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Wednesday, February 23,2011

Not to be mist — uh, missed

Riverwalk’s ’Hairspray’ is a stylish sensation

by Paul Wozniak
From cult B-movie to Broadway hit, the aerosol-inspired “Hairspray” is setting the Riverwalk Theatre stage ablaze. Written and composed by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan, this pro-justice musical openly mocks ignorance and racial phobias while stomping and sliding to the rhythm of early rock and roll.
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Wednesday, February 2,2011

Out of the ’Ordinary’

by Paul Wozniak
"Ordinary Days" by Adam Gwon is a sentimental, often funny Off-Broadway script that wears its influences on its sleeve. Gwon’s music begs comparisons to Jonathan Larson ("Rent") and Stephen Sondheim ("Sweeney Todd," "Into the Woods"). Unlike Larson and Sondheim, Gwon’s songs lack any memorable hooks.
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Wednesday, January 19,2011

It’s ’Maine’-ly about love

by Paul Wozniak
In a mystical, made-up town, magic manifests from metaphor to material in "Almost, Maine." Filmmaker Nancy Meyers ("It’s Complicated," "The Holiday") would have been proud of John Cariani’s script, which is filled with spontaneous smooches and other expressions of affection.
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Wednesday, January 5,2011

Looking Back & Looking Ahead: Theater

Several local actors are worth spotlighting

by Paul Wozniak
The Lansing theater scene is blessed to have so many gifted actors appearing on professional, collegiate and community stages. From breakout to breakthrough performances, these actors provided some of the finest examples of what good community and professional performances should be like.
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Wednesday, December 8,2010

Getting in 'Tuna'

Starlight Dinner Theatre packs plenty of humor into 'Christmas' farce

by Paul Wozniak
It’s Christmas time in Tuna, Texas, and its citizens ' as played by Jason Carlen and Michael Hays ' have returned to display their humiliations and humor onstage at the Starlight Dinner Theatre.
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Wednesday, December 1,2010

These 'Boots' were made for watching

Forget 'Shrek': Musical 'Puss' has a style all its own

by Paul Wozniak
Pre-dating the Dreamworks films by almost 10 years, Bill Helder and Jane Zussman’s mirthful meta-musical "Puss in Boots" bears little resemblance to the "Shrek" epics. No computer-generated characters or celebrity casting are necessary to make this family musical comedy fun for young children and parents alike.
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Wednesday, November 17,2010

Signing up a storm

David Sedaris treats fans to ’Squirrel’ stories

by Paul Wozniak
However, perversions and grotesque details never make up the heart of his stories. Nor do they reflect the character of a man who, according to Schuler’s promotions coordinator Whitney Spotts’ introduction of Sedaris, sends every person working at each book-signing event a handwritten thank-you note.
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Wednesday, October 27,2010

Channeling history

'Farnsworth Invention' electrifies at Riverwalk

by Paul Wozniak
From presidential inaugurations to assassinations, a man walking on the moon to miners stepping out of a caved-in mine, live television has fundamentally changed how we see the world. While the story behind the invention of the electronic television is at least worthy of a made-for-TV movie, Aaron Sorkin's "The Farnsworth Invention" was, ironically, written for the stage. Riverwalk Theatre brings this compelling drama to life with polished production values, a strong leading cast — and limited commercial interruptions.
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Wednesday, October 6,2010

Camping it up in the castle

’Fortinbras’ puts ham back into ’Hamlet’

by Paul Wozniak
Whether you are in or out of the Shakespeare camp, "Fortinbras" simply requires a love of "camp." Currently running at Riverwalk Theatre’s Blackbox Stage, Lee Blessing’s bawdy, crowd-pleasing "Hamlet"skewering joke mill falls over itself with clever references to "Hamlet," mocking its literary interpretations and masterpiece status.
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Tuesday, September 28,2010

Ticking into the future

MSU's 'American Clock' is an often striking look at the 1930s

by Paul Wozniak
As our current recession seems to be winding down, the Michigan State University Department of Theatre has wound up "The American Clock" by Arthur Miller. As Miller’s "Death of a Salesman" is an intense close-up of a troubled man, "Clock" is an expansive wide shot of a troubled nation struggling through the Great Depression. However, director Tony Caselli (artistic director of Williamston Theatre) proves that with the right music, even a disjointed series of vignettes can be turned into a cohesive anthem.
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