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Theatre
Teacher Pets: "Oleanna," at ComedySportz through February 4 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 03:38

(Warning: Specific details of - and potential surprises in - Oleanna may slip through. Proceed with caution.)

 

Jamie Em Jonson and Chris Browne in It's always heartening to see theatre directors making strong choices, and this is true even when those choices appear to be spectacularly misguided. Such is the case with My Verona Productions' presentation of David Mamet's Oleanna. I didn't necessarily agree with several of Tristan Layne Tapscott's directorial decisions, but I happily recognize that at least decisions were made; in its current incarnation, this 1992 play that has been acclaimed (and, in some circles, reviled) for its refusal to choose sides most definitely does choose a side. Yet what does that decision do for the work as a whole?

 
Gang Busters: "West Side Story," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through March 24 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 24 January 2007 02:26

Mishi Schueller and Kimberly Willes in For West Side Story to really work, the actors portraying Tony and Maria have to be marvelous, and in Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's new presentation of this beloved musical updating of Romeo & Juliet, Mishi Schueller and Kimberly Willes are even better in these roles than you'd hope they'd be. The duo is so touching, so emotionally expansive, that director/choreographer Ann Nieman's production is an absolute dream whenever they're on stage, so allow me to begin by discussing Schueller's and Willes' contributions, which should underscore how great this West Side Story is, and perhaps help explain why it should've been greater still.

 
Judges of Posterity: Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Tom Dugan Portrays Robert E. Lee PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 02:22

Tom Dugan as Robert E. Lee When actor/playwright Tom Dugan premiered his one-man show Robert E. Lee: Shades of Gray in Richmond, Virginia, in 2004, the packed audience at the Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts gave the production a standing ovation. Crowds were similarly enthusiastic after subsequent performances in Tennessee, West Virginia, and Georgia, and when Dugan performed Shades of Gray in Lexington mere days before his Quad Cities arrival, the show was sold-out long in advance of its January 11 opening.

Southern audiences, it seems, have been most appreciative of Dugan's historical endeavor. But what of Northern audiences?

"I'll let you know after I get through Davenport," says Dugan during a recent phone interview. "You guys - you count as the north, don'tcha?"

We certainly do.

Dugan laughs. "I'm finally invading the north!"

 
Discomfort Food: "Strangers on a Train," at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre through January 21 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 17 January 2007 02:20

Alexa Florence and Chris Zayner in You can tell that the Playcrafters Barn Theatre's production of Strangers on a Train is doing its job, and doing it quite well, because - at Friday's opening-night performance, at any rate - the show appears to be making a large segment of its audience really uncomfortable.

 
Stage Struck: The Way-Off-Broadway Guide to the Quad Cities Theatre Scene PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 03:32

612-reader-cover2 My mother sends out an annual holiday letter, which serves as a de facto State of the Union for our family - a recap of what that she and Dad did during the year, a checklist of casinos they visited (which pretty much covers the same ground), and, of course, an update on the lives of their children.

In the past, recipients of Mom's missives would get the skinny on my brother and his wife, my sister, her husband, and their pets, and my adventures would be detailed with a succinct "And Mike went to the movies." (I was thrilled last year when she provided the addendum " ... and the theatre.")

 
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