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items tagged with Jonathan Turner

"Companion" Companion: The Bucktown Revue, April 18 at the Nighswander Theatre
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Music

Category: Feature Stories

2014-04-10 16:41:13

The Bucktown RevueFor pianist Jonathan Turner, “It’s a really unique kind of entertainment experience in the area. There isn’t really anything like it.”

For performer Korah Winn, “It’s kind of like if you take the best play you’ve ever been in, with the best cast, with the best audience, and you get to do that once every month.”

Producer/writer/musician Mike Romkey, however, has a slightly different take: “It’s kind of like a local Prairie Home Companion ... but not in a way that would get us sued.”


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Critical Mass: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2012
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2012-12-31 12:00:00

Mitch Donahue, Alexander Robin Kass, Samantha Pauly, Kristin Gilbert, and Tristan Layne Tapscott in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Legally Blonde: The MusicalFor our third-annual conversation on the Year in Theatre, Thom White – the Reader’s chief theatre reviewer – and I thought we’d shake things up a bit. So instead of meeting for an hours-long breakfast to discuss the area stage scene, we met for an hours-long dinner to discuss the area stage scene.

And while I managed to keep things lively by spilling a completely full glass of water not 10 minutes after sitting down, we also managed to touch on many of the varied experiences that Thom (occasionally accompanied by his partner’s daughter Madison) and/or I had during another eventful year for fans of the theatre. Pack a lunch, sit back, and dive in ... .


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Bible Versus: "Hard to Believe," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through September 19
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2010-09-13 12:00:00

Wendy Czekalski and Paul Workman in Hard to BelieveI have little doubt that many patrons of the Playcrafters Barn Theatre will enjoy its current production of Hard to Believe, as there’s consistently an audience appetite for shows on themes of faith and God. The opening-night premiere of this locally written musical, however, reminded me too much of church performances of which I’ve seen or been a part. I’m not sure Hard to Believe will find a place in community theatres alongside other musicals, but it could very well find its place within many a church’s walls.


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Leap of Faith: Playcrafters Presents the Biblical Musical "Hard to Believe," Opening September 10
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2010-08-30 12:00:00

Megan Elliott, Linell Ferguson, Wendy Czekalski, Sara Laufer, and Kris Preston in Hard to Believe"I think Playcrafters has traditionally had the reputation of being a stodgy old theatre that only does six comedies a year," says Tom Morrow, a frequent actor and director for Moline's venerable Barn Theatre. "And admittedly, we do a lot of comedies. But every once in a while, we try to stick our necks out and do something else."

That they do. In addition to the titles produced in conjunction with Playcrafters' 2009 "Diversity Initiative" - Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun and August Wilson's Fences - other recent "something else"s have included 2005's Altar Call, a debuting, religiously themed drama written by local playwright Melissa McBain, and 2008's Promises, Promises, one of only a handful of musicals the theatre has produced during its 81-year history.

And on September 10, the Playcrafters Barn Theatre will actually present something of a blend of these latter two works - a debuting, religiously themed musical - when it premieres Hard to Believe, a song-filled re-telling of the Biblical story of Job, directed by Morrow, and written and composed by Tim Stoller and Jonathan Turner. Previously staged, in workshop form, at Rock Island's defunct Green Room Theatre in 2008 and Davenport's Zion Lutheran Church in 2009, Turner says that "the whole theme of the show is about the challenges of faith, and maintaining your faith in the face of all this tragedy."
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Not Exactly Hot, but Awfully Sweet: "Sweet & Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen" at Playcrafters
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2006-05-17 07:39:18
About four months ago, my schedule forced me to catch the first dress rehearsal of Playcrafters’ Over the River & through the Woods as opposed to a paid performance, and so I took some personal responsibility for my dissatisfaction with the show; a lot of what seemed to be lacking, I thought, could easily have improved by opening night. It seemed a little unfair to be critiquing a rehearsal. (What better place to err than rehearsal?)

Well, circumstances dictated that I again catch a Playcrafters production before its official opening – I saw the Barn Theatre’s Sweet & Hot: The Songs of Harold Arlen at a preview on Monday, May 8 – for which I apologize. But I don’t apologize much, because this revue already has the right spirit and a host of good feelings (and good performances) exuding from it. This didn’t feel like a rehearsal; it felt like a performance, and a delightful one.

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