi Schueller and Kimberly Willes in For West Side Story to really work, the actors portraying Tony and Maria have to be marvelous, and in Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's new presentation of this beloved musical updating of Romeo & Juliet, Mishi Schueller and Kimberly Willes are even better in these roles than you'd hope they'd be. The duo is so touching, so emotionally expansive, that director/choreographer Ann Nieman's production is an absolute dream whenever they're on stage, so allow me to begin by discussing Schueller's and Willes' contributions, which should underscore how great this West Side Story is, and perhaps help explain why it should've been greater still.


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Surprising Surprises
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2006-12-20 09:06:00

"Grease"I got pretty choked up at Quad City Music Guild's production of It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical, especially when George started yelling at his kids. (They were so cute!) I was truly affected by the anguished performance of John VanDeWoestyne in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.

But, in 2006, do you know what area production made me cry like a little girl?

Freakin' Grease.


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