Tag: Anna Schutz

Review: The Baltimore Waltz (Brown Paper Box Co.)

Jenna Schoppe and Justin Harner star as Anna and Third Man in Baltimore Waltz, Brown Paper Box Co 2           
      
  

The Baltimore Waltz 

Written by Paula Vogel
at The Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale (map)
thru Feb 19  |  tix: $20  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

January 28, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Now. Here. This. (Brown Paper Box Co.)

Nick Shoda  and Neala Barron in Now Here This, Brown Paper Box           
 
          
Now. Here. This. 

By Jeff Bowen (music, lyrics)
and Hunter Bell, Susan Blackwell (book)
at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge (map)
thru Aug 21  |  tix: $25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

July 26, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: [title of show] (The Brown Paper Box Company)

Matt Frye stars as Hunter in The Brown Paper Box Co's "title of show" by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell, directed by M. William Panek. (photo credit: C.B. Lindsey)    

         
      
[title of show]

Written by Jeff Bowen and Hunter Bell
Directed by M. William Panek
at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge (map)
thru Aug 16  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  
     
         
            Read review 
    

   

July 29, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: A New Brain (Brown Paper Box Company)

Nick Shoda and Anna Schutz star in Brown Paper Box Company's "A New Brain" by William Finn and James Lapine, directed by M. William Panek. (photo credit: CB Lindsey)        
      
A New Brain

Written by William Finn and James Lapine  
Directed by M. William Panek  
at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge (map)
thru March 9  |  tickets: $25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

February 27, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (Brown Paper Box Co.)

Luke Michael Grimes and Stephanie Rohr star in Brown Paper Co's "Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls" by Naomi Iizuka, directed by M. William Panek. (photo credit: Alexa Ray Meyers and Chad Shelton)       
      
Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls 

Written by Naomi Iizuka 
Directed by M. William Panek
at Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood (map)
thru June 16  |  tickets: $20   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

June 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Godspell (The Brown Paper Box Company)

Stephanie Rohr performs "Stand Back Old Man" in Brown Paper Box's "Godspell," directed by M. William Panek. (photo credit: Chad Shelton)        
       
Godspell 

Music and Lyrics by Stephen Schwartz  
Book by John-Michael Tebelak
Directed by M. William Panek  
Collaboraction Studio, 1579 N. Milwaukee (map)
thru Oct 7  |  tickets: $15-$25   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

September 27, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: Reefer Madness (The Brown Paper Box Co.)

 

Hilarious musical romp through the wide world of weed

 

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 003

   
The Brown Paper Box Co. presents
   
Reefer Madness
 
Book and Lyrics by Kevin Murphy
Music by Dan Studney
Directed by M. William Panek
Viaduct Theatre, 3111 N. Western (map)
through October 24  |  tickets: $15-$20  |  more info

Reviewed by Oliver Sava

The 1938 propaganda film “Reefer Madness” sought to teach the ignorant American masses of the dangers of “marihuana”, including but not limited to grand theft auto, sexual deviance, and murder. Paranoid and misinformed to the extreme, the film’s absurd plot and hilarious depiction of drug users have made it a cult classic, and Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney’s musical spoof is a wonderfully over-the-top  expansion of the film’s best ideas, mainly the claims that marijuana turns people into sex-crazed baby-killing socialists.

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co_ 006Directed by M. William Panek, The Brown Paper Box Co.’s production of Reefer Madness is at its best during group numbers, when the cast fearlessly tackles the offensive subject matter with vocal gusto. During the smaller numbers, some of the actors struggle to adjust to the absence of the group, and the singing loses precision and clarity.

The musical revels in gratuitous sex and violence, and the exaggeration of these elements highlights the ridiculousness of the movie’s plot, the tragic tale of high school students Jimmy Harper (Tyler Davis) and Mary Lane (Anna Schutz). Under the false pretense of swing dance lessons, drug pusher Jack Stone (David Geinosky) invites Jimmy over to the Reefer Den, where his life will be changed forever.

When Jimmy takes a hit of marijuana for the first time, rather than experiencing lethargy and munchies, Jimmy life descends into a mess of unbridled orgies, Jesus hallucinations, and running over old men with Mary’s car. While Davis’ jonesing can get a little grating to watch at times, he and Schutz showcase impressive vocals, and the two actors have no problem transitioning from adorable sweetness to devilish insanity. Some of the high notes could have more power behind them, and there needs to be a better balance between the volume of the principals and the chorus behind them, but Jimmy and Mary’s tragic romance is a constant source of humor throughout the production.

