John R. Phythyon Jr.

John R. Phythyon Jr. is a freelancer for the Lawrence Journal-World. He writes the Centerstage blog and about theater in Lawrence.

Recent Stories

KU to stage Nobel laureate’s ‘The Other Shore’

The theater is an interesting place to experience abstract art. Because a play happens live, the audience expects concrete representations of place through the set, of characterization through costuming and of action through sound and motion.

Making Gatsby great

Theatre Lawrence production the perfect challenge for director

Theatre Lawrence's production of "The Great Gatsby," which kicks off Friday and runs through April 27, tells the story a Jazz Age millionaire and the young man who is drawn to him.

Puppeteer, Lawrence native returns for Arts Center’s ‘Pinocchio’

Spencer Lott has a long history at the Lawrence Arts Center. The Lawrence native and Kansas University graduate is now a teaching artist at New York’s New Victory Theater, but he’s back in town for the Arts Center’s new production of “Pinocchio.”

Theatre Lawrence's ‘Other Desert Cities’ explores secrets, family dynamics

Few things are more powerful than a secret. And, if they get out, few things are more destructive. That’s the hook of Theatre Lawrence’s new production, “Other Desert Cities.”

KU students’ production puts 3 spins on ‘Hamlet’

One of the hardest things to do in art is to make something old and familiar fresh. Danny Devlin has some ideas about that. "‘Hamlet’ is the most well-known, well-researched play ever,” he says. “We’re taking three very different approaches to it.”

Divas duel for Theatre Lawrence

When it comes to fundraising, a little competition is good for the bottom line. So the thinking goes at Theatre Lawrence, which is preparing to hold its annual “Dueling Divas” event Saturday night at its 4660 Bauer Farm Drive location. Eight local singers compete against each other “American Idol”-style to see who can raise the most money.

Theatre Lawrence takes on Hitchcock in spoof 'Wrong Window'

“Wrong Window,” which opens Friday at Theatre Lawrence, is about as different from heavy drama as one could imagine. The 2008 comic caper spoofs a number of Alfred Hitchcock films, especially “Rear Window.”

Tease photo

Moving target: Arts Center’s ‘A Kansas Nutcracker’ keeps evolving

Ric Averill doesn’t stand still very long. Even catching the longtime artistic director for the performing arts at the Lawrence Arts Center in a casual conversation can be difficult. He’s always going somewhere.

Layered performance

Actor, city employee shares trait with title character in Theatre Lawrence’s ‘Shrek’

If you’re looking for the perfect actor to play Shrek, the green-skinned ogre who is the subject of the beloved film and now a Broadway musical coming to Theatre Lawrence for the holidays, it would be hard to find someone better suited to the role than Knute Pittenger.

New play explores prisons, physical and societal, at Inge Theatre

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.

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