Last weekend I traveled to Louisville,
Ky., for the 37th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors
Theatre. I’ve attended regularly since 1998 and thoroughly enjoyed
these doses of new, ambitiously conceived and professionally presented
Here are the ingredients: a couple of
Broadway and off-Broadway hits, three world premieres, a lavish Jane
Austen show, a classic musical by Kander and Ebb, an innovative drama
with tap dancing and video, plus holiday festivities...
Playwright Frank Higgins began his
writing career as a poet, so he pays careful attention to the way he
puts words together. After some time working at poetry, he felt that his
best pieces were stories about people.
This week marks the opening Actors
Theatre of Louisville’s 37th annual Humana Festival of New American
Plays. First up is Meredith McDonough’s The Delling Shore, about
two rival authors and their daughters, a work in which words become
You might know that Shakespeare’s Richard III focuses on one of his great villains. But among his 38 plays, there’s also Richard II.
You probably know almost nothing about this guy — a weak king, deposed
in 1399 — who died in captivity in 1400.
It’s time for mistletoe and holly, when
theaters entice folks in search of holiday cheer (and occasional
parodies thereof) to celebrate the season. Many theaters need December
ticket revenues to present shows onstage for the rest of the year.
When Oscar Wilde wrote The Importance of Being Earnest
back in 1895, he subtitled it “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.”
That’s an apt description for a show still produced with frequency 117
years later — and as funny as ever.
Collaboration is the byword for many
arts organizations today, especially theaters where financial support is
tough to obtain and ticket revenues are seldom enough to support the
cost of productions. By working together, economies can be achieved and,
in some cases, multiple constituencies can be activated.
When Know Theatre of Cincinnati was
launched in 1997, it was an itinerant theater company. In fact, it was
called the “Know Theatre Tribe” and its shows, touring productions and
readings directed by founder Jay Kalagayan, were presented at bookstores
and art galleries around town.
More often than not, I try to introduce CityBeat
readers to new plays and writers. We see quite a few such shows locally
thanks to Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the Cincinnati Playhouse
and Know Theatre. In fact, looking at American Theatre’s list of
2012-2013’s “Top 10” most-produced plays, six have already been
Daniel Beaty spent his first 18 years in
Dayton. He considers that a blessing. “I’m a native Ohioan,” he said in a
recent phone interview, as he prepares to bring his one-man show, Through the Night,
to the Cincinnati Playhouse, where it begins a four-week run on Thursday.
What makes Bruce Cromer one of our
region’s best actors? He’s especially good at virtuous characters such
as Atticus Finch, the admirable, broadminded attorney in To Kill a Mockingbird, a role he’s currently playing for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC).
If you spent some of last spring watching the TV series Smash,
you learned that Broadway producers look for talent whose names attract
audiences. The commercial concerns of Broadway
producers are surely a big factor in their decision-making, especially
how much magnetism a star can bring. This led me to speculate whether we
have bankable stars in Cincinnati.