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 004 As the denizens of the Reefer Den, junkies Ralph (Michael Gardner), Sally (Jillian Kate Weingart), and Mae (Chelsea Paice) have some of the best moments in the show as stumble around the stage, humping and smoking whatever they can. Wiley is fantastically manic as Ralph, and is extra creepy as Sally’s baby in one disturbing interlude. Paice gets one of the best ballads of the show, and while she handles the lower register well, the big money notes are lacking in energy and support. Weingart has a similar problem, but she makes up for it with her powerful belting and fierce sexuality.

Reefer Madness is a musical that is not afraid to offend. Whether it is through explicit sexuality or graphic violence, the show pushes the boundaries of musical comedy, taking it to hilariously dark place. Brown Paper Box Co.’s production needs a little more polish to be truly memorable, but the actors tackle the material with dedication and courage. Despite the lows, this musical never comes down from its high.

   
   
Rating: ★★½
   
  

Reefer Madness - Brown Paper Box Co 002

October 20, 2010 | 0 Comments More

REVIEW: Epic Proportions (Project 891 Theatre)

Shortness on vaudevillian style slows down “Epic Proportions”

 Cole Simon, Anna Shutz, 3

Project 891 Theatre presents:

 

Epic Proportions

by Larry Cohen and David Crane
directed by Ron Popp
at Chemically Imbalanced Theatre, 1420 W. Irving Park
through March 28th (more info | tickets)

review by Paige Listerud

I once looked down on broad physical comedy. Absorbed by witty dialogue and high concept situations, I relegated trips, pratfalls, and near misses to comedy for the lower orders. That alone makes me a bigger ass than any of the actors that manfully, enthusiastically sport their way through Beau Forbes’ fight choreography in Epic Proportions, Project 891’s latest production at Chemically Imbalanced Theatre. Physical comedy, perfectly timed and emotionally truthful, is like ballet—an athletic challenge that looks deceptively easy.

Anna Shutz, Cole Simon 2 The athletic end of acting has waned with the advance of modern theater, a loss that shows most when well-trained actors take on physically demanding comic roles. Today, the art and craft of physical comedy seems the province of specialists, dropped from the average actor’s repertoire like a hot potato.

Too bad. With the exception of the physical stuff, Ron Popp has assembled an excellent cast, with each actor fit perfectly to type. Benny Bennett (Matt Lozano) is a likable star-struck schlub, beginning his film career as an extra in, “Exuent Omnes”, a movie helmed by the egomaniacal director D. W. DeWitt (Robert Kearcher). Benny’s brother, Phil (Cole Simon), an all-around American boy-next-door, comes to collect Benny to take him home to the farm. But, since it is the Depression, and since extras get a dollar a day plus free meals, and since the last truck has left all 3400 cast members stranded in the desert—per Mr. DeWitt’s orders—Phil stays to become party to the madness of a runaway, overproduced picture that sees no end in sight.

As for “Exuent Omnes”, think “The Ten Commandments” meets “Ben Hur”, meets “Quo Vadis”, meets every other B-list sword and sandal epic. Both brothers fall for pert, cheerful Louise Goldman (Anna Schutz), assistant director to the extras, whose job of dividing the extras into ‘slave group” or “orgy scene group” already sets brother against brother. Add an assistant to Mr. DeWitt (Matt Allis) with the demeanor of a shark and a lesbian costume designer (Liz Hoffman) lusting after Louise and you have plenty here to entertain beyond the sturm und drang of jumbled comic fight scenes.

Cole Simon, Anna Shutz, Matt Lozano.jpg 2 Cole Simon, Anna Shutz

Obviously, the production strives to be consciously overwrought, in stylized parody of Cecille B. Demille films. Some moments are more successful than others. Tommy Culhane’s deliciously bug-eyed gaze and overarching gestures set the right tone for pronouncements about the glory of Rome. Hoffman’s sassy Queen of the Nile and voracious Continental lesbian are treats. If only Popp’s direction didn’t deprive her of a few critical comic moments. Gary Murphy’s Demille-like voice-overs, as well as the cast of the mockumentary that first introduces Exuent Omnes–Kate Konopasek, Floyd A. May, Manny Schenk and Larry Teagarden–round out the manic film enthusiasm for a fictitious cult classic.

The cast certainly exhibits all the exuberance typical of a 1930s comedy. However, the craft that is the legacy of vaudeville and screwball films needs to be tightened up for the sake of a fully realized work. Who knew silliness could be so complicated? Who knew everything old would be new, and necessary, again?

Rating: ★★½

 

Matt Lozano and Cole Simon

EXTRA CREDIT:

March 10, 2010 | 3 Comments More