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More Passion Than Profit, but the Fringe Needs a Few Bucks

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Two weeks ago I wrote with enthusiasm about the 2009 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, the sixth consecutive year for this vibrant burst of edgy theater, film and visual art. I called it “creative and distracting … in these troubled times” and asked, “Is it May yet?”  

Fringe ... What We Need in 2009

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Although there’s still a lot of winter chill in the air, my thoughts are already turning to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, our annual theatrical treat that I think of as the kick-off for summer. It usually happens in late May and early June, just before the solstice, so it’s a reminder of good things to come. The sixth annual Cincinnati Fringe is set to open on May 26; performances will continue through June 6. Organized by Know Theatre of Cincinnati, the Fringe has become a much-anticipated annual component of our performing arts scene.  

The Thrill of the New

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 4, 2009
For some reason, February and March seem to be a time when many theaters go into creativity overdrive and produce new works. I recently attended the fourth annual Colorado New Play Summit, presented by the Denver Center Theatre Company, where I heard readings of four new scripts plus a revised version of Meredith Willson's 1960 musical 'The Unsinkable Molly Brown' that's working its way toward an eventual Broadway production.  

No Kidding

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 18, 2009
The topic of children's theater might conjure images of cardboard scenery and childish actors. That's definitely not what you'll find at The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati, which this weekend debuts 'High School Musical 2' at the Taft Theatre.  

Behave Yourself

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Before just about every theater performance I attend there's an announcement about turning off cell phones and unwrapping candy in crinkly wrappers. (The latter always seems to evoke a chuckle for some reason.) Despite these appeals, however, about half the time I'm at a theater a cell phone distracts me. Make no mistake: This is rude and thoughtless behavior. It breaks the concentration of others in the audience, and it could distract a performer.  

Say It's So, Joe

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Local playwright Joe McDonough returns to the Cincinnati Playhouse this week for his third premiere, 'Travels of Angelica,' winner of the 2009 Mickey Kaplan New American Play Prize. "I was at a conference with other playwrights last summer," he says, "and I was explaining that I had this production coming up and this relationship with the Playhouse: three productions in six years. They were stunned."  

Half Empty or Half Full?

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It's a New Year, a time typically full of hope and new beginnings, including our local theater scene. The economic downturn, however, is having an effect.  

Bail Out a Theater

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Everyones feeling a little pinched these days, including our local theaters and other performing arts organizations. Cincinnati Ballet canceled its Dec. 26 performance of The Nutcracker, citing weak ticket sales. The Cincinnati Playhouse has cut short the run of local playwright Joe McDonoughs Travels of Angelica, which opens Jan.  

Holiday Shows Are Cause for Hope

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 10, 2008
In my review of the Playhouse's 'A Christmas Carol,' I suggest that Charles Dickens' social conscience, outraged in 1843 by the evils of the Industrial Revolution and greedy business operators, seems quite timely in 2008 amid the evils of unfettered financial mismanagement and greedy business operators. Have we made any progress? Come January there will be a change in our nation's leadership, after all, and that's certainly cause for hope.  

Let's Make a Deal for Theater Tickets

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm not much for holiday shopping, but with the wheezing economy dimming our holiday spirits, I have some suggestions for gifts that will keep you (or those you love) theatrically entertained in the New Year without breaking the bank. A great option offered by many mid-sized theaters is a "flex pass."  

To Cover the Arts or Not

3 Comments · Wednesday, November 12, 2008
The world of arts journalism is shrinking. Driven by editors and publishers who think more about the bottom line than about great journalism, daily newspapers — long the traditional medium for arts criticism — are providing less and less coverage.  

Get an Education

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Those pedagogical purposes, however, don't mean there's not solid entertainment on area campuses. Of course, you might have to suspend your disbelief when a 20-year-old plays Willy Loman, but by and large scripts are chosen as learning experiences...  

The Next Stage

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 15, 2008
The Cincinnati Playhouse's Marx Theatre resembled a boxing ring on Oct. 6. The foundation for a new set was a roped-off floor of raw plywood. And combat was on the minds of many in the crowd of 250 at a town hall meeting about the Playhouse's need for a different kind of facility.  

Black and White

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 1, 2008
What makes a play a classic? Cincinnati Shakespeare Company specializes in such works: The downtown company just presented a revival of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus and found itself with a string of sold-out performances. Their approach was to re-create a great script, very faithful to the original with solid acting in every role.  

Still Afloat

0 Comments · Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Say the words “show boat” to American theater lovers and most will think of Jerome Kern’s classic 1927 musical, cited by many as the first modern work of musical theater.