September marks the beginning of Greater Cincinnati’s 2010-11 theater season. The Cincinnati Playhouse hopes to hit a “high” note with actress Kathleen Turner (pictured) in a story about a tough nun trying to tame an even tougher kid. High (Sept. 9-Oct. 2) is, in fact, Broadway-bound in early 2011, following its stop in St. Louis. The Playhouse starts up its Shelterhouse season with The Understudy (Sept. 23-Oct. 17), a hilarious backstage comedy by Cincinnati native Theresa Rebeck, who’s a regular on New York stages (this show ran there a year ago).
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) opens its 25th anniversary season with an even more Broadway piece, Donald Margulies’ Collected Stories (Sept. 8-26), which last spring starred Linda Lavin. It’s about a New York writer and her evolving relationship with a protégé. It will feature two excellent Cincinnati actresses, recent CEA winner Amy Warner and Corinne Mohlenhoff, the latter a Cincinnati Shakespeare regular making her ETC debut. A one-man piece about civil rights attorney and Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall sounds promising, too. Thurgood runs Oct. 13-30.
Cincinnati Shakespeare has its own exploration of relationships (albeit more humorous) with fine local actors. Playing Beatrice and Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing (Sept. 3-26) will be Sherman Fracher and Bruce Cromer. The tale of sparring lovers will be transported to the psychedelic summer of 1968 by director Drew Fracher.
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And if you yearn for thrills and chills, Giles Davies returns to haunt Cincy Shakes for Halloween in Dracula (Oct. 15-Nov. 7).
Drew Fracher will have a busy fall, following Much Ado with a directing assignment at Know Theatre, Skin Tight (Oct. 9-30), a contemporary tale about a passionate, painful love affair. And if powerful relationships turn you on, a whole evening of them happens at Wright State University, in collaboration with the Human Race Theatre Company, for the regional premiere of Tracy Letts’ prize-winning August: Osage County (Sept. 23-Oct. 10), a searing tale about a fractious family assembling for the funeral of their father.
The fall season has a strong musical score and tons of variety. Broadway Across America presents Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic South Pacific (Sept. 21-Oct. 3) with a big orchestra at the Aronoff Center, and then offers Rock of Ages (Oct. 26-Nov. 3) with a big ’80s Arena Rock soundtrack. Eva Peron manipulates her way onto two area stages with productions of Evita at the Covedale Center (Sept. 30-Oct. 17) and UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (Nov. 18-21). CCM also offers The Matchmaker (Oct. 28-31), the play that became Hello, Dolly.
For something more campy, you have Falcon Theater’s Evil Dead: The Musical (Oct. 22-Nov. 6) and Northern Kentucky University’s The Rocky Horror Show (Oct. 28-Nov. 7)
And don’t overlook community theaters. Two productions that look promising are Footlighters’ The Full Monty (Sept. 23-Oct. 9) at Newport’s Stained Glass Theater and Cincinnati Music Theatre’s staging of Meredith Willson’s classic The Music Man (Nov. 12-20) at the Aronoff’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater.
Put all these on your calendar, and by the holidays you’ll be singing the praises of Cincinnati theater.