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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Making Mary: Heather Herkelman Plays Mary Poppins for Quad City Music Guild, August 7 through 16 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 29 July 2015 06:00

Valeree Pieper and Heather Herkelman in Mary PoppinsI don’t mean to alarm you, but during my recent interview with Heather Herkelman, the area performer revealed something shocking and rather upsetting: Hawaii, it turns out, isn’t perfect.

“There’s not much of a music scene or theatre scene,” says Herkelman, who returned in February from a year and a half spent living in Honolulu. “It’s beautiful, of course, and there’s just a laid-back happiness, a peacefulness, that made me want to live there. And they have a lot of Hawaiian music, obviously, from their heritage. But that’s about it. And yeah – not a lot of theatre.”

 
Flower Power: "Steel Magnolias," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through August 2 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 27 July 2015 06:00

Bailey Jordan Reeves, Jalayne Riewerts, and Miranda Barnett in Steel MagnoliasNot long into author Robert Harling’s ensemble dramedy Steel Magnolias, the Louisiana beautician Truvy asks local socialite Clairee Belcher about the recipe for a delicacy called “cuppa cuppa cuppa,” the ingredients for which are a cup of flour, a cup of sugar, and a cup of fruit cocktail. Truvy says it sounds awfully rich, and Clairee replies that it is, “so I serve it over ice cream to cut the sweetness.”

That line gets a laugh, and it should, and after attending the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s new production of Steel Magnolias, it dawned on me that Clairee’s dessert makes a fine analogy for the play itself. In effect, Harling’s beloved, female-driven theatrical mainstay is a cup of wisecracking sitcom, a cup of unvarnished sentimentality, and a cup (perhaps a teaspoon or two less) of genuine feeling, all blended together and served over ice cream. Some may find this tale of six Southern friends and beauty-parlor regulars too sweet. But it’d be hard to deny the tastiness of the Showboat’s presentation, and if the collective response during Thursday’s curtain call was to be trusted, the standing, clapping, happily tearful crowd would’ve gratefully asked for seconds.

 
In the Land of the Masks, the Blind Man Is King: "Oedipus Rex," at Lincoln Park through July 26 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 06:00

Gary Adkins and Mischa Hooker in Oedipus RexDespite the oppressive heat, the abundance of hungry mosquitoes, and the young couple behind me rudely whispering during the entire length of the performance, I not only enjoyed but admired Saturday’s presentation of Genesius Guild’s Oedipus Rex. Director Dori Foster’s dynamic staging – which is especially dynamic for a Greek tragedy performed mostly in masks – and the cast's impressive ability to emote without the benefit of facial expressions were well worth the night's distractions.

 
Dual in the Sun: "Greater Tuna," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through July 25 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 21 July 2015 06:00

Cody Jolly and Matt Webb in Greater TunaDuring Thursday’s performance of the Timber Lake Playhouse’s Greater Tuna, I enjoyed comparing and contrasting the comedic styles of cast members Matt Webb and Cody Jolly. Each comical in their own rights, Webb and Jolly are distinctly different in their portrayals of the residents of Tuna, Texas, in playwrights Jaston Williams’, Ed Howard’s, and Joe Sears’ two-person, 20-character play about a day spent in this small town.

 
The Sound and the Furry: "Cats," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through July 19 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 13 July 2015 10:29

Dolores Sierra in CatsOne of the biggest stars of Quad City Music Guild’s take on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats never appears on stage, though her mark is rarely invisible the entire time, as designer Sara Wegener is responsible for the costumes, makeup, and wigs worn by the musical's cast of felines. Obviously drawing inspiration from the original West End and Broadway productions, it’s a bit of a shame that the intricacy in her makeup, in particular, isn’t fully discernible from the audience, because the detail in her work is exceptional. Adding her spiked-fur wigs with plush fabric ears, and her bodysuits and loose shirts and pants colored to look like various cat coats, Wegener's contributions are award-worthy.

 
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