On Aug. 25, the 10th annual CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS will be presented at UC's Corbett Auditorium. In this issue you'll find a ballot (page 52) to send in your vote, or you can do it online at citybeat.com/cea. In the next several issues of CityBeat, I'll take a closer look at several sets of nominees. This week it's local actors and actresses playing leading roles in plays.
There are four nominees in each category, and the public decides these winners. Ladies first: MOLLY BINDER actually played a well-known guy, actor Ben Affleck, in the funny comedy Matt & Ben, a fantasy about how Affleck and Matt Damon might have come to write their Academy Award-winning screenplay Good Will Hunting; the show was staged by the Know Theatre Tribe. ANNIE FITZPATRICK took on the role of an American woman living in England during WWII in Joe McDonough's world-premiere play Wayfarer's Rest, at Ensemble Theatre. She stumbles on a cottage in the woods that seems like something out of a twisted fairytale, then discovers more about her future than she really wants to know. SHERMAN FRACHER played the ostentatiously refined and neurotic Blanche DuBois who can't bear the downhill slide of her life in Tennessee Williams' classic American tragedy, A Streetcar Named Desire, staged by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (CSF). The fourth actress in this category was in another CSF production, Noel Coward's comedy, Private Lives: CORINNE MOHLENHOFF played Amanda Prynne, a divorcée who finds herself honeymooning next door to her ex-husband and his new bride. All four actresses have previously been nominated for CEAs; Fracher and Mohlenhoff are past winners. ...
In terms of leading actors in plays, they come from four different theaters. CSF veteran GILES DAVIES portrayed one of Shakespeare's most despicable villains in Richard III, re-creating him with unusual cynicism and humor. Community theater actor BILL HARTNETT brought to life a cranky widower in the Mariemont Players' production of Visiting Mr. Green. MICHAEL SHOONER took on the role of Teach, a hard-boiled but dimwitted crook who can't quite mastermind a heist, in New Edgecliff Theatre's staging of David Mamet's memorable drama, American Buffalo. During the 2006 Cincinnati Fringe Festival ADAM STANDLEY played several characters in a new one-man show by Andrew Dainoff, All We Can Handle, staged by New Stage Collective. Standley, who will be a senior at CCM in the fall, played David, a musician who loses his lover during 9/11, in addition to several other characters who affect David's life. He's the only nominee in this category who hasn't previously been a candidate for a CEA. ...
You can meet some of the CEA nominees thanks to the LEAGUE OF CINCINNATI THEATRES. On Tuesday evening at 6:30-8:30 p.m., they'll gather in the courtyard at Arnold's Bar & Grill. Stop by for some complimentary appetizers and interesting conversation; it's a cash bar. Info: www.leagueofcincy theatres.com
THE FULL MONTY, receiving its first local production by New Stage Collective, is not my favorite. The story of out-of-work, blue-collar guys who decide to make some money by taking their clothes off just doesn't make sense to me. But this production has its entertaining moments, especially when a guy named Horse (Steven Milloy) auditions to join the aspiring dancers. Milloy has a paunch and a shuffle that belie any talent at all, until he sings "Big Black Man"-- and then he has all the moves. Equally entertaining is plus-sized Dave Bukatinsky (Chris Wesselman), who has puppy-dog charm (well, maybe he's a St. Bernard) as he struggles with being overweight, unemployed and depressed. As Jerry Lukowski, Charlie Clark makes the best of the central character, a selfish dad who comes up with the cockamamie idea of stripping for a quick buck. It's fun to watch the guys come together for a choreography session, "Michael Jordan's Ball," that takes a page from the NBA. (Rick Pender) Grade: C+
contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com