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Fire and Dice: "Guys & Dolls," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 11 June 2012 06:00

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?

"Tuna" Helpers: "Greater Tuna," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through June 10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 05 June 2012 06:00

Bruce Carmen and John VanDeWoestyne in Greater TunaBased on the reputation of the Tuna plays and remembering how heartily I laughed during a recent production of A Tuna Christmas, I expected the original piece in the series, Greater Tuna, to be, well, funnier. That’s not to say that the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre’s production of this comedy isn’t without laughs – they’re just not side-splitting ones. Still, thanks to the two actors who impressively handle 20 roles between them, director James Fairchild’s staging of authors' Jaston Williams’, Joe Sears’, and Ed Howard’s play is adequately diverting, and good for an evening’s entertainment.

Pink and Green Mother from Outer Space: "Little Shop of Horrors," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through June 10 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 June 2012 06:00

Little Shop of HorrorsThe Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s Little Shop of Horrors kicks off with the promise of a lot of fun. The opening, titular doo-wop number is full of spirit (aided by choreographer Brian Cowing’s homage to ’50s-era backup singers) and is well sung by the trio of street urchins – played by Monique Abry, Heather Botts, and Nyla Watson – who showcase impressive solo belt voices and tight harmonies. With my head bopping and my lips longing to sing along, I believed I was in for a raucous good time during Friday’s performance. However, the Showboat’s production wilts as the carnivorous plant at the center of the action grows.

Chek Mates: "Anton in Show Business," at the Village Theatre through June 3 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 29 May 2012 06:10

Cari Downing, Lauren Vickers, and Jackie Madunic in Anton in Show BusinessThank the theatre gods for Denise Yoder, as her presence livens up New Ground Theatre’s production of Anton in Show Business every moment she's on stage. Portraying a handful of characters, Yoder really gets to showcase her range; whether she's playing a somewhat ditzy stage manager, or a race-conscious black woman directing a play-within-a-play, or a self-assured, bad-joke-telling, male underwriter, Yoder’s sense of pace and comic timing are flawless. (Her director is a particular hoot, and her aggressively annoyed attitude as the stage manager T-Anne – who grows more and more impatient throughout the piece – is hysterical from beginning to end.)

Summer Assault: Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas, May through August PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 06:00

Marquetta Senters in the Old Creamery Theatre's BusybodyAt last count, there were 74 plays and musicals set to open at area venues this summer. Although one of the productions is technically two separate productions. And four of them are technically one. And two of the plays are really readings of plays.

You know what? Let’s just say 70-ish plays and musicals. That’s still impressive, right?

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