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Social Transformation: The Dead Man Walking School Theatre Project Comes to Augustana College PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 31 January 2007 03:43

Brian Bengtson & Kyle Roggenbuck rehearse Explaining the decision to turn Tim Robbins' Oscar-winning Dead Man Walking into a work for the stage, Sister Maureen Fenlon begins with six simple words: "A stage play can go anywhere." And she would like the show to be seen everywhere.

"If you want to have a transformation," Fenlon continues, "a social transformation, then minds need to be engaged so they [people] can be open to learning, and hearts have to be opened so that that learning can go further, and seep into your own soul. When people's minds and hearts have been opened through the arts, the quality of your exchange is more than a conversation, it's surely not [merely] a debate ... and here, it's a powerful art form dealing with a very powerful issue."

 
Judges of Posterity: Quad City Arts Visiting Artist Tom Dugan Portrays Robert E. Lee PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - 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!"

 
Stage Struck: The Way-Off-Broadway Guide to the Quad Cities Theatre Scene PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - 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.")

 
Lovin’ Summer, Had Me a Blast PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 03:31

"Cabaret" In the 11-week period between June 1 and August 12, I saw 28 area productions. And how did you spend your summer vacation?

Considering the overall great time I had last summer, though, I was hardly dreading this relentless schedule. I'd spent 10 whole months eagerly anticipating my return to the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre (CAST), Mt. Carroll's Timber Lake Playhouse, and - for Genesius Guild productions - Rock Island's Lincoln Park; the summer-theatre triad would be responsible for 17 of those 28 offerings. (Summer 2006 would also provide my introduction to Eldridge's Countryside Community Players, whose Cinderella I missed last year.)

 
Community (Theatre) Spirit PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 20 December 2006 03:18

"Aida"There seems to be a pretty safe rule of thumb regarding the productions at Quad City Music Guild and the Richmond Hill and Playcrafters Barn theatres: When the actors appear to believe in their material (whether that material is strong or weak), the shows are terrific, and when they don't, they're not.

 
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