The Cincinnati Playhouse this week announced the 2007 ALTERACTIVE series, its seventh year of performance artists and other fringe-styled acts. (See story on page 31.) Those performances are one-night stands, but the Playhouse has also picked two critically acclaimed pieces with fringe-ish roots for weeklong runs this month. These will come and go quickly, so you should order tickets now for LOW by Rha Goddess and THE CATHOLIC GIRL'S GUIDE TO LOSING YOUR VIRGINITY by Annie Hendy. I saw Goddess's one-woman show (Jan. 10-14) at the 2006 Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville and was impressed. In my online commentary I described Low as "a painful story of personal disintegration, ultimately leading to homelessness and institutionalization." It's about a young woman named Lowquesha; her nickname is Low, but that's also a reference to her affliction, depression.
Goddess believes "mental illness is the HIV of the new millennium"; I called her one-woman show "a gripping 75 minutes of frenetic activity ... impressive and memorable." Hendy's hilarious piece (Jan. 17-20) was an audience and critical favorite at the June 2006 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. (I rated it an "A," and the show was a 2006 CEA nominee.) It's about a young woman dismayed that her priest has a better sex life than she does. Hendy, a 2002 drama grad from UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), is a native Cincinnatian; she has a local following, and this show really resonates with Cincinnati audiences. Her performances last June mostly sold out -- that's sure to happen again, so order your tickets now. Info: 513-421-3888. ...
When I was in New York City in late November for the Broadway opening of the Playhouse's production of Company, I ran into LESLIE KRITZER at the cast party at the Copacabana. The 1999 CCM grad in musical theater was preparing for some fun at Joe's Pub, where she would pay homage to none other than Broadway legend Patti LuPone, a multiple Tony winner. LuPone has a uniquely personal style, and Kritzer apparently has a knack for impersonating her. In fact, Kritzer re-created LuPone's legendary cabaret act from more than two decades ago, song for song, working with pianist David Lewis, LuPone's musical director back in the day. Kritzer's performance drew the attention of composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim, who caught one of her shows in mid-December, and it got her a notice and a photo in The New York Times. ...
Do you sometimes find yourself leaving a theater performance and thinking that you'd like to go somewhere to eat? You're not the only one, but I hear lots of complaints that there's nowhere to go. There are actually quite a few choices, as SHAWN MUMMERT at Enjoy the Arts has identified: He's assembled a list of places to feed your late-night cravings. His listing includes Downtown, Over-the-Rhine and Mount Adams, "since that's where most of the arts action is." Check out cincinnatiarts.com/ eating_after_the_show for yourself, but let me offer a few spots right here and now: Vinyl (1203 Sycamore St., OTR) hangs in there until 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday; Guido's (1111 St. Gregory St., Mount Adams) is another late spot with food until 3 a.m. on weekends. If you're downtown around midnight and hungry, you might check out Universal Grille (909 Vine St.), where the kitchen keeps pushing out burgers and such until that hour every night; if it's a bit later, check out Madonna's (11 E. Seventh St.), open untill 1 a.m. daily, or Tina's (350 W. Fourth St.), where they keep cooking until 2:30 a.m. And don't forget Shanghai Mama's (216 E. Sixth St.), which offers its Chinese menu until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Mummert plans eventually to add other "artsy" neighborhoods to the site, including Northside and Columbia-Tusculum.
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