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Bitten by the Theatre Bug PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 25 June 2008 02:49

Reader issue #690 As you'll see in these pages, I attended five theatrical productions between Thursday and Sunday, and after writing some 4,200 words on my experiences, my editor asked if I wouldn't mind writing a couple hundred more as an introduction.

That bastard.

 
Breaking Hearts, Tickling Ribs: The Riverbend Theatre Collective Debuts with "Elegies: A Song Cycle" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 02:36

the Elegies ensemble Describing composer William Finn's Elegies: A Song Cycle, the first presentation by the Quad Cities' new theatrical company the Riverbend Theatre Collective, artistic director Allison Collins-Elfline says of the show, "It's quirky, it's fun, it's upbeat ... ."

Yet it's also a considerable risk for a fledgling theatrical organization's first outing, as the subject of the Tony-winning composer's quirky, fun, upbeat musical revue is, as its title suggests, death. "An elegy is a hymn of praise for someone who has passed on," states Collins-Elfline, "and Elegies is about all the people William Finn knew that he's lost."

 
Running, Running, Running: The Prenzie Players Venture Beyond Shakespeare with "Life's a Dream" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 April 2008 02:16

Reader issue #682 The latest undertaking by the Quad Cities' classical-drama troupe the Prenzie Players is an adaptation of Spanish playwright Pedro Calderón de la Barca's Life's a Dream, and at one point during a recent interview, group co-founder and Dream director J.C. Luxton tells me, "This show is just running, running, running. There aren't a lot of breaks for anybody."

Including, as it turns out, the audience.

 
The Value of Words: Tom Dugan and Mel Johnson Jr. Return to QC Arts with "In the Shadow of Slavery" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 02:37

Mel Johnson Jr. as Frederick Douglass Last winter, in conjunction with his impending Visiting Artist residency with Quad City Arts, I had the opportunity to interview Los Angeles-based actor/director/playwright Tom Dugan. He was heading to our area to perform Robert E. Lee: Shades of Gray - a self-written solo production in which he portrayed the Confederate general under the direction of Mel Johnson Jr. - and during our phone conversation, Dugan recalled the process by which much of the play was written: In the back of a van, surrounded by books, while touring On Golden Pond with Jack Klugman.

 
Lions, Liza, and Lynch: Mel Johnson Jr. on Some Career Achievements PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Feature Stories
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 30 January 2008 02:34

Mel Johnson Jr.Though a familiar television presence through such series as The Practice, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - in which the actor played the Cardassian Broca in the program's final two episodes - Mel Johnson Jr. is primarily a stage actor, with more than 30 years of professional credits on Broadway, off-Broadway, and in regional theatres and touring productions across America; most recently, he portrayed Hoke Colburn in an acclaimed presentation for Hartford TheatreWorks of Driving Miss Daisy (which the New York Times called "a splendid 20th-anniversary revival").

 
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