A Wonderful Life
Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse
Wednesday, November 12 through Saturday, January 3
On November 12, the Circa '21 Dinner Playhouse will open its 32nd season with the holiday musical A Wonderful Life, based on Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life.
So let's get right to it: Why look forward to a show that most of us already have committed to memory?
Well, for one thing, you probably don't have this version committed to memory. A stage version of the holiday classic, this area debut features lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, who won a Tony Award for Fiddler on the Roof, and music by the late, great Joe Raposo, composer of such enduring tunes as "It's Not Easy Being Green," "C Is for Cookie," and the Sesame Street theme song.
For another thing, Circa '21's latest is being directed by theatre wunderkind Bill Fabris, the New Yorker who helmed Opera Quad Cities' January presentation of Rigoletto, and whose credits include The Music of Leonard Bernstein, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Hair. And those are just his European credits.
And for yet another thing, the cast features a veritable holiday feast of gifted Circa '21 veterans, among them Tom Walljasper, Andrea Moore, Don Hepner, Tristan Layne Tapscott, Erin Dickerson, Bret Churchill, John Payonk, Mark D. Lingenfelter, Lauren Van Speybroeck, Ashley Catherine Schmidt, and - in the role of George Bailey - Don Denton, last seen starring in The Full Monty.
For any audiences who may have been put off by Circa '21's most recent production, rest assured: Denton keeps his clothes on in this one. For audiences who absolutely weren't put off, I'm sorry: Denton keeps his clothes on in this one.
A Wonderful Life runs through January 3, and tickets are available by calling (309)786-7733 extension 2, or visiting Circa21.com. - Mike Schulz
Atlantic Brass Quintet
John Deere Administrative Center
Tuesday, November 18, 7 p.m.
Providing members of the community with internationally acclaimed artists and a professional performance experience is the aim of the Quad Cities Arts Visiting Artist Series. Upon glancing at this month's calendar, the organization appears to have succeeded once again with the arrival of the Atlantic Brass Quintet.
Founded in 1985, the Atlantic Brass Quintet is a five-piece chamber-music ensemble composed of trumpeters Louis Hanzlik and Hirofumi Noguchi, horn player Seth Orgel, trombonist Tim Albright, and tuba player John Manning. The quintet has seen great success throughout its history, having won six international chamber-music competitions, and having performed at such notable venues as Carnegie Hall and the White House. Needless to say, they're a big deal.
Fortunately, you will have several chances to see them perform live, the first being on November 18. The group will perform at 7 p.m. at the Deere Administrative Center in Moline, and admission is free. Then, at 1:30 p.m. on November 20, the musicians will perform in a free Specifically for Seniors event at the Bettendorf Library. On November 21 at 7 p.m., the RiverCenter's Festival of Trees Grand Premiere Party will feature appetizers, an auction, and, you guessed it, a performance by the group. Their final Quad Cities performance is scheduled for November 22 at 7:30 p.m., as part of the Quad City Symphony's Holiday Pops Concert.
Having been described by the Savannah Morning News as "superior both as musicians and entertainers," and boasting "uncommon agility and impeccable ensemble playing," the Atlantic Brass Quintet's performances are sure to please.
For more information on the group and its performances, visit AtlanticBrassQuintet.com. - Ashley Allen
Dred I Dread
Rock Island Brewing Company
Friday, November 14, 10 p.m.
"Oh, hi, Mike."
"Congrats on your new internship with the Reader!"
"Thanks. It's fun so far. I'm working on a What's Happenin' article for ... ."
"Yeah, I know. Listen. I've got another one I'd like you to do."
"Uh huh. We need a piece on the Minneapolis-based reggae band Dred I Dread, who are playing the Rock Island Brewing Company on November 14."
"Oh, um ... ."
"I figured you could write about how the group was formed in 1988 by Jamacian drummer Rawle' Gopie, and how they were named 'Best Local Reggae Band' by Minneapolis' City Pages magazine just three months after their debut, and how they were named 'Best Reggae Band in Minnesota' by the Minnesota Music Academy. Twice!"
