Later this week more than 100 high school
drama teachers will converge in Cincinnati. That might sound like a lot
of theater geeks in one place at the historic Hilton Cincinnati
Netherland Plaza downtown, but according to the people organizing this
get-together, the very future of our nation might be at stake. OK, maybe
that’s a bit of an overstatement.
You read that headline correctly. The
outside-the-box thinkers at Know Theatre, the offbeat company that
presents the Fringe Festival every June and other mind-expanding
performances year-round, has a new idea. Led by new artistic director
Andrew Hungerford, this initiative is called “The Welcome Experiment.”
“I don’t know the people, but I like the way they look,” says longtime Cincinnati Post photojournalist Melvin Grier.
Grier is at Iris BookCafé, surveying
black-and-white photos of local musicians. Some are national names,
others up-and-comers. All were shot by fellow photographer Michael
Wilson, who should be a national name but isn’t.
Wearing a Mister Rogers T-shirt with the
words “never forget” emblazoned across it, Terrence Burke studies a
newspaper while drinking an iced coffee at Northside’s Sidewinder
Coffee. The clothing choice is pretty indicative of Burke. In 2010,
Burke founded the zany puppet troupe Wump Mucket Puppets, creating and
performing with his original cast of characters, colorful in both
personality and hue.
I’ve had a difficult time trying to write about Buildering: Misbehaving the City,
the first show at Contemporary Arts Center that its curator, Steven
Matijcio, has put together since arriving here last year from North
Carolina. And now it is nearing its end — it closes Aug. 18.
In 2014 it requires equal amounts of
energy, will and naïvety to single-handedly start a theater. But that’s
what 22-year-old John Leo Muething is up to with Cincinnati’s newest
company, Stone on a Walk. He seems to have all those elements readily at
hand, as well as a supportive network of friends and family.
With its plain, light-brown brick and
simple square design, Cincinnati Gardens is an unassuming building, out
of the way from the hustle of downtown and the riverfront. Driving by on
Seymour Avenue (or Langdon Farm Road), you wouldn't think twice about
the 65 years of history held within the building’s walls. To most, it’s
just an outdated concert venue.
While the rest of us kick back during a
lazy summer, Cincinnati-based actress Dale Hodges is at work honing her
craft. That might surprise some local theatergoers, who already think of
her as one of our region’s best theater professionals; if Hodges is
onstage with a Cincinnati theater, it’s a sure bet that audiences will
show up to watch.
Craig Irvin, Andrew Wilkowske and Gabriel
Preisser are enjoying a career arc that any opera singer would kill
for. All three performed in the world premiere of Silent Night,
an opera that garnered rave reviews, a Pulitzer Prize, a PBS broadcast
and subsequent productions, including this weekend’s from the Cincinnati
Opera, in which the singers reprise their original roles.
Over three January days in his unheated
Dayton apartment, 2013 Ohio University theater graduate Anthony
Kochensparger forced himself to his desk (in all the layers he could
manage) to write Milkwhite — a one-act play about a ballerina who
goes to college, becomes involved with a girl and then cheats on her
girlfriend with her dance instructor.
Not content to merely think outside the
box with its Performance Series, the Contemporary Arts Center plans to
physically travel outside the box — the confines of its Black Box
Theatre, that is — for several of its 2014-15 programs.