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Shark Attacks: "West Side Story," at the Timber Lake Playhouse through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 02:23

West Side Story's Jets Certain theatrical works are so inherently satisfying that they're pretty great even when their productions are only pretty good, and some are so firmly entrenched as classics that nothing less than spectacular will do. West Side Story is the rare piece that's actually both - a thrilling entertainment that many of us have seen way too many times - and the Timber Lake Playhouse's West Side Story is both, as well; it starts out as pretty good passing for pretty great, and ends up spectacular. By its finale, director James Beaudry's offering had morphed into one of the smartest, most impassioned versions of this legendary Bernstein/Sondheim/Laurents collaboration I've yet seen. It just took a while to get there.

 
The Lady Vanishes: "Catch Me If You Can," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 11 June 2008 02:21

Al Whitmore, Dave Rash, and Dawn Rena Lang in Catch Me If You Can "Life's full of surprises."

These were among the first words spoken from stage during the opening-night presentation at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre. Yet while this sentiment would've sounded perfectly appropriate coming from one of the characters in the comedic mystery Catch Me If You Can, it was actually a statement by the show's director, Kevin DeDecker, who preceded the performance with an announcement: Actor Mike Skiles had fallen ill, and his role as Inspector Levine would be assumed, that evening, by the production's stage manager, Drew Carter - a young man who would be carrying his script in hand, and would also be making his (accidental) stage debut.

 
Sons Raised, Sons Sent: "Empty Nest," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through July 19 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 02:51

Eddie Staver III, Adam Michael Lewis, and Ashler Catherine Schmitt It takes considerable skill - to say nothing of nerve - to steal a show from the likes of Brad Hauskins, Adam Michael Lewis, and Eddie Staver III. But in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's Empty Nest, actress Ashley Catherine Schmitt arrives halfway through the production, introduces herself to her co-stars, tucks playwright Lawrence Roman's comedy into her leg warmers, and all but dashes off with it. The play itself is too featherweight (albeit agreeably so) for this to be considered grand larceny, but it's certainly grand; Schmitt is like the guest you don't remember inviting who winds up being the life of the party.

 
Flappers, Tappers, Kidnappers: "Thoroughly Modern Millie," at Clinton' Showboat Theatre thru June 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 02:45

Alison Luff in Thoroughly Modern Millie When he took the stage before Thursday night's presentation of Thoroughly Modern Millie, the Clinton Area Showboat Theatre's producing artistic director - and Millie director - Craig A. Miller mentioned that audiences might notice a couple of changes at the 'Boat this year.

 
Generation Gaps: "john & jen," at the Green Room PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 03 June 2008 02:43

Sarah Ulloa and Ryan Westwood in john and jenI hadn't heard of the two-person musical john & jen until it popped up on St. Ambrose University's schedule of studio-theatre productions for the 2006-7 season, as a project for director Scott Peake and music director Tyson Danner. I'm guessing a lot of you hadn't, either.

 
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