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How Beautiful English Can Be: Pat Flaherty Seizes the Throne in Genesius Guild's "King Lear," July 16 Through 24 at Lincoln Park PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 07 July 2011 06:00

Pat Flaherty in King Lear“I think it came from going to church,” says area actor Pat Flaherty of his childhood interest in theatre. “Because I’d go to church, and I’d see this guy who was holding everybody’s interest through the whole service. It was very dramatic – they’d light the candles and ring the bells and everything – and for a while I thought I wanted to be a priest because of that.

“It turned out I just wanted to be on stage.”

Bursting at the Seams: The Harrison Hilltop’s Tristan Tapscott Discusses Big Musicals in Small Spaces PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 06 July 2011 06:00

Jesus Christ Superstar in rehearsalOdd as it may seem now, there actually was a period in the Harrison Hilltop Theatre’s history – a run of 12 shows, to be precise – in which the company didn’t produce any musicals whatsoever. Yet after staging a dozen plays between June 2008 and May 2009, co-founders Tristan Tapscott and Chris Walljasper chose to open the theatre’s second season with a production of Jonathan Larson’s rock musical tick ... tick ... BOOM!

Stage Fraught: Summer Theatre in the Quad Cities and Surrounding Areas PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 24 May 2011 06:00

Rosemary Ocar, Kevin Maynard, Nicholas Waldbusser, Don Hazen, and Molly Schmelzer in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's Don't Talk to the ActorsAdulterous lovers. Women and men in drag. Mistreated orphans. Nuns sniffing glue. Grandmas peddling racy underwear.

But enough about my upcoming birthday party.

These are just a few of the stage sights that audiences will be privy to over the next three months, as our area’s theatre venues and companies open, at last count, an intimidating 62 productions between June 2 and August 26. As usual, the summer season will be filled with musicals, comedies, and blends of the two. But we theatre-going masses will also be treated to a number of classical and Shakespearean titles, challenging Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winners, and even – gasp! – the occasional intense drama, for those who aren’t afraid to spend a couple hours of their summer, you know, thinking.

Where We Were, Where We Are: New Ground Theatre and Quad Citians Affirming Diversity Go "Under the Radar," May 19 through 29 at the Village Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Thursday, 05 May 2011 06:00

Johanna Welzenbach-Hilliard and Donna Weeks rehearse Under the RadarFor the final production in her company’s 10th-anniversary season, New Ground Theatre Artistic Director Chris Jansen chose to direct a rather epic piece: the debuting period drama Under the Radar, which features numerous plotlines and changes of locale, and concerns our area’s gay scene in the late 1970s, with particular attention paid to the relationship of one long-term gay couple.

Based on that description, it sounds as though Jansen is tackling a Quad Cities-based, pre-AIDS version of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America. Yet when, with a good-natured laugh, she says of the mammoth undertaking, “Some idiot wrote 11 characters into it,” know that Jansen isn’t being derogatory. At least, not toward anyone but herself.

Talking Outside the 'box: Kim Furness Discusses the Curtainbox's 10-Year History PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 05 April 2011 10:35

Kimberly Furness[Author's note: The following was written for, the Web site for our area's Curtainbox Theatre Company, of which I've been a proud member for nearly a year.]


Recently, Curtainbox Theatre Company founder Kim Furness and I sat down over a glass of wine – all right, maybe a couple of glasses – to celebrate her company's 10-year anniversary. She had recently taken over the directing position for the Curtainbox's latest production, Speed-the-Plow (in the wake of original helmer Philip W. McKinley’s recruitment as new director of Broadway’s Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark), and during our conversation, was happy to share her thoughts on the company’s history. (The David Mamet comedy Speed-the-Plow – featuring Erin Churchill, Dan Hernandez, and myself – runs at the Village of East Davenport’s Village Theatre from April 10 through 23, with preview performances April 8 & 9.)

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