Sunday, January 25, 2015

Annual Manual

Posted January 21, 2015in Center Stage

Whatever Lola wants…

“Cyndi Lauper brought it off!” exclaims Nick McCough. “She brought her rock ’n’ roll to Broadway!” What has got McCough so excited is “Kinky Boots,” the new musical, bursting with the same energy Lauper brought to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” in 1983. Thirty years later, her score for “Kinky

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Posted January 14, 2015in Center Stage

Swapping Genders

“It’s the kind of exciting work StageWest has always brought to town,” claims Todd Buchacker. “It proves we’re still taking chances.” Buchacker, the director for this show, might be talking about the title alone: “Cock.” The word isn’t quite so shocking in England, however, where playwright Mike Bartlett set his

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Posted January 07, 2015in Center Stage

Peter Pans Go Head to Head

These days anyone who thinks of the sitcom “Growing Pains” probably thinks of Robin Thicke, the young lead, now a rock star. The show’s success, however, depended more on the father, Alan, and since it ended he’s kept busy, too. He’s done movies with Adam Sandler and written bestsellers about

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Posted December 31, 2014in Center Stage

Uproarious Africa

  It might seem a long way from South Park — that town full of filthy-mouthed kids — to the Mormon tabernacles. Yet the same two talents, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, have made a hilarious spectacle of each. “The Book of Mormon” presents Stone and Parker’s sendup of the

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Posted December 24, 2014in Center Stage

Coming back and ready to bash

“Bash to the Future” At the Des Moines Social Club, the New Year’s “Bash” has always included performance. A few years back I caught “Jerry Springer: the Opera,” a StageWest production, and last year the party featured the aerial ballet of the Iowa Fly Girl, Felicia Coe. What’s new, then,

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Posted December 17, 2014in Center Stage

Iowa Nice in a cage match

If anyone has established Iowa as a center for performance, it’s Scott Seipker. In 2012, Seipker’s sardonic “Iowa Nice” videos propelled him into gigs with ESPN and IPTV. Yet he began in theater, first at Iowa State University and then in small Des Moines venues. He often worked with Brendan

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Posted December 10, 2014in Center Stage

An old cuss, a small cast and a Christmas myth

It is as if the story has been around forever. The hard-hearted old miser, visited by night spirits, awakens to the joy of Christmas. It is a kind of myth that is endlessly adaptable. “A Christmas Carol” had this magic from the first, too. No sooner did Charles Dickens dream

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Posted December 03, 2014in Center Stage

Fixing a family with supernatural sugar


At one of the last rehearsals of “Mary Poppins,” I saw a young woman fly. What’s more, she was singing. Onstage, technicians scrambled around, at work on location and timing. But Dani Boal, up on the wires that will carry her over the rooftops of London, delivered a lovely melody.

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Posted November 26, 2014in Center Stage

Lunacy as a group effort

Actors, Inc., has a hit on their hands. The Ames company had to put in extra seats, and as their barn-like space echoed with laughter, it grew toasty. Onstage, meanwhile, there was another kind of community spirit. A farce like “The Game’s Afoot” demands a slick ensemble. Players need to

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Posted November 19, 2014in Center Stage

Showing the man, celebrating the music

When I interviewed Clifton Owen, the man playing Motown founder Berry Gordy in the tour of “Motown the Musical,” the show was in Detroit — Motown itself. As you might expect, the cast was finding the experience a love fest. “People in Detroit are so proud of this music,” said

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Barmuda