Centerstage

Review: ‘Seller Door’ strong but goes too far

The tricky thing with art — the hard part, if you will — is knowing when to quit. When have you made your point well, and when have you gone too far? Larry Mitchell’s “Seller Door,” which opened at the Lawrence Arts Center on Friday night, doesn’t quite hit that sweet spot ...

Review: ‘Over Here!’ a top-notch production but misses boat on nostalgia

A trip back to World War II through the music of the era sounds like a delightful vehicle for a musical revue. But without any of the actual songs that were popular during the time period, Kansas University Theatre’s production of “Over Here!” feels strange as a nostalgia ...

KU concludes theatre season with trip back to the 1940s

Kansas University Theatre concludes its season with a trip down memory lane, when it opens “Over Here!” Friday night. The 1974 musical with a score by Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman and book by Will Holt goes back to the early days of World War II to explore life on the home front during ...

Review: Strong performances, direction make ‘Gatsby’ a must-see

An American classic comes to life on the Theatre Lawrence stage in Simon Levy’s adaptation of “The Great Gatsby.” Strong performances, sure-handed direction, and clever sets make for an engaging evening at the theater. Based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel, the play tells the story of ...

Review: Bold and experimental, ‘The Other Shore’ doesn’t satisfy

Sometimes, you can reach too far. Such is the case with Kansas University Theatre’s production of “The Other Shore” by Nobel Laureate Gao Xingjian. Surreal, abstract and high-minded, both the play and the production are bold but don’t quite make for a satisfying evening of theater. The ...

Review: KU Theatre delights with ‘Much Ado’

Go to see Shakespeare anymore, and you can almost certainly count on it being set at some other time than during the 16th century, when it was written. Kansas University’s latest production of “Much Ado About Nothing” follows this trend, bringing the witty comedy all the way to the ...

Review: ‘Other Desert Cities’ moving, powerful

For some time now, Theatre Lawrence has taken an annual break in March from Broadway musicals and light comedies, and offered a weighty drama often covering difficult issues. Jon Robin Baitz’s “Other Desert Cities” is the company’s latest production in this tradition, and it’s a ...

KU offers ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ that is both fresh and timeless

Say “Shakespeare” and you conjure worry in the minds of many — in audience members, who fear they may not get it; in actors, who think it may be too hard; in directors who worry it may be too dated. You won’t get any of those reactions from Peter Zazzali, who’s directing a new ...

Review: Young directors deliver thought-provoking Black Box Project at KU

Everything old is new again seems to be the theme of this year’s Black Box Directing Project at KU’s University Theatre. Student directors brought fresh visions to Anton Chekhov’s “The Boor” and the biggest classic of them all, Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” “The Boor,” under ...

‘The Addams Family’ creeps its way onto Lied Center stage

Say “The Addams Family” and the first thing to pop into your mind is likely the macabre TV show from the 60s. Failing that, it’s probably the two movies from the 90s starring Raul Julia, Anjelica Huston and Christina Ricci based on the show. Regardless, the music you likely associate ...

Review: Overdone ‘Wrong Window’ still creates laughs

If you didn’t know, Theatre Lawrence’s new production of “Wrong Window” was a Hitchcock spoof when you walked into the show, don’t worry; they’ll make sure you do. The playwrights, actors and director all try way too hard to make the play Hitchcockian rather than relying on the ...

Review: “A Kansas Nutcracker” highlights Lawrence history, talent

Making alterations to a classic is a dicey business and one many artists relish. Ric Averill’s “A Kansas Nutcracker”, which adapts the beloved Tchaikovsky ballet to early Kansas history, is hit and miss but when it succeeds, it’s fine family holiday fare. The show is set at Christmas ...

Theater review: ‘The Maderati’ is zany fun

Under ordinary circumstances, a friend being forcibly checked into a mental hospital wouldn’t be funny. Ordinary circumstances do not exist in a Richard Greenberg comedy, and “The Maderati” presented by Kansas University Theatre is no exception. Misunderstanding, false accusations and ...

Review: “Shrek” gorgeous, funny and sweet

You can’t do a show about an ogre small. At least Theatre Lawrence doesn’t seem to think so, as it pulls out all the stops for its lavish, extravagant production of “Shrek: The Musical”, which opened Friday night. Big, boisterous and over the top, “Shrek” pleases on many ...

‘The Maderati’ provides director perfect opportunity

Ask Jeanne Tiehen why she returned to graduate school, and she doesn’t talk about herself. “I love teaching because it really reminds me why I love theater,” says the second-year doctoral student. “Seeing undergraduate actors grow has always been rewarding for me.” Tiehen gets ...

University Theatre’s ‘Adding Machine’ marries past and present

Mark Reaney is marrying the future and the past to make a point about the present. The KU professor of theater is designing the set and lighting for University Theatre’s new production of “Adding Machine: A Musical,” which opens Friday. The show opened off Broadway in 2008, but it’s ...

Lawrence Arts Center renders near-perfect “Sweeney Todd”

“Sweeney Todd” is one of those shows that is very easy to make a mess of. The music is difficult – a typical Stephen Sondheim score with amelodic songs featuring tongue-twister, machine-gun-style lyrics. The characters are over the top and larger than life. And the story – about a ...

Review: “And I and Silence” beautiful and tragic

Prisons come in many guises. And while you are inside, there is no escape. KU University Theatre’s production of Naomi Wallace’s “And I and Silence” explores several such confinements through the lives of its two characters, Jamie and Dee. Told cunningly by alternating between the ...

Tonight at the Lied: “Mark Twain Tonight”

Sometimes a good idea can last a long time. “Mark Twain Tonight” – Hal Holbrook’s one-man play in which he assumes the persona of the famous author – qualifies. http://www.lawrence.com/users/photos/2013/oct/25/263618/ Holbrook, who has also played Abraham Lincoln in three ...

“And I and Silence” explores prisons – physical and societal

Lynn Deboeck doesn’t like the term, “period piece.” At least not with regard to Naomi Wallace’s “And I and Silence,” which opens Friday in KU’s Inge Theatre under Deboeck’s direction. “It’s set in the 1950’s time period for a reason,” the third-year doctoral candidate ...