The African-American poet Langston Hughes created some of the most powerful poetry of the 20th century. It´s great material for actors to interpret, and that´s just what some folks who are part of the KNOW THEATRE TRIBE will be doing in A DREAM DEFERRED on Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Aronoff Center´s Weston Art Gallery. (Additional performances are Saturday, 2 p.m., at the Main Public Library; and Tuesday, 2 p.m., at Cincinnati State; and again on Sept. 30 at the Weston; for more info, go to
The African-American poet Langston Hughes created some of the most powerful poetry of the 20th century. It´s great material for actors to interpret, and that´s just what some folks who are part of the KNOW THEATRE TRIBE will be doing in A DREAM DEFERRED on Friday evening at 6 p.m. at the Aronoff Center´s Weston Art Gallery. (Additional performances are Saturday, 2 p.m., at the Main Public Library; and Tuesday, 2 p.m., at Cincinnati State; and again on Sept. 30 at the Weston; for more info, go to www.knowtheatre.com). In its early days, the Know often presented readings and performances all over town, and this is a vestige of that effort. A Dream Deferred is a program almost entirely in Hughes´ own words, performed by Darryl Hilton (he´s presently playing George in Intimate Apparel at Ensemble Theatre; see the review below) and others. The program goes beyond Hughes´ life to offer a portrait of the African-American experience in the first half of the 20th century, an era when the American dream was largely denied to people of color. The program is free; donations, of course, are appreciated. Info: www.cincinnatiarts.org.
University of Cincinnati 2004 grad ASHLEY BROWN began performing as Belle in Disney´s long-running Broadway production of Beauty and the Beast on Sept. 20. She´s been touring with Disney´s On the Record, a compilation of tunes from several hit shows, including Beauty and the Beast. On Sunday morning, Sept. 18, Brown sang A Change in Me at a free outdoor concert in Times Square. About half the musicals on Broadway feature performers from the top-ranked musical theater program at UC´s College-Conservatory of Music. Info: www.disneyonbroadway.com.
If you like shows that pull together a great cross-section of musical theater tunes, you might be familiar with AND THE WORLD GOES 'ROUND, a revue of songs by the late composer John Kander and his lyricist partner Fred Ebb. They´re the guys who created Chicago, Cabaret, Kiss of the Spider Woman and lots more, and this assemblage has some of their best work. The Mad Anthony Theatre Company, which performs at the Fitton Center for the Creative Arts in Hamilton, is staging World this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Mad Anthony has also announced the balance of its season: My Emperor´s New Clothes (Dec. 1-4); The Public Eye (Feb. 9-12, 2006; one-act plays (April 13-16, 2006); and ´Night, Mother (June 15-18, 2006). Info: 513-863-8873.
Another classic work is currently onstage through Oct. 2: It´s Mary Rodgers´ charming ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, a very funny re-telling of the fairytale of the princess and the pea. It has great characters -- an overbearing queen, an empty-headed prince and a princess who´s more comfortable in the swamps of home -- and some fine melodies. You´ll find it aboard the Showboat Majestic with performances Wednesday-Sunday. The Showboat has announced its 2006 season, too, which includes some more classics including Bells Are Ringing, A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine and Sweet Charity. Info: 513-241-6550.
You can't tell a book by its cover, and you can't judge Esther by her plain clothes -- nor by the INTIMATE APPAREL she creates for her customers, from the upper crust to the lower rungs of society. Ensemble Theatre's production of Lynn Nottage's wonderfully understated award-winner tells the story of Esther (Monica L. Williams), an unassuming, lonely, 35-year-old African-American seamstress in 1905 New York City. She trades letters with George (Darryl Hilton), a laborer from Panama, then impulsively marries him. It's not perfect, but her plain life has an elegant beauty to it, much like the bolts of cloth she desires. With a strong supporting cast of honest, real people, this play about human relationships and the palpable yearning to be needed by another person. It's powerful. (Rick Pender) Grade: A