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The Book of Liz

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · August 2nd, 2006 · Curtain Call
  Juan Carlos Diaz (left) and Chris Guthrie star in Know Theatre's production of Last Sunday in June.
Know Theatre Tribe

Juan Carlos Diaz (left) and Chris Guthrie star in Know Theatre's production of Last Sunday in June.

In Augusts past, I scraped for shows to write about. That's a distant memory in 2006. These days I have to pick and choose carefully. (Elsewhere in this issue you can read my review of a solid one-woman show, Why Is John Lennon Wearing a Skirt?, at Queen City Off-Broadway, plus a preview of the second production by Jersey Productions at the Carnegie Center, Ragtime, a winner of multiple Tony Awards.) If satire is your thing, stop by Gabriel's Corner (1425 Sycamore, Over-the-Rhine) for New Stage Collective's staging of THE BOOK OF LIZ (Aug. 26), written by brother and sister David and Amy Sedaris, ranked by Entertainment Weekly as two of the 25 funniest people in America. The show, set in a "Squeamish" community (which strongly resembles the Amish), has 15 roles -- played by four actors. The story focuses on Sister Elizabeth Donderstock, who feels unappreciated among her brethren, despite her manufacturing of cheese balls that support them.

She moves on to the larger world, populated by a wild array of characters, from Ukrainians with Cockney accents, gay waiters and Mr. Peanut. Directed by Alan Patrick Kenny, whose staging of The Full Monty was a sold-out hit in July, this is likely to be a great diversion. Tickets: 513-826-2060. ...

Comedy is also at the core of Know Theatre's final offering of its 2005-2006 season, Jonathan Tolins' LAST SUNDAY IN JUNE (Thursday through Aug. 26). Michael and Tom, a gay couple, have decided to move to the suburbs. They host an impromptu Pride Day gathering with several friends -- and everyone learns more about one another than they previously knew. Director Jason Bruffy says, "Finally, we can step away from stereotypes and deal with realities of commitment, of hatred, of love and of being gay in America today." Presented at Know Theatre's new facility, 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. Tickets: 513-621-2787. ...

If you're interested in what Know Theatre will present next season, check out my feature, posted at citybeat.com on July 30. The group, which has dropped "Tribe" from its name, will offer five shows, including a brand-new musical by Michael John LaChiusa (it's only been seen in New York City), a vicious comedy by Adam Rapp, perhaps the brightest young playwright creating scripts today and a new take on Shakespeare's Hamlet. Know will also continue its organizational support of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. ...

On Sunday evening, fans of SHADOWBOX CABARET will move from their seats to the stage for the second annual Patron Talent Show. It's an unusual pay-for-play fund-raiser at which patrons take on roles in skits and songs -- they've been prepped in advance and are ready for an audience. "The show is designed to raise funds by giving patrons an honest test-drive of what it's like to be an ensemble member," says Stacie Boord, Shadowbox's general manager. "We liken it to Christmas! Our staff gets excited about hosting something so special." Tickets are $30; doors open at 6:15 p.m. Info: 859-957-7625. ...

Here's a tip for bargain seekers: If you're a serious fan of musical theater, you need to see THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, the touring show presented by the Broadway Series in September. Adam Guettel's beautiful, romantic work won the 2005 Tony Award for best musical. It's about a mother and daughter on vacation in Italy in 1953. A handsome young Italian woos the daughter, despite her mother's desire to keep them apart. It's all about falling head-over-heels in love, and it's a gorgeous production. But it's not a blockbuster or a jukebox full of familiar tunes. The Broadway Series is working hard to sell tickets, so there's an opportunity you shouldn't miss: By asking for an "M" type ticket, you can get a $10 discount for performances on Sept. 5, 6 and 10. I also recommend that you go to the Aronoff ticket office -- which enables you to avoid some steep service charges. From each purchase, $5 will be donated to the League of Cincinnati Theatres and its Theatre Artist Project Fund. Tickets: 513-241-7469.

contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com


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