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All About the Magic

Cincinnati Opera offers a cinematic version of 'The Magic Flute'

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute is a perfect point of entry for kids. There’s plenty of fantasy, a happy ending, no one dies and the music is sublime. But for director Tomer Zvulun, it’s all about the magic. Although instruments get the magic started, Mozart’s utterly delightful score and characters like the bird catcher Papageno, his mate Papagena and a host of birds and animals are the opera’s true magical forces.  

The Amish Project (Review)

Queen City Theater portrays seven people affected by tragedy

0 Comments · Monday, July 25, 2011
If you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Fringe, you might want to check out Jessica Dickey’s The Amish Project, the first work presented by Queen City Theater (which has operated for several years as Queen City Off-Broadway) in the black-box theater at the new School for Creative and Performing Arts. Dickey’s script, first presented at the New York International Fringe in 2008, portrays people she has imagined as affected by the 2006 Nickel Mines murders of several Amish girls in a one-room schoolhouse.  

Bedroom Farce (Review)

Cincy Shakes' latest is perfectly silly

0 Comments · Saturday, July 16, 2011
There is nothing very profound about Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce, the British writer’s 1975 play that was a Broadway hit in 1979 and nominated for a Tony Award that year. That’s what makes it a fine offering for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC), which has stepped up to provide our summer theater scene with light, frothy shows with some literary merit.  

Take a Bow

The Best of Cincinnati's 2010-2011 Theater Season

0 Comments · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
What follows is my own personal “Best of Cincinnati Theater” for the 2010-2011 season. In roughly chronological order, I’ve ranged across nine producing organizations and identified a dozen or so outstanding shows. Along the way I touch on several others worth seeing. My purpose is to offer a reminder that excellent theater can happen on every stage in town.  

Diary of a Super Woman

A first-person account of being a super for Cincinnati Opera

1 Comment · Wednesday, July 13, 2011
After years of writing about classical music and opera, I’m actually in an opera as a supernumerary, the operatic equivalent of an extra. My role: a Russian peasant peeling potatoes in the first scene of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. The audition was easy: fill out a form and be photographed next to a measuring stick.  

42nd Street (Review)

Dancing revs up Showboat production

0 Comments · Thursday, July 7, 2011
There’s something elemental about the title song for the musical 42nd Street, currently onstage aboard the Showboat Majestic. “Hear the beat of dancing feet,” the lyric goes, “It's the song I love the melody of, Forty-Second Street.” Of course, the quintessential show about putting on a Broadway show, overcoming obstacles and finding a fresh young star is punctuated by the beat of those dancing — well, actually tapping — feet. And the rhythm is contagious.  

The Flowering of a Conductor

Joana Carneiro leads Cincinnati Opera's latest production

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Joana Carneiro has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. She was born in 1976, two years after her native Portugal overthrew dictatorship for democracy. Twenty-six years later she has her own orchestra, international guest engagements and, this week, she’s in the pit for Cincinnati Opera’s production of John Adams’ A Flowering Tree.  

Winter Wonderettes (Review)

ETC celebrates Christmas in June and July with a cool show

0 Comments · Saturday, June 25, 2011
Although Cincinnati’s theater scene offers lots of fine work from September through May, the pickings are usually thin during the summer. So it’s great that Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati is offering the regional premiere of a holiday-themed musical Winter Wonderettes when the theater is typically dark. The sequel to The Marvelous Wonderettes, ETC’s 2010 box-office bonanza, opened to a full house and seems likely to be another hit.  

Verdi, Verdi Good

The leads in Rigoletto draw on personal experience for their roles

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 15, 2011
An intense father-daughter relationship is at the heart of Verdi’s opera Rigoletto, which opens Cincinnati Opera’s summer season with performances Thursday and Saturday. Baritone Stephen Powell makes his role debut as Rigoletto, the acid-tongued jester, and soprano Sarah Coburn is his daughter Gilda.  

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company offers a fresh look and a fine cast

0 Comments · Monday, June 13, 2011
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s current production of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) is the regional premiere of a new version of the play first produced in 1987, and it’s much fresher. Instead of simply clowning around, the 2011 cast of Billy Chace, Justin McCombs and Brian Isaac Phillips truly throw themselves into the comedy, using acting skills usually reserved for more polished work.  

2011 Cincy Fringe: Distillation of Magic

Fringe Fest finishes its most successful year yet

0 Comments · Monday, June 13, 2011
This was perhaps the most satisfying Cincy Fringe Festival yet, offering varied and diverse shows that kept audiences coming back for more. My personal top choices in addition to 'Miss Magnolia' were 'Missing: The Fantastical and True Story of My Father's Disappearance and What I Found When I Looked for Him,' 'Headscarf and the Angry Bitch,' 'Melancholy Play,' 'Peyote Business Lunch,' 'Curriculum Vitae,' 'I Love You (We're Fucked)' and 'You Only Live Once Forever.'  

Alone in a Crowd at Cincy Fringe

Annual fest is the place to see solo performers

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Harry Nilsson once sang that "one is the loneliest number," but you actually have a goodly amount of company if you're a 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival performer. Close to one-third of the acts included in the eighth annual Fringe, commencing this week, are solo performers. Here are some highlights.  

The Blizzard of Odd

A day-by-day look at what to expect from the eighth Cincy Fringe Festival

1 Comment · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
Are you ready for your eighth consecutive dose of weird? The 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, presented by Know Theatre, kicks off next week for 10 days and more than 30 productions. What can you expect? Well, actually, the unexpected is what makes it fun.  

Above the Law

From future legal eagle to songbird, Lawrence Brownlee’s diverted flight path

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 25, 2011
In the summer of 2004, an unknown African-American tenor starred in Cincinnati Opera’s production of The Daughter of the Regiment, best known for the killer aria “Ah! Mes Amis!” with its nine high C notes. Lawrence Brownlee made it sound effortless, spinning off octave jumps with crystalline purity.  

The Pavilion (Review)

Playhouse production asks “What if?” and “Could it be?”

0 Comments · Monday, May 23, 2011
The show, first produced in 2000, resonates with echoes of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, about the citizens of Grover’s Corners, a tiny New Hampshire town. Both towns are fictional — and universal. The latter point is brought to our attention immediately by a narrator (played by Jeffrey Kuhn). He’s a descendant of Wilder’s Stage Manager, full of philosophy, poetry and wry observations.