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items tagged with Justin Banta

Shark Attacks: "West Side Story," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 15
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2008-06-11 08:23:07

West Side Story's Jets Certain theatrical works are so inherently satisfying that they're pretty great even when their productions are only pretty good, and some are so firmly entrenched as classics that nothing less than spectacular will do. West Side Story is the rare piece that's actually both - a thrilling entertainment that many of us have seen way too many times - and the Timber Lake Playhouse's West Side Story is both, as well; it starts out as pretty good passing for pretty great, and ends up spectacular. By its finale, director James Beaudry's offering had morphed into one of the smartest, most impassioned versions of this legendary Bernstein/Sondheim/Laurents collaboration I've yet seen. It just took a while to get there.


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Notre Damn! An Extraordinary New "Hunchback": "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" at the Timber Lake Playhouse
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2005-08-03 00:00:00
The Hunchback of Notre Dame, currently being presented at the Timber Lake Playhouse, is a little bit Jesus Christ Superstar, a little bit Frank Wildhorn, and a whole lotta Les Miserables, but it has a narrative structure and momentum that’s all its own, and it’s continually surprising – I can’t recall the last time I felt so alert at the theatre. (It helps that this musical adaptation of Victor Hugo’s novel is unfamiliar to most of us, having been produced only once before – at the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre – in 1994, and having gone through extensive revision since then.)
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A Fully Satisfying "Monty": "The Full Monty" at the Timber Lake Playhouse
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2005-07-06 00:00:00
By the time the amateur male strippers perform their exuberant, baring-it-all finale in the Timber Lake Playhouse’s The Full Monty, it might take all your will to not leap from your seat and join them. The high spirits generated by this show are a little overwhelming; with the possible exception of the Clinton Area Showboat’s current production of Ruthless, The Full Monty is the best time I’ve had at the theatre in two months. It’s joyous, technically dexterous, thrillingly performed, and, best of all, absolutely fearless. (You’re aware of this by the end of the overture, when a bare-assed stripper, hounded by female groupies, races across the stage.)
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