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Now We're Cookin'!: "The Spitfire Grill," at the Timber Lake Playhouse and the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Through August 21 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 15 August 2011 06:01

Katie Wesler, Marcia Sattelberg, and Erica Vlahinos in the Timber Lake Playhouse's The Spitfire GrillOn Thursday, I attended the Timber Lake Playhouse musical The Spitfire Grill, and caught another presentation of the piece – this time at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre – the very next night. I’m actually somewhat disappointed that no additional area venues staged the show over the weekend, because even after two outstanding Spitfire Grills in a row, I would’ve happily made time for more.

Requiem for a Dreamer: "Evita," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through August 21 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 15 August 2011 06:00

Evita, at the Clinton Area Showboat TheatreDirector Tommy Iafrate beautifully bookends the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's Evita with scenes in which the actors acknowledge, or the staging makes clear, that the cast is performing specifically for an audience.

River City’s Leader: “The Music Man,” at the Prospect Park Auditorium through August 14 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 08 August 2011 06:00

Erika Thomas, Susan Granet, Christopher Thomas, and Spencer Clark in The Music ManChristopher Thomas could sell me anything. On Thursday night, he was peddling the character of Harold Hill in a preview performance of Quad City Music Guild’s The Music Man, and Thomas plays the part with such bombastic charm – and just a hint of smarm – that despite knowing of the character’s swindling intentions, I was buying his Hill’s shtick hook, line, and sinker, right along with the good people of River City.

Till There Was You: Christopher and Erika Thomas Play "The Music Man"'s Romantic Leads for Quad City Music Guild, August 5 through 14 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 02 August 2011 06:00

Erika and Christopher Thomas in The Music ManQuad City Music Guild’s new production of The Music Man – the Meredith Willson classic running August 5 through 14 – stars husband and wife Christopher and Erika Thomas as romantic leads Harold Hill and Marian Paroo. And just to be clear: Yes, the couple knows how close to nauseatingly adorable it is for them to be playing these roles opposite one another.

“I’m kind of calling this my nursing-home story,” says Erika with a laugh. “Like when our grandchildren come to visit, it’ll be, ‘You know, your grandfather and I were in Music Man once ... !’”

“And they’ll be, ‘Uh oh ... here comes that Music Man story again ... !’” counters Christopher, also laughing.

Bughouse: "The Wasps," at Lincoln Park through August 7 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 01 August 2011 06:02

Aristophanes' The WaspsIt’s not easy for me to review Genesius Guild’s The Wasps, as this comedy does not rely on quality acting, the focus of most of my reviews. (In truth, the actors who don’t try to be hilarious and don’t attempt great acting here are more successful at being funny than the few that do.) Don Wooten’s direction also doesn’t matter as much for The Wasps as directing would in, say, King Lear. As was stated in the pre-show speech, this is sort of the Guild’s end-of-summer party, with the audience invited to watch the actors intentionally make fools of themselves. And happily, this party is utterly ridiculous and, at times, raucously funny, and elicited waves of laughter through Saturday night’s crowd.

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