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Oldies and Goodies: "Let's Face the Music: A New Musical Revue," at the District Theatre through September 15 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 09 September 2013 06:00

Wendy Czekalski, Sheri Olson, Bryan Tank, and Erin Lounsberry in Let's Face the Music: A New Musical RevueLet’s Face the Music: A New Musical Revue is a production of songs by Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and George and Ira Gershwin, conceived and directed by Lora Adams, and performed by four of the best singers (and one of the best dancers) in the area-theatre community. While the tempo and energy of the numbers change, the District Theatre’s presentation maintains a mellow mood throughout the hour-long show, with the only glaring fault in Saturday's performance being that the piece wasn't also presented in a 1940s nightclub, so that the audience could complete the experience by stepping into the period presented on stage.

 
Depression? What Depression?: "Southern Crossroads," at the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse through September 21 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 19 August 2013 06:01

 Brad Hauskins, Tom Walljasper, Rachelle Walljasper, Lora Adams, Andrew Crowe, and Jody Alan Lee in Southern CrossroadsWith its charm, high spirits, optimism, and infectiously fun tunes selected and arranged by Steve Przybylski, there’s a wonderful specialness to playwright Warner Crocker’s Southern Crossroads. And in the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse's current production of the show, what's particularly special about what is already a good musical has a lot to do with director Curt Wollan’s cast members, who have an apparent love for the material and exude a palpable enjoyment in their performance of it. This piece transcends traditional musical theatre in a way that’s all too rare, pulling in its audience through a spell of song and hope.

 
Don't Move!: "Love Thy Neighbor," at the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre through August 25 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 19 August 2013 06:00

Jim Strauss, Jan Golz, and Stacy McKean Herrick in Love Thy NeighborThe sharp wit of playwright Gary Ray Stapp’s dialogue goes a long way to overcome the occasional humorless spots in the Richmond Hill Barn Theatre's production of Love Thy Neighbor. And when the cast is delivering Stapp’s most amusing banter, director Eugenia Giebel’s presentation titillates sometimes to the point of tears, particularly as Jan Golz’s self-important, riff-raff-hating busybody Leona Crump squares off against Diane Greenwood’s dolled-up, somewhat pompous Tupperware and Avon saleswoman Ava. The two create sparks of entertaining disdain for each other, and best suggest the overall tone Stapp apparently intended for his play.

 
Who's the Boss?: "9 to 5: The Musical," at the Prospect Park Auditorium through August 18 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 12 August 2013 06:00

Kelly Thompson, Dolores Sierra, Katie Casey, Valeree Pieper, and Shana Kulhavy in 9 to 5: The MusicalQuad City Music Guild’s production of 9 to 5: The Musical is flat-out fun, with loads of laughs and major amusement delivered throughout the two-and-a-half-hour presentation. Friday’s performance, for me, was one of the most enjoyable stagings of the summer, with exceptional performances from the musical’s three main actors as well as several supporting cast members. The pit band, under the music direction of music Gregg Neuleib, didn’t seem to miss a note during their dynamic accompaniment. And Erin Churchill’s peppy choreography seems of a higher level of difficulty than is customary at Music Guild, but in a welcome way, as the show's ensemble proved up to the task. With its perfect pacing and high energy, and under the capable direction of John VanDeWoestyne, I’d say Music Guild has a definite hit on its (stage)hands.

 
The Down-and-Dirty Dozen: "12 Angry Men," at the District Theatre through August 10 PDF Print E-mail
Theatre - Reviews
Written by Thom White   
Monday, 05 August 2013 06:00

the District Theatre's 12 Angry Men ensembleIt only takes the jurors of the District Theatre’s 12 Angry Men an hour to deliberate and arrive at a verdict in the play’s murder trial, but director Tristan Tapscott’s production in no way feels rushed or stunted. Instead, Thursday’s 60-minute trip through this classic piece of theatre did a fine job of showcasing the excellence of playwright Reginald Rose’s script. Plus, purists be damned, Tapscott’s decision to cast women in what’s traditionally – even titularly – an all-male drama proves not at all problematic, and allows for the inclusion of Patti Flaherty, and her infusion of humorous personality traits, in the role of Juror Four.

 
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