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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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Wednesday, March 13,2013

CoCo and popcorn

Local foursome shoots sketch that makes it to late night TV

by Paul Wozniak
Thursday, Feb. 28 —A West Michigan couple recently appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” because $7,500 of the man’s porn was stolen, but earlier this month, a Lansing group made their own network television debut — under tamer circumstances.
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Wednesday, January 30,2013

Reaching for the 'Heights'

Despite some missteps, Peppermint Creek musical still has energy

by Paul Wozniak
If the last Hispanic characters you remember from a Broadway musical are Maria and Bernardo from "West Side Story," "In the Heights" hopes to update your memory. "In the Heights" is a feast of styles and sounds from Latin America and beyond, pouring salsa and hip-hop hooks over traditional storytelling like spicy guacamole over a bowl of chips.
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Wednesday, January 16,2013

Family feud

Dysfunction delights in epic drama

by Paul Wozniak
It's one of the basic rules of storytelling: your own family's dysfunction makes you neurotic; someone else's dysfunction is good drama (or comedy, as the case may be). The clan in "August: Osage County" is the epitome of gothic drama, complete with drugs, death and pedophilia.
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Wednesday, October 3,2012

Big bang theory

'boom' takes audiences to the end of the world

by Paul Wozniak
Be careful responding to classified ads offering "intensely significant coupling." That's one of the hard lessons learned in "boom," a penetratingly intimate comedy about cosmic events. But even with playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb's dark and offbeat dialogue and Tony Caselli's lightning-paced direction, this semi-sci fi satire lacks the appropriate chemistry for truly explosive laughs.
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Wednesday, September 19,2012

Courting controversy

'Spring Awakening' delivers, despite some technical snafus

by Paul Wozniak
What happens when teenagers start exploring their own sexuality? No, this isn't the lead to a Dan Savage column, just a timeless question posed by the musical "Spring Awakening," now playing at Riverwalk Theatre. Like their production of "Hairspray" two seasons ago, Riverwalk's production of "Spring Awakening" has the potential to be the best of community theater. Save for a few crucial, chronic technical issues, it still could be.
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