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items tagged with Stephen Sondheim

Into the Weeds: "Into the Woods" and "The Homesman"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-12-29 01:06:33

Emily Blunt and James Corden in Into the WoodsINTO THE WOODS

Do you know what you wish? Are you certain what you wish is what you want?” – lyrics from Into the Woods

 

Like a lot of stage-musical fans, I’ve been wishing – patiently but eagerly for more than 25 years now – for a film version of Stephen Sondheim’s modern classic Into the Woods. Now, thanks to Sondheim, original book and screenplay author James Lapine, director Rob Marshall, and the fairytale-happy folks at Disney, we have one.

So here’s the good news: Barring some minor changes, the movie is incredibly faithful to the show’s stage roots. But here’s the bad news: It’s so faithful that it’s under-imagined and kind of suffocating. And here’s the worst news: It isn’t much fun.


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Knight Lite: "Monty Python's Spamalot," at the District Theatre through August 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2014-08-04 12:00:00

Doug Kutzli, Chris Tracy, Matt Holmes, Wendy Czekalski, Mike kelly, and Bob Manasco in Monty Python's SpamalotThe District Theatre's Monty Python's Spamalot seems like an amateur talent show, particularly due to the limitations of the company's new performance space in Rock Island's former Grape Life venue. (The new locale is so small, it redefines "intimate theatre" in the Quad Cities.) Yet while the limited movement due to the lack of stage space creates an amateurish feel, I’m happy to say that much of the rest of Friday's production emphasized talent. If it was an intentional decision to present the material as a novice attempt to recreate Monty Python's (arguably) best-loved film, Monty Python & the Holy Grail, it was a smart one on director Tristan Tapscott's part. Space doesn't allow for a big production, so Tapscott embraces the limitations of the new stage area, and it works.


Read More About Knight Lite: "Monty Python's Spamalot," At The District Theatre Through August 17...


Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger by the Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," and "Snowpiercer"
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Movies

Category: Reviews

2014-07-30 19:29:48

Keira Knightley in Begin AgainLike many reviewers who publish year-end recaps featuring top-10 rankings and such, I keep a running list of every new movie I see during the year, arranged in order of preference. (Wow. Seeing it in writing, that seems really anal-retentive. Maybe only I do that.) And after updating this list over the weekend, I scanned my current 10 favorites and thought, “For July, that’s a pretty great lineup.”

Of course, that lineup is only impressive because five of its titles – Life Itself, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me, Stranger by the Lake, Nymphomaniac: Volume One, and Snowpiercer – are 2014 films I caught on home video and through streaming services. If I only included movies that played at area cineplexes, my top-10-to-date wouldn't look so hot. I mean, sure, Muppets Most Wanted, 22 Jump Street, and Hercules were a lot of fun, but come on ... . Two sequels, both inferior to their predecessors, and Brett Ratner directing The Rock? (With apologies to Dwayne Johnson, who’s actually awesome.) Hell, the new-to-our-area indie musical Begin Again would almost land in my cineplex top 10, and I didn’t even like it that much.


Read More About Ten Little Indies: "Begin Again," "Life Itself," "Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me," "Stranger By The Lake," "Interior. Leather Bar.", "Nymphomaniac: Volume One," "Nymphomaniac: Volume Two," "The Unknown Known," "The Immigrant," And "Snowpiercer"...


Holiday Cheerful: "A Fairy Tale Christmas," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through December 28
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-12-02 12:00:00

Kelly Lohrenz and Cara Chumbley in A Fairy Tale ChristmasFemale fans of princesses will likely enjoy the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s children’s-theatre holiday offering A Fairy Tale Christmas. Thanks to the always-impressive costume designer Gregory Hiatt and actors Cara Chumbley and Kelly Ann Lohrenz, respectively, Cinderella and Snow White each bear striking resemblances to their characters' Disney designs. Despite slight variations in style, Hiatt’s costumes are remarkable re-creations of the most well-known looks for the two princesses, and Chumbley and Lohrenz amusingly mimic the fluttery voices and laughs of the storybook ladies.


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Nine Singers Walk into a Bar ... : "Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim," at the QC Theatre Workshop through November 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-11-04 12:00:00

Erin Churchill, Don Denton, Allison Swanson, Patrick Gimm, Angela Elliott, Jamesd Fairchild (standing), Mark Ruebling, Sara Tubbs, and Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness (seated) in Last Call: The Songs of Stephen SondheimWhat’s perhaps most beautiful about the QC Theatre Workshop’s Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim aside from it showcasing music by, arguably, our greatest Broadway composer – is the way show creators Tyson Danner and (Reader employee) Mike Schulz weave a story through their revue, offering more than just an “in concert” experience. There’s a natural progression throughout the piece, which they’ve set in a bar where individuals and couples gather to drink, socialize, long for love, or lament love lost. Rather than having a distinct plot and conflict, the production delivers a look at a typical bar evening in which the audience gets to eavesdrop on every table conversation and watch as people mingle, flirt, and attempt to repair relationships. And the flow of this slice of life as told through song is to be admired particularly because it lacks pretense and feels real.


Read More About Nine Singers Walk Into A Bar ... : "Last Call: The Songs Of Stephen Sondheim," At The QC Theatre Workshop Through November 17...





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