Foundry Performance Laboratory raises stakes with Conor McPherson’s ‘The Seafarer’

I have always subscribed to the philosophy that theater has a responsibility to use the tools at its disposal to expose hypocrisy, contextualize truths and show people who they really are. There is no better way fiction has achieved this goal than with stories that include magic or the supernatural. People are just more honest when they’re making things up. […]

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ICCT’s ‘Evil Dead: The Musical’ is one hell of a bizarre, wonderful show

Iowa City Community Theatre’s production of George Reinblatt’s Evil Dead: The Musical is both bizarre and wonderful — in spades. After seeing it Friday night, I went home and watched all three original movies: Evil Dead, Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness. After this surprisingly swift marathon I have come to the undeniable conclusion […]

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Theatre Cedar Rapids sinks its teeth into ‘Dracula’

Though the recent resurgence of zombie hordes both on- and off-screen may be giving vampires (in general) a run for their money, no one character has been immortalized as often as Dracula. And if TCR’s ticket sales are any indication, this lone monster and his violent delights still have a powerful hold on our collective imaginations. […]

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Exploring social contracts in RHCR’s ‘God of Carnage’

Taboos and our oft-unspoken understanding of, and adherence to, them are fascinating. In general, one learns the key points from their parents: not to undress in public, for example. Over time, we start to intuit other social rules that are less clear cut, like not to tell other people how to parent their kids. But life’s best drama comes in the silent, tense moments just before, or after, someone breaks those rules. […]

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‘The 24th Day’ is tense, dark, dangerous and lovely

“What reality?” you may by now be wondering. “What the heck happens in this play?” But I am not going to tell you. I would not dare spoil one single plot point of this story for you. I wouldn’t dare. I will, however, provide you with a few tantalizing tidbits and a carefully worded warning. […]

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Pay attention: TCR’s ‘Assassins’ is timely and terrifying

Assassins Theatre Cedar Rapids — through March 4 It’s no secret that I’m not a Sondheim fan. And while Assassins pushes the boundaries of his typical style with more edge and rawness than one gets from a production of Company or Into the Woods, it utterly lacks the kind of cohesive story you get in […]

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Missing ‘A View From the Bridge’ at Riverside Theatre will haunt you

A View From the Bridge Riverside Theatre — through Feb. 12 Every once in a great while I see a piece of theatre that reminds me why I wanted to be in theatre to begin with. The opening night performance of Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge at Riverside Theatre was just such a […]

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Go down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ with Giving Tree Theater

Rabbit Hole Giving Tree Theater — through Nov. 13 I hadn’t planned to write this review. I worried any critique I could level at this production of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole would come across as base jealousy, since I auditioned and wasn’t cast. Then, last week, I was invited to attend preview night, and I […]

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Go forth, eastern Iowa, and baptize yourself in the ‘The Book of Mormon’

The Book of Mormon Hancher Auditorium — through Sunday, Oct. 16 When I first heard that Trey Parker and Matt Stone had written a full-on Broadway musical, I was intrigued — and also a bit scared. I mean, I’ve seen Baseketball, so I know for a fact that not everything they touch is gold. Perhaps […]

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LV Recommends: Red Vespa

Photo by Jordan Sellergren

Brick walls, industrial piping and stamped metal bar backing greet you when you enter Red Vespa in Solon. The vibe of the place is chic, cozy rather than cramped, with an open kitchen that lends a comforting transparency to the inner workings of the pizzeria. The telltale aromas of tomato and mozzarella mingling with basil […]

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Raise a cheer for ICCT’s ‘You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown’

ICCT's 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown

You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown Johnson County Fairgrounds — through Sept. 18 In one of my favorite television shows, a seasoned director is waxing poetic about doing Hamlet when he says, “My reason may very well be hanging by a thread. Well, my friends, it is my belief that the best things happen just […]

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TCR’s ‘American Idiot’ kicks off the 4th of July weekend with a bang

American Idiot at TCR

Green Day’s American Idiot Theatre Cedar Rapids — through July 23 American Idiot is an ambitious show — a rock musical, with a script I’ll address later, that is a non-stop belt-fest of powerful anthems and wistful ballads that all share a persistent, percussive angst. This show is more concept album than play and requires […]

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