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He Is Siamese, If You Please: "The King & I," at North Scott High School through June 30 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 25 June 2012 06:00

Jonathan Schrader (top) and the king's children in The King & ICountryside Community Theatre has plenty to be proud of with its current production of The King & I – the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical about a British schoolteacher who moves to Siam in 1862 to teach the king’s many children – as Friday’s performance hit all the right notes anyone might expect from this classic. There’s enough familiarity in director David Turley's outing to remind audiences of the film or similarly staged productions, but also more-than-enough fresh takes on the characters to make this production Countryside’s own. And underlying all this is a true cheeriness that extends from the cast to the audience. Despite the show's moments of anger and sadness, I was brimming with joy and full of smiles when I left the theatre.

 
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Friar: "Measure for Measure," at Lincoln Park through July 1 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 25 June 2012 06:00

Amanda Wales, Michael King, and Andy Curtiss in Measure for MeasureThree hours goes by quite quickly during Genesius Guild’s well-paced, oftentimes hilarious production of William Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure. While the piece is considered a “problem play,” as the script defies the expectations of a traditional comedy, director Jeff Coussens highlights the work’s ample amounts of humor, particularly in the production's first half. And with Coussens and his cast punching up every punchline through inflection and a sort of “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” attitude, I ended up laughing harder at Saturday's presentation, I believe, than I’ve ever laughed while watching a Shakespeare performance.

 
Career Night: "Working," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 30 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 25 June 2012 06:00

Erica Stephan, Dreiden Thomas Meints, Judy Knudtson, Sharriese Hamilton, and Andrew Way in WorkingBased on the justly celebrated 1974 nonfiction by Studs Terkel, the musical Working is a two-act series of vignettes on the joys and frustrations of professional life, and the search for satisfaction in even the most mundane of careers. It’s somewhat ironic, then, that in the Timber Lake Playhouse’s current, wholly engaging, superbly performed production of the show, the most effective segment in it concerns a man who actually doesn’t work for a living.

 
Yes, They Shall Dance: Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader Get (Semi-)Romantic in Countryside Community Theatre's "The King & I" PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 06:01

 

Rochelle and Jonathan Schrader in The King & ILocal audiences have seen married actors Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader appearing opposite one another numerous times over the years: in Opera@Augustana's The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado; in the former Green Room Theatre’s Into the Woods; and in Quad City Music Guild’s Babes in Toyland.

But with Countryside Community Theatre’s presentation of The King & I, running June 22 through 30 at Eldridge’s North Scott High School, patrons will see the Schraders interact in a way that, on-stage at least, they never have before.

“This is the first time we’ve actually gotten to play semi-romantically together,” says Jonathan, who enacts the titular, short-tempered King of Siam – a role made legendary by Yul Brynner – opposite his wife’s stalwart schoolteacher Anna. “I’ve played her father several times, and I tried to kill her in Babes in Toyland, but ... .”

 
To Laugh, Perchance to Participate: The Prenzie Players' "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged]," through June 24 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 06:00

Jake Walker, Andy Koski, Adam Lewis, and Nate Curlott in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged]There are rough edges to the Prenzie Players’ The Complete Works of William Shakespeare [abridged], due to a lack of polish and predetermined staging, that make it seem like you're watching the entertainment at a frat party. This, however, is much of what makes the Prenzies' production so much fun; its frenetic, improvisational feel heightens the entertainment value. With director Catie Osborn’s staging making it feel like we, the observers, were actually part of the production itself, Saturday’s performance was so raucous that patrons felt free to interact with the actors – such as by offering humorous back-talk – in ways audiences normally wouldn’t.

 
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