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Theatre
Georgians on My Mind: "Second Samuel," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through July 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 14 July 2014 06:01

Andy Curtiss in Second SamuelThere are few things in today’s desensitized society that I think will shock audiences. But the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s Second Samuel, by author Pamela Parker, manages to shock in its secret that's almost carried to the grave by Miss Gertrude, a deceased woman who is never seen on stage. That secret creates the play’s tension, and ultimately leading to a lesson in tolerance that avoids being too preachy, and that applies to the acceptance of anyone’s differences.

 
And the Oscar (Madison) Goes to … : "The Odd Couple," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through July 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 14 July 2014 06:00

John VanDeWoestyne and Greg Cripple in The Odd CoupleJohn VanDeWoestyne proves a capable center for the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's The Odd Couple. Portraying playwright Neil Simon's slovenly divorcée Oscar Madison, VanDeWoestyne’s comedic timing shines as he adeptly pauses here or rushes there in ways that increase his punchlines' comical impact. The actor never quite overcomes his natural poise and intelligence to fully sell the character, but his Oscar is also a bit funnier for those qualities; it's fun seeing this normally classy man speaking and acting like a disorderly bachelor. While there’s plenty that’s worthy of praise in director Mike Skiles’ well-paced production, it’s VanDeWoestyne who deserves extra credit for being the glue that holds it all together.

 
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 ... ?’”

 
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