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Monday, March 18,2013

Theater community comes together to remember Tori Croff

A memorial service for the 8-year-old was held today at Olivet Baptist Church

by Paul Wozniak
Thursday, June 23 — A week and a half ago, members of the Lansing theater community gathered to celebrate the best in local theater at the annual Pulsar awards ceremony. On Thursday, many of those same people came together again, this time under somber circumstances.
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Monday, March 18,2013

'Fantasticks' retains its magic at Summer Circle Theatre

Director Jane Falion brings a modern touch to the classic musical

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, June 24 — Almost as ubiquitous as "Our Town" on community and regional stages, "The Fantasticks" explores similarly timeless themes — and requires only the simplest of staging. With words and lyrics by Tom Jones and music by Harvey Schmidt, "Fantasticks" cleverly blends sentimental life lessons with satirical jabs at its own genre.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Oh, Ovid

Lansing Community College concocts a pleasing, witty evening of mythological magic in 'Metamorphoses'

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, July 22 — From the ancient origins of contemporary words to modern slants on mythical stories, Lansing Community College's production of Mary Zimmerman's “Metamorphoses” brings vibrant physicality to classic Greek myths, with challenging and entertaining results.
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Monday, March 18,2013

The remains of the day

Michigan State University presents a strong double bill of dramas examining the aftermath of Sept. 11

by Paul Wozniak
Monday, Sept. 26 — Remember Sept. 11, 2001? Not the divisive rhetoric that tirelessly evoked the date for political evasion or justification, or the shameless merchandising that recently reached new lows (9/11 Merlot, anyone? Just $19.11), but where you were when you first heard the tragic news.Although the official 10th anniversary of the attacks has passed, Michigan State University's concurrent productions “What Happened?” and “Return To The Upright Position” recall that day with the dignity rarely seen in televised retrospectives.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Sharps and flats

Strong acting and weak singing make for a ‘pop opera’ that doesn’t always pop

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, Oct. 7 — It was the best of musicals, it was the worst of musicals — and it lasted two-and-a-half hours. As the debut production of upstart theater company Touch Your Soul Productions, the pop opera “Bare” deserves commendation both for its choice of topical material and also for its commitment to producing the entire project on a shoestring budget.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Nothing but a good time

Rock of Ages is a hard-rocking, hair-raising salute to 1980s excess and the power of power-ballads

by Paul Wozniak
Wednesday, Dec. 14 — Watch out, Lansing: “Rock of Ages,” now at the Wharton Center, will unapologetically rock you with all of the hairspray and bad taste it can muster. This monster-ballad mash-up may have the polish of a Broadway musical, but its heart lies purely in the adolescent bedroom of the ’80s. Like watching back-to-back hair-band music videos — with far better dancing — “Rock of Ages” is at once a winking parody and an earnest ode to some of rock’s guiltiest pleasures.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Honky tonkin' around this town — one more time

Derek Smith plays Hank Williams for a Williamston Theatre fundraiser Saturday

by Paul Wozniak
Wednesday, Jan. 11 — No need to sing the blues when you can sing along to the ‘Honky Tonk Blues’ this weekend at Williamston Theatre, where Derek Smith is reprising his uncannily accurate portrayal of Hank Williams one more time to help raise revenue for the theater.
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Monday, March 18,2013

Sowing the seeds

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum launches Land Grant project

by Paul Wozniak
Tuesday, April 24 — Plants and produce filled tables Saturday afternoon instead of hardcover bestsellers inside the grandiose space formerly occupied by Barnes & Noble in downtown East Lansing.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

'Wicked': It'll get you, my pretty — and your little dog, too!

The Broadway blockbuster retains its magic and spectacle at the Wharton Center

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, June 29 — Before “Glee” and Gaga, another “freak” named Elphaba embraced her inner monster in “Wicked.” It should be no surprise then that the 2003 Broadway smash still feels contemporary.
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Wednesday, March 13,2013

Drifting slowly

World premiere play mixes in cinematic elements in ‘U.P.’

by Paul Wozniak
Friday, Feb. 8 — The title “U.P.” refers to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, but it could refer to a hot air balloon, which — like the plot of “U.P.” — directionally drifts according to air currents before eventually landing in a random field. The world premiere show — co-written by Peter Mervis and the production’s director, Mark Colson — tells the tale of one man’s introspective odyssey as he takes a solo road trip from L.A. to the U.P. Aided by crisp video projections and a versatile, minimal set, “U.P.” seeks to marry cinematic style visuals with the clever ingenuity of stagecraft.
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