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Wednesday, September 26,2012

Russian roulette

MSU's reveloving repartory shows win with highbrow drama, meta humor

by Mary C. Cusack
If the 20th century Russian elite had Red Bull to mix with their vodka, they might have enjoyed their bleak existences more. The Michigan State University Theatre Department's two shows playing in repertory, Anton Chekhov's "Three Sisters" and "Anton in Show Business," explore and satirize the decay of the privileged class.
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Wednesday, August 1,2012

The kids are all right

Riverwalk's 'Baby' teaches without preaching

by Mary C. Cusack
The script is a good choice to educate audiences about how children deal with grief. It is touching without being preachy and balances tragedy with appropriate humor.
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Wednesday, July 25,2012

Slicker than snot

Two actors play a whole town in Williamston's dazzling 'Red, White & Tuna'

by Mary C. Cusack
In this case, as with last year's "Greater Tuna," that cast is Aral Gribble and Wayne David Parker. While director John Lepard is plenty skilled and accomplished, working with Gribble and Parker must make his job easy. In addition to already having developed many of the characters, they are also fleet-footed in switching among characters, creating and maintaining unique physicality for each one.
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Wednesday, June 20,2012

Keeping it short

Michael McCallum unveils two new films Sunday

by Mary C. Cusack
In March, Detroit's Uptown Film Festival named local filmmaker Michael McCallum the Michigan Independent Filmmaker of the Year. He has not rested on his laurels.
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Wednesday, June 6,2012

The show must go on?

Strong cast battles flimsy script in splashy 'Follies'

by Mary C. Cusack
Scaling down these humongous Stephen Sondheim musicals is like squeezing a Mini Cooper in the back of a Lincoln Navigator. Sure, it will fit, but it won't leave anyone much legroom. The production has a cast of 30 people, a grand staircase and big dance numbers, all of which overwhelm the performance space.
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Wednesday, April 4,2012

A musical with a kick

Love, liquor — and video games? — are blended in unusual 'Usual'

by Mary C. Cusack
The full title of the play is “The Usual: A Musical Love Story.” Williamston’s run of the show is the world premiere of the original work, with book and lyrics by Alan Gordon and music by Mark Sutton-Smith. If that last name sounds familiar, it is because he is the brother of “The Usual” cast member and Williamston Theatre Development Director Emily Sutton-Smith.
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Wednesday, March 21,2012

Even today, 'Cat' still has sharp claws

Adventurous director Deborah Keller heads up a crackling production

by Mary C. Cusack
Brick is a study in conflict, as he fights his wife, his father, and his own demons. He is deeply mired in guilt after the death of his best friend, and attempts to drown out the world by hiding in his bedroom, drowning his sorrows with liquor. Unfortunately, the room becomes Grand Central Station, where the tracks of all of the family train wrecks terminate.
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Wednesday, February 1,2012

'Fools' rush in at Stormfield

Romance is a laughing matter in 'vaudeville' show

by Mary C. Cusack
From the props to the physical farce, the show is a throwback to traditional vaudeville styles, spiced up with modern-day sexual politics.
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Wednesday, December 28,2011

Theater: 'Boys' bruised, while 'Blackbird' soared

by Mary C. Cusack
The City Pulse theater reviewers see upwards of 50 shows a year, which means that by the end of the year many of the productions are a blur. The standouts, the ones that eventually grab up fistfuls of Pulsar nominations and wins, are typically plays that have a lasting emotional impact.
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Wednesday, November 30,2011

Twenty1 is a lucky number for Griffin and McCallum

Filmmakers host a screening of their collaborations

by Mary C. Cusack
Filmmakers A.E. Griffin and Michael McCallum may be the hardest working men in Michigan show business. It s impossible to count how many productions they have worked on, both independently and collectively, because they don t stop working long enough to draft a proper curriculum vitae.
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