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A weekend of regional theater offerings in SE Michigan February 26, 2017

Posted by ronannarbor in Uncategorized.
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It was a busy weekend of theater going:

URINETOWN, currently being presented by Ridgedale Players in Troy, is funny and audience-pleasing. There is a terrific performance by Kevin Kaminski as Bobby Strong, and Bridget Styles is a very good Hope Cladwell. The set is spiffy with fast scene changes. Not everything is always smooth sailing (who thought it was a good idea not to use mics for the show which is entirely language dependent?) but the show is fun, and there is energy to spare. Drew Dyer needs underwear under his Office Barrel short shorts, but its all in good fun, I guess — though that was a bit more than I needed to see…but once seen it can’t be unseen.

Siena Heights University presented a picture-perfect production of SHE LOVES ME. Kerry Graves directed a valentine of a musical, with standout performances by Becca Nowak as Ilona, Patrick Wallace as Georg, and all around excellent ensemble work by the entire cast. I particularly liked Jordan Hayes-Devloo’s Arpad. Dan Walker’s beautiful turntable set helped the action move silently and quickly from scene to scene. I’d go on gushing about this really pretty production, but it has already closed.

I also very much liked David Francis Kiley’s I’LL BE SEEING YOU – a play that he wrote based on his grandparents love letters back and forth from the US and Europe during WWII. Featuring music of the era sung by Marlene Inman and Robby Griswold and lovely slide work by Anne Kiley. Christina McKim (natalie Rose Sevick at alternate performances) and John DeMerell were touching as Billee and Charles. It has been fun watching this show develop from workshop to final production. I loved it.

Last weekend, a few other shows were on the agenda and I am remiss in not mentioning them here. Sarah Nowak presented SASSY BUUT CLASSY, and evening of cabaret in Adrian. Not only was she joined by some terrific backup singers and a great band, but she got engaged at the Saturday evening performance that I was attending. Congratulations and best wishes to you and yours, Sarah. The evenings raised some much-needed funds for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.

And I saw a performance of HEATHERS during the final weekend of that production at Peppermint Creek in Lansing. So happy to see PC continue to take risks and present fare that is a bit edgier. The show was well done with a great cast, led by Adam Woolsey as DJ and Ellie Weise as Veronica. Emma Kron-Deacon played a terrific Heather Chandler. There were some minor miscasts in this production, but it was well-directed and choreographed, well-paced, and the sold-out audiences ate it up. Note to theater mom a few seats down — it is NEVER OKAY to take photos of your daughter during the show every time she is onstage with your iPhone.

Lively and funny “Barefoot in the Park” at The Dio (Review) February 13, 2017

Posted by ronannarbor in Theatre.
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The Dio is offering a lively and funny mid-winter treat in Neil Simon’s first mega-hit “Barefoot in the Park.”

Newlyweds Corie and Paul Bratter (Mary Dilworth and Peter Crist) have just moved into their 5th Floor walkup in New York City, and the comedy quickly mines the travails of too-small, overpriced, crumbling starter apartments, surprise visit by Mother (Sonja Marquis) and quirky neighbor Victor Velasco (Dan Morrison), along with telephone installer Steve DeBruyne and Delivery man Stephen Dean.

Directed by Greg Bailey, the production breezes by with its one-liners and jokes.  There are terrific performances all around, and  the cast play off of each other well. Marquis in particular brings a genuine feel to Mrs Banks that is funny and refreshing. Dilworth and Crist play off of each other well in both more loving as well as angrier scenes.

Matt Tomich has designed an excellent set which looks unlike anything else you have ever seen at The Dio. Dominated by a center stage skylight (used to terrific effect in some very funny sequences) his lighting also looks terrific throughout, but in particular during some lovely moments with light shining in through the skylight.

Costumes look terrific, although I did have a minor quibble with a few prop items that were not period correct. I did like the condensation of three acts into two as well as the cleverly staged furniture arriving with Velasco supervising.

Greg Bailey’s program note states that one of the goals for the show was to bring warm hearted, funny theater to Livingston County. That the Dio has done terrifically well with Barefoot in the Park. Glad to see local theaters rediscovering this comedy – Ann Arbor Civic Theatre did an award-winning production of it last season as well. I enjoyed both of these productions in different ways. Chef Jarod’s pre-show meal, as usual, is tasty and filling. The New York cheesecake ice cream at dessert time was a particular treat.

You’ll find yourself laughing heartily at this Barefoot, and its well done fun.

Recommended.

Barefoot in the Park continues at The Dio through March 5th. diotheatre.com or (517) 672-6009