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items tagged with Sweeney Todd

The Executioners' Songs: "Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story," at the Circa '21 Speakeasy through February 27
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2016-02-25 12:00:00

Adam Cerny and Thomas Alan Taylor in Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb StoryLast month, I happened to turn on my TV to an episode of PBS' American Experience titled “The Perfect Crime,” which told of the senseless, 1924 murder of a young Chicago boy. The crime was committed by two teenagers, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, and I was awestruck not only because of the horrific details of the killing, but also by the fact that I had never before heard of it. Then, a few weeks ago, I was assigned to review Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, a musical I was unfamiliar with – but one, thanks to PBS, boasting a story I now knew.

I'm not sure what is it about true-crime stories that draws us in, almost as voyeurs, as we witness evil acts yet find ourselves engaged in every gritty detail. And with a book, movie, TV show, or grandly scaled theatre piece such as Sweeney Todd, we can read or watch as dastardly deeds are done, yet are always kept at a safe distance from those deeds, giving us a sort of protection. The suspenseful, powerful Thrill Me, however, is a musical that would appear to work best in an intimate setting such as the one currently provided by the Circa '21 Speakeasy, where that safe distance shrinks all too uncomfortably … which is likely the goal.
Read More About The Executioners' Songs: "Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story," At The Circa '21 Speakeasy Through February 27...


Farce to Be Reckoned With: "Figaro," at Augustana College through October 27
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2013-10-21 12:00:00

Leslie Kane and Joshua Pride in Figaro (photo by Daisy Hoang, Augustana Photo Bureau)Augustana College’s Figaro is a fine example of how witty, self-referential humor makes for a better farce than does banal innuendo and silly, unrealistic door slamming. Playwright Charles Morey’s recent adaptation of Pierre Beaumarchais’ The Marriage of Figaro (written in 1778) is sharply funny, filled with references to Beaumarchais’ original trilogy (“It would take an Italian opera to describe [the plot.]”) and digs at the rich (“How clever of you, sir, to be rich rather than smart.”) There’s still sexual innuendo and slamming doors, but Morey’s script is so much quick-paced, pointedly humorous fun that the two-hour presentation rises above the level of most bedroom farce, especially considering that this production is populated by such a well-cast ensemble.


Read More About Farce To Be Reckoned With: "Figaro," At Augustana College Through October 27...


Fire and Dice: "Guys & Dolls," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 17
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Reviews

2012-06-11 12:00:00

Guys & Dolls ensemble membersOn any given day, the musical I consider my all-time favorite will either be Sweeney Todd or Guys & Dolls ... unless that day is the day after I’ve seen a production of Guys & Dolls, in which case it’s the clear winner. Heaven knows there are plenty of entertaining, tune-filled warhorses from Broadway’s golden era, but do any of them have the effervescent fizz and pop of composer/lyricist Frank Loesser’s 1950 triumph, a beautifully constructed musical comedy so funny and clever and sweet that it can keep you happy and humming for hours – like, 100 hours – after it ends?


Read More About Fire And Dice: "Guys & Dolls," At The Timber Lake Playhouse Through June 17...


All the Worlds of Stage: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2011
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-12-15 17:53:34

Tom Walljasper, Kristin Gilbert, and John Payonk in HairsprayThe Reader's chief theatre reviewer, Thom White, saw and wrote about 52 area stage productions in 2011. I saw 39 and reviewed 12. Obviously, during our second-annual breakfast chat on the Year in Theatre, there was a bit to talk about.


Read More About All The Worlds Of Stage: Mike Schulz And Thom White Discuss Area Theatre In 2011...


Bursting at the Seams: The Harrison Hilltop’s Tristan Tapscott Discusses Big Musicals in Small Spaces
Written By: Mike Schulz
Section: Theatre

Category: Feature Stories

2011-07-06 12:00:00

Jesus Christ Superstar in rehearsalOdd as it may seem now, there actually was a period in the Harrison Hilltop Theatre’s history – a run of 12 shows, to be precise – in which the company didn’t produce any musicals whatsoever. Yet after staging a dozen plays between June 2008 and May 2009, co-founders Tristan Tapscott and Chris Walljasper chose to open the theatre’s second season with a production of Jonathan Larson’s rock musical tick ... tick ... BOOM!


Read More About Bursting At The Seams: The Harrison Hilltop’S Tristan Tapscott Discusses Big Musicals In Small Spaces...





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