Want to celebrate New Year's Eve in an unusual location and support one of Cincinnati's more innovative theaters at the same time? You're invited to be "shaken, not stirred" at the 007 NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY at Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Inspired by the New Year -- that would be 2(007), wink, wink -- and a new James Bond film in area movie theaters, Know Theatre is encouraging aspiring secret agents (and villains) to come dressed in their favorite Bond attire. On Sunday evening between 8:30 p.m. and 1 a.m., Know will be offering a live dance band in the street-level bar at 1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine. Upstairs in the theater space, a DJ will provide tunes. (Know's OTR home was once a nightclub called Karma, so clubbing is part of the space's history.) Throughout the evening you can enjoy casino gambling such as blackjack, roulette and craps, plus dinner-by-the-bite and a cash bar. (The theater now has a full liquor license at its The Underground bar.) General admission is $35, which includes two drink tickets; for $70 you'll get VIP admission, including four drink tickets, with exclusive wait staff and refreshments.
Everyone's eligible for a champagne toast at midnight. You need to be 21 to attend. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
With the arrival of the New Year, you should mark your calendar for a much-anticipated regional theater event, the annual HUMANA FESTIVAL OF NEW AMERICAN PLAYS at Actors Theatre of Louisville. The 31st edition of the festival offers 10 premieres by emerging and established playwrights between Feb. 25 and April 7. Full-length plays for 2007 are by Naomi Iizuka, Sherry Kramer, Carlos Murillo, Alice Tuan, Ken Weitzman and Craig Wright. The Humana Festival occasionally offers site-specific works (Iizuka's At the Vanishing Point, set in Louisville's historic Butchertown, was a popular production during the 2004 Humana Festival offered in an industrial warehouse), and this year one production will be presented in a nightclub: Batch: An American Bachelor/ette Party, conceived by Whit MacLaughlin and written by Alice Tuan. The work, an exploration of pre-marital partying, has been created with Philadelphia's experimental New Paradise Laboratories. Playwright Iizuka returns for her third Humana production; Polaroid Stories, a 1997 work, was presented in Cincinnati by Know Theatre in 2000. Her 2007 play, Strike-Slip, is set in the urban sprawl of Los Angeles, where three diverse families each carry a dream until a tragic shooting changes their worlds. Actors Theatre Artistic Director Marc Masterson will stage Craig Wright's The Unseen, about two people living without hope of escape or release from a totalitarian regime that tortures them for unknown crimes; the arrival of a third prisoner who communicates in code changes everything in this darkly humorous work. Sherry Kramer's When Something Wonderful Ends promises to be an amusing one-woman monologue recalling a baby-boom childhood and drawing connections between Barbie dolls and America's place in the world. Carlos Murillo's dark play or stories for boys explores life on the Internet: A teenage boy's online game becomes a frightening reality when his virtual world collides with the real one. Finally, Ken Weitzman's The As If Body Loop is about a woman succumbing to a mysteriously icy illness. Her brother, an NFL analyst, tries to find a cure, but the path, which involves his family and dysfunctional friends, is a challenging one. Actors Theatre's intern company will be showcased in The Open Road Anthology, with segments by six contemporary playwrights including Kia Corthron (who received a commission from the Cincinnati Playhouse earlier this year) and 2006 Pulitzer Prize finalist Rolin Jones, plus music by GrooveLily. Each writer contributes scenes about America's yearning for unfettered freedom. A bill of three 10-minute plays will also be included; those works have not been announced. A final note: This festival has been supported for 29 of its 31 years by The Humana Foundation. It's good to see an insurance company that knows good health can be nurtured with great theater. Info: www.ActorsTheatre.org
contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com