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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
The Winter's Tales: Quad Cities Theatre, November through February PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 14 November 2013 06:00

American Idiot, at the Adler TheatreI’m probably too old to go to the mall this December and sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what I want for Christmas. (Cue the chorus of “Probably?!?”) But if I did, as a huge fan of the local stage scene, I’d say that I really wanted a winter filled with plentiful and diverse theatrical options: musicals, dramas, comedies, dance presentations, family offerings, seasonal titles, a Tony winner here, a Pulitzer Prize winner there ... and if he also wanted to throw a Shakespeare or two into the mix, that’d be fine with me.

Well, look whose wish is coming true!

All I Want for Christmas Are Two Front-Row Seats: "A Christmas Story: The Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through January 4 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 November 2013 06:02

Ben Klocke (center) and ensemble members in A Christmas Story: The MusicalThere's magic in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's A Christmas Story: The Musical, most notably in the fantasy sequences and any scene involving the children's chorus. Adapted from the much-loved 1983 movie, this stage musical is familiar without being an exact copy, making it a fresh take on the holiday-tradition entertainment. Plus, the musical numbers, by composers and lyricists Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, add a lot of fun to an already laugh-worthy tale.

To Helen, Back Again: "The Miracle Worker," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 November 2013 06:01

Cayte McClanathan and Laila Haley in The Miracle WorkerWhen it matters most, the Playcrafters Barn Theatre gets A Miracle Worker right, and does emotional justice to author William Gibson’s tale of Annie Sullivan (Cayte McClanathan) teaching the blind, deaf, and mute Helen Keller (Emma Terronez) how to communicate through sign language. The scenes shared by McClanathan and Terronez are powerful, and their chemistry palpable, in Annie’s fight to force young Helen to learn, and Helen’s stubborn efforts to resist. But in truth, Saturday’s performance didn’t really find its footing until McClanathan and Terronez first shared the stage about halfway through Act I.

Sleeping Booty: "I Take This Man," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 11 November 2013 06:00

Sarah Ade Wallace, Bryan Woods and Tommy Ratkiewicz in I Take This ManTo be frank, I didn’t find the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's comedy I Take This Man all that funny, at least not consistently. However, playwright Jack Sharkey’s plot – about a single woman who brings home an unconscious Boston Marathon runner in order to finally have the romance she’s long wanted – is incredibly interesting, particularly considering the gradual pace at which Sharkey’s story unfolds, leaving you constantly wondering what will happen next. I may not have laughed as much as Sharkey would have liked, but I was certainly entertained during Thursday’s performance.

Nine Singers Walk into a Bar ... : "Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim," at the QC Theatre Workshop through November 17 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 04 November 2013 06:00

Erin Churchill, Don Denton, Allison Swanson, Patrick Gimm, Angela Elliott, Jamesd Fairchild (standing), Mark Ruebling, Sara Tubbs, and Kimberly Kurtenbach Furness (seated) in Last Call: The Songs of Stephen SondheimWhat’s perhaps most beautiful about the QC Theatre Workshop’s Last Call: The Songs of Stephen Sondheim aside from it showcasing music by, arguably, our greatest Broadway composer – is the way show creators Tyson Danner and (Reader employee) Mike Schulz weave a story through their revue, offering more than just an “in concert” experience. There’s a natural progression throughout the piece, which they’ve set in a bar where individuals and couples gather to drink, socialize, long for love, or lament love lost. Rather than having a distinct plot and conflict, the production delivers a look at a typical bar evening in which the audience gets to eavesdrop on every table conversation and watch as people mingle, flirt, and attempt to repair relationships. And the flow of this slice of life as told through song is to be admired particularly because it lacks pretense and feels real.

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