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Riverside Theatre Blog

Bakersfield Mist Talk Back

September 15, 2017 - 11:49 AM

Bakersfield Mist Talk Back on Friday, September 22, after the performance

The title of Stephen Sachs' play is an allusion to the famous Jackson Pollock painting Lavender Mist. When a lost Pollock is unearthed at a yard sale in Bakersfield, California what we believe in as authentic comes into question. Join Tonya Kehoe, Professor of Art at Kirkwood College and Joyce Tsai, curator at UI Museum of Art and professor in the College of Education. 

Joyce Tsai is Curator at the University of Iowa Museum of Art and Clinical Associate Professor of Art Education at the College of Education, University of Iowa. Her curatorial projects, research, and teaching center on the history and theory of the avant-garde; artistic engagement with technology; and on the integration of art conservation and conservation science in our understanding of artworks as material objects that change over time. She is author of Painting after Photography, forthcoming with University of California Press in 2018 and winner of the Phillips Collection book prize, as well as Shape of Things to Come, a catalog that accompanied the eponymous exhibition she curated for the Santa Barbara Museum of Art in 2015, distributed by Yale University Press. She has published widely on a range of topics, from the impact of military training on artistic practice to the history, material science, and meaning of plastics in modern art in Artforum, Journal of the Institute of Conservation, History of Photography, Leonardo, and in numerous international exhibition catalogs.

Tonya Kehoe is a Professor of Art at Kirkwood Community College in Iowa City, IA. She has been teaching 2-D studio art and Art  101 for 15 years. She holds her Masters degree in Art from the Univ of Iowa. Tonya has received two national teaching awards although her favorite accolade is witnessing student's personal growth through artmaking. Tonya is also a mother, a fine art painter, and an illustrator who occasionally dabbles in performance art. 

The talk back is organized and supported by Obermann Center for Advaced Studies.

17-18 Riverdog Pass

August 10, 2017 - 2:25 PM

We know you'll be excited to hear about what's ahead for
the 17-18 Riverdog Pass!
Artistic Director Sean Christopher Lewis has chosen a thrilling lineup:
  • Bakersfield Mist by Stephen Sachs
  • Circle Mirror Transformation by Annie Baker
  • Lungs by Duncan Macmillan
  • Detroit by Lisa D'Amour
  • Apples in Winter by Jennifer Fawcett (world premiere)
  • Tooth and Nail by Sean Christopher Lewis (world premiere)
The Riverdog pass includes 6-show, 5-show and 4-show options. Choose the plays you want to see, and book the dates later at your convenience.
The more shows you buy, the bigger discount you'll receive, and prices will remain at last season's levels if you purchase now:
  • 6-Show Sept-April pass: just $150, or $25/show-the best deal!
  • 5-Show pass: $130 ($26/show)
  • 4-Show pass: $108 ($27/show)
If you can't use your tickets, you can transfer them to a friend. Riverdogs also receive discounts on beverages in our lobby, as well as discounts at various Northside neighborhood restaurants. (Check our website for participating businesses.)
Read all about the new season at and make sure to get your Riverdog Pass today by calling the Box Office at 319-338-7672.

The Bomb-itty of Errors Moving Indoors

June 19, 2017 - 5:35 PM

The Bomb-itty of Errors Moving Indoors

A Note by Sean Lewis:

I want to first say thanks to everyone who came and saw Macbeth. We were incredibly proud of that production and the amount of interaction we have had with audience members on our Facebook page, email, and Twitter has been amazing, far beyond our other shows. 

Now, part of my job as the artistic director of the theater is to ensure the greatest product from our artists and the best experience for our patrons. Last week incredible heat followed by nights of thunder and lightning made for a few exciting performances (if not taxing for the actors). Going into The Bomb-itty of Errors with actors microphoned and surrounded by electronics we had to make a decision about whether or not to remain outside.  I had to stay true to those two promisesthe best experience with the most exciting product—and to that end I decided to move The Bomb-itty of Errors indoors for the entirety of its run. (Of course, we will now probably have the most beautiful weather Iowa has seen in fifty years!) Ticketing and times will remain the same and our box office and staff are here to make the transition seamless. 

There are no easy decisions in running a nonprofit theatre. This includes this one. But it's one I believe in and one I know will allow us to deliver the best version of this piece and therefore the best evening for our patrons possible.

