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Wednesday, June 30,2010

Fabrication was no vacation

Fussy neighbors, scorched tables: Welcome to Scrapfest

by Mary C. Cusack
Some random bit of wisdom says to “do something every day that scares you.” For two weeks, I did that consistently as a member of a team competing in Old Town Scrapfest 2010. The event, a fund-raiser for the Old Town Commercial Association, is in its second year.
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Friday, June 18,2010

A night to remember — if they can

Summer Circle's

by Mary C. Cusack
Considering East Lansing’s role as a college town, particularly one that really, really enjoys celebrating the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament each year, MSU’s Summer Circle Theatre’s choice of a play called “The Drunken City” seems apropos. In reality, the play resembles the East Coast reality show “Jersey Shore” more than it does Spartan country.
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Wednesday, June 9,2010

Getting Out

From discos and dive bars to The Sir Club and strippers, Lansing has a long history of nightlife, LGBT-style

by Mary C. Cusack
I began my research at Club Xcel. The Male Review tradition began 17 years ago when Xcel was a gay bar called Paradise, and it continued under the current ownership of Tom Donell even as the club became a mixed-crowd bar. Now simple economics are driving the decision to drop the event.
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Wednesday, May 26,2010

’Late’ is great

Icarus Falling delivers powerhouse production of Sam Shepard drama

by Mary C. Cusack
While Studio 1210 in Old Town makes a nice art gallery, its limitations in lighting and its lack of a backstage make it a challenging venue for a play. Shortly into the work, however, emotional immediacy easily trumps environment.
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Wednesday, May 19,2010

’Uncommon Good’ not all that great

LCP courtroom drama guilty of being overlong and unevenly acted

by Mary C. Cusack
Martavius Nelson (Derek Ovenshire) is on trial for assaulting attorney Sean Ruby (Tim Cody), the executor of Nelson’s mother’s estate. The play asks the audience to weigh illegal but justifiable actions against immoral yet legally acceptable practices.
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Wednesday, April 7,2010

'Mars' attacks the funnybone

Frantic comedy finds hilarity in hysteria

by Mary C. Cusack
The plot of Williamston Theatre’s latest offering, “It Came From Mars,” takes a standard screwball comedy plot and elevates it slightly into the realm of a meta-comedy.  It came from the mind of Joseph Zettelmaier, who co-authored a prior successful production at Wil...
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Wednesday, March 31,2010

Vaudeville lives again

Lil’ Darlins show pays tribute to days gone by

by Mary C. Cusack
Organizers Ben and Katie Corr are humble but passionate about their current project: to bring a modern-day vaudeville show to the Lansing area. The April 2 show at the Hannah Community Center is the third they’ve organized in the last year.
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Wednesday, March 24,2010

'Blood' diluted by over-familiarity

Vivid performances make a preachy script pay off in MSU Theatre production

by Mary C. Cusack
In the blood, in the dirt, in the gutter — it’s all the same for the protagonist of “In the Blood,” a Second Stage production of Michigan State University’s Department of Theatre.Inspired by Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel “The Scarlet Letter,” the play’s script is not nearly as kind to its Hester. This Hester (Piaget Ventus) endures a life closer to that of Job: God, man and fate heap suffering upon her fragile frame as if she is a plate on the buffet line of misery.
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Wednesday, February 24,2010

A boffo ’Buffalo’

Strong acting ignites drama

by Mary C. Cusack
It is an ambitious goal to stage an intense work like David Mamet’s “American Buffalo” with a cast of college students. Yet it works, thanks to the combination of the intimacy of Lansing Community College’s Black Box Theatre, a phenomenal and atmospheric set, and a strong actor in the critical role.
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