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Titanic (Review)

3 Comments · Monday, May 14, 2012
 The opening 15 minutes of Titanic: The Musical, recreating the tragic 1912 sinking of the doomed ocean liner, is one of the most stirring, evocative sequences in all of musical theater. It grabs you as you meet dozens of characters boarding the ship, overflowing with great expectations — of success, of escaping poverty, of new life in America, of achieving dreams. But we know what awaits many of them in the freezing North Atlantic after the collision with an iceberg.   

The Merchant of Venice (Review)

Comedy, tragedy staged in complex Shakespearean production

0 Comments · Monday, May 14, 2012
 Let’s give props to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for bringing to the stage The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays. It’s officially categorized as a comedy, and it contains humorous and romantic elements, including a subplot about contesting for the hand of a wealthy heiress. But the central story of a more dire contest between a moneylender and a businessman is anything but amusing.
  

One Hell of a Collaboration

0 Comments · Thursday, May 10, 2012
The Rake’s Progress promises to be the first of what CCM staff hope will be regular interactive performances. Visual media is here to stay, says College-Conservatory of Music director Robin Guarino, and a tech-savvy public expects it in their theater experiences.   

Elie Wiesel Addresses Lessons of the Holocaust

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Elie Wiesel, the Nobel Peace Prize winner and human-rights advocate whose landmark 1956 memoir of surviving the Holocaust, Night, has been translated into more than 30 languages, will speak Sunday evening at Xavier University’s Cintas Center. For his sponsoring agency, his speech will be more than just a history lesson.    

Thunder Knocking on the Door (Review)

Jocular script staged with musicality, theatricality

0 Comments · Friday, April 27, 2012
First staged in 1999, Thunder is the Mt. Adams theater’s best selling musical during producing artistic director Ed Stern’s tenure. It’s the final mainstage production of his 20th and final season. The show tells a mythical tale of dueling Blues guitarists; it’s stuffed with emotionally conceived songs by renowned singer and composer Keb’ Mo’ working with Anderson Edwards.  

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Review)

Covedale presents Webber's tuneful Bible tale

0 Comments · Thursday, April 26, 2012
 Before Jesus Christ Superstar and The Phantom of the Opera, Andrew Lloyd Webber composed together a brief “pop cantata” based on the biblical story of Joseph and his “coat of many colors.” It was a piece to be sung by children and subsequently recorded as a concept album. Webber later expanded Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, molding it into a bouncy, bubbly show stuffed with musical parodies.  

'Thunder' Knocks Again

Keith Glover brings the Blues back to the Cincinnati Playhouse

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 24, 2012
I became CityBeat’s arts and entertainment editor in 1998, following a few years of being a contributing writer, covering the local theater scene. In 1999 I wrote my first big cover story — it was about Keith Glover and his Blues musical, Thunder Knocking on the Door.    

Pump Boys & Dinettes (Review)

Good times abound at Carnegie

0 Comments · Sunday, April 15, 2012
The Carnegie’s production of Pump Boys & Dinettes works hard to appear effortless, and its effervescent cast chases away any worries you might have brought to the Otto M. Budig Theatre.  

Reasons to be Pretty (Review)

New Edgecliff production is typical LaBute

3 Comments · Sunday, April 15, 2012
Reasons to be Pretty, getting its local premiere at New Edgecliff Theatre, was Neil LaBute's first play to make it to Broadway, where it landed in 2009 and earned a few Tony nominations.   

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Review)

Politics, Rock and the will of the people take center stage

0 Comments · Saturday, April 7, 2012
Not many musicals begin with the cast flipping the bird at the audience, but then not many musicals are like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the brash show that spins a tale of America’s seventh president to in-your-face Indie Rock tunes.  

The Grapes of Wrath (Review)

Onstage version of Steinbeck's classic reminds that life hasn't improved for many since Depression

0 Comments · Friday, April 6, 2012
John Steinbeck’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, The Grapes of Wrath, is a grim recounting of a Depression-era family of Oklahoma sharecroppers driven from home by ecological and economic disasters. In the late 1980s theater artist Frank Galati adapted it into a powerful stage production, one you can see throughout April at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. It’s a downer of a story, but definitely worth seeing.   

The Addams Family (Review)

Touring Broadway production uses oddball characters to show the dark side of life

1 Comment · Wednesday, March 28, 2012
When you base a musical on legendary cartoons, you better be sure that the original material is referenced and that it delivers the same level of humor. That means more in the way of faithfulness than originality, but who cares when it’s The Addams Family? The touring production of the recent Broadway show, currently onstage at the Aronoff Center, delivers on humor, entertainment and a faithful recreation of the oddball characters who revel in the dark side of life.  

Tigers Be Still (Review)

Kim Rosenstock's dysfunctional characters make for an entertaining slice of modern life

0 Comments · Monday, March 26, 2012
I read Kim Rosenstock’s Tigers Be Still before I saw the production currently onstage at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. I confess that I found it amusing but not hilarious, perhaps even a tad predictable. I didn’t anticipate that with solid direction by Rob Ruggiero and spot-on casting, Rosenstock’s script manages to be charming, funny, optimistic and perhaps even heart-warming.
  

Time Stands Still (Review)

Tony Award-nominated drama brings visceral, textured performance to ETC

0 Comments · Friday, March 16, 2012
A photojournalist’s image is framed and captured, a moment of high emotion frozen by the camera lens, a distillation of a larger, often tragic event. Today those events, all too often, are scenes of physical and emotional devastation in war-torn nations. In Donald Margulies’ 2009 play, Time Stands Still, we learn that shooting those images generates addictive adrenaline even as it hardens the soul.
  

Merrily We Roll Along (Review)

Tony Award-winning director leads another solid Sondheim work at the Playhouse

0 Comments · Saturday, March 10, 2012
At a swanky 1976 cocktail party, we witness the last gasp of two former friends. Composer Franklin Shepard, at the pinnacle of success in the entertainment world, is miserable. Author Mary Flynn is outspoken, loud and drunk. They argue about their old pal Charley Kringas, whose name can’t even be mentioned without ire.