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items tagged with Green Room Theatre

Say "Uncle"! : Tony Nominee Lee Blessing Debuts His New Comedy at New Ground Theatre, April 29 through May 8
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2016-04-21 12:00:00

Jordan Smith, Bill Peiffer, Jake Walker and Maggie Woolley in UncleAt the very end of Anton Chekhov’s 1897 tragicomedy Uncle Vanya, two of the play’s principal characters – Vanya and his niece Sonya – sit quietly at a table at their Russian estate, each lamenting the departure of their recent house guests. They’ve endured all manner of emotional hardships over the stage hours prior, and as they prepare to face more in the lonely years ahead, Sonya delivers one of theatre’s most famous closing monologues, climaxing her speech by telling Vanya not to fear – God will show pity on them. “We shall rest,” she says, gently, just before the curtain falls. “We shall rest.”

Hopefully, for Vanya and Sonya, 119 years constitutes a long-enough rest. Because thanks to a playwright’s imagination and a rather inconvenient (and fictitious) wormhole, Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya characters are continuing their sagas in author Lee Blessing’s debuting comedy Uncle, a world-premiere production by Davenport’s New Ground Theatre running at the Village Theatre from April 29 through May 8.

“Sometimes you just don’t know where things come from,” says Blessing, with a laugh, regarding his sci-fi-comedy continuation of Chekhov’s masterpiece. “I’d seen a modern update of Vanya not that long ago in Los Angeles, and around the same time I said to myself, ‘Wouldn’t it be interesting to write a play about a guy who suddenly has a cosmic wormhole open up in his backyard, but doesn’t want it? Doesn’t want the things that come out of it?’ And so, for some odd reason, I put those things together."
Read More About Say "Uncle"! : Tony Nominee Lee Blessing Debuts His New Comedy At New Ground Theatre, April 29 Through May 8...


Center-Stage Craft: Spotlight Turns with the Reader’s Theatre Reviewers
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2015-12-23 12:00:00

Center-Stage CraftThe ends of calendar years always bring with them a certain amount of reflection, and questions that we find ourselves quietly grappling with. “Did I achieve personal fulfillment and happiness?” “Were there people I improperly appreciated or unintentionally wronged?” “What are we going to do about the Reader’s annual year-in-theatre article now that Thom White has moved to Kentucky?!”
Read More About Center-Stage Craft: Spotlight Turns With The Reader’S Theatre Reviewers...


"Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects on Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2014-07-02 12:00:00

Lauren VanSpeybroeck, courtesy of Nick West PhotographyAs with many things in life, it can be blamed on a friendly purple dinosaur.

“I used to be obsessed with Barney,” says area actor Lauren VanSpeybroeck of her pre-school interest in performing. “I always used to pretend I was on Barney [& Friends], so I guess that’s where it started. And then I would see, say, The Wizard of Oz or something, and for that week, I would be Dorothy Gale from Kansas. My mom would take me to the grocery store and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re so cute – what’s your name?’ ‘Dorothy Gale from Kansas.’

“That,” says VanSpeybroeck with a laugh, “was probably when my mom was like, ‘Hmmm ... maybe she wants to play characters ... ?’”


Read More About "Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects On Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career...


Yes, They Shall Dance: Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader Get (Semi-)Romantic in Countryside Community Theatre's "The King & I"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2012-06-19 12:01:00

 

Rochelle and Jonathan Schrader in The King & ILocal audiences have seen married actors Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader appearing opposite one another numerous times over the years: in Opera@Augustana's The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado; in the former Green Room Theatre’s Into the Woods; and in Quad City Music Guild’s Babes in Toyland.

But with Countryside Community Theatre’s presentation of The King & I, running June 22 through 30 at Eldridge’s North Scott High School, patrons will see the Schraders interact in a way that, on-stage at least, they never have before.

“This is the first time we’ve actually gotten to play semi-romantically together,” says Jonathan, who enacts the titular, short-tempered King of Siam – a role made legendary by Yul Brynner – opposite his wife’s stalwart schoolteacher Anna. “I’ve played her father several times, and I tried to kill her in Babes in Toyland, but ... .”


Read More About Yes, They Shall Dance: Jonathan And Rochelle Schrader Get (Semi-)Romantic In Countryside Community Theatre's "The King & I"...


All the Worlds of Stage: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2011
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-15 17:53:34

Tom Walljasper, Kristin Gilbert, and John Payonk in HairsprayThe Reader's chief theatre reviewer, Thom White, saw and wrote about 52 area stage productions in 2011. I saw 39 and reviewed 12. Obviously, during our second-annual breakfast chat on the Year in Theatre, there was a bit to talk about.


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