Friday, October 31, 2014

Annual ManualInternship

Bike World
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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Posted July 16, 2014in Center Stage

Out of the closet at full, funky roar

Twenty-somethings these days were raised on the Disney Renaissance. The great run began with “The Little Mermaid” in 1989 and may have ended with “Shrek” in 2001. Afterwards, instead of new movies, the kids got spinoffs. “Shrek the Musical” came in 2008, an attempt to duplicate the breakout success of

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Posted July 09, 2014in Center Stage

Hair-raising outrage and wailing angels

When composer Jake Heggie first heard someone suggest an opera of “Dead Man Walking” back in 1996, he also began to hear the music. As he puts it, “the hair on the back of my neck stood up.” Heggie told this story before opening night at Des Moines Metro Opera,

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Posted July 02, 2014in Center Stage

All-time and timeless

Off in faraway places, I’m always hearing about our city’s opera. The rising star Michael Mayes, en route from one big stage to another, even got in touch via Skype to share his “deep respect” for the Des Moines program. This season, the Metro Opera’s (D.M.M.O.) 42nd, singers and musicians

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Posted June 25, 2014in Center Stage

Baseball and fireworks: Across history and in the heart

Landmarks of African-American experience turn up all through August Wilson’s drama, “Fences,” which helped it win the 1987 Pulitzer Prize. But the story of the player who broke baseball’s color line, Jackie Robinson, fits especially well. The time is the 1950s, the protagonist is a former Negro Leagues star, and

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Posted June 18, 2014in Center Stage

Random acts of inspiration

Imagine you’re a teenager with dreams of being a comedian. The local club has an open mic night, but you’ve only got five minutes to make ’em laugh. You spend all day rehearsing, preparing your routine as you bus tables, and when that moment comes to step up to the

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Posted June 11, 2014in Center Stage

Sex, drugs, Kermit and Oscar

Turns out it’s not far from Sesame Street to Broadway. “Avenue Q,” now at Stagewest, demonstrates a terrific musical can combine puppets who look like Kermit and Oscar, kiddie-show singalong energy, and a healthy dollop of raunch. In 2003 “Q” garnered three Tony awards, and it remained on Broadway for

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Posted June 04, 2014in Center Stage

Fantasy rebels and Queen rockers hit the Civic Center

Imagine the pitch. Out in Hollywood: the band Queen meets the movie “The Matrix,” and the loser ends up being Orwell’s Big Brother. If that sounds like a bit much, well, so does “Bohemian Rhapsody.” Freddie Mercury was nothing if not over the top, and his surviving bandmates Brian May

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Barmuda