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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?’”

 
"Spring" Time: The Center for Living Arts Produces the Controversial Musical "Spring Awakening," March 23 through April 7 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 08 March 2012 13:06

Benjie Lewis, Aaron Lord, Max Moline, and Andrew Bruning in Spring AwakeningDino Hayz is the creative director and co-owner of the Center for Living Arts, the Rock Island-based venue that, since 2006, has offered music and theatre (and musical theatre) classes for ages 18 and under, and has produced such stage presentations as Schoolhouse Rock Live! and Disney’s High School Musical.

Consequently, Hayz says that he and his performers have a pretty fair idea of how patrons might react to the Center’s latest theatrical offering.

“When we’re in rehearsal,” says Hayz, “at the end of Act I, we always say, ‘A-a-and ... blackout. Actors off, lights up, a good third of the audience walks out the door ... .”

 
The Bard, the Bee, and a Couple of Woodys: Spring Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 27 February 2012 06:00

the touring production of Damn Yankees, coming to the Adler TheatreAfter compiling the list of stage presentations coming to area venues this spring, three things became immediately clear.

(1) Audiences are getting a rather intimidating number of options, with (at last count) no fewer than 57 plays or musicals scheduled to open between March 1 and May 31.

(2) Audiences are getting a rather incredible variety of options – everything from a comedy by Woody Allen to a musical by Woody Guthrie.

(3) Absolutely none of these numerous and diverse theatrical productions features me.

While drying your eyes, though, do your best to get excited about this spring’s lineup anyway ... which, I hasten to add, shouldn’t be very difficult.

 
Stage to Page to Stage: Author Eileen Boggess Brings Her Junior Theatre Experiences to Life – at Davenport Junior Theatre – in "Mia the Melodramatic," February 18 through 26 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 01 February 2012 06:00

Author Eileen Boggess (third from top right), director Jessica Sheridan (bottom left), and Davenport Junior Theatre's Mia the Melodramatic teamThose familiar with Davenport Junior Theatre might find its forthcoming production of Mia the Melodramatic a bit ... well ... familiar. After all, the show concerns a children’s theatre company that finds kids starring in and producing plays for other kids, and even comes complete with its own mascot in the form of an energetic, floppy-shoed clown.

Rest assured: Any similarities between the fictional children’s theatre of Mia the Melodramatic and Davenport Junior Theatre itself are completely intentional.

 
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