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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
Cheery "Tomatoes": "A Bad Year for Tomatoes," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through August 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 August 2006 22:52

Diane Greenwood, Kevin Brake, & Bill Giebel Last August, in writing about the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's production of Over the Tavern, I prefaced my review by mentioning the conversation I had with the couple sitting next to me; none of us had previously heard of the Tom Dudzick comedy we were about to see, and were looking forward to the surprise.

One year later, as luck would have it, I found myself seated beside the very same couple for another Richmond Hill presentation unfamiliar to us - John Patrick's A Bad Year for Tomatoes, directed by Joseph R. DePauw - and I'm thinking that my accidental theatre-going companions are some kind of good-luck charm. For while Patrick's comedy is nowhere near as strong as Over the Tavern, it, too, is a fine surprise, a silly piece of fluff made enjoyable by its delightfully nutty cast. Tomatoes itself is only borderline funny, but luckily for Patrick - and for the Richmond Hill audience - DePauw's actors elicit more laughs from the material than they should be expected to.

 
This Joint is Jumpin’: "Ain’t Misbehavin’," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through August 20 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 August 2006 22:50

the "Ain't Misbehavin'" ensemble At any musical performance, the applause and cheers of a large, captivated audience are thrilling to experience, and at Saturday night's splendid production of Ain't Misbehavin' at the Timber Lake Playhouse, the crowd, on more than a few occasions, did indeed go nuts.

But there's a sound that, in musical theatre, may be even more electrifying: that of a large, captivated audience not making any noise at all.

 
Totally Ozsome: "The Wizard of Oz," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through August 13 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 August 2006 22:38

"The Wizard of Oz" ensemble members About halfway through the overture for the Quad City Music Guild's preview performance of The Wizard of Oz, my friend, sporting a huge grin, turned to me and whispered, "I feel like I'm watching the movie." With the thrillingly familiar strains emanating from music director Valeree Pieper's splendid orchestra, I agreed completely, and it's fair to say that over the next two-and-three-quarters hours, that feeling almost never waned.

 
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.

 
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