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An Entertaining Holiday Show

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · November 10th, 2004 · Curtain Call
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Every year the Cincinnati Playhouse finds an entertaining holiday show for its Shelterhouse Theatre to balance the traditional "God bless us, everyone!" offered by A Christmas Carol (starting Dec. 1 in the Marx Theatre). This year it's Stuart Ross' PLAID TIDINGS, a seasonal version of the hit musical, Forever Plaid. In that show, four aspiring guys from 1964 earned a chance to come back from heaven to do the show they never quite made it to (they were hit by a bus full of girls on their way to see the Beatles make their U.S. TV debut on Ed Sullivan). For Plaid Tidings, they're back again, wondering why they've been recalled and singing a punchbowl of holiday favorites: In fact, they decide they need to do an outstanding show -- or be doomed for all eternity. Opening Thursday and continuing through New Year's Eve. (Based on past year's, the show might slide over into January performances, but there are no guarantees: Getting tickets now would be a good idea.) Tickets: 513-421-3888.

If you're seeking something with a holiday theme from another perspective, check out A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, presented by New Gate Celtic Theatre Company on Friday and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.) and Nov. 19-20 at Columbia Performance Center (3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum). Based on Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' heartfelt reminiscence of his childhood in the 1920s and '30s, it's a collection of tales full of memorable characters and their laugh-out-loud experiences. (If you like the film A Christmas Story, you'll enjoy this script.) Every year the Cincinnati Playhouse finds an entertaining holiday show for its Shelterhouse Theatre to balance the traditional "God bless us, everyone!" offered by A Christmas Carol (starting Dec. 1 in the Marx Theatre). This year it's Stuart Ross' PLAID TIDINGS, a seasonal version of the hit musical, Forever Plaid. In that show, four aspiring guys from 1964 earned a chance to come back from heaven to do the show they never quite made it to (they were hit by a bus full of girls on their way to see the Beatles make their U.S. TV debut on Ed Sullivan). For Plaid Tidings, they're back again, wondering why they've been recalled and singing a punchbowl of holiday favorites: In fact, they decide they need to do an outstanding show -- or be doomed for all eternity. Opening Thursday and continuing through New Year's Eve.

(Based on past year's, the show might slide over into January performances, but there are no guarantees: Getting tickets now would be a good idea.) Tickets: 513-421-3888. ...

If you're seeking something with a holiday theme from another perspective, check out A CHILD'S CHRISTMAS IN WALES, presented by New Gate Celtic Theatre Company on Friday and Saturday (8 p.m.) and Sunday (3 p.m.) and Nov. 19-20 at Columbia Performance Center (3900 Eastern Ave., Columbia-Tusculum). Based on Welsh poet Dylan Thomas' heartfelt reminiscence of his childhood in the 1920s and '30s, it's a collection of tales full of memorable characters and their laugh-out-loud experiences. (If you like the film A Christmas Story, you'll enjoy this script.) New Gate's founder, Karen Vanover, is involving her entire family in the production: Her husband, Mitch, runs sound; daughter April manages props; and son Ted is onstage as a young boy. "It's a family tradition," Vanover says, "being involved in theater. We were bound to all work on a project together sooner or later." Tickets: 513-305-7958. ...

Monday evening will be the fourth of four readings by the WOMEN'S THEATRE INITIATIVE, as they wrap up their fifth annual community play selection process. The selections this year are all by American playwrights. On Monday at NKU's University Center in the Otto Budig Theater, you can hear NECESSARY TARGETS, a script by Eve Ensler, best known for her renowned script, The Vagina Monologues. For this script, Ensler went to Bosnia and listened to the stories of women whose lives were damaged by war. The story is told through the eyes of two American therapists who think they can help. This script or one of three others read publicly during October and November will be chosen for a full-scale production next summer. Info: 513-604-8545 ...

Last time we heard from Nicholas Korn, he was putting the wraps on his 5-year-old theater company, Stage First Cincinnati. That was back in early 2003. From there he took Stage First's final production, Illuzzio (Or A Man's Best Servant Is Himself!), to Chicago for a run in July that year. Korn's pen is still working apparently: On Tuesday evening the Cincinnati Arts Association and the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative will present another of his delightful and clever "commedias," DELIRIUM'S DAUGHTERS, as part of the New Voices Series at the Aronoff's Fifth Third Bank Theater. If you're not familiar with this series (and you should be, if you're serious about local theater), it's an opportunity for writers to have public readings of plays they've written. It's a good deal ($5 admission, at the door). Info: www.cinciplaywrights.org ...

As a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, I have the privilege of voting on inductees for the THEATER HALL OF FAME in New York City. This year the five noteworthy performers selected are actors Estelle Parsons, Sir Ian McKellen and Brian Murray, musical theater great Len Cariou (who won a 1979 Tony Award for originating the title role in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd), and the late dancer, Gregory Hines, who earned a best actor Tony in 1992 for Jelly's Last Jam. The formal induction is Jan. 29, 2005, in New York City, emceed by actor Jerry Orbach.

Mini Reviews
The Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Arthur Miller's best known classic, THE CRUCIBLE, closes on Nov. 19. It's an explosion of ferocious energy -- with power to spare and with both its corrosive plot and its haunting parable in absolute, dead-on-the-money focus. It's 1692 in Salem, Mass. Once accusations are broached, witch trials and hangings become inevitable. Witch-hunts are ever with us, as are accusations of collusion with a variety of devils. This production offers mighty performances by 20 actors, including Joneal Joplin (he returns as Scrooge in December) as a rabid judge. (Tom McElfresh) Grade: A+

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival is staging another Arthur Miller play, ALL MY SONS, through Sunday. This is a tragedy right about men and women victimized by circumstance and fate; good, if prideful, intentions lead to falls from grace. Set in post-WWII America, the central characters are optimistic Americans of that era, patriotic, successful business owners and former soldiers. But things are complicated by a son who died in the war and one who survived and is now planning to marry his brother's fiancée. It's an unsettling production, precisely what Miller had in mind. (Rick Pender) Grade: B+

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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