Saturday, December 28, 2013

A tribute to Rainbow's Karen McKenney

Bringing history back to life
From Local Heros in CityLife (click here)


One of the theatrical highlights of the year is always the newest installment in Rainbow Co. Youth Theatre's ongoing Nevada History Cycle. Hidden beneath didactic titles like this year's Uncovering Nevada's Past (Feb. 17-19 at the Fifth Street School) are dazzling, robust sagas, replete with tycoons, prospectors, shady ladies and trailblazing matriarchs. Obscure incidents and half-forgotten pioneers are channeled from the pages of history books into vivid life through the writing of Karen McKenney, with no small assistance from the creative songwriting of J Neal. Rainbow's small, touring troupe morphs into everything from punch-drunk pugilists to paper-chewing wild burros who rampage through the audience. McKenney's directional flair creates spectacle from virtually nothing, as when a giant bolt of cloth becomes a flood-swollen river. Not only do you have a blast, you've imbibed a gallon of history unawares. We'd call it a public service if it weren't so doggone much fun.

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