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items tagged with Melissa McBain

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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Between a Stone and a Hard Place: "Altar Call," at the District Theatre through December 9
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-12-03 12:00:00

Angela Rathman in Altar CallWhile the story would benefit from more attention to how and when plot points should unfold, and some of the dialogue would benefit from a greater awareness of how people actually speak, I quite liked the themes that author Melissa McBain explores in Altar Call.


Read More About Between A Stone And A Hard Place: "Altar Call," At The District Theatre Through December 9...


A Third Space in the World: Arlene Malinowski Creates a Bridge Between the Deaf and the Hearing, April 9 at Augustana College
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-03-25 12:00:00

Arlene MalinowskiNearly everyone who was of TV-viewing age in 1963, it seems, remembers where they were on the day President John F. Kennedy was shot. For writer/performer/instructor Arlene Malinowski, that day is especially memorable, because as she recalls, it was one of the first times that this hearing child of Deaf parents had to act as her parents’ translator.

“I’m six, I’m in the first grade,” says the Chicago-based Malinowski, “and I remember coming home from school, and they’re in a dark living room watching the television, and they’re crying. And my father says, ‘Tell me what’s on the TV,’ and my mother says to my father, ‘No, no, no, leave her alone – she’s a kid.’ But I’m like, ‘No, I can do this!’

“So I’m listening,” she continues, “and the man on TV is using a lot of big words. Words I don’t understand, like ‘assassinate’ and ‘motorcade’ and ‘depository.’ I figured out that ‘assassinate’ was ‘killed,’ but I couldn’t figure out what ‘depository’ meant. And then I remembered that Daddy deposits money into the bank, so it must mean ‘the bank.’ So I told my father, ‘The president man has been shot, he’s dead in his car, and a bank robber killed him.’

“And here’s the coda to it: They never [definitively] figured out who shot the president. So I am not necessarily wrong.”


Read More About A Third Space In The World: Arlene Malinowski Creates A Bridge Between The Deaf And The Hearing, April 9 At Augustana College...


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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Eight Times Five: Ensembles, Musical Numbers, Stagecraft, Couples, Newcomers, Collegiate Performers, Minors, & Exits
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2009-12-21 12:00:00

Five Inspiring Ensembles

Powerful lead performances and scene-stealing supporting turns are always welcome; one- and two-character shows can be a gas. But for my money, nothing quite beats the theatrical pleasure of watching a tightly knit ensemble in action, and the following five productions ensured that this pleasure was a continual one.

 


Read More About Eight Times Five: Ensembles, Musical Numbers, Stagecraft, Couples, Newcomers, Collegiate Performers, Minors, & Exits...





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