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The Cincinnati Black Theatre Company finds a new home

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · August 4th, 2004 · Curtain Call
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Tyrone Giordano, left, is Huck Finn and Michael McElroy is Jim in Big River, coming to Cincinnati in March 2005.
Joan Marcus

Tyrone Giordano, left, is Huck Finn and Michael McElroy is Jim in Big River, coming to Cincinnati in March 2005.



Trading something good for something better isn't a bad deal. That's what's happened with Broadway in Cincinnati, which just announced that Wonderful Town, scheduled for the Aronoff Center in March, will not make it to Cincinnati. The delightful revival of Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical got positive reviews (and a Tony Award nomination), but it's been reported elsewhere that the tour has been completely scrapped. However, replacing it will be another recent Tony-nominated production -- the groundbreaking revival of BIG RIVER, flowing into the same slot intended for Wonderful Town, March 15-27, 2005. (The original 1985 production won seven Tonys, including Best Musical.) The show, based on Huckleberry Finn, originated at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif. It includes deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors performing their roles using both speaking and signing. The excerpt on June's Tony Awards broadcast was electrifying, and many reviewers commented on the evocative blend of performers. It's still possible to order a season subscription: 513-241-2345.

This week's touring production of MAMMA MIA includes a performer with Cincinnati roots: MICHAEL GRAYMAN grew up in North Avondale and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts. He's toured nationally in West Side Story and The King and I. Trading something good for something better isn't a bad deal. That's what's happened with Broadway in Cincinnati, which just announced that Wonderful Town, scheduled for the Aronoff Center in March, will not make it to Cincinnati. The delightful revival of Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical got positive reviews (and a Tony Award nomination), but it's been reported elsewhere that the tour has been completely scrapped. However, replacing it will be another recent Tony-nominated production -- the groundbreaking revival of BIG RIVER, flowing into the same slot intended for Wonderful Town, March 15-27, 2005. (The original 1985 production won seven Tonys, including Best Musical.) The show, based on Huckleberry Finn, originated at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif. It includes deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors performing their roles using both speaking and signing. The excerpt on June's Tony Awards broadcast was electrifying, and many reviewers commented on the evocative blend of performers. It's still possible to order a season subscription: 513-241-2345. ...

This week's touring production of MAMMA MIA includes a performer with Cincinnati roots: MICHAEL GRAYMAN grew up in North Avondale and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts. He's toured nationally in West Side Story and The King and I.

Mamma Mia (see Web review at

Tyrone Giordano, left, is Huck Finn and Michael McElroy is Jim in Big River, coming to Cincinnati in March 2005.
Joan Marcus

Tyrone Giordano, left, is Huck Finn and Michael McElroy is Jim in Big River, coming to Cincinnati in March 2005.



Trading something good for something better isn't a bad deal. That's what's happened with Broadway in Cincinnati, which just announced that Wonderful Town, scheduled for the Aronoff Center in March, will not make it to Cincinnati. The delightful revival of Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical got positive reviews (and a Tony Award nomination), but it's been reported elsewhere that the tour has been completely scrapped. However, replacing it will be another recent Tony-nominated production -- the groundbreaking revival of BIG RIVER, flowing into the same slot intended for Wonderful Town, March 15-27, 2005. (The original 1985 production won seven Tonys, including Best Musical.) The show, based on Huckleberry Finn, originated at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif. It includes deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors performing their roles using both speaking and signing. The excerpt on June's Tony Awards broadcast was electrifying, and many reviewers commented on the evocative blend of performers. It's still possible to order a season subscription: 513-241-2345.

This week's touring production of MAMMA MIA includes a performer with Cincinnati roots: MICHAEL GRAYMAN grew up in North Avondale and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts. He's toured nationally in West Side Story and The King and I. Trading something good for something better isn't a bad deal. That's what's happened with Broadway in Cincinnati, which just announced that Wonderful Town, scheduled for the Aronoff Center in March, will not make it to Cincinnati. The delightful revival of Leonard Bernstein's 1953 musical got positive reviews (and a Tony Award nomination), but it's been reported elsewhere that the tour has been completely scrapped. However, replacing it will be another recent Tony-nominated production -- the groundbreaking revival of BIG RIVER, flowing into the same slot intended for Wonderful Town, March 15-27, 2005. (The original 1985 production won seven Tonys, including Best Musical.) The show, based on Huckleberry Finn, originated at Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood, Calif. It includes deaf, hard-of-hearing and hearing actors performing their roles using both speaking and signing. The excerpt on June's Tony Awards broadcast was electrifying, and many reviewers commented on the evocative blend of performers. It's still possible to order a season subscription: 513-241-2345. ...

This week's touring production of MAMMA MIA includes a performer with Cincinnati roots: MICHAEL GRAYMAN grew up in North Avondale and graduated from the School for Creative and Performing Arts. He's toured nationally in West Side Story and The King and I. Mamma Mia (see Web review at citybeat.com) continues through Sunday. Tickets: 513-241-7469. ...

More signs of artistic life in Over-the-Rhine, according to a report shared with businesses in the neighborhood. The former Kaufmann Brewery building at 1725 Vine St. is being restored for use by the CINCINNATI BLACK THEATRE COMPANY (CBTC), just six blocks north of Ensemble Theatre (located at 1127 Vine St.). The organizer of the biennial Cincinnati Black Theatre Festival, CBTC has done most of its performing at the Arts Consortium on Linn Street in the West End; last December it offered Black Nativity at Xavier University's Gallagher Theatre. ...

The Know Theatre Tribe (opening a comedy, The Wonder of the World, on Thursday; see page 32 and look for a review online on Friday) is seeking true stories, essays, recollections, memories and anecdotes about coming out as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender -- and the resulting challenges. Some of these stories will be presented by a group of actors assembled by Know to celebrate NATIONAL COMING OUT DAY, which happens on Oct. 11. Know is not paying for submissions, but authors can receive credit (or remain anonymous, if they prefer). Submissions should be mailed to: The Know Theatre Tribe, 1425 Sycamore St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (or e-mailed to info@knowtheatre.com). The deadline is Sept. 10. ...

The arts often lead to personal relationships, so it shouldn't come as a big surprise that sometimes marriage is the result, even if it takes 34 years to get around to it. MICHAEL SHOONER, artistic director of New Edgecliff Theatre, met PAM FUTVOYE more than three decades ago, when they were both freshmen at Edgecliff College. Futvoye, now a teacher of developmentally disabled preschool children, is also according to Shooner a great actress, and he anticipates they could be performing onstage together before long. After running off to Gatlinburg to get hitched later this month, Shooner will be back in town to help out with NET's production of Power Failure by Larry Gelbart. Shooner, an Equity professional, will be onstage in Arthur Miller's All My Sons for the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival in October.

MINI REVIEWS
New Stage Collective's three-performance regional premiere of SIDE SHOW (July 30-31) at Xavier University's Gallagher Theatre demonstrated how youthful energy can create very satisfying work onstage. Bill Russell and Henry Krieger's show about conjoined (aka "Siamese") twins whose singing career gained national attention in the 1930s is an intriguing piece, exploring America's fascination --- even obsession -- with people who are "different." Side Show is a love story, but one that's complicated and run off the tracks by social mores and commercial greed. The youthful cast (NSC is mostly college students) isn't perfect for every role, but that's more than offset by the convincing and compelling acting and singing of Allison Elfline and Kera Halbersleben as Daisy and Violet Hilton. Elfline's confidence and Halbersleben's vulnerability -- plus spectacular singing skills --- made this an excellent production. -- Rick Pender Grade: B+

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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