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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.   

St. Nicholas (Review)

In search of innocent victims — critics and vampires

3 Comments · Thursday, March 1, 2012
In Irish playwright Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas, Michael Shooner plays a thoroughly nasty theater critic; a writer without  much to say but who enjoys lording his influence over actors and theaters. Most  critics actually love the theater, but not this guy — it’s largely an experience for him to bully people and freeload food and drink on opening nights. He enjoys preying on those who fear him. So perhaps it’s only natural that he ends up in the employ of a coven of vampires.

  

Into the Woods (Review)

CCM production blends classic fairytales with new zest

0 Comments · Monday, February 27, 2012
One of the songs in Into the Woods warns, “Careful the things you say. Children will listen.” In the case of the current production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s a blender full of fairytales, some familiar and some not, the “children” — that is, CCM’s performers in training — clearly listened well as Aubrey Berg directed them in a remarkably mature and thoroughly entertaining production.  

Sense & Sensibility (Review)

Reason and romance are the foundation of Cincy Shakes production

0 Comments · Monday, February 20, 2012
The popularity of Jane Austen continues unabated. A sparkling adaptation of Pride & Prejudice was an audience favorite a year ago for Cincinnati Shakespeare, and another Jon Jory adaptation of the 19th-century author’s stylish novels of romance and domestic intrigue, Sense & Sensibility, is likely to repeat that box-office bonanza.  

Speaking in Tongues (Review)

Cincinnati Playhouse production challenges viewers with complex narrative

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Speaking in Tongues is a fascinating piece of theater. But it takes work to watch, follow and absorb. Casual theatergoers might be put off, but those who like challenging drama and multi-layered acting will leave the theater with their gears still spinning.
  

Dead Accounts (Review)

Playhouse world premiere takes a loving look at hometown life

0 Comments · Monday, February 6, 2012
Playwright Theresa Rebeck knows Cincinnati (she grew up here), so her world premiere play takes dead aim by putting a very recognizable image our town onstage. You will know these people — your neighbors and people you grew up with if you’re from Cincinnati.
  

Collapse (Review)

Know Theatre production has heart and humor

1 Comment · Monday, February 6, 2012
Allison Moore’s new play is quite literally a play for our anxious times. Its four characters are each driven by some form of anxiety unlikely in previous generations. Moore has tapped into the contemporary zeitgeist to write a story that, while full of zany, improbably humor, nevertheless hits a sensitive nerve that you’re likely to recognize and perhaps feel.  

ArtReach Inspires Future Theatergoers

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 24, 2012
You might be aware of many of Cincinnati’s local theaters. But there is one probably not on your radar. Nevertheless, ArtReach annually reaches hundreds of thousands of kids in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Tennessee and Wisconsin.  

Billy Elliot The Musical (Review)

Coal-burning electricity fuels production at Aronoff

0 Comments · Thursday, January 19, 2012
You can’t go wrong with this much expressive dancing, and the kids who perform it will win your heart, from tiny Jeremy Zorer who gets the show started, to Billy’s ebullient, cross-dressing friend Michael (Ben Cook). The show evoked a rousing, and well-deserved response from the audience on opening night.