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Creating a New Canon

Cincinnati Opera, CCM collaborate on Opera Fusion production of Doubt

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
At the end of John Patrick Shanley’s multi-award winning play and film Doubt, the formidable Sister Aloysius cries, “Oh, Sister James. I have doubts! I have such doubts!” Those two short lines are laden with pathos, emotion and high drama. It sounds operatic — and it will be. Opera Fusion: New Works chose the drama of struggle for faith and power for its inaugural workshop production, with libretto by Shanley and the score by protean composer Douglas Cuomo.  

Wicked (Review)

2 Comments · Friday, November 4, 2011
Stephen Schwartz’s Wizard of Oz-inspired musical about the green witch has become a cultural icon for adolescent girls who yearn for freedom and success. Thousands, with or without their families, will flock downtown between now and Thanksgiving weekend, and they won’t be disappointed.  

National Conversation

Playhouse artistic director wants to be part of the dialogue

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Last week the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park announced that Blake Robison, currently the producing artistic director at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Md., will become its next artistic director, succeeding Ed Stern, who retires after 20 years a the end of the current season.   

Trouble in Mind (Review)

NKU presents 1955 play that wrestled with racial stereotypes

0 Comments · Monday, October 31, 2011
Alice Childress (1920-1994) didn’t get much recognition during her lifetime. She won acclaim as an actress in the 1940s but was dissatisfied with stereotyped roles, so she began writing plays. Trouble in Mind, presented in 1955, made her the first woman to win an OBIE award, but it never landed on to Broadway and was forgotten for years. Thanks to a prescient artistic decision, Northern Kentucky University chose the show for this season.
  

Risky Business

Cincinnati native Kevin Allison’s podcast champions ‘risky’ storytelling

1 Comment · Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Kevin Allison wants you to listen to his podcast, and he will tie your shoes to his balls to do it. The Cincinnati native left town in 1988, and his comedy career launched into overdrive even before he graduated from New York University four years later. Allison now runs a storytelling podcast out of New York City called Risk!, which encourages people to tell stories “you never thought you’d dare to share.”  

Red (Review)

0 Comments · Friday, October 21, 2011
Anyone seeing this show will walk out of the theater thinking about how an artist relates to his art, and how the world relates to what he creates. These are fascinating connections that are neither quantifiable or predictable. In fact, they are issues that vibrate between two poles, emotion and intellect, a subject that Rothko wrestles with constantly.
  

Macbeth (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare production is a strange brew

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of Shakespeare’s tragedy has bursts of chemistry and feeling mingled with drowsy places where the language washes over your brain, and the staging feels perfunctory. Macbeth has been given a contemporary setting, but it’s hard to see what the update adds to the play.  

I Love a Piano (Review)

Covedale show is full of familiar tunes that will stick in your head

0 Comments · Friday, October 14, 2011
Irving Berlin lived for more than a century (1888-1989) and his popular songs have outlasted even that incredible lifetime — including “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “Easter Parade” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business” — so the current Covedale Center revue I Love a Piano (a title from another of his well known tunes) has a ready advantage with audiences of a certain age.   

Ghost-Writer (Review)

Ensemble production is a three-character dance to a typewriter’s rhythm

0 Comments · Thursday, October 13, 2011
Michael Hollinger’s Opus was a hit for ETC in 2007; Ghost-Writer recently won a Barrymore Award as the best new play in Philadelphia. It’s as much a meditation for writers as for theater lovers, but both should enjoy this thoughtful work.  

As You Like It (Review)

Ed Stern’s final Playhouse production is a gift of joy and love

0 Comments · Monday, October 10, 2011
I’ve seen As You Like It many times, but Ed Stern’s final directorial outing for the Playhouse (co-staged with Michael Evan Haney) distills its warmth and goodwill better than any I’ve previously witnessed. Stern has blessed Cincinnati audiences for 20 years, and this production is a wonderful gift of love and joy that will be remembered for years to come.  

Gruesome Playground Injuries (Review)

Know Theatre offers a twisted love story

0 Comments · Monday, October 10, 2011
This show reunites actors Beth Harris and Jens Rasmussen with director Drew Fracher; a year ago they created Skin Tight, the best production of Know’s previous season. If subsequent shows are as gripping and off-kilter as this one in which humor and pathos constantly elbow one another, Know will deliver on its annual promise of edgy theater.   

Little Women (Review)

NKU production is a heartfelt American classic

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Astonishing: It’s what Jo March yearns to be, pacing in her attic, spinning gruesome, spectacular tales to take the publishing world by storm. But Louisa May Alcott, the real-life author the fictional Jo grew up to become, made her name not by startling readers but by moving them with a simple story of four New England sisters and their mother making the best of things in bad times.   

Burn This (Review)

0 Comments · Saturday, October 1, 2011
The title of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This suggests it will be inflammatory and tempestuous. Knowing that its original New York production starred John Malkovich and Joan Allen might heighten your expectation that a local production by New Edgecliff Theatre (NET) would pin you to the wall. Featuring Nathan Neorr’s energetic performance as the crazed Pale, a man hopped up on grief, drugs and booze (the role Malkovich inhabited in 1987), there’s potential for a riveting production.  

Beauty and the Beast (Review)

0 Comments · Thursday, September 29, 2011
There’s no doubt that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is a show audiences have loved. It had 5,461 performances over 13 years, making it the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history. Based on the animated film with great musical numbers and done right, it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser. That’s pretty much what’s landed onstage at the Aronoff for a two-week run, with a young cast that’s full of enthusiasm.  

Next to Normal (Review)

ETC goes way beyond “normal” with musical

1 Comment · Monday, September 12, 2011
The serious topic of mental illness is the surprising subject of Next to Normal, a musical opening Ensemble Theatre’s 26th season. It’s a perfect choice for the Over-the-Rhine theater that never shies away from matters that affect the lives of everyday people. Employing a cast of mostly local professionals, director D. Lynn Meyers has staged the Rock show’s first regional production anywhere in the U.S., one that could well be one of the best musicals onstage in Cincinnati this season.