Thursday Theatre Talk: 'Riverside Theatre Summer 2017’

May 12, 2017 - 1:18 PM

Riverside Theatre Summer 2017

 "Adaptation" is central to Shakespeare’s playwriting process as he constantly raided and transformed earlier writing: stories, plays, historical chronicles. The Comedy of Errors is based on a Roman comedy (about twins) by Plautus, but Shakespeare doubles the twins and adds in a frame story borrowed from the Scots poet John Gower. Macbeth is based on incidents from Holinshed’s Chronicles—even the witches are there! Our Thursday Theatre Talk will focus on Riverside’s involvement with adaptations of these plays, previewing Sean Lewis’s rethinking of Macbeth and the hip hop play-with-music known as The Bomb-itty of Errors. Join Miriam Gilbert, Sean Lewis, and actors for this discussion on Thursday, May 18, 5–6 p.m. at Riverside Theatre, 213 N. Gilbert St, Iowa City.

 All are welcome to attend this free event.

Questions? Call: 319-338-7672


Miriam Gilbert is Professor of English (Emerita) at the University of Iowa, where she taught Shakespeare for 44 years.  Her primary interest, both as a teacher and a scholar, concerns Shakespeare in performance, and she indulges that interest with a second home in Stratford-upon-Avon. She has written a study of  The Merchant of Venice  for the Shakespeare at Stratford series (Arden Shakespeare and The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust) and  Shakespeare in Performance: Love's Labour's Lost (Manchester University Press, 1993).  She has co-edited literature anthologies for both secondary and college students.  Her work with performance has been the focus of many workshops and seminars, including eight seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Chase Garrett in Concert at Riverside Theatre

May 1, 2017 - 2:56 PM
Chase Garrett

Relativity Talk Back, Friday, April 28, after the performance

April 11, 2017 - 3:38 PM

Relativity Talk Back
Friday, April 28, after the performance

The title of Mark St. Germain’s new play, Relativity, is, we discover, a wonderful pun, since the play focuses on Albert Einstein. But St. Germain is more interested in the personal than the scientific, and writes his play about Einstein as a father, specifically a father whose baby daughter, Lieserl, seemed to disappear from Einstein’s history. In Relativity, St. Germain speculates about what might have happened, and what might happen if the daughter suddenly reappeared to confront her father. Join Miriam Gilbert, Professor Emerita of English, and her colleagues, Diane Jeske, Professor of Philosophy, and Connie Mutel, Senior Science Writer at the UI's IIHR-Hydroscience & Engineering and co-author of Hans Albert Einstein: His Life as a Pioneering Engineer, a book dealing with Einstein’s oldest son, as we respond to the ethical and biographical questions raised by this play.   

 Miriam Gilbert is Professor of English (Emerita) at the University of Iowa, where she taught Shakespeare for 44 years. Her primary interest, both as a teacher and a scholar, concerns Shakespeare in performance, and she indulges that interest with a second home in Stratford-upon-Avon. She has co-edited literature anthologies for both secondary and college students. Her work with performance has been the focus of many workshops and seminars, including eight seminars sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 Diane Jeske is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa. Her research has focussed on the ethics of intimate relationships, examining questions about the nature of love and friendship and what we owe to our near and dear. She has stressed, in her work, the importance of understanding and weighing not only our moral obligations to those we care about but also our obligations to persons and animals more generally. Diane is currently working on a project in which she uses case studies of evil people to show why the study of moral philosophy is a critical component of moral education and of the moral life more generally. 

 Connie Mutel has co-authored (with Robert Ettema) the definitive scientific biography of Albert Einstein's elder son. This book was the product of many years of research, which included discovery of previously unknown family records and interviews with many of the remaining members of Albert's family—a project that some might say was more intriguing than the final publication. Connie has also written or edited numerous books and articles on Midwestern environmental features and problems and is a regular speaker on these topics across the state.

Summer Season Announcement

March 31, 2017 - 11:05 AM


 This summer, Riverside in the Park will present the political tragedy "Macbeth" and the family-friendly hip hop comedy "The Bomb-itty of Errors."

Bomb-itty graphic

 IOWA CITY -- Riverside Theatre is pleased to announce that its 2017 Riverside in the Park summer season at Lower City Park will feature Shakespeare's political tragedy "Macbeth" and "The Bomb-itty of Errors," a hip hop adaptation of Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors." The summer programming will be rounded out by pre-performance green shows open to the public and pop-up events at the Gilbert Street theater.

