Monday, March 23, 2015

A Review of A Murder is Announced

by Toni Wood

Waterloo - A Murder is Announced, running at the Waterloo Community Playhouse, is an adaptation of the fourth Miss Marple book, written by Agatha Christie. This intriguing and surprisingly funny adaptation will keep you guessing 'til the very end.

The basics of the story are classic Agatha Christie; an ad appears in the local newspaper's personal ads stating that a murder will occur at the home of Letitia Blacklock on the night of Friday, October 13th at 6:30 p.m., which, as luck would have it, is the night that the play begins. The characters become more and more nervous as the time ticks toward 6:30, and after the murder, secrets, lies and cover-ups of nearly every character come out.

Auditions for Teen Musical Addams Family March 28 & 29

Coralville - City Circle Acting Company of Coralville is holding auditions for the June 19-21 production of The Addams Family on March 28 and 29. Auditions are from 2pm-6pm at Community of Christ Church, 2121 South Ridge Drive in Coralville. Teens currently in grades 7-12 are encouraged to visit to learn more and sign up for an audition slot.

Auditioners should prepare 32 bars of a contemporary song from musical theater and a short contemporary monologue and bring sheet music in the appropriate key.

Based on the cartoons by Charles Addams about a delightfully macabre family, The Addams Family features book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice and music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa. When Wednesday Addams, the ultimate princess of darkness, falls for a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family, she confides in her father and begs him not to tell her mother. Now Gomez Addams must do something he’s never done before – keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Check Out April Events at CCPA

Coralville - You might want to check out these upcoming events at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts.

UI School of Music presents The RivalsApril 9-12

UI School of Music presents this story of misguided deceptions between several sets of lovers and would-be lovers, with deceptions unraveling into hopeless tangles before resolving with a classic comic-opera ending. With music and libretto by Kirke Mechem, The Rivals was an instant hit when it premiered at Skylight Opera in 2011.

Tickets ($5-$20) are available through the Hancher Box Office.

A review of The Great Gatsby

by Meghan D'Souza
Photos by Len Struttmann

Cedar Rapids - The talent at Theatre Cedar Rapids has brought to life Simon Levy's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby, featuring the characters you likely met in high school and have loved to hate ever since. At least, I have. Set in New York during the Roaring Twenties, these characters lead lives that are glamorous to the outsider, but Nick Carraway (David Schneider) gets an inside glimpse and leads the audience through the story where we learn the awful secrets that they're hiding.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Almost, Maine Opens March 20

Washington - The Washington Community Theater will present Almost, Maine March 20-28. Written by John Cariani, the show is directed by Michael McNurlen. 

On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this delightful midwinter night's dream.

Almost, Maine is a unique play in that it consists of eight vignettes, a prologue, an interlogue and an epilogue. Each vignette is separate story, but they are tied together thematically as all explore love. Each scene provides a different glimpse into that one emotion that brings all of us together. 

Tickets are available here

Backstage with Troll Music Opening March 20

Iowa City - Troll Music, written by Janet Schlapkohl, opens March 20 at the Montgomery Hall on the Johnson County Fairgrounds. This Combined Efforts Theatre production runs through March 28.We had a chance to talk to Janet about the show.

Can you give us a quick synopsis of the play?

Janet: Down on their luck musicians return to an old dance hall in the hopes of reuniting their old group, and resurrecting their careers. They don't know that other members including a retired burlesque group is still at the hall, now working in the kitchen. They return at the spring equinox, a time when Nisse (think elfish-gnomes) sneak into dance halls everywhere to listen to the music and help fix mistakes of the past. In the case of these folks, there were plenty of mistakes. But, as the leader of the Nisse explains, "There was a gift here once, which will be lost forever unless forgiveness sweeps the cobwebs of memory and the truth blows through the music."

The Great Gatsby Opens March 20

Cedar Rapids - Theatre Cedar Rapids will present The Great Gatsby beginning March 20 and running through April 11.The show is directed by Leslie Charipar.

Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, lives very well on Long Island, where he passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan. Enter Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, who is befriended by Gatsby and drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger. The F. Scott Fitzgerald novel upon which the play is based is considered a classic in American Literature.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Bob: A Review In Five Acts

by David Pierce

Act One – The Script

You never know for sure if the way a play reads is the way a play performs. There are plays that read well but don’t carry that to the stage, and there are plays that are wonderful to watch that don’t read all that well. I have no idea how well Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Bob: A Life In Five Acts read, but it’s everything you could want out of a night of theatre comedy.

Granted, a large part of that is the cast and the staging, and I’ll get to those, but I wanted to take a moment to talk about the script itself and to applaud Dreamwell for choosing to do the show. I love how Dreamwell hunts for little known plays to perform, and Bob was a great choice. The script is hilarious, with moments of seriousness that never drop into syrupiness, in large part because of the jokes that come in at those moments of seriousness. One of my favorite laugh lines of the night was in one of those moments, and I’m not going to tell you what it is or set up the line because part of the pleasure was the fact that the line was both unexpected and a natural thing to say at that moment. The script has bawdy, ribald humor; subtle, restrained humor; humor that rises out of the moments; and humor that’s all in the written jokes. It’s a funny show, and I found myself laughing nearly constantly. Looking back, I can’t think of more than a one or two minute stretch without a laugh. It’s a fun script, executed in a fun manner.

TCR Announces 2015-16 Season

Cedar Rapids - Theatre Cedar Rapids announced their 2015-16 season and there is something for everyone. Audiences will experience classics like Hamlet to modern musicals like American Idiot. Plenty of family entertainment is planned as well, including A Christmas Story and Disney's Little Mermaid. Learn about the shows by reading the synopses below, all written by TCR Artistic Director, Leslie Charipar.

TCR Announces Mary Poppins Cast

Cedar Rapids - Theatre Cedar Rapids has announced the cast of Mary Poppins, directed by Leslie Chariper, with musical direction by Janelle Lauer. The show opens May 1, 2015. Here's a quick synopsis from the TCR website:

"The musical is based on the similarly titled series of children's books by P. L. Travers and the 1964 Disney film, and is a fusion of various elements from the two. The jack-of-all trades, Bert, introduces us to England in 1910 and the troubled Banks family. Young Jane and Michael have sent many a nanny packing before Mary Poppins arrives on their doorstep. Using a combination of magic and common sense, she must teach the family how to value each other again."

Tickets are available here.