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Let’s Talk About Sets: The Richmond Hill Barn Theatre Stages the Scenically Demanding "Noises Off," October 4 through 14 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 20 September 2012 06:00

Bryan Woods, Sarah Hayes, and Diane Greenwood in Noises OffWhen I first learned that Geneseo’s Richmond Hill Barn Theatre was staging author Michael Frayn’s Tony Award-winning Noises Off this fall, I’ll admit that the news made me chuckle, and not just because the show is so funny.

Wonder Fall: Autumnal Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 29 August 2012 06:00

Sean Christopher Lewis and Tim Budd in Riverside Theatre's True WestAs of this writing, area venues have announced the titles to a collective 70 plays and musicals opening between August 31 and November 30. You wanna know my favorite title? Theatre Cedar Rapids’ The Time When Presley and Mrs. Luther Took a Stand in the Alley, Kinda Sorta. It’s the Kinda Sorta that makes it priceless.

Yes, They Shall Dance: Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader Get (Semi-)Romantic in Countryside Community Theatre's "The King & I" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 06:01


Rochelle and Jonathan Schrader in The King & ILocal audiences have seen married actors Jonathan and Rochelle Schrader appearing opposite one another numerous times over the years: in Opera@Augustana's The Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado; in the former Green Room Theatre’s Into the Woods; and in Quad City Music Guild’s Babes in Toyland.

But with Countryside Community Theatre’s presentation of The King & I, running June 22 through 30 at Eldridge’s North Scott High School, patrons will see the Schraders interact in a way that, on-stage at least, they never have before.

“This is the first time we’ve actually gotten to play semi-romantically together,” says Jonathan, who enacts the titular, short-tempered King of Siam – a role made legendary by Yul Brynner – opposite his wife’s stalwart schoolteacher Anna. “I’ve played her father several times, and I tried to kill her in Babes in Toyland, but ... .”

Summer Assault: Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas, May through August PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 23 May 2012 06:00

Marquetta Senters in the Old Creamery Theatre's BusybodyAt last count, there were 74 plays and musicals set to open at area venues this summer. Although one of the productions is technically two separate productions. And four of them are technically one. And two of the plays are really readings of plays.

You know what? Let’s just say 70-ish plays and musicals. That’s still impressive, right?

One Story, Many Voices: Disaster Tales Are Shared in "Titanic Aftermath," May 11 through 20 at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 07 May 2012 06:00

Titanic Aftermath ensemble membersAs Oregon-based playwright Michael Wehrli is the author of Titanic Aftermath – the historical drama being staged at Moline’s Playcrafters Barn Theatre May 11 through 20 – I initially presume that he’s seen James Cameron’s Oscar-winning movie. In our April 25 phone interview, he tells me he has, and that it was even the inspiration for his play.

That’s not exactly the compliment it might seem, though, considering he calls Cameron’s Titanic “visually stunning and incredibly, maddeningly frustrating because of the fictional characters.

“I mean, they took up half the story,” says Wehrli of the young lovers played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet, “and it was the actual survivors’ stories, to me, that were ... interesting. That, and the corporate-negligence side to the tragedy, which is hardly ever addressed in dramatic form.

“So I thought, ‘All right, well, I’m just going to write a play about all this.’” Wehrli laughs. “‘How the hell do I do that?’”

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