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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night ... : " An Inspector Calls," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 28 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 23 June 2014 06:00

Danielle Brothers, John Chase, and Grant Brown in An Inspector CallsPrior to last Thursday, I had seen 40 productions at Mt. Carroll’s Timber Lake Playhouse, and somehow, during all those visits, I had never been there when it rained. Yet rain it did on Thursday, and it rained hard, and I couldn’t imagine more fitting weather for the venue’s opening-night performance of An Inspector Calls, an eerie, succulent psycho-drama (with laughs) that made the literal storm clouds a spectacular match for the figurative ones on-stage.

 
You Say You Want a Revolution?: "Les Misérables," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through June 22 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 16 June 2014 06:00

Patrick Downing, Dan Pepper, Rob Keech, Mark McGinn, and Quincy Keele in Les MiserablesQuad City Music Guild’s Les Misérables has the look and feel of the local community theatre producing its own, specific version of the Broadway favorite, with its music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. And that delights me, given that I wanted to see the group’s take on this much-loved musical, rather than an attempt to recreate one of its previous stagings.

 
Going Bat-ty: "Die Fledermaus," at Lincoln Park through June 22 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 16 June 2014 06:00

Steven Sepson and Sean Lynch in Die FledermausMy enjoyment of Die Fledermaus, presented by Opera@Augustana and Genesius Guild, started with the first notes heard by the orchestra playing Johann Strauss' operetta. The beauty of this ensemble’s seemingly flawless performance caused my spirit to swell with delight, and added to the experience of sitting in Lincoln Park's outdoor theatre, watching the stars appear and listening to the sounds of nature. Due to the mixture of the open-air atmosphere and the richness of Strauss’ splendidly well-performed composition, I was overwhelmed during Saturday’s performance with a sense of art and culture – and all this before a single note was sung.

 
O Brother, Why Art Thou?: "The Melville Boys," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 June 2014 06:00

Nathan Johnson and Victor Angelo and The Melville BoysThe title The Melville Boys implies that the two men in this four-character play are at the crux of its plot. For me, though, the highlight of the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's production of Norm Foster’s script was watching Dianna McKune provide the performance’s heart and soul. As Mary, the character whose home neighbors the family cabin that the Melville brothers are using for the weekend, McKune brings a centered warmth to the proceedings, and is responsible for the play’s biggest laughs and most heartfelt moments.

 
Fratricide Effects: "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 09 June 2014 06:00

Melissa Weyn in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatFewer than 90 minutes after it began, the Timber Lake Playhouse’s season-opening production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ended, appropriately, with a blast of exuberant, life-affirming color. Yet at the curtain call for this fantastically well-sung presentation of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and lyricist Tim Rice’s beloved biblical musical, it became clear that the stars of the show weren’t the gifted performers portraying Joseph, the Narrator, or any of director James Beaudry’s 19 other cast members. The real stars, it turned out, were the streamers.

 
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