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Wednesday, June 4,2014

Gospel truth

Riverwalk gets preachy with revival of New Testament musical

by Paul Wozniak
“Godspell” put composer Stephen Schwartz on the map in 1971. Songs like “Day by Day” were radio friendly hits, but the musical’s orchestral arrangements seemed dated to modern ears. Riverwalk’s production avoids that pitfall by staging the 2012 revised version instead, which makes every song sound crisp and new. Add to that a terrific cast led by the charismatic Matt Eldred as Jesus, stellar direction from John Delaney and a tight orchestra conducted by John Dale Smith and suddenly “Godspell” feels timeless.
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Wednesday, May 21,2014

Curtain call: Communication breakdown

Peppermint Creek follows racial issues through time in ‘Clybourne Park’

by Paul Wozniak
Miscommunication is often the catalyst for dramatic action in storytelling, but in “Clybourne Park,” it’s the central thesis.
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Friday, March 21,2014

Snakes on a stage

REVIEW: MSU’s ‘The Serpent Lady’

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, March 21 — For students of the MSU Department of Theatre, performing and producing “The Serpent Lady” looks like a blast. Translated and adapted from Carlo Gozzi’s original work by Valentina Denzel and production director Daniel Smith, the fantastical show features elaborate costumes and masks while providing plenty of space for actors to improvise on the spot. For audiences, “The Serpent Lady” is like watching a slowly moving tornado filled with kinetic energy that inches toward its final destination.
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Wednesday, March 12,2014

‘Butterflies’ affects

Timeless themes keep period piece fresh with Starlight romance

by Paul Wozniak
When community theaters stage 40-year-old plays, the results can be as stale as a forgotten bag of chips. But Starlight Dinner Theatre’s production of “Butterflies Are Free” feels fresh, lively and contemporary. Unlike Starlight’s standard lineup of broad farces, this polished revival of Leonard Gershe’s 1969 script draws its abundant laughs from the intimate pain of reality.
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Wednesday, January 15,2014

Anger management

Courtroom drama cuts like a dagger

by Paul Wozniak
“Twelve Angry Men” depicts an optimistic, if not idealistic vision of the American judicial process. The myth of a man changing his peers’ opinions through reason is the jury room equivalent to Wyatt Earp taming the West.
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Wednesday, December 11,2013

Curtain call: All in the family

Williamston serves up big laughs

by Paul Wozniak
Everything in Williamston Theatre´s latest offering, "Over the River and Through the Woods," is vivid, authentic and hilariously familiar.
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Wednesday, October 16,2013

'Crazy' in love

Starlight keeps audiences in stitches with original comedy vignettes

by Paul Wozniak
When the moon hits your eye/ Like a big pizza pie/ That’s amore. / When the humor is broad/ but the Review pace tends to plod / That’s a-“Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”
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Wednesday, October 16,2013

Die, Bard

MSU show mixes splattered blood and clever word play

by Paul Wozniak
What if the Black Plague of the 14th century turned the afflicted victims into zombies and the Review world’s most famous playwright wrote a show about it? That’s the basic premise of “William Shakespeare’s Land of the Dead,” a genre mash-up penned by John Heimbuch for fans of The Bard.
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Wednesday, October 9,2013

Ain't nothing like the real thing

Swing and a miss for Riverwalk’s Stoppard adaptation

by Paul Wozniak
Like lemon cars, theatrical productions require the breakdown of multiple factors to be truly defective. In the case of Riverwalk Theatre´s current black box production of “The Real Thing,” contributing factors to its failure are inconsistent, poor British accents and the pacing of a tranquilized turtle, among many others.
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Wednesday, September 25,2013

Keeping up with the killers

Peppermint Creek sets the original celebrity criminals to music

by Paul Wozniak
As a biographical musical love story, “Bonnie and Clyde” offers reasonable retro entertainment. The music, written by Frank Wildhorn, ranges from early jazz and blues to show stopping, shout-and-response gospel, which the cast delivers with requisite polish.
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