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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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Wednesday, June 6,2012

Appealing 'Apartment'

Crackling chemistry energizes quirky comedy

by Paul Wozniak
If the romantic comedy genre were basic macaroni and cheese, Jeff Daniels' "Apartment 3A" might be the labor-intensive recipe with lots of obscure ingredients. Fortunately, director Joseph Dickson, under the guise of the newly formed Over the Ledge Theatre Co., is a skilled cook who not only cast some extremely talented actors, but also knows how to whip this offbeat script into a crowd-pleasing dish.
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Wednesday, May 30,2012

Backstage outrage

Egos and ideals clash in entertaining 'Understudy'

by Paul Wozniak
Always on call but never on stage, Harry is in “actor purgatory.” He’s the permanent understudy, destined to be invisible except as the title character of the meta-comedy “The Understudy” at Williamston Theatre.
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Wednesday, May 9,2012

Stormfield Theatre comes down with 'Boogie' fever

by Paul Wozniak
Since the late 1960s, Baldori, a.k.a. “Boogie Bob,” has played piano and harmonica with iconic artists such as Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and others. But without young pop-culture disciples like Jack White or The Black Keys bringing hip attention to boogie woogie, or jukebox musicals like “Million Dollar Quartet” revamping boogie woogie into a Broadway smash, Baldori would be virtually alone in promoting the style.
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