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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Winged Ovation: "The Birds," at Lincoln Park through August 13 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 August 2006 22:37

"The Birds" ensemble members Oh man, how I'm going to miss Don Wooten.

The Genesius Guild founder, who will be retiring from active Guild duties after this, his 50th season with the organization, kicked off Saturday night's production of Aristophanes' The Birds with a few opening remarks to the Lincoln Park audience, and as is often the case, they were the most sincere, relaxed, and effortlessly amusing words heard all night. (Wooten also serves as The Birds' director and, uncredited, wrote its faithful but very loosely structured Genesius adaptation.)

 
So What’d You Direct on Your Summer Vacation?: Student Helms The Secret Garden, August 11 through 13 PDF Print E-mail
Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 August 2006 22:34

"The Secret Garden" ensemble members Derek Bertelsen, whose production of the musical The Secret Garden opens at St. Ambrose University's Galvin Fine Arts Center this Friday, repeats a common theatrical refrain: "It's hard being a director."

Yet it's important to understand that what Bertelsen probably means is that it's hard being a director when you're his age, as he follows that statement with, "You watch the Tony Awards and, you know, most of the directors winning awards are in their 40s. So you're, like, ‘I've got about 20 years. I can fool around.'"

Yes, you read that correctly. The man directing The Secret Garden, with its cast of 19, has to wait nearly two decades before he reaches his 40s. And, for the second year in a row, this theatre major at Millikin University has a rather adventurous idea of what constitutes "fooling around" on summer break.

 
"Sex" Appeal: "Incredible Sex," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through August 6 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 01 August 2006 23:10

Allison Hendrix, Maggie Mountsier, and Benjamin Cole Calling the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's production of Incredible Sex a hit-and-miss affair is accurate, but that description doesn't do justice to just how sensational its hits are - the show, directed by Patrick Stinson, is more like hit-and-miss-and-hit-and-hit-and-hit. Composed of three one-act comedies by Rich Orloff - two performed in the first act and one in the second - Incredible Sex is so clever, and accommodates the talents of the CAST ensemble so fittingly, that the rare moments where you don't laugh are almost reprieves, and even then, you're probably smiling too much to care.

 
If It Only Had a Heart: "The Wizard of Oz," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through August 6 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 01 August 2006 23:08

I am prepared to ignore and/or forgive the technical glitches that accompanied the opening-night performance of The Wizard of Oz at the Timber Lake Playhouse, and this is no small task, as the glitches in question caused the production, at times, to be borderline embarrassing.

Yes, the monkeys flew, as did the Wicked Witch of the West and a bizarre creature called the Jitterbug, and when the flying effects worked, they were magical. Our first airborne sight, in fact - that of Miss Gulch pedaling her bicycle across the stage - earned a rousing ovation from the audience and deserved it, and the twirling, chirping winged monkeys were sensational; at sporadic moments, this Wizard of Oz was as fanciful and enchanting as you wanted it to be.

 
Genesius’ Guilt: "The Comedian," at Lincoln Park through July 30 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 25 July 2006 22:49

James J. Loula and Candice GreggA leading actor tortured by the inability to play a role he can't feel. A narcissistic starlet unashamedly flaunting her sexuality. A group of second bananas complaining about the sizes of their roles. A sweet-faced ingénue enduring the advances of an older sponsor. A clueless playwright convinced that his pedestrian dialogue is marvelous.

No, Genesius Guild isn't tackling Terrence McNally or Woody Allen's Bullets Over Broadway, but rather Henri Gheon, whose play The Comedian opened at Lincoln Park this past Saturday.

 
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