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Remedying the Sound of One Hand Clapping

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 6, 2011
The Acclaim Awards merged both the Cincinnati Enquirer's program of the same name and CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The merger has had a rough life and after some turmoil changes are in the works.  

Who Needs Broadway?

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 22, 2011
The Tonys recognize only shows from Broadway. That’s just 40 theaters (many tied up with long, open-ended production runs), so there might be 30 or so new musicals or plays annually — not an extensive sampling of American theater and increasingly dictated by popular appeal (hence, “jukebox” shows using tunes we all know) or star vehicles (TV or movie actors whose names sell tickets).  

Fringe: Antidote to Uptight

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 8, 2011
You’ve been reading a lot about the current Cincinnati Fringe Festival in CityBeat for several weeks. Now’s my chance to sum up what I like about this crazy annual event, and why it’s more than just fun. It’s actually good for our city. It’s a creative shot in the arm. The artists who perform — about half from Cincinnati and half from elsewhere — get to exercise their creativity with few limitations.  

Theater’s Power to Unite and Heal

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I have a dramatic story for you, dramatic in every sense of the word — impressive and theatrical. It’s about a collaborative project involving drama students and a professor from the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and others in Dadaab, Kenya, the site of the world’s largest refugee camp.  

The Envelope, Please?

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Several times over the past year I’ve written in Curtain Call about awards recognizing theater performers and productions in Cincinnati. A year ago I wrote a column questioning whether we needed two competing programs — the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for theater (originated by CityBeat in 1997) and The Acclaims, supported by The Cincinnati Enquirer since their creation in 2006. Last August I reported that an understanding had been reached to fold the theater CEAs into the Acclaims. (CityBeat readers know that CEAs for music continue to be handed out every November.)  

Ensemble Theatre’s Big 2-5

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Turning 25 might not seem like a big accomplishment — unless you’re doing theater in Over-the-Rhine. Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC) is drawing its first quarter-century to a close with 25 The Musical (May 4-22), a medley of tunes representing the company’s musical offerings since 1986.  

An Eye for Individuality

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
As Carson Kreitzer put the finishing touches on her new play, Behind the Eye, we talked by phone from her home in Minneapolis. We first met when The Love Song of J. Robert Oppenheimer premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse in 2003. Now’s she’s back for a third Cincinnati world premiere, Behind the Eye, a work commissioned by the Playhouse and based on the life of fashion model and photographer Lee Miller (1907-1977).  

Ed Stern Lays Out Season No. 20

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Not many theaters have been led by an artistic director for more than a decade. The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has had Ed Stern as its producing artistic director for nearly two. He’ll end his run in June 2012, completing his 20th season. Stern recently announced the shows for his final season at the Tony Award-winning regional theater.  

Signs of Theater to Come

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Announcements for the 2011-12 theater season are beginning. Assembling a smart season is essential to theaters. That effort enables them to sell subscriptions (that is, tickets for multiple productions). Subscription dollars help theaters budget predictably and manage the expenses for sets and costumes. Even with these distraction, Cincinnati theaters have some great line-ups.  

Cincinnati Theater Needs You

1 Comment · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
In August of last year, CityBeat’s Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for theater ended a run of 14 years by merging with the Acclaim Awards, a program established more recently by The Cincinnati Enquirer. As part of that merger, CityBeat offered to develop a new element that would preserve the CEA process of public voting whereby theater enthusiasts can cast ballots for onstage work they appreciate. To that end, the 2011 Acclaims will feature the newly established Cincinnati Theater Awards (CTAs) with results announced later this spring. That’s where your help is needed.  

In My Humble Opinion...

1 Comment · Tuesday, February 15, 2011
What the heck are theater critics good for? Few of us are actually curmudgeons who revel in badmouthing actors and shows. Most I know are theater fans. I typically attend a show full of optimism, expecting to be entertained. I love it when something unexpected happens and I only write negatively when I feel a production has failed to live up to its promise. I’m especially thrilled by fresh interpretations or revelatory performances.  

Oldies But Goodies

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I like to write about the excitement of new works and regional premieres, which are important in sustaining theater as an art form. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect the classics. In its prior 16 seasons, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presented all but five of the Bard’s 37 plays. They’ve checked another one off the list with the just-concluded production of King John and they plan to complete the canon in 2015 by offering one of the remaining works in each of the next four years.  

Shortt's Sweet Spot

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
In a phone conversation with Paul Shortt, the CEA Hall of Fame scenic designer explains the distinction between the theaters for which his set for Tom Dudzik’s Over the Tavern was created. It was presented at St. Louis Repertory Theatre late in 2010, and now it’s coming to the Cincinnati Playhouse’s Marx Theatre.  

Get Some Direction

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Actors often say the most invigorating part of any production is rehearsing, in “the room” where a director imposes a vision and steers performers and designers toward the final product. For this reason, you should pay heed to who’s directing shows you choose to see.  

The Gift of Theater

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 21, 2010
With just a few days left for Christmas shopping, I'm making a few theater-related suggestions: a Broadway snowglobe, new musical theater recordings, 'Sondheim: The Birthday Concert' on DVD and gift certificates to our wonderful local theater companies.