 The season will open with "Macbeth," directed by Riverside artistic director Sean Christopher Lewis, who notes that to contemporary ears, "Macbeth" may Shakespeare's most intelligible classic -- as well as one of his most violent. "Macbeth" delivers audiences to "a world at war with an even larger evil on the horizon," says Lewis. "It is a story of ambition and pride and boredom. What happens when people become obsessed and leave their homes and worlds for extended periods of time? When they get used to conflict as the everyday? When there is no nation, no unification and only singular pursuits?" For today's generations of theatregoers, this uncanny tragedy of power struggles and dark politics may appear more prescient than ever.

 In Lewis's bold new staging, "Macbeth" will explore political power on epic and intimate scales. "Macbeth" opens June 9 and runs through June 18 and will star Patrick DuLaney ("A View from the Bridge") and Chicago-based actor Saren Nofs-Snyder as Lord and Lady Macbeth.

 "The Bomb-itty of Errors," a hip hop comedy which premiered in 1999, was written by Jordan Allen-Dutton, Jason Catalano, Erik Weiner, Gregory J. Qaiyum and Jeffrey Qaiyum (the Qaiyum brothers are better known for their work leading the Q Brothers "ad-rap-tation" company). On this shift from Riverside in the Park's typical classical programming, Lewis says, "'Bomb-itty' allows us to present family-friendly fare, bring in a diverse cast and speak in a contemporary form. The park should be an inclusive space across age and race -- this show is a good invitation to viewers and actors alike." The bridge between Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" and rap, Lewis notes, is an exploration of self and family: "Hip hop is all about identity -- where am I from, what is my name, what do I represent and what is real? 'The Comedy of Errors' is about the same things. Two sets of twins have been estranged from each other for years and created identities separate from one another. When, by chance, they come face-to-face they have to ask: Who am I? If I'm not wholly unique am I even an individual?"

 "The Bomb-itty of Errors" opens June 23 and runs through July 2 and will star Barrington Vaxter ("Black and Blue" and "The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore"). The show features hip hop, live DJing and four actors shifting between twelve characters. "The Bomb-itty of Errors" is sure to delight families, rap aficionados and fans of "Hamilton" and "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)" alike.

 Patrick DuLaney's Riverside credits include Eddie Carbone in "A View from the Bridge" and Bottom in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," Friar Laurence in "Romeo and Juliet" and Costard in "Love's Labour's Lost" for Riverside in the Park. He has also acted in Old Creamery Theatre and City Circle Acting Company productions. National credits include the title roles in "Macbeth" and "Floyd Collins," Mr. Zero in The Hypocrites' acclaimed Chicago production of "The Adding Machine" and a national tour of "Gypsy." He is a founding member of the Alaska Shakespeare Festival.

 Saren Nofs-Snyder is a Jeff-nominated, Chicago-based actress. She teaches at the Chicago Academy for the Arts. Saren has worked with companies including Lookingglass Theatre, Piven Theatre Ensemble, Next Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare, New Leaf, BoHo, First Folio, Remy Bumpo and Circle Theatre where she appeared as Mrs. Cheveley in "An Ideal Husband," a role which earned her a Jeff nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress. Regionally Saren has worked with the Utah Shakespearean Festival, Notre Dame Shakespeare, Artists Repertory Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Michigan Shakespeare Festival, Pioneer Theatre company and many others.

 Barrington Vaxter is an actor from Iowa City, Iowa. Recent roles include Marcus Gentry in Riverside's "Black and Blue," a national tour of Working Group Theatre's "Out of Bounds" and the title role in Working Group Theatre's adaptation of "The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore" at the Englert Theatre.

 "Macbeth," directed by Sean Christopher Lewis and starring Patrick DuLaney and Saren Nofs-Snyder, opens June 9 and runs through June 18 in Iowa City's Lower City Park. "The Bomb-itty of Errors," starring Barrington Vaxter, opens June 23 and runs through July 2 in Lower City Park. Both productions are sponsored by Oaknoll.

Tickets will go on sale this month so check back in soon or follow us on Facebook! Feel free to call our box office at (319) 338-7672 or email [email protected]  for more information!

 Show dates:


 Friday, June 9, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 10, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 11, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 13, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 14, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 15, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 16, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 17, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 18, 7 p.m.


"The Bomb-itty of Errors"

 Friday, June 23, 8 p.m.

Saturday, June 24, 8 p.m.

Sunday, June 25, 7 p.m.

Tuesday, June 27, 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 28, 8 p.m.

Thursday, June 29, 8 p.m.

Friday, June 30, 8 p.m.

Saturday, July 1, 8 p.m.

Sunday, July 2, 7 p.m.

Curious about Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan?

February 21, 2017 - 2:10 PM

Curious about Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan?

