Rather than focus
on one venue, Cincinnati
Shakespeare Company delivers its Shakespeare in the Park Tour to more than a dozen parks
and outdoor venues throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky area. The first of CSC’s touring performances will be on Saturday with the 7 p.m. opening of The Tempest
at Seasongood Pavilion in Eden Park.
This time of year there’s not much theater in town,
something I usually grouse about. But that scarcity pushed me in a
different direction this year: I bought tickets to the World Choir
Games, and, boy, was I glad I did. I saw as much drama in those 11 days
as I’ve seen in many theater seasons — entertaining, passionate,
talented and eye opening.
Opera always struck me as a strange,
overblown cousin to musical theater. I told people that I had to “turn
off my theater filters when I went to see opera.” But then I spent
several seasons working for Cincinnati Opera, and my eyes were opened to
the reasons people react so strongly to that art form.
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati produced next to normal
last September with considerable success, selling out most of its
performances in one of the show’s first productions following its
Broadway success. Based on its strong audience appeal, ETC is giving its
production a brief revival, onstage through July 1.
As CityBeat’s June 6 issue goes to
press, the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival is about half over. All 29
shows have opened and a few have concluded their runs. You still have several chances to see
some great shows before the Fringe concludes on Saturday.
By the time you read this, the 2012
Cincinnati Fringe Festival will be fully under way. Even if you can’t
see every show, you owe it to yourself
to come for an evening or two and sample the creativity that will be
flowing throughout the 10 venues across Over-the-Rhine.
most people think that theater awards are about recognizing excellence,
the real bottom line is marketing. A half-dozen award programs in New
York City — the Drama Desk, the Outer Critics Circle, the Lortels, the
Obies — lead up to the big kahuna, the Tony Awards, focused on Broadway
you’re paying attention to local theater currently, you might feel
you’ve jumped into Mr. Peabody’s wayback machine. Ensemble Theatre
Cincinnati is in Springfield again for Life Could Be A Dream,
where teens from the 1950s fret about love and the future by singing
tunes that Baby Boomers know by heart.
Things ain’t what they used to be at
Ensemble Theatre. A decade ago 1127 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine was near
ground zero for some of the city’s worst behavior — drug-dealing,
shootings, arrests and police controversy. During the 2001 riots,
artistic director D. Lynn Meyers and the cast of a show she was
rehearsing had to be barricaded and locked into the theater for their
Cincinnati no longer has a theater awards
program resembling the Tonys (nominees for the year’s best Broadway
productions will be out soon), but that won’t stop me from naming my
choices for the best shows so far.
Reach into your wallet and pull out a $20
bill. Do you know anything about the dashing guy portrayed there?
Andrew Jackson, a military hero, was our seventh president, serving from
1829 to 1837. But he was a rock star back in his day, a rabble-rouser.
Most CityBeat readers want to read
about things to do right here and right now, so I don’t allocate many
words to theater season announcements that show up this time of year.
Keep your eye on citybeat.com, especially the arts blog, for
up-to-the-minute information and recommendations.
you pay attention to theater on a regular basis, you surely know Stephen
Sondheim’s name. He’s has been esteemed as the greatest creator of
musical theater for more than 50 years. When he turned 80 in 2010, there
were celebrations across the United States and around the world.
Cincinnati has been fertile terrain for his work.
When I read Andrew Bovell’s play Speaking in Tongues,
the current Shelterhouse production at the Cincinnati Playhouse
(through March 4), I have to admit I was mystified as to what it would
become on the stage.
When you go to the theater, I suspect you
focus on the actors. That’s as it should be, but it’s important to bear
in mind that it’s the director who pulls a production together and
evokes performances that add up to the larger whole.