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World Premiere Offers No Easy Answers: "Altar Call" at the Playcrafters Barn Theatre PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 10 May 2005 18:00
Melissa McBain’s drama Altar Call, currently playing at Playcrafters’ Barn Theatre, is beautifully unresolved. There are many fine elements in this production – along with some not-so-fine ones – yet I was impressed by McBain’s willingness to let the drama linger after its close. She introduces potentially volatile subject matter such as adultery, homosexuality, and the dogmatic elements of scripture, yet doesn’t attempt to provide easy answers to the play’s complexities.

 
Augustana College’s "Laramie Project" Thrillingly Good PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 03 May 2005 18:00

Since 1990, I’ve attended more than 25 plays at Augustana College, yet I’ve never seen one that made better use of the Potter Hall stage than The Laramie Project.

 
Humor Helps Elevate "Rosencrantz": St. Ambrose University's "Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead" PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 April 2005 18:00

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, which recently closed St. Ambrose University’s 2004-5 theatre season, is a tough play to produce effectively at the collegiate level: How do you present Tom Stoppard’s mordantly funny rumination on mortality and the meaninglessness of existence with performers this young?

 
"Pippi" Never Starts Making Sense: "Pippi Longstocking" at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 19 April 2005 18:00

So far as I know, there are no steadfast rules regarding children’s theatre, but two certain “don’t”s would have to be: (1) Don’t bore the kids, and (2) Don’t confuse the kids.

 
Leads Help This "King" Shine: "The King & I" at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Mike Schulz   
Tuesday, 12 April 2005 18:00

Chief among many surprises in Circa ‘21 Dinner Playhouse’s current production of The King & I is the re-discovery of just how funny the show is. For many, myself included, the news of another Rodgers & Hammerstein revival is enough to fill you with trepidation; must we sit through one of their timeless extravaganzas yet again? But it’s easy to forget that this theatrical duo is legendary for good reason. Beyond their undeniable musical talents, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote strong, well-constructed shows and empathetic characters, and their productions always feature an intriguing, nearly treacherous dark side; Rodgers & Hammerstein felt no compunction about casually killing off major characters. (Every time I see The Sound of Music I have to remind myself: Oh, right. There are Nazis in this.) And although I’d be content to never see South Pacific again, a recent, invigorating production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s State Fair at Assumption High School was a welcome reminder of the duo’s gifts, and Circa ’21’s The King & I is fantastically fine, engaging and memorable and, to a quite unexpected degree, hilarious.

 
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