Centerstage

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

John Phythyon

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 Jay Gatsby (Garrett ...

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

John Phythyon

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 show begins with ...

Review: KU Theatre delights with 'Much Ado'

John Phythyon

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 present ...

Review: 'Other Desert Cities' moving, powerful

John Phythyon

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 deeply moving, powerful play that ...

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

John Phythyon

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, ...

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

John Phythyon

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 direction of senior theater major Brian ...

'The Addams Family' creeps its way onto Lied Center stage

John Phythyon

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

John Phythyon

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 natural laughs ...

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

John Phythyon

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 1861. The ...

Theater review: 'The Maderati' is zany fun

John Phythyon

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 hilarity ensue when a group of self-absorbed yuppies gets word ...

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