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Devon Campailla

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · April 11th, 2007 · Curtain Call
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  The Cincinnati Black Theatre Company celebrates the works of August Wilson on Sunday.
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The Cincinnati Black Theatre Company celebrates the works of August Wilson on Sunday.



Shuffling and reorganizing staff is on the agenda at NEW EDGECLIFF THEATRE (NET), where DEVON CAMPAILLA has become associate producer. She's appeared onstage in several NET productions (and with Clear Stage Cincinnati, Know Theatre and Rising Phoenix) and stage managed several others. Her day job is with Sound Images, a commercial recording company. NET founder and executive director MICHAEL SHOONER says, "She is that rare find -- an accomplished artist who enjoys nearly full access to her left brain -- extremely bright, detail-oriented and organized." With Campailla's appointment, former associate producer NATHAN GABRIEL becomes associate artistic director; he was the driving force behind New Edgecliff's recent Cincinnati Director's Competition. NET's next production -- which artistic director GREG PROCACCINO will direct, assisted by Gabriel -- is Sam Shepard's Fool for Love at the Columbia Performance Center May 9-26. Info: www.newedgecliff.com.

Several seasons back Ensemble Theatre presented a gripping production of The Exonerated, a play about people condemned to Death Row but freed before their dire sentence was carried out. In the tradition of that play, a new work, LUCASVILLE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF A PRISON UPRISING, by Staughton Lynd and Gary Anderson, is on a brief but ambitious tour of cities in Ohio, sponsored by the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union.

(See story, page 16.)

Shuffling and reorganizing staff is on the agenda at NEW EDGECLIFF THEATRE (NET), where DEVON CAMPAILLA has become associate producer. She's appeared onstage in several NET productions (and with Clear Stage Cincinnati, Know Theatre and Rising Phoenix) and stage managed several others. Her day job is with Sound Images, a commercial recording company. NET founder and executive director MICHAEL SHOONER says, "She is that rare find -- an accomplished artist who enjoys nearly full access to her left brain -- extremely bright, detail-oriented and organized." With Campailla's appointment, former associate producer NATHAN GABRIEL becomes associate artistic director; he was the driving force behind New Edgecliff's recent Cincinnati Director's Competition. NET's next production -- which artistic director GREG PROCACCINO will direct, assisted by Gabriel -- is Sam Shepard's Fool for Love at the Columbia Performance Center May 9-26. Info: www.newedgecliff.com. ...

Several seasons back Ensemble Theatre presented a gripping production of The Exonerated, a play about people condemned to Death Row but freed before their dire sentence was carried out. In the tradition of that play, a new work, LUCASVILLE: THE UNTOLD STORY OF A PRISON UPRISING, by Staughton Lynd and Gary Anderson, is on a brief but ambitious tour of cities in Ohio, sponsored by the Ohio American Civil Liberties Union. (See story, page 16.) It's presented in Cincinnati Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church (536 Linton St., Avondale). Unlike the people portrayed in The Exonerated, the "Lucasville Five" are still sentenced to be executed. They were the leaders of an 11-day uprising that earned fevered and sensational media coverage in 1993 and resulted in the deaths of nine prisoners and a correctional officer. Based almost entirely on the testimony of snitches, the "Five" were convicted of murder. In addition to the Lucasville piece, writer Anderson also performs his one-man script, CLARENCE DARROW: THE SEARCH FOR JUSTICE. It's presented at 2 p.m. Saturday. Darrow (1857-1938) was an Ohio defense attorney with a national reputation who saved 102 men from execution. (Darrow is also remembered for the Scopes "Monkey" trial, when he defended a man who taught Darwin's theory of evolution in a public school. That story was retold in the classic play Inherit the Wind.) Tickets: 513-521-2391. ...

In the future, the plays of August Wilson will be admired along with the works of Eugene O'Neill or Tennessee Williams, two other great American playwrights. Wilson, who died of liver cancer at the age of 60 in 2005, wrote a 10-play cycle that chronicled the comedy and tragedy of African-American life through the decades of the 20th century. Two of them won Pulitzer Prizes -- Fences (1985) and The Piano Lesson (1990) -- but his combined work on a coherent and significant subject is unparalleled in the history of American theater. In his play Jitney, a character says, "All you need in the world is love and laughter. That's all anybody needs -- to have love in one hand and laughter in the other." On Sunday at 4 p.m. the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company shares some of that love and laughter in A TRIBUTE TO AUGUST WILSON at the Freedom Center's Harriet Tubman Theater. There won't be 10 plays, but any event that evokes his artistry is worth noting. Info: 513-241-6060. ...

Summer stock is the fare offered up annually aboard the SHOWBOAT MAJESTIC, moored at Cincinnati's Public Landing and about to embark on its 84th season. Opening on April 18 is Neil Simon's classic comedy about couples in a New York hotel, PLAZA SUITE (through May 6). Subsequent productions include a show about Rosemary Clooney and her music, A Dash of Rosemary (May 16-June 3); Gilbert and Sullivan's operetta The Pirates of Penzance (June 13-July 1); a murder mystery, I'll Be Back Before Midnight (July 11-29); the comic musical Ruthless! (Aug. 8-26); and Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic, Oklahoma! (Sept. 12-30). Season information is available at: www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com or: 513-241-6550.

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