Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Annual ManualInternship

Bike World
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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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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Barmuda