I’ve been taking my nine-year-old granddaughter Ava to the theatre since she was three, and on June 15 she accompanied me to the matinée performance of A Year with Frog & Toad, where we agreed that children’s shows don’t always have to be high-energy to be fun. This Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse production is a gentle story of friendship, and under the direction of Kim Kurtenbach it has a nicely old-fashioned vibe.
The concept of taking songs from an artist’s catalog and piecing them together to create a narrative doesn’t always work. But I must say that the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's current Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook is one of the genre's best, culling the music of Broadway composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz to tell the tale of a couple whose relationship is at a turning point. Its 26 numbers are from albums and familiar musicals such as Wicked, Godspell, and Pippin, and although some of the lyrics have been altered to match new characters and situations, this wasn't a distraction for me, and I was able to enjoy them as fresh and fitting for the storyline.
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017
Reviews by Jeff Ashcraft, Patricia Baugh-Riechers, Audra Beals, Dee Canfield, Kim Eastland, Emily Heninger, Heather Herkelman, Paula Jolly, Victoria Navarro, Mike Schulz, Joy Thompson, Oz Torres, Brent Tubbs, Jill (Pearson) Walsh, and Thom White.
When my editor was doling out reviewing assignments for the month, I more or less said, “Please – anything but opera!” Then, due to availability issues, I ended up being assigned to review Opera @ Augustana's and Genesius Guild's Selections from Menotti.
Let me begin by stating, honestly, that I am a huge Disney fan, and have a major bias toward anything Disney-related. So when seeing The Little Mermaid come to life during Quad City Music Guild's June 8 preview, the show would've had to be a catastrophe for me to not enjoy myself. Thankfully, it wasn't one.
It's opening night, and it's intermission at the QC Theatre Workshop. I wander out into the warm evening for some fresh air, wondering what, exactly, I'm witnessing. I mean, it doesn't really fit into any genre or theatrical category I can recall previously seeing. And yet, it's not only entertaining; it's exciting. At times, I feel as if I'm watching a silent movie in a nickelodeon. No, it's more like a sketch comedy. Wait: It's really a fable or children's story. A-ha!
The 2006 musical love story I Love You Because, its music by Joshua Salzman and its book and lyrics by Ryan Cunningham, is a modern spin on Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice, exploring the age-old notion that opposites attract. And in its current presentation at the Black Box Theatre, the show provides a light and entertaining theatre experience.
Sometimes a play is written to highlight societal troubles at the time it was written. And sometimes that play gets performed nearly 65 years later, and its message and themes are just as powerful and meaningful now as they were then.
A mobile Army surgical hospital (MASH) is a nomadic troop of doctors, nurses, and equipment. And while nomads the world over have packed up all of their belongings and disappeared quickly and stealthily into the night, playwright Tim Kelly’s M*A*S*H, currently in production at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre, is not a vehicle that travels well.
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