A year ago KNOW THEATRE OF CINCINNATI presented its own contemporary retelling of Ebenezer Scrooge's night of ghostly visitations, Christmas Yet To Come. The sold-out hit had a lot of dancing (by Exhale Dance Company) and a few unusual updates like a drag queen as the Ghost of Christmas Present. LIZ HOLT played a featured role in the show in 2006; in 2007 she's become the playwright for version 2.0 -- this time called CHRISTMAS.TO.COME. Jason Bruffy, Know's artistic director, is staging the show again; it opens Thursday and continues through Dec. 28 at Know's theater space (1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine). Just as with Dickens' Victorian tale, it's an inquiry into whether people can really change. Using multi-cultural casting, Know regular DEREK SNOW will play "Ben" Scrooge; the theater believes this is the first time a major Cincinnati theater has cast an African American in this classic role.
TODD PATTERSON is Young Scrooge, matching the two actors who starred in Know's recent staging of Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman and anticipating their pairing in Suzan-Lori Parks' 2002 Pulitzer Prize winner, Topdog/Underdog (Jan. 31-Feb. 23, 2008). Also in the cast is MOLLY BINDER as this year's Ghost of Christmas Present; Binder won a 2006 Cincinnati Entertainment Award as Ben Affleck in the comedy Matt & Ben. Know's updated Christmas Carol mixes the story with contemporary Pop tunes from Ryan Adams, John Mayer, Great Northern and Diana Ross and new choreography by DAPHNE MCCOY. Know gives away 10 free tickets to each performance via a drawing 20 minutes before the show; you can sign up an hour ahead of curtain time. If you don't want to take the chance, call for tickets: 513-621-2787. …
I hope you read Kevin Osborne's exclusive blog item (Nov. 30) about the CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE exploring another potential downtown location -- this time atop the Macy's store, immediately adjacent to Fountain Square. It seems evident from this continued pursuit that the Playhouse is serious about leaving Eden Park and relocating its theatrical operations closer to the urban core. This is a positive sign for downtown Cincinnati and further evidence of the continued ambition of the Tony Award-winning Playhouse to keep itself in the limelight. … How many ways can the Enquirer find to flog a silly story? In case you missed it (how could you, if you picked up the newspaper last week?), Lakota East High School canceled a production of Agatha Christie's play, Ten Little Indians, because a diversity counselor complained that the play's original title was offensive because it had contained the N-word, deriving from an old (and by today's standards, insensitive) nursery rhyme about dark-skinned people from India. When the novel was published in the U.S. in 1940 it was re-titled And Then There Were None. Christie's stage play adapted from her novel used the title Ten Little Indians. The play is not about racial subjects, but rather a murder mystery in which 10 guests are systematically knocked off; Cincinnati Playhouse staged it in 1982 and 2002 with no public outcry. After much comment and no less than four stories in the Enquirer, the school system rescinded its decision and announced that the play will be presented on Dec. 13-14. Wikipedia's entry about the play now references the brouhaha -- and Cincinnati is again branded as a community that gets its shorts in a bunch over the dumbest things. (When the daily paper writes about it incessantly, it makes matters even worse). I completely support being racially sensitive, but this episode was much ado about nothing.
contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com