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Things Are Seldom What They Scheme: "The Merry Wives of Windsor," at Lincoln Park July 11 and 12 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 06:00

Bryan Woods, Bob Hanske, Michael Hill, and Andy Curtiss in The Merry Wives of WindsorGenesius Guild’s The Merry Wives of Windsor is a study in comedic styles, particularly in comparing the portrayals of Bob Hanske’s lothario Falstaff and Andy Curtiss’ hot-headed Ford. Hanske offers a vocally robust – and, thanks to costume designer Ellen Dixon, physically robust – performance that’s delightfully buffoonish in his mannerisms and goofball inflections. Curtiss, on the other hand, plays his part of the jealous husband whose wife is coveted by Falstaff almost without accentuating its humor, choosing instead to allow his fluctuating anger to carry the comedy. And both actors are hilarious in their roles, stealing the show every moment they’re on stage.

 
Ol' Blank Eyes: "My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through July 5 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 06:00

Livvy Marcus, Jonathan Young, Bailey Jordan Reeves, and Christian Chambers in My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank SinatraThe Clinton Area Showboat Theatre’s My Way: A Musical Tribute to Frank Sinatra is filled with beautiful vocals from beginning to end, as Christian Chambers, Livvy Marcus, Jonathan Young, and Bailey Jordan Reeves sing their way through 55 of Sinatra’s songs. Backed by a three-piece band under the lead of musical director Matt Bean, who also plays piano, this production covering the singer’s hits – along with a few facts about his life thrown in here and there – sounds sensational, and is a true delight for the ears.

 
Savior Faire: "Jesus Christ Superstar," at North Scott High School through June 28 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 22 June 2015 06:00

Jason Gabriel (center), Thomas Brooke, Kelly Rose Thompson, and Michael Alexander (top) in Jesus Christ SuperstarDirector Jeff Ashcraft's vision for Countryside Community Theatre's Jesus Christ Superstar is clear from the very beginning. As the orchestra, under music director Keith Haan's capable leadership, plays the overture to composer Andrew Lloyd Webber's and lyricist Tim Rice's gospel story, images of recent religious, political, and social figures and world events are projected on a large screen. It’s as if Ashcraft is saying that these are the reasons we need a savior (e.g., terrorism), and that these are the vessels through which Christ's message reaches the world (e.g., Mother Teresa). Ashcraft not only modernizes the story's setting – aided by designer Emilee Droegmiller's present-day costumes and the use of cell phones, tablets, and video cameras throughout – but immediately makes the case for a modern need for Jesus Christ.

 
Feast and Foremost: "The Big Meal," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 27 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 22 June 2015 06:00

Cullen Rogers, Paige ManWaring, Brian Pauley, Judy Knudtson, Brigitte Ditmars, and Matt W. Miles in The Big MealPlaywright Dan LeFranc’s The Big Meal deserves every superlative I can, and will, use to praise it. The forward progression of his plot about the life of a couple from first meeting to final resting place is extraordinary, and Timber Lake Playhouse’s production does it justice. This is a presentation that tickles the funny bone, pulls the heartstrings, and turns on the waterworks. It is, quite frankly, emotionally stunning.

 
Varied Treasure: "How I Became a Pirate," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through July 11 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 22 June 2015 06:00

Cody King, Antoinette Holman, Chris Galvan, Janos Horvath, Brad Hauskins, Deanna Collins, and Ben Klocke in How I Became a PirateHow long does it take for an area production to become legendary? In the case of the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s How I Became a Pirate, I’d say about one week, because after the show’s debut staging in 2013, that’s how long it took four adult patrons, individually, to tell me it was maybe the best family musical they’d ever seen.

 
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