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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Simonized: "God's Favorite" at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 February 2008 02:41

Seth Kalwasser and Matt Mercer Before attending St. Ambrose University's production of God's Favorite, I had neither seen nor read Neil Simon's 1974 comedy - based on the Biblical book of Job - in which a wealthy, devout husband and father is tempted into renouncing God, refuses to do so, and subsequently suffers the loss of home, health, and family. I now consider the 34 years between the play's debut and Saturday's presentation the happiest years of my life, as I never had to endure what might be the single most irritating and unfunny comedy I've ever sat through.

 
Paradise Lost: "The Fantasticks," at Augustana College through February 17 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 13 February 2008 02:58

Katie McCarthy and Ben Webb in The Fantasticks About a half hour into Augustana College's opening-night presentation of the deservedly beloved musical romance The Fantasticks, Brian Bengtson made his first appearance as the aging ham Henry, and I can't recall the last time I was so relieved to see an actor on stage.

 
The Value of Words: Tom Dugan and Mel Johnson Jr. Return to QC Arts with "In the Shadow of Slavery" PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 02:37

Mel Johnson Jr. as Frederick Douglass Last winter, in conjunction with his impending Visiting Artist residency with Quad City Arts, I had the opportunity to interview Los Angeles-based actor/director/playwright Tom Dugan. He was heading to our area to perform Robert E. Lee: Shades of Gray - a self-written solo production in which he portrayed the Confederate general under the direction of Mel Johnson Jr. - and during our phone conversation, Dugan recalled the process by which much of the play was written: In the back of a van, surrounded by books, while touring On Golden Pond with Jack Klugman.

 
Lions, Liza, and Lynch: Mel Johnson Jr. on Some Career Achievements PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 02:34

Mel Johnson Jr.Though a familiar television presence through such series as The Practice, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - in which the actor played the Cardassian Broca in the program's final two episodes - Mel Johnson Jr. is primarily a stage actor, with more than 30 years of professional credits on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theatres and touring productions across America; most recently, he portrayed Hoke Colburn in an acclaimed presentation for Hartford TheatreWorks of Driving Miss Daisy (which the New York Times called "a splendid 20th-anniversary revival").

 
Restaurant Tour: "Fully Committed," at the Green Room PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 02:25

Eddie Staver III in Fully CommittedAt several points during Friday's opening-night production of Fully Committed - which ran at Rock Island's Green Room through January 27 - actor Eddie Staver III took generous swallows of water from an onstage bottle, and rarely has a beverage looked more thirst-quenching, or more necessary.

 
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