A retrospective on Lawrence theater in 2010

"Legally Blonde The Musical" will be at the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

"Legally Blonde The Musical" will be at the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

I’ve only been writing in this role since June, but it’s been an impressive 7 months. “Curtains” debuted at Theatre Lawrence in June with an ironclad cast hauling so much chemistry that it couldn’t help but succeed. Other notables at Theatre Lawrence were the lovable orphans of “Annie” and Kayla Motley’s over-the-top, hilarious Miss Hannigan.

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Cast members of "Annie", from left, Miss Harrigan, played by Kayla Motley, Annie played by Lili Hull, and Grace played by Rachel Gilmore rehearse in preparation for opening night on Friday December 3, at the Lawrence Community Theater.

KU Theatre’s “Lost in Yonkers” soared on the wings of Marilyn Haines’ energetic portrayal of Bella, and KU’s other productions, “Sister Cities” and “Lobby Hero” met with some success.

The Lied Center called up two titans for our eyes and ears, “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Legally Blonde.” John Preece played a Tevye so precisely yet so elegantly that we couldn’t help but get up on our feet and clap our hearts out for him. As long as generations struggle over their differences, “Fiddler” will remain a classic.

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"Legally Blonde The Musical" will be at the Lied Center at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Legally Blonde” served us a horrid dish on a pretty, shiny pink platter. All frosting on top and all maggots underneath, it simultaneously trumpeted and undermined its heroes. That old human enemy –– our inordinate love for the superficially appealing – reared its gorgon head with fervor as the crowd stood up and cheered for the pink parade.

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Senior J.T. Nagle as Puck, left, rehearses "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with original 17th century early modern English. At right is associate KU theater director John Staniunas as Oberon.

The most beautiful, most interesting, most integral yet revolutionary story came to us in a dream. With help from director Paul Meier, The Bard’s voice boomed back from history in its original pronunciation in KU’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” It still seems like a dream, an experience that one wishes he or she could fully remember, but will never be able to recall it in its original splendor. It was a marvelous delight, stuffed with exceptional acting and an evocative set, with fairies and magic, with humor and wit. Though titanic shows like “Fiddler” and “Legally Blonde” bounded through Lawrence, the most powerful production grew from the city’s own nest.

Whether you’re part of Theatre Lawrence, KU Theatre, Cat Scratch Theatre, the Lied Center, or if you just enjoy going to plays, thank you for contributing to the process in 2010. Watching our friends and acquaintances act out a story on stage builds community like little else.

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