Friday, October 31, 2014

Annual ManualInternship

Bike World
Posted October 29, 2014in Center Stage

Hitler, heartbreak and lingerie

On the chalkboard outside the Des Moines Social Club Basement, I saw some sad news. I was there for last week’s late-night “Cabaret,” but for this week, I saw conventional start times. That’s a shame. This is a show made for after-hours. “Cabaret” remains best known for the 1972 movie,

Read More →
Posted October 22, 2014in Center Stage

Letting their hair down

The title says it is all about the girls. The standout performance comes from Nancy Zubrod as a “woman of a certain age” who is nonetheless party-hearty. Yet the essence of the hilarity onstage at the Playhouse might turn up in one of the men. This would be Cody Schug,

Read More →
Posted October 15, 2014in Center Stage

Making magic with voice and imagination

Onstage, drama comes in three dimensions. The players have heft and the set can trick you into thinking you see a house, a cornfield, a Metropolis. What happens, though, when all you have to go on is the words? When all you’ve got are voices and stage directions? For instance,

Read More →
Posted October 08, 2014in Center Stage

Soul-searching, by way of songs and scares

Just before one of the last rehearsals for “Carrie: The Musical,” two of the leads treated everyone to a few bars of lovely harmony. This, too, was rehearsal, of course, one more run-through of a tricky duet between Carrie and her mother. Still, it turned heads, a soaring passage shared

Read More →
Posted October 01, 2014in Center Stage

Harriet Potter, entirely homegrown

Few shows put the “community” in community theater more emphatically than the one in Ankeny right now. The cast of “The Little Princess” includes six adults, with day jobs like insurance adjuster, and more than twice as many local children, ranging in age from third grade to 10th. These players

Read More →
Posted September 24, 2014in Center Stage

Emotional whipsaw, unflagging spitfires

The set shows the baggage they carry. Even before the start of Repertory Theater of Iowa’s flawless new production, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” you feel the burdens on George and Martha, the drama’s aging spitfires. Their decorating tends to beige and brown, the pillars between rooms suggest cages, and

Read More →
Posted September 17, 2014in Center Stage

Thwacking waltzes and splendid surprises

The attack comes in a song, and there’s no defense against it. Late in the first act of “South Pacfic,” Ensign Nellie Forbush shucks off her reservations about Emile de Becque. An all-American girl out of Little Rock, she kisses the middle-aged French exile — a plantation owner in Polynesia

Read More →
Posted September 10, 2014in Center Stage

“The biggest ever, with grit and grandeur”

Quick: Name the single most lucrative piece of entertainment ever. The single biggest earner — movie, CD, whatever. “Avatar?” Wrong planet. “Thriller?” Deader than disco. No. 1 is the show now at the Civic Center, “Phantom of the Opera.” “It’s such a humongous spectacle,” declared Edward Staudenmayer, one of the

Read More →
Posted August 20, 2014in Center Stage

A do-over done Latin-style

Broadway loves a do-over. The Tony awards include “Best Revival,” and every season sees former hits rejiggered. “South Pacific” may have been a smash in 1949, but there’s a streamlined version coming soon to the Playhouse. At the Civic Center this weekend, theatergoers can catch what sounds like “Evita” with

Read More →
Posted August 13, 2014in Center Stage

High-energy tragedy and backflips in a mosh pit

What hooked me was the bit with the table. Early on in “Spring Awakening,” the in-the-round set converts to a boys’ classroom, with no more props than chairs and a table. Once the “Master” quits the room, his teen charges explode. They tear into “The Bitch of Life,” spitting out

Read More →