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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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Friday, February 21,2014

REVIEW: Into the woods

A pair of lost souls search for hidden truths in Purple Rose drama

by Tom Helma
Friday, Feb. 21 — Contrary to the eloquently expressed opinion of William Shakespeare, all the world is not a stage. Lanford Wilson’s script for “Redwood Curtain,” playing through March 15 at the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, suggests that it is possible for people to step away from the fury of the madding crowd, to seek solitude and serenity in the quiet, stately forests of the Pacific Northwest.
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Wednesday, February 12,2014

Way of the Midwest

Riverwalk takes to the open road with humor, nostalgia

by Tom Helma
At first glance this is a simple nostalgia story, but wait. ”Leaving Iowa,” running through Sunday at Riverwalk Theatre, invites us back to be lost in the ‘70’s, where roadside attractions were advertised on highway billboards, Dad was king of the road and Mom’s role was simply to say “yes, dear.”
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Wednesday, November 20,2013

Curtain call: A vision in a dream

MSU roller-skating musical whisks audiences off to ‘Xanadu’

by Tom Helma
The debut show for MSU’s new Studio 60 Theatre is the charming and enchantingly infectious, high energy, feel-good production of “Xanadu.” With an outrageously ostentatious disco roller rink set featuring multiple photomurals and wraparound, rainbow-colored lighting, the set design alone makes the trip to campus worthwhile. Add to that a seemingly freestyle plot and you have the campiest theater of the season.
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Wednesday, November 6,2013

Curtain call: The curious case of Benjamin Braddock

LCC succeeds in seducing with adaptation of ‘The Graduate’

by Tom Helma
Mike Nichols’ 1967 movie adaptation of Charles Webb’s novel “The Graduate” was a scathing send-up of the existential emptiness of the lost-in-the-‘50s generation. The emerging Boomers celebrated it as the beginning of something new, revolutionary — the Age of Aquarius, no less.
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Wednesday, October 23,2013

'Hollow' on point

Riverwalk’s Halloween show an immersive, interactive thrill

by Tom Helma
Clearly, Riverwalk Theatre has put its heart into this adaptation of the classic Washington Irving short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It begins with a walk through the darkened black box theater, which has been transformed into a living diorama representing the ghostly village of Sleepy Hollow.
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