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Take a Leap with the Playhouse in the Park this February

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · August 11th, 2004 · Curtain Call
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Cezar Williams, who originated the role of James in Ensemble Theatre's premiere of Warren Leight's James and Annie, again read the role at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.
Sandy Underwood

Cezar Williams, who originated the role of James in Ensemble Theatre's premiere of Warren Leight's James and Annie, again read the role at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer.



The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park this week announced that LEAP, a new play by John Yearley, has been chosen as the theater's world premiere production, opening in mid-February 2005. The Playhouse's steadfast commitment to new works as a key component of its recent recognition with the 2004 Regional Theatre Tony Award. (Carson Kreitzer's The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Playhouse's 2002 premiere, is onstage in several cities this fall, including Chicago and Atlanta.) Yearley's script is about a man who intentionally loses himself in the chaos of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City. Faking amnesia, he's taken in by a young waitress who believes she's lost her fiancé in the attack. The playwright says, "Leap is a play about people coping with loss and how your quality of life can be determined by how you deal with loss. It's comedic in tone, although it's also very sad." Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern seeks plays that are "like nothing I've ever read or seen before.

Leap definitely follows in that tradition." He adds, "The play starts with 9/11, but it doesn't dwell on that. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park this week announced that LEAP, a new play by John Yearley, has been chosen as the theater's world premiere production, opening in mid-February 2005.

The Playhouse's steadfast commitment to new works as a key component of its recent recognition with the 2004 Regional Theatre Tony Award. (Carson Kreitzer's The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer, the Playhouse's 2002 premiere, is onstage in several cities this fall, including Chicago and Atlanta.) Yearley's script is about a man who intentionally loses himself in the chaos of Sept. 11, 2001, in New York City. Faking amnesia, he's taken in by a young waitress who believes she's lost her fiancé in the attack. The playwright says, "Leap is a play about people coping with loss and how your quality of life can be determined by how you deal with loss. It's comedic in tone, although it's also very sad." Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern seeks plays that are "like nothing I've ever read or seen before. ...

Leap definitely follows in that tradition." He adds, "The play starts with 9/11, but it doesn't dwell on that. It's a precipitating event for what happens next." Yearley is eager to work on his play with the Cincinnati theater: "Ed Stern and the Cincinnati Playhouse have the best reputation in New York City. Everyone loves the theater. This is by far the biggest break of my career." Subscriptions for the Playhouse season: 513-421-3888. ...

When ENSEMBLE THEATRE OF CINCINNATI (ETC) premiered Warren Leight's James and Annie in March 2003, the dramatic play seemed to have a future. ETC has developed a working relationship with Leight, winner of the 1999 best drama Tony Award for his play Side Man (which ETC staged in the fall of 1999 before any other theater outside New York City). Well, it appears that others agree with ETC's Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers about the recent play: The show had a reading in late July at the legendary Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts. Leight was there, and CEZAR WILLIAMS, who played James at ETC, again portrayed the African-American World War II veteran who falls in love with a white woman with tragic results. ...

Know Theatre Tribe's production of David Lindsay-Abaire's dark but amusing WONDER OF THE WORLD (see my review on page 45) is offered in a special benefit performance on Sunday evening at 8 p.m. The beneficiary is Community Shares of Greater Cincinnati, a federation of no-frills nonprofits that raises money (like the United Way) for organizations fostering social equality, economic opportunity and environmental well-being. Tickets: $15. Info: 513-300-5669. ... George Orwell might not be quite the prognosticator we once gave him credit for -- after all, 1984 was 20 years ago. But his allegorical novel, Animal Farm, still resonates. It's become a musical that's getting a staging by the RENEGADE GARAGE PLAYERS (RGP), who bill themselves as Cincinnati's inclusive arts organization. RGP has many members with physical and other disabilities who come together to create theater. ANIMAL FARM: THE MUSICAL is presented at the Pendleton Heritage Center (2760 Eastern Ave., East End) on Thursday and Friday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Tickets: $6. Reservations: 513-328-6300. ...

This weekend is the kickoff of the NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL, featuring 194 productions in North America's largest multi-arts festival. That's way bigger than the Cincinnati Fringe Festival we had in May, but it's something to aspire to. (Next year, the Fringe is likely to move to June.) If you'd like to read more about New York's massive event, you can find previews of many of the events at: www.nytheatre. com/fringeweb/f_preview.htm. Browse this site for more information about the Fringe, in addition to lots of good -- and independent -- takes on what's to be found on Broadway and off (where the most exciting theater action typically happens). nytheatre.com also provides Fringe reviews throughout the festival.

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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