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Big Rewards in a "Little" Package: "Stuart Little" at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 29 November 2005 18:00
Stuart Little, the family musical currently being produced at the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse, is a near-perfect melding of actors and material, a musical comedy so creative and ebullient that you are instructed to secure tickets even if you don’t have any kids on hand to chaperone you. The show has the sweetness of spirit that E.B. White’s beloved tale requires, but it’s better enjoyed as an ingenious vaudeville entertainment; with little overt plotting to get in the way, Stuart Little gives audiences a bevy of delightful musical and comedy sketches, and even though some of the songs are humdrum, the presentation never is. Circa ’21’s production isn’t just a topnotch family entertainment; it’s a topnotch entertainment, period.

 
Setting Sedaris Straight: My Verona Productions' "The Santaland Diaries" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 22 November 2005 18:00
Adapted from David Sedaris’ famed audio presentation and subsequent short story, The Santaland Diaries – the latest endeavor from My Verona Productions, currently playing at Rock Island’s ComedySportz venue – is an acting triumph for its star, Adam Lewis. Playing an unmotivated 33-year-old who finds himself – to his abject shame – employed at Macy’s as one of Santa’s elves, Lewis is spectacular; as he enacts his character’s grueling ordeals in a one-man show that’s part monologue, part stand-up routine, and part performance-art piece, the actor is thrilling to watch, so brilliantly focused and ceaselessly inventive that he leaves you a bit in awe.

 
Circa '21's "Christmas from the Heart" Rates a Holiday Cheer PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 November 2005 18:00
Christmas from the Heart, which opens the Circa ’21 Dinner Playhouse’s 29th season, is a holiday-themed musical revue, and as such, it has a built-in advantage that many stage works don’t: Audiences don’t make many demands of it. When presented with a piece of this sort – in which the production is essentially an excuse for linking together a diverse group of carols and holiday hits – no one really cares what the story is about or whether the characters have any depth; all we ask is that the numbers are well-sung and that the show maintains a lively pace, and if it’s funny or touching or particularly well-designed, those are just added bonuses.

 
Passable Entertainment, Questionable Education: "The Scottish Play: A Travesty!" at Black Hawk College PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 15 November 2005 18:00
I love attending local college and university stage productions, partly because it’s such a wonderful reminder of my days as a theatre major – ah, the reassuring familiarity of Augustana College’s Potter Hall! - but also because the shows’ participants are generally involved with theatre because they truly want to be; with the possible exception of staff members, no one’s doing it just for the paycheck. (No one should ever be doing theatre for the paycheck, but that’s another issue entirely.)

 
"It’s a Wonderful Life" at Playcrafters, but Not a Wonderful Script PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 08 November 2005 18:00
Your enjoyment of the stage version of It’s a Wonderful Life – at least the James W. Rogers adaptation currently playing at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre – will likely depend on your familiarity with the classic film. I’m guessing that those who don’t already know the story will get more out of the experience than those who do, but how many of us, exactly, does that leave?

 
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