A Review of Peter and the Starcatcher

peter1by Matthew Falduto

Marion – Giving Tree Theater is one of the coziest theaters in the area. The audience gets to sit on couches and comfy chairs. Every seat has a good view of the action. And the owners – Richie and Heather Akers – are delightful hosts. No matter the show, I always enjoy myself when I arrive at 752 10th Street. That was certainly the case when I experienced Peter and Starcatcher last weekend. While there was one major flaw, overall the show was very funny and filled with engaging performances. Continue reading

A Review of The Last Five Years


by Michele Payne

Iowa City – On Friday night I spent 90 minutes at the Englert watching a relationship fall apart and enjoyed myself very much. Knowing the relationship was doomed (the playbill made that clear and really — even if it hadn’t — who couldn’t see it coming?), I still enjoyed hearing Cathy (Megan O’Brien) and Jamie (Jack Cotterell) narrate its destruction through song. Continue reading

A Review of Antigone

antigone5by Phil Beck

Iowa City – For its third production of the 2016-2017 season, Dreamwell Theatre premiered Antigone by Mac Wellman last Thursday night at Public Space One. It’s an experimental theater piece that rewrites Sophocles’ Antigone, the ancient tragedy of a young Greek woman who defies authorities by burying her brother despite his having been declared an enemy of the state. The events that follow her act of disobedience form the basis of one of literature’s greatest dramas and the jumping-off point of Wellman’s 2001 play, an ambitious deconstruction of the conventions of theater and the theatrical experience. Continue reading

A Review of Next To Normal

ntn3by Matthew Falduto

Coralville – Mental illness is a destructive force. It can destroy the person afflicted, but even more it can devastate that individual’s family. The timely musical Next To Normal, playing for only one more performance at 2 pm today at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts,  shows this devastation in all its emotional force. Continue reading

A Review of The Sound of Music

03.TheSoundofMusic.KAnderson.VonTrappKids.jpgby Matthew Falduto

Iowa CityThe Sound of Music, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s final collaboration, opened on Broadway in 1959, winning many Tony awards, including Best Musical. It’s the story of would-be nun Maria, who leaves the convent to be a governess for a widower’s seven children. It takes place in Austria, against the backdrop of Nazi incursion into Austria before World War II. But then you probably already know that, since the movie is a classic as well, a movie that many of us have watched year after year, singing the songs together as a family. You know it’s a story of love, and of the power of music. You know it’s a moving, timeless tale of a family’s escape from the evil that is threatening their homeland. The touring company whose production is on Hancher’s stage does not disappoint in any way. Director Jack O’Brien’s version is fun and light when it needs to be and it also expertly delves into the more serious moments. Continue reading