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Showbiz Players

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · June 28th, 2006 · Curtain Call
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  Playwright Frank Wildhorn and director Bunny Arsman are collaborating on a production of The Civil War at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Bunny Arsman

Playwright Frank Wildhorn and director Bunny Arsman are collaborating on a production of The Civil War at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.



Fresh off their ambitious staging of Urinetown, SHOWBIZ PLAYERS is undertaking a project that will be seen by thousands of people attending the Tall Stacks Music, Arts and Heritage Festival on Cincinnati's riverfront this fall (Oct. 4-8). They'll present eight performances of THE CIVIL WAR at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's 300-seat Harriet Tubman Theater during the week, including evening and weekend matinee shows. Showbiz has had a lot of luck with The Civil War, Frank Wildhorn's theatrical concert that portrays the American Civil War through eyewitness accounts by Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as slaves and freed African Americans. They originally produced the show back in 2002, eventually taking it on to a regional competition for community theaters, representing Ohio in a performance with theaters from five states; the show won a Cincinnati Entertainment Award (CEA) as the season's outstanding community theater production. The staging during Tall Stacks, which will feature some of the cast members from the 2002 production, will be wholly new. "This is our Super Bowl," says director Bunny Arszman. "We're throwing everything we've ever learned at it." Showbiz is especially excited to be presenting the show at the Freedom Center, and the riverfront museum's President Spencer Crew is pleased to offer the venue. "The show's dramatic firsthand accounts reinforce one of the Freedom Center's major aims," he says, "to encourage us to consider what freedom means to each of us." The Civil War includes excerpts from letters and diaries, segments of speeches by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, plus music by Wildhorn in the traditions of Pop, Country and Gospel. Showbiz has previously and successfully staged several of Wildhorn's shows, including his Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Arszman traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., on June 17-18 for the opening of For the Glory, Wildhorn's own reworking of The Civil War. Arszman met the Tony Award nominated composer and discussed differences between his production and what Showbiz will present.

She also got to meet the show's lyricists, Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd. Tickets for The Civil War are already on sale. Info: 888-778-7321. ...

Speaking of awards, in next week's issue of CityBeat you'll be able to read all about the nominations for the 2006 CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS, which will be handed out on Aug. 25 at UC's College-Conservatory of Music's Corbett Auditorium. A ballot for your votes will be published in CityBeat's issues during July or you can go to

  Playwright Frank Wildhorn and director Bunny Arsman are collaborating on a production of The Civil War at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.
Bunny Arsman

Playwright Frank Wildhorn and director Bunny Arsman are collaborating on a production of The Civil War at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.



Fresh off their ambitious staging of Urinetown, SHOWBIZ PLAYERS is undertaking a project that will be seen by thousands of people attending the Tall Stacks Music, Arts and Heritage Festival on Cincinnati's riverfront this fall (Oct. 4-8). They'll present eight performances of THE CIVIL WAR at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center's 300-seat Harriet Tubman Theater during the week, including evening and weekend matinee shows. Showbiz has had a lot of luck with The Civil War, Frank Wildhorn's theatrical concert that portrays the American Civil War through eyewitness accounts by Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as slaves and freed African Americans. They originally produced the show back in 2002, eventually taking it on to a regional competition for community theaters, representing Ohio in a performance with theaters from five states; the show won a Cincinnati Entertainment Award (CEA) as the season's outstanding community theater production. The staging during Tall Stacks, which will feature some of the cast members from the 2002 production, will be wholly new. "This is our Super Bowl," says director Bunny Arszman. "We're throwing everything we've ever learned at it." Showbiz is especially excited to be presenting the show at the Freedom Center, and the riverfront museum's President Spencer Crew is pleased to offer the venue. "The show's dramatic firsthand accounts reinforce one of the Freedom Center's major aims," he says, "to encourage us to consider what freedom means to each of us." The Civil War includes excerpts from letters and diaries, segments of speeches by Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, plus music by Wildhorn in the traditions of Pop, Country and Gospel. Showbiz has previously and successfully staged several of Wildhorn's shows, including his Jekyll & Hyde and The Scarlet Pimpernel. Arszman traveled to Gettysburg, Pa., on June 17-18 for the opening of For the Glory, Wildhorn's own reworking of The Civil War. Arszman met the Tony Award nominated composer and discussed differences between his production and what Showbiz will present. She also got to meet the show's lyricists, Jack Murphy and Gregory Boyd. Tickets for The Civil War are already on sale. Info: 888-778-7321. ...

Speaking of awards, in next week's issue of CityBeat you'll be able to read all about the nominations for the 2006 CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS, which will be handed out on Aug. 25 at UC's College-Conservatory of Music's Corbett Auditorium. A ballot for your votes will be published in CityBeat's issues during July or you can go to citybeat.com and submit your estimation of local theater productions and performers electronically. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the CEAs, which have recognized and bolstered Cincinnati's strong theatrical scene through a tremendous growth spurt. ...

A frequent CEA nominee, Cincinnati Playhouse Associate Artistic Director MICHAEL HANEY, is in Sarasota, Fla., this week where he's directing yet another CEA regular, Cincinnati professional actress ANNIE FITZPATRICK, in a production of Theresa Rebeck's Bad Dates at Florida Stage. Bad Dates had a strong run at the Playhouse in early 2005. Fitzpatrick understudied Judith Hawking for that production, which played to sold-out houses. The one-woman comic play, one of the most frequently produced across America over the past two years, is by native Cincinnatian Theresa Rebeck. ...

Do you have a story about coming out as a gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered person? If so, KNOW THEATRE TRIBE is hoping you will consider sharing your recollections with them for their third annual production of OUT! TRUE COMING OUT EXPERIENCES. Some of Know's regular performers will enact an evening of pieces drawn from these submissions on National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11. Authors will receive credit (but not pay) for their contributions, and if they prefer to remain anonymous that's fine, too. Producers reserve the right to edit submissions to fit performance needs. Submissions should be mailed to Know Theatre Tribe, 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.



contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com
 
 
 
 

 

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