Saturday, December 20, 2014

Annual ManualInternship

Bike World
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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Posted August 06, 2014in Center Stage

Once a month, often edgy, and always intimate

At the end of a recent Stagewest “Scriptease,” there was a lovely moment. As the applause rose, the two leads, Mary Bricker and Rebecca Scholtec, beamed at each other and fell into an embrace. Though the applause made it difficult to hear, I could swear one of them squealed. A

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Posted July 30, 2014in Center Stage

Ring-a-ding-ding yet right at home

“One thing we’ve learned,” declares Jo Reid, the director, “is that folks in Ankeny just love Neil Simon.” Really? Granted, “Come Blow Your Horn” is far from the first Simon piece that Reid has done. She’s been with Ankeny’s Community Theater for 30 years. Still, the match hardly seems made

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Posted July 23, 2014in Center Stage

Stripping and swinging and inviting the whole country.

One weekend, four events? With acts that range from swinging on a star, sort of, to stripping down to skivvies, sort of? Plus a national competition? “We’d chatted about collaborating,” says Felicia Coe, a.k.a. Iowa Fly Girl, one of the women behind the whole whoop-dee-doo. “But we couldn’t figure out

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