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1999 Stories by Robrt L. Pela

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  • Gray Punks on Dope

    published December 30, 1999

    During my pre-matinee nap last Sunday afternoon, my Jewish playwright friend left me a voice mail message: "Hey, I'm in town, let's get together... More >>

  • Pine Soul

    published December 16, 1999

    Among my more annoying flaws, friends tell me, is an unnatural affection for Christmas. I'm one of those fellows who spends the day after... More >>

  • Tide Score

    published December 9, 1999

    In a performance space as intimate as PlayWright's Theatre, you can name the moment when a play has grabbed its audience. That moment came during... More >>

  • Gash Register

    published December 2, 1999

    I took more pleasure in telling people I was going to a play called Shopping and Fucking than I did from the play itself. But Planet Earth... More >>

  • Bio Rhythms

    published November 18, 1999

    A pair of famous dead singers was resuscitated here last week. Mahalia Jackson and Maria Callas are each pacing local stages -- Jackson in Black... More >>

  • Disastrous Duo

    published November 11, 1999

    Question: What do you get when you combine a lot of talented actors with a couple of lousy scripts? Answer: Shows like those currently on display... More >>

  • How to Snuff a Wild Wahini

    published November 4, 1999

    Would that some of our more established theater companies could harness the energy bursting from the makeshift stage at Planet Earth Theatre these... More >>

  • Medical Breakthrough

    published October 28, 1999

    What a relief finally to see a perfect production of The Baltimore Waltz. I've witnessed four near-miss interpretations of this... More >>

  • Jive Turkey

    published October 21, 1999

    If you aren't wowed by Black Theatre Troupe's production of Willie and Esther, don't blame the actors. The pair of talented performers who... More >>

  • Thou Swellington

    published October 14, 1999

    Even without the impressive singing and dancing that make Play On! a gratifying evening of theater, its princely pedigree is enough to sell... More >>

  • Fang Letter

    published October 14, 1999

    Occasionally, while watching a particularly tedious play, I'll find myself wishing that the characters -- who up to that point have probably been... More >>

  • The Accidental Tourists

    published October 7, 1999

    All signs pointed to a potentially disastrous evening of theater: a stifling playhouse; jarringly loud pre-show music; a pretentious Author's Note... More >>

  • Esprit de Corporate

    published September 30, 1999

    End-of-the-century themes are big this year, and Phoenix Theatre has begun its 79th season with an unfortunately mawkish one. "The Way We Were"... More >>

  • Dance on Washington

    published September 30, 1999

    Lula Washington is darn busy. Days before hauling the latest edition of the Lula Washington Dance Theater to Phoenix, she's racing from... More >>

  • Yule Grinner

    published September 16, 1999

    For the past decade or so, our local theater season has kicked off with a musical comedy rerun, courtesy of Phoenix Theatre Company. This year,... More >>

  • Bitter Drapes

    published August 19, 1999

    You've No Business Near Show Business continues through Sunday, September 5, at On the Spot Theater, 4700 North Central. More >>

  • Writing Crop

    published August 5, 1999

    Ever since he was a boy, Richard Warren has been haunted by Buffalo Bill. In an attempt to exorcise his Wild West demon, Warren ditched a career... More >>

  • Death Valet

    published July 22, 1999

    I know the scarcity of local summer stock has gotten to me when I find myself driving to Peoria to watch one of our most amateurish amateur... More >>

  • My Left Footloose

    published July 8, 1999

    Footloose is coming to town, and--for the duration, at least--I am leaving. Certainly no one who has made his living turning lousy musical... More >>

  • Blanket Indictment

    published June 24, 1999

    It was inevitable that the trend in tribute albums honoring contemporary singer/songwriters--which kicked into high gear more than a decade ago... More >>

  • Beginner's Lack

    published June 10, 1999

    I am plagued by amateur playwrights. This season, there were twice as many apprentice authors produced on local stages as the season before. Every... More >>

  • Toto Recall

    published June 3, 1999

    There's an unfortunate trend in musical theater, a genre of live performance that can hardly afford another deadfall these days. Book musicals,... More >>

  • Geek Comedy

    published May 27, 1999

    There's a reason why A Thousand Clowns is a perennial favorite with theater companies across the country. Herb Gardner's dark comedy is a... More >>

  • Is There a Script Doctor in the House?

    published May 20, 1999

    Given the choice of watching a really terrible play in a freezing-cold theater or having all my molars yanked without the aid of Novocaine, I... More >>

  • Jews of Denial

    published May 13, 1999

    In Adolph Frietag's house, Jewish customs have long been buried. Although he and his family--sister, sister-in-law, and two nieces--are themselves... More >>

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