It's that time of year when Cincinnati's theaters start doing the season announcement dance. I'm glad to share information with you, but I avoid the big splash that the daily papers seem to think are so important, since I presume CityBeat's readers are more interested in what's going on right now than what will be happening in the months ahead. But there are some good things coming our way that you should know about, and the first news down the chute is from the CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE COMPANY (CSC). No, that's not a typo: One piece of news is that the group formerly known as the "Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival" has taken on a new name. According to Managing Director REBECCA BOWMAN, "In a city known for its summer festivals, our former named sometimes created confusion. Audiences thought we were here and gone within a few weeks' time." In fact, the company is announcing its 13th consecutive year-round season.
"We wanted our name to reflect our commitment to the resident company model," Bowman adds, "and our permanence here in the region as the only professional theater dedicated to the classics." To bring its 2006-2007 season, CSC will have a company of nine veteran actors and a five-member Young Company (in other words, interns). They'll also use 12 guest artists, including BRUCE CROMER, JENNIFER JOPLIN, NICK ROSE (one of the company's founders), ANNE E. SCHILLING and KATE WILFORD. The season will offer longer runs of four Shakespearean works -- As You Like It (Sept. 7-Oct. 8), Macbeth (Oct. 19-Nov. 19), The Winter's Tale (Feb. 8-March 7, 2007) and The Tempest (May 3-27, 2007) -- plus Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest (Dec. 7-31) and Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard (March 22-April 15, 2007). Several years ago the company created a "studio" component to develop new works; that's going by the wayside with a renewed commitment to classics, but a new approach, the CSC Studio Series, will bring three more classics to the group's Race Street theater: Running January 11-28, 2007 will be Harold Pinter's The Dumbwaiter; a medieval morality play, Everyman; and Euripides' Greek tragedy, The Women of Troy. To give audiences a taste of what the studio will present more fully next season, there will be a brief production later this spring (May 16-24) of Clifford Odets' 1935 masterpiece, Waiting for Lefty. CSC also announced that it will reprise the madcap summary, The Compleat Works of Wllm Shkspr (abridged), from July 20-Aug. 13. Last summer's production was the highest grossing performance in the group's history. For season ticket information: 513-381-2273...
For the past 26 years the NORTHERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY DINNER THEATRE has been a hot ticket for local auciences. This summer's productions will be The Odd Couple (June 14-July 2) and The 1940s Radio Hour (July 12-30). I'm not certain we need one more staging of Neil Simon's oddball buddy comedy, but the recreation of a 1942 radio musical broadcast from the Algonquin Room at New York's Hotel Astor is one that I'm eager to see. By the way, if you're a performer looking for work, auditions for Radio Hour are Saturday, 1-4 p.m. Call in advance (859-572-5647) to schedule a five-minute slot. (Odd Couple is already cast.) These performances always sell out, so it's worth noting now that tickets go on sale on May 15 if you're interested in the combo approach (buffet dinner is offered starting at 6:30 most evenings, with a performance at 8 p.m.). Box office: 859-572-5464. ...
Baseball season is right around the corner, so maybe you'd like to take in a musical about a miraculous baseball season: DAMN YANKEES is a fantastic takeoff on the Faust legend -- a middle-aged guy gets a chance to be a baseball star with a little devilish assistance. The Hamilton Rotary Club is presenting the show, a classic from 1955, this weekend at Parris Auditorium on Miami University's Hamilton Campus. Tickets: 513-867-1998, x231.
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