Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Annual Manual

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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Posted November 12, 2014in Center Stage

Zombies, families, light and magic

For the people who put together “Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom,” the show must feel like going home. For those who watch it, home may never feel the same. “Neighborhood 3” at StageWest brings together the same crew that mounted the show a couple of years ago for the Social

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Posted November 05, 2014in Center Stage

A wide variety and a world premiere

Every now and then, Des Moines plays host to one of the movers and shakers of performance. This September, Andrew Lloyd Webber slipped quietly into the Civic Center to catch the reboot of his “Phantom of the Opera.” This weekend, watching the Paul Taylor Dance Company, will be Paul Taylor

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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,

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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,

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