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Theaters, Actors, Etc.

By Rick Pender · April 13th, 2005 · Curtain Call

Although Northern Kentucky University's Y.E.S. FESTIVAL OF NEW PLAYS is premised on the acronym for "year end series" (it's the 12th biennial edition), it seems like they've also said "yes" to plays with long and odd titles. From Friday through April 24, NKU will present three shows on a rotating schedule. They are Alissa Through the Glass and into Terezin by David Eliet; Wild Women of Planet Wongo by Ben Budick, Steve Mackes and Dave Ogrin; and Night, Sleep and the Dreams of Lovers by David Brendan Hopes. Alissa is the daughter of a German soldier and a Jewish woman; her story is set in a concentration camp. Wongo is a musical that has fun with sci-fi moves from the 1950s. And Night is a study in people attracted to a famous artist. It's unusual for a university to undertake new works in general; to produce three shows in a brief period (there will be 18 performances altogether) is a big challenge -- but also a learning experience for NKU's theater students. Check out CityBeat's Onstage listings for performance dates and times. Tickets: 859-572-6564 ...

Once the Y.E.S. Festival is over, NKU quickly moves into another theatrical mode, preparing for the 25th anniversary season of its SUMMER DINNER THEATRE. This year the season offers three productions: Ted Swindley's Always ...

Patsy Cline (June 8-19), Robert Harling's Steel Magnolias (July 6-17) and Joe DiPietro's I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (July 27-Aug. 7). Dinner service begins at 6:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; performances are at 8 p.m. (Sunday it's dinner at 5 p.m., performance at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are just now going on sale, but these productions tend to sell out quickly, so don't dally: 859-572-6564 ...

Another summertime theatrical option sets sail this week with the opening of the 2005 season of the SHOWBOAT MAJESTIC, located at Cincinnati's public landing.

This year marks the boat's 82nd year of entertainment. Opening this week is Neil Simon's comedy, Star Spangled Girl (through May 1). The rest of the season offers the Cole Porter compilation musical, Red Hot and Cole (May 11-29); a recollection of Rowan and Martin's hit TV series, Laugh In! (June 8-26); the musical version of Charles Dickens tale of an orphan boy, Oliver! (July 6-24); a play based on Carol Burnett's autobiography, Hollywood Arms (Aug. 10-28); and the Princess and the Pea musical, Once Upon a Mattress (Sept. 14-Oct. 2). Subscriptions are $78 for the six shows: 513-241-6550 ...

If you want a different kind of midsummer entertainment, you should mark your calendar for the WOMEN´S THEATRE INITIATIVE (WTI) July production. Each fall WTI presents a series of readings of plays that focus on women characters and situations that women encounter. After sifting and considering a half-dozen or so works, they pick one for a full staging. This year's will be Jennifer Haley's Dreampuffs of War (July 14-23 at the Columbia Performance Center), a dark comedy about pets, sex and war. WTI's organizers suggest that it will have "audiences laughing their way into rethinking everyday assumptions about their relationships with the animals and people in their homes and the world." Haley completes a graduate degree in playwriting from Brown University in May; Dreampuffs is a new play, and Haley will be working closely with WTI in the staging of its premiere. WTI has demonstrated a long-term and serious commitment to bringing intriguing new works to Cincinnati audiences. They present them in the July when there's less onstage locally: I've been impressed with each of their productions. But attendance has been thin: WTI's efforts deserves a larger audience. ...

If you're someone who's seeking professional acting opportunities, you might already know about the unified auditions held by the LEAGUE OF CINCINNATI THEATRES (LCT) on May 21, 22 and 23 at Ensemble Theatre (1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine). But the rest of us should be glad that LCT puts these auditions together annually: Our area's actors are finding more work locally, and the unified auditions provide an efficient opportunity to be considered for a wide range of companies and shows. Theatres participating in past auditions have included the Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival, Know Theatre Tribe, Ovation Theatre Company, New Edgecliff Theatre, Human Race Theatre Company (from Dayton), CATCO (from Columbus), Indiana Shakespeare Company and others. Actors have two minutes to perform two contrasting monologues or a monologue and a song. For more information: www.leagueofcincytheatres.com ...

While we have plenty of good theater here in Cincinnati, a drive of an hour or so to Dayton can give you even more choices. I'm a particular fan of the HUMAN RACE THEATRE, which I would compare to Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati in terms of the quality of its productions and the nature of its theater (its Loft Theatre in Dayton's Metropolitan Arts Center seats 219, while ETC accommodates 190). For 2005-2006, Human Race will present six shows, three of which are in conjunction with the Victoria Theatre Association: They'll offer The Nerd by Larry Shue (Sept. 15-Oct. 2); Copenhagen by Michael Frayn (Oct. 20-Nov. 6); Seussical by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Dec. 1-18); Shakespeare's The Tempest (Feb. 2-19, 2006); A Delicate Balance by Edward Albee (March 23-April 9, 2006); and Toxic Audio (June 6-25, 2006), a vocal-acrobatic extravaganza using five singers to present hits from Rock, Jazz, Disco, oldies and even a few favorite television shows. For more information about the season: www.humanracetheatre.org



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