"Yeah, uh ... ."
"You can mention how they mix traditional reggae and roots music with hip-hop, dance-hall, jazz, blues, rock, and even Turkish stylings, because one of the band's members is actually from Ankara, which is Turkey's capital ... ."
"Right. Listen ... ."
"And then you can write about how Dred I Dread has opened for such national acts as DMX and Lee 'Scratch' Perry, and how their CDs include Listen to the Revolution and A Piece of Americana, and then you close with a little tag mentioning how more information on the group and their November 14 gig is available at DredIDread.com and RIBCO.com, and you're done! Easy as that!"
"Mike, you're not asking me to write this just to get out of work you should be doing yourself, right? Because Jeff said you might do that."
"Aw, damn it, Jeff ... !" - Mike Schulz
Saturday, November 15, 7 p.m.
The Grammy-nominated (and American Music Award- and Dove Award-winning) contemporary Christian artists of MercyMe play Davenport's Adler Theatre on November 15, and the band has amassed a considerable fan base through such multi-platinum albums as Almost There and Undone, the hit singles "I Can Only Imagine," "Here with Me," and "In the Blink of an Eye," and the hugely successful WinterJam Tour earlier this year.
Biographies for band members Barry Graul, Bart Millard, Jim Bryson, Mike Scheuchzer, Nathan Cochran, and Robby Schaffer are available by visiting MercyMe.org, but just in case you'd like to be able to tell them apart during the show itself, print out this handy who's-who guide to MercyMe's musicians.
|Born in...||Married to...||Favorite childhood memory||Instrument he'd save if the tour bus was on fire|
|Barry||Baltimore, MD||Karla||Camping with his family||His Les Paul guitar|
|Bart||Greenville, TX||Shannon||Christmas||His laptop|
|Jim||Joplin, MO||Misti||Fourth of July||His accordion|
|Mike||Portland, ME||Abby||Bike-riding, playing in the woods||His Zinky, his Gibson 135, and 10 others|
|Nathan||Columbus, MO||Amanda||Stabbing himself in the foot with a sword||His black jazz bass|
|Robby||Tifton, GA||Margaret||Playing baseball with his dad||Jim's accordion|
And the spreadsheet capability on my computer has finally come in handy.
MercyMe performs at 7 p.m. on Saturday, and tickets are available by calling (563) 326-1111 or visiting AdlerTheatre.com. - Mike Schulz
The Odd Couple
Harrison Hilltop Theatre
Thursday, November 13 through Saturday, November 22
All together now!
"Dut duh-dut duh du-u-u-u-u-uh, dut-duh du-u-u-uh, dut-duh du-u-u-u-uh, d-u-u-u-u-u-uh ... !"
Even with that questionable spelling, I'm guessing you can hear the theme music to TV's The Odd Couple playing in your head. So in preparation for the Harrison Hilltop's November 13 debut of this beloved Neil Simon comedy - directed by Chris Walljasper, and starring Don Hazen, Greg O'Neill, Renaud Haymon, Justin Hertner, and Molly McLaughlin - try your hand at some trivia: Which of the following statements regarding The Odd Couple is not true?
1) The original Broadway production won Tony Awards for Simon, director Mike Nichols, and actor Walter Matthau.
2) Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau starred in both the 1968 film version and a 1998 sequel titled The Odd Couple II.
3) Tony Randall and Jack Klugman both won Emmys for their roles on the original TV series.
4) A predominantly African-American TV version titled The New Odd Couple featured Ron Glass as Felix Unger and Demond Wilson as Oscar Madison.
5) A fully animated TV version titled The Oddball Couple featured a cat named Spiffy and a dog named Fleabag.
6) Tickets prices for a premium seat at 2005's Broadway revival, with Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, were around $200 each.
The Odd Couple runs through November 22, and tickets are available by calling (309) 235-1654 or visiting HarrisonHilltop.com. - Mike Schulz
Answer: 6. Premium seats were actually around $250 each. Harrison Hilltop's $10 to $15 admission price ain't lookin' steep now, is it?