Some Thoughts on Theatre Cedar Rapids’ and Cedar Falls Community Theatre’s 2009-2010 Season

Yes, I’m going to give commentary on seasons I will miss most of.

First, let’s talk about Cedar Falls Community Theatre’s season. Their line up is “Kiss Me Kate,” “Luv,” “Death By Chocolate,” “Nuncrackers,” and “Moon Over Buffalo.” While “Death by Chocolate” and “Nuncrackers” make me roll my eyes a bit, but if I was living in Eastern Iowa when those productions on stage, I would consider seeing them.

This comes from the fact that CFCT lowered their student ticket prices to $10. Sure, “Death by Chocolate” and “Nuncrackers” might sound bad, but you’d feel a lot better taking a potential risk and paying $10 to see a play. It might be good, it might be bad. You’d pay the same amount of money to see a movie.

Oh, and I do have tickets to see “Kiss Me Kate” on Saturday. I’m in Iowa City reviewing “Hello, Dolly!” at the Englert Theatre on Friday, when “Kiss Me Kate” opens. I also intend to see “Luv” because it’s directed by Bill Dawson, who directed last season’s “Murder at the Howard Johnson’s,” which sounded a bit dubious, but everyone I’ve spoken to that saw it, it was really good. In fact, I’m kicking myself a bit for missing it.

And now for Theatre Cedar Rapids’ season. I think my mind just about exploded when I found out the season. Their season defies the stereotypes of community theatre, again. Look at it, “Altar Boyz,” Stoppard, “The Laramie Project,” “The Producers,” and “Rent.” The unedited version of “Rent.” More on that later.

Last time I checked, “Altar Boyz” wasn’t exactly “The Odd Couple” or “Leaving Iowa.” In fact, I’m rather pleased to see that they’re emphasizing the fact that it’s an off-Broadway hit. The Stoppard? Sure, I would have swooned more if they had done “Arcadia,” but at least they’re doing a play by Tom Stoppard.

I think that the the entire season sounds great. Come on, I hate “Annie” and I would consider seeing it there. “The Producers”? I’ve loved that show since I was 11 and I bought the soundtrack with the money I earned delivering newspapers. If I knew my schedule, I would try to make it to that show.

I think that “Proof” is a very interesting play; I saw a very good production of it at the Waterloo Community Playhouse a few years ago. As for “Still Life With Iris,” I don’t know much about it, other than that DePaul University’s Chicago Playworks did it last year.

And finally, to address them doing “Rent”: I was very pleased to find out that they’re doing the unedited version. Some people would probably be offended by the content. It could be very easy to go ahead and do the “Student Version,” but doing the unedited version is very artistically brave and I think it will pay off. (On another note, City Circle Acting Company in Coralvile is doing the student version of “Rent”)

What this season tells me is that they want to give their patrons good art and entertainment.

Really, the only way that I can think of they could make their season any better is if they did David Harrower’s “Blackbird,” or Martin McDonagh’s “The Pillowman” and they didn’t cut out any of the violence and swearing. Two other companies have done “The Pillowman” and I keep missing productions. Which really upsets me.

Someone hurry up and build that Amtrak line from Chicago to Iowa City.

Go see these shows.

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