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quoteWith this brilliant production of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Next to Normal,” Crown Uptown Theatre firmly establishes itself in the top echelon of Wichita entertainment with the likes of Music Theatre of Wichita and Theater League.

Directed by Matthew Rumsey with a sterling cast that operates with the proficient teamwork of Olympic champs, this production – a Wichita and Kansas premiere – is the sort of involving, engaging show that could confidently open in much larger metropolitan venues and be assured of rave reviews. It’s just that thrilling and that indelible… For local theater lovers, this is a landmark, must-see show…

-Bob Curtwright, Wichita Eagle

 

quoteCrown Uptown Professional Dinner Theatre has bounced back convincingly under new ownership and new artistic leadership with the opening show, “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas,” and the word “professional” in the title has never been more appropriate.

From the live 11-piece orchestra in the newly reopened orchestra pit to intricate and precise choreography, including lots of tap and lifts, to bright and coordinated costumes, you might wonder if you’re watching an off-season hold-over from Wichita’s premiere theater group, Music Theatre of Wichita.

What we’re seeing is the next step up for a 35-year institution that is now poised to enter the big leagues of local and regional entertainment…

-Bob Curtwright, Wichita Eagle

 

quote(A Chorus Line) “Crown Uptown Theatre’s spirited, often funny and occasionally heart-breaking new revival does this show proud in all its wit, substance and gravitas as well as entertaining the heck out of us. There’s not a shaky cast member nor a draggy moment…

Directed by Matthew Rumsey, the show is broken into two acts rather than run straight through as usual. Surprisingly, that doesn’t trip up the pace even for purists because Rumsey found a natural break that makes dramatic sense. He keeps the show firmly set in 1975 without trying to update cultural touchstones like Ed Sullivan, “Peyton Place” or Troy Donahue. But the show doesn’t feel either dated or nostalgic.
Rumsey makes this show as fresh, surprising, thrilling and relevant as it was on opening night 37 years ago.

-Bob Curtwright, Wichita Eagle

 

quoteIt’s taken 33 years for a Wichita theater troupe to have the guts to tackle Stephen Sondheim’s ground-breaking, award-winning but controversial “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.” The reason, of course, is that it’s such a difficult show, both musically (oddball, dissonant rhythms and operatic stretches) and thematically (bloody vengeance and cannibalism). It’s dark, shocking, sometimes titillating, often horrifying and certainly not for everyone.

But Crown Uptown’s stunning new production is a worthy tribute to the 1979 Broadway original (with Len Cariou and Angela Lansbury). Under director Matthew Rumsey and music director Jesse Warkentin, it’s ambitious, deliciously malevolent and performed with a thrilling audacity by a cast with universally colorful and impressive voices. Like the Kansas premiere of “Next to Normal” right before it, “Sweeney Todd” is shaking up local theater expectations and proving that Crown Uptown is not your granddad’s dinner-theater anymore…

-Bob Curtwright, Wichita Eagle

 

quoteWith this brilliant production of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Next to Normal,” Crown Uptown Theatre firmly establishes itself in the top echelon of Wichita entertainment with the likes of Music Theatre of Wichita and Theater League.

Directed by Matthew Rumsey with a sterling cast that operates with the proficient teamwork of Olympic champs, this production – a Wichita and Kansas premiere — is the sort of involving, engaging show that could confidently open in much larger metropolitan venues and be assured of rave reviews. It’s just that thrilling and that indelible… For local theater lovers, this is a landmark, must-see show…

-Bob Curtwright, Wichita Eagle