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All the Worlds of Stage: Mike Schulz and Thom White Discuss Area Theatre in 2011 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 15 December 2011 11:53

Tom Walljasper, Kristin Gilbert, and John Payonk in HairsprayThe Reader's chief theatre reviewer, Thom White, saw and wrote about 52 area stage productions in 2011. I saw 39 and reviewed 12. Obviously, during our second-annual breakfast chat on the Year in Theatre, there was a bit to talk about.

 
Playwright at Your Side: St. Ambrose Student Aaron Randolph III Authors Two Wintertime Productions PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 21 November 2011 06:00

Cody E. Johnson, Stacy Phipps, and Tim Stompanato in Dakota Jones & the Search for AtlantisEvery year, St. Ambrose University’s theatre department produces four mainstage shows over the nine months that school is in session. It’s somewhat surprising, then, that given the myriad authors to choose from, the university opted to reserve half of the slots in its 2011-12 season for works by a single playwright.

Yet what’s more surprising is that the author in question isn’t one of the usual theatrical suspects – Shakespeare or Williams or O’Neill. Rather, it’s St. Ambrose student Aaron Randolph III, a 32-year-old pursuing additional degrees after graduating in 2002 from the school’s music department. His family musical Dakota Jones & the Search for Atlantis will be staged in the university’s Galvin Fine Arts Center December 3 and 4, and his comedy The Plagiarists runs February 24 through 26.

 
Free to Be Junie B.: Sunshine Ramsey Stars in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells," November 25 through December 31 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 16 November 2011 06:00

Sunshine Ramsey as Junie B. JonesOn November 25, the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse will debut Junie B. in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, a holiday comedy based on one of the many children’s books featuring author Barbara Park’s feisty, funny, and unpredictable first-grader Junie B. Jones. It’s the second Junie B. title that Circa ’21 has staged in the past three years, and if you attend this new show and think you recognize its star from 2009’s Junie B. Jones & a Little Monkey Business, you do: Sunshine Ramsey will again be donning Junie’s dress to play a character some 25 years younger than the actress is.

 
Community Effort: Playcrafters and Black Hawk College Team Up for "Leaving Iowa," November 11 through 20 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 03 November 2011 07:22

Pam Kobre, Hannah  McNaught, Don Faust, Dana Moss-Peterson, and Taylor Apple in Leaving IowaDescribed by the Chicago Sun-Times as “simultaneously hilarious and touching,” the road-trip comedy Leaving Iowa is the final presentation in the Playcrafters Barn Theatre’s 2011 season. Leaving Iowa is also the first presentation in Black Hawk College’s 2011-12 theatre season, but don’t chalk that up to either coincidence or some sort of Moline-based rivalry; the productions are actually one and the same.

 
The Last Gasp of the Golden Age of Radio: Scott Community College Presents a New Version of "War of the Worlds," October 20 through 30 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 06 October 2011 06:00

Orson Welles performs for the Mercury Theatre“Most of our students work jobs when they’re not at school,” says Scott Community College (SCC) theatre instructor Steve Flanigin. “So when you say, ‘We’re going to do a play – who’d be interested?’, you have to see who’s available before you decide what play you can do. Because if they have to go to a job when we normally rehearse – Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, from three to five – then they can’t do the show.

“I think that’s one of the challenges of doing theatre at a community college that a lot of people don’t realize,” he continues. “What we do depends on who is here in the fall or the spring, and what their schedules are like. I mean, I’d love to do Hello, Dolly!, but not with four people.”

Happily for Flanigin, he was able to secure roughly a dozen student participants for the school’s latest production. And while that number wasn’t large enough for a Hello, Dolly!, it was perfectly appropriate for the show that he and fellow SCC instructor John Turner did choose: a new adaptation of author H.G. Wells’ alien-invasion classic War of the Worlds, running October 20 through 30.

 
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