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Theatre
The Baum-Diggity: "The Wizard of Oz," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through July 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:00

Carly Berg in The Wizard of OzWhile traveling to Thursday’s presentation of The Wizard of Oz, which features much-loved songs by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg, I pondered whether the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s production would stick closely to the familiar images and characterizations from the equally loved 1939 film version. (As I prefer to see local theatre companies presenting unique versions of theatrical pieces, I hoped the Showboat would avoid copycat staging.) But once I settled into my seat, it took just a perusal of the program to know this wasn’t going to be my grandfather’s Oz, and a sense of excitement blossomed as I eagerly awaited the metaphorical curtain's opening.

 
Bolts and Nuts: "Young Frankenstein," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through July 13 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 07 July 2014 06:00

Matthew Webb, Lexie Plath, Analisha Santini, Blake W. Price, and Cody Jolly in Young FrankensteinThe Timber Lake Playhouse’s Young Frankenstein is a polished, professional production featuring stellar performances by the lead actors and impressive energy from the ensemble. Playwright/composer Mel Brooks’ material – with its book by Thomas Meehan – is well-served by this group of talented performers, dynamic lighting effects by designer James Kolditz, inventive choreography by Cameron Turner, and adeptly paced humor by director Brad Lyons. After seeing my first production at this much-lauded theatre in Mt. Carroll, I left impressed.

 
"Blonde" Ambition: Lauren VanSpeybroeck Reflects on Her (Pre-College) Theatrical Career PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 02 July 2014 06:00

Lauren VanSpeybroeck, courtesy of Nick West PhotographyAs with many things in life, it can be blamed on a friendly purple dinosaur.

“I used to be obsessed with Barney,” says area actor Lauren VanSpeybroeck of her pre-school interest in performing. “I always used to pretend I was on Barney [& Friends], so I guess that’s where it started. And then I would see, say, The Wizard of Oz or something, and for that week, I would be Dorothy Gale from Kansas. My mom would take me to the grocery store and people would say, ‘Oh, you’re so cute – what’s your name?’ ‘Dorothy Gale from Kansas.’

“That,” says VanSpeybroeck with a laugh, “was probably when my mom was like, ‘Hmmm ... maybe she wants to play characters ... ?’”

 
Mask Appeal: "The Suppliants" and "The Persians," at Lincoln Park through July 6 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 30 June 2014 06:00

Pat Flaherty and ensemble members in The SuppliantsThis year, Genesius Guild’s annual Greek tragedy is a double-feature, as the local theatrical organization presents Aeschylus’ The Suppliants and The Persians – two plays for the price of one (which is still free). With each piece running less than an hour, the entire evening’s entertainment, even with intermission, falls just short of two hours, giving audiences one partial hour of what frequent Guild patrons expect from the group’s Greek tragedies, and one partial hour of some very welcome, though relatively minor, changes.

 
Scentsational: "StinkyKids: The Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through July 12 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 23 June 2014 06:02

Iliana Garcia, Lauren VanSpeybroeck, and Alexis Harter in StinkyKids: The MusicalConsidering its title, and my unfamiliarity with the Britt Menzies books on which it’s based, I was uncertain what to expect going into Thursday’s Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse production of StinkyKids: The Musical. That title, for me, conjures up thoughts of the grotesque Garbage Pail Kids collector cards from the 1980s. Thankfully, though, the show's StinkyKids are nothing like those urchins, as was noted upon my first look at costume designer Gregory Hiatt’s colorful, playful choices for the six characters, with each six- or seven-year old child wearing a predominant color with accents – such as flowers or shapes – in another hue.

 
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