Here's what Megan has to say:  

"Before the election, I really wanted to tell this story. Now, I really need to." 

—with Charity Nebbe on IPR's Talk of Iowa

"It's about hilarious things like sexism, the femme fatale, and how we view powerful women . . . and unpacking it all through my signature hilarity."

—with Dennis Green on KCCK's Culture Crawl

 "If you're nervous about the Shakespeare, don't worry."

—on KCOB's Let's Talk

A View from the Bridge Reviews

January 27, 2017 - 11:59 AM

In its second week, A View from the Bridge is stunning audiences and garnering ardent reviews from critics. Of the "electric, inspiring, and devastating" production, Little Village Magazine's Sarah Jarmon writes, "I cannot stress this enough: You should experience this play for yourself." Iowa Theatre Blog's Michele Payne notes that the show is "stark, compelling, and hot": "It's impossible to turn away from DuLaney's Eddie. . . . You should go see it."

A View from the Bridge - Director's Staging Note

January 17, 2017 - 3:23 PM

Immigration narratives feel like ghost stories to me.

They haunt us.

We all come from them but we fear them. We know the lessons of them but we play out the same cycles over and over again. It was a crazy idea but I put it to my designers- what if this were a ghost story. What if it was a Greek tragedy that played out over and over throughout history, but the ethnicities changed? What if these people were trapped in this tragic limbo forever?

I had gotten obsessed with how people come to America. I’d seen Body Cam footage on YouTube of people from South America stuffed into a transport truck, their bodies literally spilling out when the doors opened. I thought about my Irish relatives coming over on boats, stowed away between freight. I thought about how immigrants have traveled for centuries, the unwanted, hide among goods and commerce. So, I wanted a set that reflected this, something open and ghostly, Greek and purgatorial: a void that seemed to go on forever, but populated with boxes, belongings and shipments.

I put the challenge to the actors: you’ll be naked up there, so you have to be big and you have to be honest. I thought about Greek tragedies (the way Arthur Miller, himself, described this play) and the way the tragedy of a single man never stopped at the man. Oedipus brings a plague upon Greece. Eddie Carbone brings a pox upon all of us. The cast is great. And the cast was brave. I told them: “This is not going to be your typical Miller. Oh, and also, this could fail miserably.”

Because I believe theater has no place being done if it can’t. If it is not tempting failure, theater becomes stasis. It becomes the same people in the same rooms forever with the same fears having the same conversations.

In a world where we can so easily treat goods better than people, I think a little risk is necessary. No, let me correct that.

A lot of risk.


 Or else we deserve to be haunted.

 Sean Christopher Lewis

Praise for 'Every Brilliant Thing'

November 28, 2016 - 8:06 AM

"Every Brilliant Thing" scored more than just a sellout crowd on opening night. It also earned praise from reviewer Rachel Korach Howell of Little Village Magazine. Howell writes, "Great theatre doesn’t need bells and whistles to affect an audience. It just needs to be real." Read her full review here.

"Every Brilliant Thing" continues through Dec. 11.

Chatting with Little Village Magazine

November 23, 2016 - 11:44 AM

Genevieve Trainor of Little Village Magazine spoke with director Sean Christopher Lewis ahead of Saturday's opening of "Every Brilliant Thing." Check out Little Village's preview here.

See photos and clips from 'Every Brilliant Thing'

November 23, 2016 - 11:30 AM

Wondering what "Every Brilliant Thing" is about? Actor Tim Budd explains in this short clip from the show.

You can also see a gallery of production photos from the show here.

Written by Duncan McMillan and directed by Sean Christopher Lewis, "Every Brilliant Thing" opens Saturday and continues through Dec. 11. Get tickets here

What makes you happy?

November 21, 2016 - 8:34 AM

Hundreds of people responded last week when we asked, "What's something in your life that makes you happy?"

Watch actor Tim Budd and others share those responses in this video. And see "Every Brilliant Thing" opening this Saturday and continuing through Dec. 11.

Join us for tonight's discussion

November 10, 2016 - 3:14 PM

Following tonight's performance of 'The Taming' (Thursday, Nov. 10), we will hold a talk-back discussion with two guests from the Obermann Center. We'll be talking about women's roles in leadership and government going forward.

Please join us, even if you aren't attending tonight's show. If you don't have have show tickets but would still like to participate, arrive at the theatre by 9 p.m. We will seat you as soon as the performance of "The Taming" has concluded. If you'd like to see the show, give us a call at 319-338-7672 for tickets.

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