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The Glory of Living

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · November 9th, 2005 · Curtain Call
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  Playwright August Wilson died last month. He spent two decades writing 10 plays about African Americans' lives in the 20th century.
Playwright August Wilson died last month. He spent two decades writing 10 plays about African Americans' lives in the 20th century.



Even though the Playhouse and Ensemble Theatre were dark a week ago, I spent four consecutive evenings seeing theater. Thursday it was a tense contemporary drama, The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman, performed by a fine young cast at CCM. Friday evening I took inCMT's 42nd Street (see my review on page 48). Saturday night I finally caught up with Know Theater's excellent stagin of Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick ... BOOM! (see Julia Ward's review, "Explosive," Issue of Oct. 12, 2005). That production has been selling out performances, so the Know has extended its run until Nov. 19 (call 513-300-5669 for tickets). I finished up with a Sunday evening performance of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at Xavier University. Powerful stuff. Don't let me hear anyone say this isn't a good theater town.

The American stage suffered a big loss on Oct. 2 with the untimely passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright AUGUST WILSON at the age of 60.

Even though the Playhouse and Ensemble Theatre were dark a week ago, I spent four consecutive evenings seeing theater. Thursday it was a tense contemporary drama, The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman, performed by a fine young cast at CCM. Friday evening I took inCMT's 42nd Street (see my review on page 48). Saturday night I finally caught up with Know Theater's excellent stagin of Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick ... BOOM! (see Julia Ward's review, "Explosive," Issue of Oct. 12, 2005). That production has been selling out performances, so the Know has extended its run until Nov. 19 (call 513-300-5669 for tickets). I finished up with a Sunday evening performance of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at Xavier University. Powerful stuff. Don't let me hear anyone say this isn't a good theater town. ...

The American stage suffered a big loss on Oct. 2 with the untimely passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright AUGUST WILSON at the age of 60. (His death was the result of liver cancer.) Wilson is best known for his just-completed epic 10-play cycle chronicling African-American life in the decades of the 20th century. It took him 20 years to complete his ambitious project; his final play, Radio Golf, debuted earlier this year at Yale Repertory Theatre. A September professional production at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles was mounted by Kenny Leon (who directed Margaret Garner for the Cincinnati Opera in July); it featured a Cincinnati native, actor ROCKY CARROLL, in the central role of real estate developer Harmond Wilks, a candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh in 1997. Wilson's work has been seen onstage occasionally in Cincinnati (the Know Theatre Tribe presented Two Trains Running in 2003), but not all his plays from the cycle have been produced here. That's a shame in a town where Wilson's theatrical insights into the history and plight of African Americans would make an impression. At the very least, I wish Cincinnati's theater community would undertake a tribute to Wilson like the one happening in Louisville on Nov.

17 where local theater artists will gather at Actors Theatre (which has produced three Wilson plays -- The Piano Lesson, Jitney and Fences -- since 2001). The event is organized by the theater arts department and the African-American theater program at the University of Louisville. The 7 p.m. program features remarks by a professor from Stanford University, in addition to performances of monologues, scenes and songs from each of Wilson's 10 plays. How about something like that here in Cincinnati? Even more, I hope that, in the next season or two, local theaters are inspired to stage some of Wilson's masterful plays. ...

In early 2003 a play called PARADISE, based on the true story of a Palestinian girl who became a suicide bomber (see "Almost Paradise," Issue of Jan. 22, 2003) generated a heated controversy at the Cincinnati Playhouse. New York playwright Glyn O'Malley, who the Playhouse commissioned to write the script to present at area high schools (the tour was cancelled following strenuous objections from Cincinnati's Arab and Muslim communities), has continued to develop his play. An expanded version of O'Malley's script was produced at a small New York theater in March this year. Now it's been selected for publication in Plays and Play-wrights 2006, published by the New York Theatre Experience; it's one of a dozen plays in the annual anthology of emerging playwrights, first published in 2000. Info:

  Playwright August Wilson died last month. He spent two decades writing 10 plays about African Americans' lives in the 20th century.
Playwright August Wilson died last month. He spent two decades writing 10 plays about African Americans' lives in the 20th century.



