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Thursday, April 28, 2005 10:51 pm

backstage pass 4-28-05

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Springfield Theatre Centre had a big hit last year with its production of Annie. The same STC directing team (Julie Davis, Doug Hahn, Gary Shull) is back with this week’s opening of Bye, Bye Birdie on the main stage of the Hoogland Center for the Arts. The show runs two weekends, April 29-May 1 and May 6-8. John Sivak, Jamie Impson, Doug McCracken, Emma Jo Schumacher, Kari Kelley, Rich McCoy, Deidre Rosenberger, and Ada Lynn Shrewsbury are featured. The high-energy teen talent of the cast pumps up the action quite a bit, too.

Bye, Bye Birdie is definitely one of the old-school Broadway shows, but it really has a good driving musical score and Davis’ production has a bright, fast pace.

Take a drive down Interstate 72 to see the Quincy Community Theatre production of an audience-pleaser called Over the Tavern, running May 13-15 and 19-22. This play has been a huge hit around the country since premiering in Buffalo, N.Y. It has yet to play New York City, though it had a long run in Chicago. Playwright Tom Dudzick drew on his own family’s experiences to write this comedy, set in Buffalo in 1959, about a 12-year-old Polish Catholic boy whose family lives in a flat over the tavern where his father works. Call 217-222-3209 for ticket information.

Illinois College’s TheatreWorks in Jacksonville is staging another good play, Pride’s Crossing by Tina Howe, which runs April 28-May 1. The show is about Mabel Tidings Bigelow, an octogenarian who looks back over her life. We see her as a young child and watch her grow up, becoming a swimmer who eventually gains fame by crossing the English Channel. The role of young Mabel is played by Anne Marie Brinton; Abi Wurdeman is cast in the role of an elderly Mabel. It’s a wonderful play written by a great playwright. Call 217-245-3030 for tickets.

Ron Seney is directing a musical revue, titled You’re the Top: A Cole Porter Revue, at Lincoln Land Community College this weekend. It runs April 29 and 30.

The Jacksonville Theatre Guild’s summer musical is Oliver!, directed by Rich McCoy. Auditions will be held at the Sophie Leschin Theatre on April 30. Call the Guild office at 217-245-1402 for details. The show runs July 28-31 and Aug. 4-7. And don’t forget the guild’s upcoming show, the comedy/drama The Boys Next Door, which runs May 6-8 and May 13-15.

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