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Wednesday, August 20,2014

2014 Pulsar winners

Standing ovation for Beachler at interactive annual theater awards

by Paul Wozniak
The 2014 City Pulse Pulsars, recognizing the best in Lansing theater, were handed out Monday night at Over the Ledge Theatre in Grand Ledge. Kelly Stuible and Veronica Gracia- Wing hosted the evening’s festivities. Instead of scheduled presenters and entertainers, Stuible and Gracia-Wing invited audience members to read the nominees and winners from the screen. Winners in “musical” categories were asked to sing for their award.
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Wednesday, June 25,2014

The professionals

MSU Department of Theatre alumni revisit the boards of their youth

by Paul Wozniak
Kurt Vonnegut once said that true terror is to wake up and realize your high school class is running the country. But what about realizing your college chums are the ones pulling strings in the entertainment world? For some Michigan State University graduates, last weekend was a chance to see just how far a formal theater education got their old classmates — and collectively rub it in the faces of well-meaning relatives who may have suggested somewhere along the line, “Why don’t you major in business instead?”
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Friday, June 13,2014

Sizzling summer

REVIEW: MSU Summer Circle Theatre’s 'What I Did Last Summer'

by Paul Wozniak
FRIDAY, June 13 — It’s summer again. Cue the sound of fireworks, the smell of hot dogs on the grill and the staging of coming-of-age dramas like A.R. Gurney’s “What I Did Last Summer,” the first show of the MSU Department of Theatre’s Summer Circle Theatre season.
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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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