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items tagged with Harrison Hilltop 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...


WWJD?: "Next Fall," at the Village Theatre through February 2
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-01-27 12:00:00

David Turley and Creighton D. Olsen in Next FallA year-and-a-half after enjoying his performance in New Ground Theatre’s The Beauty Queen of Leenane, I am glad to see David Turley on a Quad Cities stage again in the company's Next Fall. It was Turley's portrayals of John Hinckley in the Green Room Theatre’s 2008 Assassins and William Barfee in the Harrison Hilltop Theatre’s 2010 The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee that initially endeared me to his comedic deliveries. And I’m grateful to see him employ his skills as this new play's 40-year-old gay atheist Adam, a character performed with more subtlety than those aforementioned roles, but one that still employs Turley's amusing brand of dry, sarcastic, slightly dark humor.


Read More About WWJD?: "Next Fall," At The Village Theatre Through February 2...


Moral Combat: "The Best Man," at the District Theatre through November 18
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-11-12 12:01:00

Jonathan Grafft, Pat Flaherty, and Matt Mercer in The Best ManAfter 12 years in the television-news business, I spent my first Election Day in more than a decade not covering the elections, but rather seeing a play about a bid for the presidency and the decision of whether to use personal attacks on opponents. And while watching the District Theatre’s The Best Man, directed by Bryan Tank, I wondered if the point being made in this political morality play – that the business of politics is on a downward moral spiral – is one that needs to be made. Don’t we, as a nation, already know that dirty politics are wrong, and doesn't this make the message of playwright Gore Vidal’s 1960 work dated? A day later, though, I read an article about personal attacks and dishonesty continuing to be a part of political campaigns because these tactics work, and so Vidal’s play, for better or worse, appears relevant after all.


Read More About Moral Combat: "The Best Man," At The District Theatre Through November 18...


Farce of Habit: "Noises Off," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through October 14
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-10-08 12:00:00

David Lane, Molly McLaughlin, and Stan Weimer in Noises OffAs much as I love theatre-in-the-round, I recognize that not all plays work in a 360-degree environment. Take, for instance, Noises Off, the current offering at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. A farcical comedy about the staging of a play (within the play) titled Nothing On, the show's second act offers, essentially, a view of the first act’s goings-on seen from backstage, and the production’s set is typically turned 180 degrees during the intermission to allow for that behind-the-scenes look. Consequently, prior to Thursday's performance at the Barn, I was baffled as to how director Jalayne Riewerts would pull off, in the round, this production of author Michael Frayn’s farce. She does it, it turns out, by not staging the piece in the round.


Read More About Farce Of Habit: "Noises Off," At The Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Through October 14...


The Bipolar Express: "Next to Normal," at the District Theatre through September 8
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-08-27 12:00:00

Sara King, Kelly Lohrenz, and Steve Lasiter in Next to NormalThe District Theatre's production of Next to Normal may feature the best performance I've ever seen from Sara King, one that even tops her notably angst-ridden, humorous Van's Sister in the former Harrison Hilltop Theatre's Dog Sees God two years ago, and her subtle, hurt, hopeful Lucille in the District Theatre's Parade earlier this year.


Read More About The Bipolar Express: "Next To Normal," At The District Theatre Through September 8...





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