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items tagged with Neil Simon

Heaven and Hellions: “The Best Christmas Pageant Ever,” at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through December 13
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2009-11-30 12:00:00

Sarah Stephan and Noah Strausser in The Best Christmas Pageant EverThe Best Christmas Pageant Ever, the one-act play Barbara Robinson adapted from her beloved book, is set primarily in a church that stages a grade-school re-telling of the Nativity story - the exact same pageant, we're told, that the church puts on year after year after year. And after attending Friday night's hilarious, intensely charming production of Robinson's show, I, for one, would be totally on board with the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre opting to stage The Best Christmas Pageant Ever year after year after year, at least if director Jalayne Riewerts wouldn't mind making it an annual commitment.


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Army Brats: “Biloxi Blues,” at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through August 2
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2009-07-27 15:09:18

Drew Simendinger, Dale Hawes, Alex Fenzel, Nick Divarco, Joshua Sohn, Kris Doss, and Rob Engelson in Biloxi BluesAs the second in a three-part series of autobiographical works, Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues is, I think, something truly rare: a play that not only succeeds independently of its precursor (Brighton Beach Memoirs) and follow-up (Broadway Bound), but that's a smarter, funnier, stronger piece than either of its trilogy partners. Even those of us who are casually dismissive of the playwright's style generally agree that this military-themed outing showcases Simon at his absolute finest; the drama is lightly poignant and unforced, and the jokes - and there are dozens of great ones - seem to spring naturally from personality and situation. (In a wonderful break from his punchline-driven norm, Simon's characters here don't all sound interchangeable.)


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Suppering Fools: “The Dinner Party,” at Black Hawk College through April 19
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2009-04-16 11:59:00

Paul Workman, Bryan Woods, and Kristen Lynn Raccone (rehearsing the role of Gabrielle) in The Dinner PartyNeil Simon's The Dinner Party, written in 2000 and currently being staged at Black Hawk College, concerns three formerly married couples who meet for a très sophistiqué evening at a Paris restaurant: Claude (played here by Bryan Woods) and Mariette (Elizabeth Cook, alternating performances with Cayla Freeman), whose shared passion for literature outweighed their passion for each other; Andre (Paul Workman) and Gabrielle (Elizabeth Paxton, alternating with Kristen Lynn Raccone), whose sexual rapport wasn't enough to keep Andre faithful; and Albert (Thomas Riley Ratkiewicz) and Yvonne (Kaeleigh Esparza, alternating with Lynn Aaronson), whose obsessive devotion to one another eventually resulted in them getting divorced - twice.


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Much Ado About Many Things: Spring Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2009-03-04 01:43:43

The Prenzie Players' Much Ado About NothingThe Quad Cities' spring theatre season will be bookended by Shakespeare, with the March 6 opening of Much Ado About Nothing, and Sophocles, with the May 28 debut of Oedipus Rex. But just because these plays are, respectively, more than 400 and 2,400 years old, it probably isn't wise to enter them expecting the expected. This Sophocles, after all, is subtitled The Audacity of Oed, and this Shakespeare is being staged by the Prenzie Players, so in both works, you may as well expect anything to happen; considering our lineup also features titles by Stephen Sondheim, Neil Simon, Euripides, and Mel Brooks, I'm thinking you can say the same for the theatre season as a whole.


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The Essentials 2008: A Dozen Names to Remember
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2008-12-17 08:42:25

Essentials Tyson Danner (left) and James Bleecker (standing), with Jackie Madunic and Jason Platt, in Angels in America: Perestroika For the third year in a row, I've composed a list of 12 area-theatre participants who devoted their time, energy, and skills to numerous theatrical organizations and venues during the past year. And once again - happily and inspiringly - it hasn't been necessary to repeat names from one year to the next; local theatre, to the great good fortune of local audiences, never seems to run out of talent.


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