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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
The Roar of the Crowds: St. Ambrose University's "Narnia" and Quad City Music Guild’s "It’s a Wonderful Life: The Musical" PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 02:29

Mike Millar & Stephanie Perry in "It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical"This past Saturday, I had the unique opportunity to catch two local theatrical productions: St. Ambrose University's Narnia (an hour-long stage version of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe) and the Quad City Music Guild's presentation of It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical. (Both closed on Sunday, December 3.)

Despite obvious differences in subject matter and audience demographic - Narnia was geared toward the 10-and-under set, while Wonderful Life was designed for ... well, pretty much everyone else - the shows did bear a striking similarity, in that both were musical adaptations of decidedly un-musical works with enormous fan bases; St. Ambrose and Music Guild could probably have secured full houses based on the titles alone.

Capra Cadabra!: "It’s a Wonderful Life" Becomes a Stage Musical at Quad City Music Guild PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 02:44

Harold Truitt and Mike Millar"The cast hates me," says local performer Andy Davis during a recent rehearsal break. "Our first cast meeting, they were introducing us all and I said, ‘Yeah, I'm playing Potter ... ,' and everybody booed."

So why is Davis so happy about it?

Probably because the Potter he's playing is the hateful, wheelchair-bound Henry Potter of Bedford Falls, and the show he's rehearsing for is the Quad City Music Guild's production of It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical. Considering people's familiarity with - and love for - the Frank Capra classic of 1946, Davis should only have worried if he didn't get booed.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Mistress: St. Ambrose University presents "Narnia" Dec. 2 & 3 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 22 November 2006 02:43

St. Ambrose University's "Narnia" "I'm the mom of the theatre department," says St. Ambrose designer Dianne Dye during an afternoon spent in the university's costume shop. "If people have a problem, or when they just want to gossip, here's the place to come."

"She is the mom," agrees the school's Galvin Fine Arts Center manager, Eileen Eitrheim. "Officially. Even I come down here when I have a problem."

I'd agree with the ladies' description of Dye's maternal countenance, except for one thing: Unlike Dye, my mother never greeted my arrival by offering me a piece of candy.

Ich Bien ein Berliner: "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas," at Circa ’21 through January 6 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:26

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas" ensemble Friday's performance of Irving Berlin's White Christmas at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse was so joyous, so committed to giving audiences a good time, that it easily transcended its opening-night technical gaffes. Hell, the sound system could've exploded and the set could've come crashing down - knock knock knock - and the cast still would have sold the show.

Beer Giggles: "Lone Star" and "Laundry & Bourbon," at Black Hawk College through November 16 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:24

"Lone Star" and 'Laundry & Bourbon" ensemble membersJames McLure's Lone Star, currently being produced at Moline's Black Hawk College, is one of the most delightful theatrical surprises of 2006. Set in the mid-'70s outside a small-town bar in Texas, McLure's one-act is an extended conversation between two brothers - Roy (Damian Cassini), newly returned from Vietnam with emotional baggage and a serious drinking problem, and his sweetly obtuse younger sibling Ray (Jeremy Kelly), whose "football knee" kept him out of service. Over the course of an hour, the brothers bicker, bond, and briefly converse with the town dweeb, Cletis (Nicholas Waldbusser), and all throughout, Lone Star beers are endlessly consumed; by the play's end, Roy will barely be able to stand.

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