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Wednesday, January 14,2015

Intensity and intention

Riverwalk’s “The Sea Gull“ takes Chekhov out of Russia

by Tom Helma
Two gunmetal gray, stark cold cemetery benches flank the stage of Riverwalk Theatre, awaiting audience members who shuffle in from the gunmetal gray, stark cold Lansing winter. Welcome to Jean-Claude van Itallie’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Sea Gull.”
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Wednesday, November 12,2014

Curtain call: Engaging ‘View’

LCC wins with timeless love story

by Tom Helma
A bygone era shows up on the Dart Auditorium stage as director Andy Callis presents E.M Forster’s “A Room with a View,” adapted to the stage by Christina Calvit. Written in 1924, the novel was the last in Forster’s career and captured a sense of the slowly changing times, the soft-spoken yet still polite emergence of women’s voices in society.
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Wednesday, October 29,2014

Smells like team ‘Spirit’

Supernatural comedy benefits from solid ensemble, classic script

by Tom Helma
It’s been 73 years since Noėl Coward debuted his supernatural romantic comedy “Blithe Spirit.” In the years since, there have been multiple permutations, both on stage and in the movies, on the theme of one’s spouse coming back from the dead to haunt them. So the question is: Can a community theater bring an elderly stage play back to life, overcoming the notion that the theme has been done so many times that the original has entirely lost its luster? Yes, it can.
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Wednesday, October 15,2014

Final bow

Reflections on the memory of Lansing theater icon Addiann Hinds

by Tom Helma
Over the past several days since the mid- Michigan theater community learned of the death to cancer of beloved multi-talented icon, Addiann Hinds, there have been many quiet, reflective conversations remembering the breadth and depth of her contributions to local theater. An actor, a director, a set designer and more; her accomplishments listed on theater historian Matt Ottinger’s webpage include 11 stints as director and 12 as an actor.
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Friday, October 3,2014

Climb ev’ry mountain

REVIEW: “Annapurna” at Purple Rose Theatre

by Tom Helma
Friday, Oct. 3 — We don’t often think about it, but what do we do when a loved one from long ago — a previous mate, a once-upon-a-time lover, a log-ago marital partner, an ex-spouse — is dying? What if the relationship was tumultuous, dysfunctional, including elements of child abuse?
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Wednesday, August 13,2014

Viagra falls

Musical comedy ‘Married Alive!’ takes aim at life after ‘I do’

by Tom Helma
The 2014-‘15 theater season is off to an inauspicious beginning with "Married Alive," Over the Review Ledge Theater Co.’s lackluster midsummer musical. Before the show, director Rick Dethlefsen urged the audience to follow his mother’s advice: If they find themselves with nothing good to say after the performance, don’t say anything at all. On the other hand, my mom urged me to always tell the truth, so here goes.
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Wednesday, May 21,2014

Curtain call: Love in the (late) afternoon

Unstoppable middle-aged man meets unmovable middle-aged woman in Williamston’s ‘Old Love’

by Tom Helma
“Old Love” poses the question: Can two people in their late 50s find new love after the end of long, loveless marriages?
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Wednesday, May 14,2014

Curtain call: Sisters act

Starlight’s ‘Nunsense’ musical gets surreal

by Tom Helma
The sisters in Starlight Dinner Theatre’s “Nunsense: The Mega Musical” are a far cry from the stiff-upper-lipped guardians of one’s soul in traditional depictions. This enthusiastic ensemble has reasonably good singing voices — and in the case of Sister Robert Ann, played by Amanda Dill, serious comedic acting chops as well.
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Wednesday, April 2,2014

Curtain Call: Tryst of fate

Williamston’s latest gets hot and heavy in searing romantic comedy

by Tom Helma
In this era of casual sex where people seek comfort in anonymous hookups, you might sleep with someone before you know his or her last name. But who falls deeply in love immediately after a first tryst? “Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune,” playing through April 19 at Williamston Theatre, explores that possibility.
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Wednesday, March 5,2014

Living ‘Color’

Riverwalk show depicts early American movement to advance freed slaves

by Tom Helma
History is sometimes a strange stew of colliding ideas that can form the foundation for a highly entertaining story, as is the case with Riverwalk Theatre’s production of “Free Man of Color.”
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