Even though the Playhouse and Ensemble Theatre were dark a week ago, I spent four consecutive evenings seeing theater. Thursday it was a tense contemporary drama, The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman, performed by a fine young cast at CCM. Friday evening I took inCMT's 42nd Street (see my review on page 48). Saturday night I finally caught up with Know Theater's excellent stagin of Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick ... BOOM! (see Julia Ward's review, "Explosive," Issue of Oct. 12, 2005). That production has been selling out performances, so the Know has extended its run until Nov. 19 (call 513-300-5669 for tickets). I finished up with a Sunday evening performance of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at Xavier University. Powerful stuff. Don't let me hear anyone say this isn't a good theater town.

The American stage suffered a big loss on Oct. 2 with the untimely passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright AUGUST WILSON at the age of 60.

Even though the Playhouse and Ensemble Theatre were dark a week ago, I spent four consecutive evenings seeing theater. Thursday it was a tense contemporary drama, The Glory of Living by Rebecca Gilman, performed by a fine young cast at CCM. Friday evening I took inCMT's 42nd Street (see my review on page 48). Saturday night I finally caught up with Know Theater's excellent stagin of Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick ... BOOM! (see Julia Ward's review, "Explosive," Issue of Oct. 12, 2005). That production has been selling out performances, so the Know has extended its run until Nov. 19 (call 513-300-5669 for tickets). I finished up with a Sunday evening performance of Sondheim's Sweeney Todd at Xavier University. Powerful stuff. Don't let me hear anyone say this isn't a good theater town. ...

The American stage suffered a big loss on Oct. 2 with the untimely passing of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright AUGUST WILSON at the age of 60. (His death was the result of liver cancer.) Wilson is best known for his just-completed epic 10-play cycle chronicling African-American life in the decades of the 20th century. It took him 20 years to complete his ambitious project; his final play, Radio Golf, debuted earlier this year at Yale Repertory Theatre. A September professional production at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles was mounted by Kenny Leon (who directed Margaret Garner for the Cincinnati Opera in July); it featured a Cincinnati native, actor ROCKY CARROLL, in the central role of real estate developer Harmond Wilks, a candidate for mayor of Pittsburgh in 1997. Wilson's work has been seen onstage occasionally in Cincinnati (the Know Theatre Tribe presented Two Trains Running in 2003), but not all his plays from the cycle have been produced here. That's a shame in a town where Wilson's theatrical insights into the history and plight of African Americans would make an impression. At the very least, I wish Cincinnati's theater community would undertake a tribute to Wilson like the one happening in Louisville on Nov. 17 where local theater artists will gather at Actors Theatre (which has produced three Wilson plays -- The Piano Lesson, Jitney and Fences -- since 2001). The event is organized by the theater arts department and the African-American theater program at the University of Louisville. The 7 p.m. program features remarks by a professor from Stanford University, in addition to performances of monologues, scenes and songs from each of Wilson's 10 plays. How about something like that here in Cincinnati? Even more, I hope that, in the next season or two, local theaters are inspired to stage some of Wilson's masterful plays. ...

In early 2003 a play called PARADISE, based on the true story of a Palestinian girl who became a suicide bomber (see "Almost Paradise," Issue of Jan. 22, 2003) generated a heated controversy at the Cincinnati Playhouse. New York playwright Glyn O'Malley, who the Playhouse commissioned to write the script to present at area high schools (the tour was cancelled following strenuous objections from Cincinnati's Arab and Muslim communities), has continued to develop his play. An expanded version of O'Malley's script was produced at a small New York theater in March this year. Now it's been selected for publication in Plays and Play-wrights 2006, published by the New York Theatre Experience; it's one of a dozen plays in the annual anthology of emerging playwrights, first published in 2000. Info: www.nytheatre.com. ...

With holiday decorations already on display in our department stores, it should come as no surprise that holiday-themed theater is cropping up, too. But don't be put off because it's mid-November: You should go see A CHRISTMAS MUSICAL: A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, based on Dylan Thomas' childhood recollection and adapted for the stage by Jeremy Books and Adrian Mitchell. It's a story about a nostalgic gathering of family, as warm and appropriate for Thanksgiving as Christmas. It's being presented on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and on Nov. 18-19) by NEW GATE CELTIC THEATRE COMPANY at the Columbia Performance Center (3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum). Tickets: 513-617-0784.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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