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Curtain Call

Summertime and Finding Theater Isn't Easy

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 23, 2010
There's a song in 'The Fantasticks' that bemoans the heat of the summer sun — "This Plum Is Too Ripe" — and that's how hot weather makes me feel. It's made more depressing by the reduction of shows that might provide some diversion. Most local stages are dark for the summer, which is a shame. But there's still summer theater to be found, so let's do a quick overview.  

Heading North

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Most of the time I extol the virtues of Cincinnati theaters, but we don’t have a corner on that market, so I’d like to give Dayton its due. Demographers tell us that sooner rather than later our two metropolitan areas will become one with I-75 as our main street, so it’s worth paying attention to what’s onstage in the Gem City.  

A Year of Great Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A lot of theater awards are handed out around the nation this time of year, including the Acclaims earlier this week in Cincinnati. I organize the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, which will return in August (for year 15) to honor excellence from this season just before the next one kicks off. Awards are arbitrary, subjective and unscientific, but that doesn’t stop us from being fascinated or rooting for our favorites.  

How Much Recognition Is Enough?

3 Comments · Wednesday, May 12, 2010
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) were established by CityBeat in 1996, using theater critics from all the local media to determine nominees. The Acclaim Awards were created in 2006 and are largely supported by The Cincinnati Enquirer. Our theater scene is excellent for a city this size, but it’s worth asking if competing awards enhance what we have or duplicate recognition.  

Springtime Avalanche of Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Actors and stages and shows ... oh, my! April has offered Cincinnatians several unparalleled weeks of "We're off to see the theater." No matter which yellow brick road you followed, it likely led to a stage with an excellent production. Let me recap...  

David Bar Katz and the Truth of 'Invulnerability'

1 Comment · Monday, April 12, 2010
David Bar Katz probably has more in common with Jerry Siegel than with Superman, but he's put them onstage together in his world premiere play 'The History of Invulnerability' at the Cincinnati Playhouse. "They interact with one another," Bar Katz explains. "Superman represents his unconscious provoking him."  

Angels in Cincinnati ... Finally

1 Comment · Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Given the acclaim behind 'Angels in America' and Tony Kushner's continuing reputation as one of our nation's great (if controversial) playwrights, you'd think an ambitious professional theater company in Cincinnati would have staged the work before 2010. But we've only had 'Angels' onstage at CCM and at Falcon Theatre in Newport. Finally, Know Theatre of Cincinnati opens 'Part I: Millennium Approaches' this weekend, while 'Part II: Perestroika' will be added to the run on April 23.  

Springing Forward With the Stars

0 Comments · Monday, March 15, 2010
As Daylight Savings Time arrived last Sunday, local theaters began to turn the spotlight to their 2010-11 seasons. News is seeping out regarding what we'll see in the year ahead, and I want to share some newsworthy details about the Cincinnati Playhouse, Broadway Across America and Cincinnati Shakespeare Co.  

Planting a New Play, Watching It Grow

0 Comments · Monday, March 1, 2010
Pop quiz: After William Shakespeare, who’s the most frequently produced playwright in Cincinnati? How about Steven Dietz? By my estimate, Cincinnatians have seen 10 of his shows over the past few years. His recent play 'Becky's New Car' opens March 10 at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, the fifth of his works to be staged at the Over-the-Rhine theater.  

The Horizon of Playwriting

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Two weeks ago I wrote that theater critics are not a bunch of nitpicking naysayers. I want to offer further evidence this week, pointing out that critics often bring attention to new works by playwrights. There’s not much money to be made from writing plays; some writers chase TV and film opportunities. But many return when they can to their first love, the stage, to see their words come to life before an audience.  

Situation: Critical

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I know more critics who love theater than who live to spew out negativity. In fact, I've often said it seems nonsensical (if not masochistic) to carve out a career as a critic if you hate the theater and never enjoy the experience. Why subject yourself to night after night of torture if you really find actors or directors incompetent or self-serving?  

Batting a Thousand

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Terry Teachout writes for The Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month he wrote about "America's Favorite Plays," listing the plays most often produced in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. Cincinnati audiences are lucky: We saw all 11 plays on Teachout's list thanks to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.  

A Youthful Perspective

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 6, 2010
The new year often prompts thoughts of new beginnings, perhaps leading to a resolution or two. As I thought about my first column of 2010, it occurred to me that such beginnings could be focused on introducing young people to the theater for the first time.  

Magnificent Gifts

1 Comment · Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Cincinnati’s Classical music community was stunned and blessed by a remarkable gift announced on Dec. 10. Louise Dieterle Nippert, a long-time (although low-profile) supporter of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Opera, established an $85 million fund that will sustain those two organizations and Cincinnati Ballet for years to come.  

Holiday Planning

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 9, 2009
It’s the time of year when people ask me which holiday production they should see. I usually throw that back to them, asking what they’re looking for. If it’s traditional holiday entertainment, there’s nothing better than the Cincinnati Playhouse’s A Christmas Carol, a production I’ve seen annually for 18 years.