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River Cities' Reader | Theatre
O Brother, Why Art Thou?: "The Melville Boys," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 June 2014 06:00

Nathan Johnson and Victor Angelo and The Melville BoysThe title The Melville Boys implies that the two men in this four-character play are at the crux of its plot. For me, though, the highlight of the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's production of Norm Foster’s script was watching Dianna McKune provide the performance’s heart and soul. As Mary, the character whose home neighbors the family cabin that the Melville brothers are using for the weekend, McKune brings a centered warmth to the proceedings, and is responsible for the play’s biggest laughs and most heartfelt moments.

 
Fratricide Effects: "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 09 June 2014 06:00

Melissa Weyn in Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor DreamcoatFewer than 90 minutes after it began, the Timber Lake Playhouse’s season-opening production of Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat ended, appropriately, with a blast of exuberant, life-affirming color. Yet at the curtain call for this fantastically well-sung presentation of composer Andrew Lloyd Webber’s and lyricist Tim Rice’s beloved biblical musical, it became clear that the stars of the show weren’t the gifted performers portraying Joseph, the Narrator, or any of director James Beaudry’s 19 other cast members. The real stars, it turned out, were the streamers.

 
Do-Wop-ers with Cheese: "The Taffetas," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 June 2014 06:00

Carly Ann Berg, Sarah Randall, Heather Baisley, and Jenna Haimes in The Taffetas; photo by Jean BlackTight harmonies, effervescent smiles, and pastel-colored dresses are the highlights of the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s The Taffetas, a jukebox musical featuring songs from the 1950s. Yet it's barely a musical. The production plays out as the titular girls' group makes its national television debut on the Spotlight on Music show – with the Showboat crowd serving as the “live studio audience” for a televised concert – and as there isn’t much dialogue, or much plot, The Taffetas is really more of a revue.

 
"Tradition"-al Family: "Fiddler on the Roof," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through July 19 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 06:00

Marc Ciemiewicz and Rachelle Walljasper in Fiddler on the RoofI’m willing to admit that I had significant reservations when I heard Marc Ciemiewicz would be playing Tevye in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse’s Fiddler on the Roof. While I’ve enjoyed every performance I’ve seen from the actor, I wasn’t sure he could pull off this particular part – and I confess this hoping that my praise is all the more significant: Ciemiewicz knocks the role out of the park. Sporting a beard and using a deep baritone voice to speak and sing, and significantly changing his physical demeanor, this person I normally adore for his cutesy charm and spunk completely disappears into the character of Tevye, all the while maintaining his adept comedic skill. I will never doubt Ciemiewicz's acting range again.

 
The Bluegrass Is Always Greener ... : "Big Rock Candy Mountain," at the District Theatre through June 8 PDF Print E-mail
Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 27 May 2014 06:00

Kyle Jecklin, Tom Vaccaro, Doug Kutzli, Rocky Kampling, and Mark Ruebling in Big Rock Candy MountainA Depression-era band performs an impromptu concert at a small-town theatre, facing off against an overbearing, somewhat inept police officer who later, after getting plastered, takes a shine to them. The group’s biggest adversary is a mean-spirited rich woman who, after boo-worthy attacks on the group, gets her comeuppance when her power is pulled out from under her. The story serves as the bridge to performances of early-20th-Century songs performed by this jukebox musical's cast members, who play on string instruments and out-of-the-ordinary percussion sources.

It’s a description that fits both Southern Crossroads and the District Theatre’s latest debuting production, Big Rock Candy Mountain.

 
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