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Scrooge for the holidays

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · December 8th, 2004 · Curtain Call
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Joneal Joplin (left) as Ebenezer Scrooge and Jared Joplin (right) as Young Scrooge are father and son in real life; while they act in the Playhouse's A Christmas Carol, daughter/sister Jennifer is onstage in Dayton in Crimes of the Heart.
Sandy Underwood

Joneal Joplin (left) as Ebenezer Scrooge and Jared Joplin (right) as Young Scrooge are father and son in real life; while they act in the Playhouse's A Christmas Carol, daughter/sister Jennifer is onstage in Dayton in Crimes of the Heart.



The Cincinnati Playhouse has more than Scrooge for the holidays (see below). PLAID TIDINGS, the seasonal version of Forever Plaid, about four geeky singers from the late '50s who return for one last shot at stardom. Tidings is doing so well that the Playhouse has added more performances; originally scheduled to close on Dec. 31, the show has been extended through Jan. 9. Tickets: 513-421-3888.

If you're in the market for a non-holiday show, try CRIMES OF THE HEART at Dayton's Human Race Theatre Company. The play, about three sisters who love each other and drive each other crazy, is a Pulitzer Prize winner (1980) that premiered at an early Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. CORINNE MOHLENHOFF, who earned a CEA on Nov. 22 for her recent performance in Ovation Theatre's Fallen Angels, is Babe, a role she played (and earned a CEA nomination for) a year ago in a 2003 Ovation production. She's joined by Jennifer Joplin, whose dad and brother are onstage in the Playhouse's A Christmas Carol (see below).

Who needs the Barrymores? Human Race Box Office: 888-228-3630. The Cincinnati Playhouse has more than Scrooge for the holidays (see below). PLAID TIDINGS, the seasonal version of Forever Plaid, about four geeky singers from the late '50s who return for one last shot at stardom. Tidings is doing so well that the Playhouse has added more performances; originally scheduled to close on Dec. 31, the show has been extended through Jan. 9. Tickets: 513-421-3888. ...

If you're in the market for a non-holiday show, try CRIMES OF THE HEART at Dayton's Human Race Theatre Company. The play, about three sisters who love each other and drive each other crazy, is a Pulitzer Prize winner (1980) that premiered at an early Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville. CORINNE MOHLENHOFF, who earned a CEA on Nov. 22 for her recent performance in Ovation Theatre's Fallen Angels, is Babe, a role she played (and earned a CEA nomination for) a year ago in a 2003 Ovation production. She's joined by Jennifer Joplin, whose dad and brother are onstage in the Playhouse's A Christmas Carol (see below). Who needs the Barrymores? Human Race Box Office: 888-228-3630.

Mini Reviews
A CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (through Dec. 30) features Joneal Joplin in his eighth and final outing as Ebenezer Scrooge. (It's the 14th year the Playhouse has offered this delightful holiday production.) Each year, Joplin has added texture and emotion to the role, from his opening snarls, sneering at "love" and "Merry Christmas," to his ghost-hosted visits, wandering invisibly among people from his past and present life ("I didn't say that!" he exclaims several times) whose occasional physical touch causes him to stagger and gasp. Kids in the audience laugh out loud at his off-key renditions of "Deck the Halls," trying to capture the right notes. At one point, Belle (Scrooge's long lost love) asks his younger self (played by Joplin's son, Jared), "Who is the real Ebenezer?" The most obvious answer to everyone in the audience is Joneal Joplin. (Rick Pender) Grade: A

JACOB MARLEY'S CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival (through Dec. 23) is definitely changed from its three previous incarnations. But we should listen to what Marley says about his grouchy former business partner: "We all deserve a chance to change." CSF took a chance on a different approach to this show -- it's more surreal (set and sound effects), and it's not perfect, but it's well worth seeing. Giles Davies is distinctly different in the title role, physically and vocally, from Nick Rose who did it previously. Davies is always marvelous, and I've never seen him better than here, twisting, contorting, grimacing and bringing Marley to a scary and believable life. Unfortunately, director Matt Johnson has tarted up the first act with so many comic bits you might question sticking around after intermission, but you should. It takes a heartfelt turn, and you'll be warmed by the characters' positive evolutions. (Rick Pender) Grade: B-

SLEEPING BEAUTY at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (through Dec. 28) revives another popular holiday musical fairy tale by composer David Kisor and writer Joe McDonough. This one has a moral about being "awakened by love," and there's enough tomfoolery to boost the entertainment quotient: Wisteria (Deb Girdler), a fairy gone wicked, is a blast to watch, and her snarky accomplice, a falcon (Michael Bath) underscores the comedy. A trio of good fairies (a. Beth Harris, Sara Mackie and Jodie Meyn) sings sweetly, and Briar Rose (Amy Harpring) is courted by big-voiced Joshua Jeremiah as before-and-after princes, since she sleeps away a century in between. For me, Sleeping Beauty jumps back and forth too much between comedy and genuine emotion, and from a kids show to one with themes that adults will appreciate. But ETC's formula clearly appeals to audiences. (Rick Pender) Grade: B+

 
 
 
 

 

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