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Always ... Patsy Cline (Review)

Cincinnati Playhouse portrays a singer whose calling card was honesty

1 Comment · Monday, November 28, 2011
There’s a lot to like about the Cincinnati Playhouse’s non-holiday show for the holiday season. It’s a revue that includes two dozen of Cline’s best-known songs, and actress Carter Calvert perfectly captures the iconic Country singer’s delivery and manner.   

Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party (Review)

Know production is passionately conceived but a little zany

0 Comments · Monday, November 28, 2011
Don’t go thinking this show has anything to do with the holidays, and despite the fact that some fourth-graders light its political fuse when their teacher replaces a holiday pageant with a script that references a possible gay relationship involving the 16th president, this is not a show for kids. Who is it for? I’m not really sure, although some at the opening performance found it hilarious.  

Abe, Ebenezer, Crumpet and More

Take a sleigh ride around town for onstage holiday cheer

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It’s just about time for that magical season of holiday shows in Cincinnati — some tried and true, and some for the Grinches who don’t resonate with the good cheer that permeates the world through most of December. Let’s take a little sleigh ride around Cincinnati’s theaters to see what’s happening.   

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (Review)

CCM production at the Carnegie has a thrilling current

1 Comment · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, now at Covington’s Carnegie Center in a production by the drama program at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, has a current running through it. The production is warm, bright and slightly shocking.  

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.