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Theatre
Arachnophabulous: "Charlotte’s Web," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through May 12 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 02:18

Lauren Van Speybroeck & Janos Horvath in Charlotte's WebWhen the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse produced Charlotte's Web in 2003, I was lucky enough to perform in the show opposite Janos Horvath's Wilbur, and I vividly remember being amazed that someone could give such a touching, wholly credible performance while wearing a rubber pig nose.

The theatre has now revived the production, and luckily for audiences, Horvath and his adorable pink honker are back, too. Yet with all due respect to Horvath - who's as marvelous in the role now as he was then - this version of Charlotte's Web is currently being stolen by someone else entirely. And she's only in fifth grade.

 
Designing Woman: "Crème de Coco," at St. Ambrose University PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 25 April 2007 02:17

Kimberly Furness & Jack C. Kloppenborg in Creme de CocoBefore Friday night's presentation of Crème de Coco commenced, St. Ambrose University theatre professor Corinne Johnson briefly took the stage, and related how proud she was of the evening's entertainment - a world premiere by Broadway playwright William Luce, directed by Broadway veteran Philip William McKinley (both of whom were in attendance). As theatrical coups go, this one was way up there.

Yet as understandably proud as the school's staff was, it's inconceivable that they were any less proud of St. Ambrose alumna Kimberly Furness, who portrayed famed designer Coco Chanel in Luce's 80-minute one-act. For those in attendance for last weekend's shows, memories of Crème de Coco's grandeur will likely last several years. Memories of Furness' performance may last even longer.

 
Death Becomes Him: "Death Takes a Holiday," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through April 22 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 02:21

Dave Rash, Jim Driscoll, & Molly McLaughlin in Actors frequently speak of performers who "raise the bar," whose personal performance standards are so high that they challenge - and inspire - their co-stars to match them. In Death Takes a Holiday, the comedy/drama/supernatural romance currently playing at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre, James Driscoll raises the bar so high it's practically celestial.

 
A "Duckling" in Need of a Goose: "The Ugly Duckling," at the Moline Public Library, April 18 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 18 April 2007 02:19

At last Wednesday's preview performance of The Ugly Duckling at Black Hawk College, a most unusual - and most welcome - thing happened: In the one-act play's final 10 minutes, the show finally found the style it seemed to have been searching for during its previous 50.

 
Cut from Theatre Cloth: Broadway's Philip William McKinley Directs "Crème de Coco" at St. Ambrose PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 02:17

Phil McKinley For St. Ambrose University's forthcoming production of Crème de Coco - being performed at the Galvin Fine Arts Center from April 20 through 22 - the school recruited guest director Philip William McKinley to helm what will be the world premiere of William Luce's one-act play. During his area tenure, McKinley is also teaching an advanced acting course at St. Ambrose, and in a recent interview, the director explained why honesty is essential in eliciting the best work from performers:

"I think a lot of times, people tell them what they think they want to hear, rather than tell them what they really do need to hear. And if they know that you're telling them something to make them better, or for their own good, they're totally receptive to it."

That seems like a perfectly logical method for directing student actors. But, at this point in our conversation, McKinley wasn't referring to student actors. He was referring to Hugh Jackman.

 
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