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Many of the quotes on this page are taken from longer pieces.  The longer versions may be accessed from links at the bottom of the page.

“A Combined Efforts production is truly a communal event that can best be described as heartwarming. There is a back and forth energy at any good theatrical performance, energy flowing from the audience to the stage and then back again. But that energy never really, well, combines in the way it does at a Combined Efforts production. Most of the time there is a wall between audience and performers. That wall does not exist at a Combined Efforts production, with the audience becoming as important an element in the show as the performers.” David Pierce

“No one looks down on anyone else. When people come together, people with disabilities, people without disabilities, we don’t say, ‘You have a disability; we’re not going to challenge you — we’re only going to put you in a small role.’ Everyone is equally challenged.” Meredith Saletta

“Something wonderfully simple happens during promenade theatre that is intrinsic to moving to different locations during a performance – conversation. As we moved to the wooded area for the second group of scenes, audience members chatted about what they’d seen and what they expected would come next. Again, a sense of camaraderie permeated the audience, as one made space for another on a log and another chuckled at a witty comment. Rather than sitting in silence in a darkened theatre, this audience was engaged – with the show, with the environment, and with each other. Promenade theatre emphasizes the ‘community’ in the term community theatre.” Matt Falduto, Reviewer.


“… When you’re in an environment when everyone has different needs and different challenges, the way you work to help each other out often creates something different and better than you would have created on your own.” Emma Geneson, Director

“Schlapkohl’s vision for these current and future performances focuses on expanded participation by Community actors, singers, and crew members with and without special needs. The parts for each character are carefully written to take advantage of each participant’s specific strengths. The results of that effort are excellent performances that entertain the audience and enhance the dignity and self-esteem of every member of the cast and crew.These performances truly are “Combined Efforts.”” Joyce Carman

“Sound confusing? Well, it isn’t because the writing and direction, not to mention the acting, keep it all straight for us. The characterizations are extremely well drawn and executed. Safe in the audience, we all knew what was happening and whom we were watching. We see the gradual awakening to exploitation and the inchoate union movement. We even see striking workers, gulled by promises the employers had no intention of fulfilling.” Gerry Roe, Reviewer

“What [the play] really does is show how people can be Scrooges themselves,” Kalvin Goodlaxson, Actor.

“The characters are people that could have been pulled right out of my own head. They were relatable, realistic and funny!Throw in some adorable goats and there are more than enough laughs and “awwws’ to last all evening.” Rachel Brown, Reviewer

“I am going to admit to something very publicly that I hope you will forgive. I had real concerns about how a show with actors who have special needs would come off. I feared I wouldn’t be able to see past the issues of the actors and let myself get into the story. What I came to realize in watching this show is that issue is one of my making. From scene one, I was completely into the mischief and machinations of these fair goers. The entire cast threw themselves into this show and thoroughly entertained the audience, including me. So often in theatre or TV or movies, if we see a character with a special need, that’s what the story is all about. How utterly refreshing to see a show where those issues are just part of the person, rather than taking over the person. We need more theatres like Combined Efforts who are willing to be so accepting and welcoming in their casting. What a wonderful opportunity to teach our children to open their minds and hearts to all people no matter what issues they have which may make them different.” Matt Falduto

There are a number of reasons why Iowa City is often ranked as one of the best American cities for quality of life. “Combined Efforts Community Theater” is yet one more very powerful example.” Nicholas Johnson

“Camo: The Musical is an unusual choice for a December show, but in its own way, it is a minor winter miracle. Two local theatre companies are working hard to create an original musical about stories that people in other parts of the country might overlook. In the darkest time of the year, that is something worth celebrating.” Jorie Slodki, Reviewer

“I love to act and dance; that’s why I do it. I play Waterwoman in this play, but sometimes I dance, too. It’s fun to do all of it.” Sheri Breedlove, actor and dancer.