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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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Wednesday, September 12,2012

'It's everybody’s dream to come home'

Timothy Busfield returns to his roots for LCC show opening this weekend

by Paul Wozniak
Before he hit it big with cultural touchstones "thirtysomething" and "Field of Dreams," East Lansing native Timothy Busfield split his time rounding the bases and treading the boards at East Lansing High School, where he graduated in 1975.
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Wednesday, July 11,2012

A hot time in 'Escanaba' — literally

Actors hunt for laughs in Jeff Daniels' U.P. farce

by Paul Wozniak
The story of "buckless Yooper" Reuben Soady has has spawned two prequels since its premiere at the Purple Rose Theatre in 1995, but the original remains the purest and the raunchiest.
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Thursday, July 5,2012

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

"Wicked" retains its magic at the Wharton Center

by Paul Wozniak
At its core, "Wicked" tells of the unlikely friendship between Elphaba (Christine Dwyer) and Galinda (Jeanna De Waal), its evolutionary transformation and its dramatic consequences for the land of Oz.
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Wednesday, June 20,2012

Broad-ening out to Old Town

After serving as a bank and a bar, the former Chrome Cat gets a new lease on life as a pop-up art gallery

by Paul Wozniak
Perhaps, like its namesake, the Chrome Cat has nine lives. The Old Town building was once a bank, then a bar — and for Allison Gass, contemporaryart curator for the Broad Art Museum, it offered the ideal space for a pop-up art gallery.
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