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Scentsational: "StinkyKids: The Musical," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through July 12 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 23 June 2014 06:02

Iliana Garcia, Lauren VanSpeybroeck, and Alexis Harter in StinkyKids: The MusicalConsidering its title, and my unfamiliarity with the Britt Menzies books on which it’s based, I was uncertain what to expect going into Thursday’s Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse production of StinkyKids: The Musical. That title, for me, conjures up thoughts of the grotesque Garbage Pail Kids collector cards from the 1980s. Thankfully, though, the show's StinkyKids are nothing like those urchins, as was noted upon my first look at costume designer Gregory Hiatt’s colorful, playful choices for the six characters, with each six- or seven-year old child wearing a predominant color with accents – such as flowers or shapes – in another hue.

 
How the West Was Wonderful: "Annie Get Your Gun," at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre through June 29 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 23 June 2014 06:01

Nathan McHenry and Heather Baisley (center) and ensemble members in Annie Get Your GunThere were moments during Friday’s performance of Annie Get Your Gun at the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre in which I forgot that I was watching a performance. That is to say, the audience around me disappeared as I became lost in the production, and particularly captivated by Heather Baisley’s Annie Oakley. This, for me, was a true escapist experience: I was absolutely taken in by Baisley’s fantastic portrayal.

 
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night ... : " An Inspector Calls," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 28 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Monday, 23 June 2014 06:00

Danielle Brothers, John Chase, and Grant Brown in An Inspector CallsPrior to last Thursday, I had seen 40 productions at Mt. Carroll’s Timber Lake Playhouse, and somehow, during all those visits, I had never been there when it rained. Yet rain it did on Thursday, and it rained hard, and I couldn’t imagine more fitting weather for the venue’s opening-night performance of An Inspector Calls, an eerie, succulent psycho-drama (with laughs) that made the literal storm clouds a spectacular match for the figurative ones on-stage.

 
You Say You Want a Revolution?: "Les Misérables," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through June 22 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 16 June 2014 06:00

Patrick Downing, Dan Pepper, Rob Keech, Mark McGinn, and Quincy Keele in Les MiserablesQuad City Music Guild’s Les Misérables has the look and feel of the local community theatre producing its own, specific version of the Broadway favorite, with its music by Claude-Michel Schönberg and lyrics by Alain Boublil and Jean-Marc Natel. And that delights me, given that I wanted to see the group’s take on this much-loved musical, rather than an attempt to recreate one of its previous stagings.

 
Going Bat-ty: "Die Fledermaus," at Lincoln Park through June 22 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 16 June 2014 06:00

Steven Sepson and Sean Lynch in Die FledermausMy enjoyment of Die Fledermaus, presented by Opera@Augustana and Genesius Guild, started with the first notes heard by the orchestra playing Johann Strauss' operetta. The beauty of this ensemble’s seemingly flawless performance caused my spirit to swell with delight, and added to the experience of sitting in Lincoln Park's outdoor theatre, watching the stars appear and listening to the sounds of nature. Due to the mixture of the open-air atmosphere and the richness of Strauss’ splendidly well-performed composition, I was overwhelmed during Saturday’s performance with a sense of art and culture – and all this before a single note was sung.

 
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