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Bah!: "Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol," at the Nighswander Theatre through December 16 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 13 December 2006 02:40

Jessica Denney & Earl Strupp in "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol"After attending the New Ground Theatre's production of Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol, I wasn't much surprised to learn that Tom Mula's play has been broadcast on NPR numerous times now; a dramatization of Charles Dickens' Christmas Carol story through Marley's point-of-view, the show, with its blend of performance and frequent narration, seems tailor-made for radio. What I can't understand, though - at least based on New Ground's presentation - is what makes it a good fit for the stage.

 
Sole Patrol: "The Elves & the Shoemaker," at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse through December 26 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 02:31

"The Elves & the Shoemaker"I'm good friends with more than a few actors who frequently perform at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse, and I'm occasionally asked if my ties to them - and to the venue itself - skew my opinions about Circa ‘21 productions. I'd like to think they don't ... but then I'll be confronted with a production such as The Elves & the Shoemaker. I had a blast at the theatre's new family musical, yet I'm forced to address a nagging issue: Did I enjoy it because it's good, or did I enjoy it because the act of watching my pals doing goofy-ass shtick in goofy-ass costumes makes me unaccountably happy?

 
The Roar of the Crowds: St. Ambrose University's "Narnia" and Quad City Music Guild’s "It’s a Wonderful Life: The Musical" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 06 December 2006 02:29

Mike Millar & Stephanie Perry in "It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical"This past Saturday, I had the unique opportunity to catch two local theatrical productions: St. Ambrose University's Narnia (an hour-long stage version of C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch, & the Wardrobe) and the Quad City Music Guild's presentation of It's a Wonderful Life: The Musical. (Both closed on Sunday, December 3.)

Despite obvious differences in subject matter and audience demographic - Narnia was geared toward the 10-and-under set, while Wonderful Life was designed for ... well, pretty much everyone else - the shows did bear a striking similarity, in that both were musical adaptations of decidedly un-musical works with enormous fan bases; St. Ambrose and Music Guild could probably have secured full houses based on the titles alone.

 
Ich Bien ein Berliner: "Irving Berlin’s White Christmas," at Circa ’21 through January 6 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:26

"Irving Berlin's White Christmas" ensemble Friday's performance of Irving Berlin's White Christmas at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse was so joyous, so committed to giving audiences a good time, that it easily transcended its opening-night technical gaffes. Hell, the sound system could've exploded and the set could've come crashing down - knock knock knock - and the cast still would have sold the show.

 
Beer Giggles: "Lone Star" and "Laundry & Bourbon," at Black Hawk College through November 16 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Wednesday, 15 November 2006 02:24

"Lone Star" and 'Laundry & Bourbon" ensemble membersJames McLure's Lone Star, currently being produced at Moline's Black Hawk College, is one of the most delightful theatrical surprises of 2006. Set in the mid-'70s outside a small-town bar in Texas, McLure's one-act is an extended conversation between two brothers - Roy (Damian Cassini), newly returned from Vietnam with emotional baggage and a serious drinking problem, and his sweetly obtuse younger sibling Ray (Jeremy Kelly), whose "football knee" kept him out of service. Over the course of an hour, the brothers bicker, bond, and briefly converse with the town dweeb, Cletis (Nicholas Waldbusser), and all throughout, Lone Star beers are endlessly consumed; by the play's end, Roy will barely be able to stand.

 
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