Centerstage

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 ...

Review: “Shrek” gorgeous, funny and sweet

John Phythyon

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 levels. David ...

'The Maderati' provides director perfect opportunity

John Phythyon

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 another chance with “The Maderati,” which ...

Review: "Adding Machine" compelling, poignant

John Phythyon

Occasionally, a piece of experimental theater comes along that hits all the right notes. The story, the performances and the execution combine seamlessly to create a poignant and thought-provoking piece of art. University Theatre’s new staging of “Adding Machine: A Musical” is such a production. An intriguing script, modern score, ...

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

John Phythyon

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 an ...

Lawrence Arts Center renders near-perfect “Sweeney Todd”

John Phythyon

“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 bloody-minded ...

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