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The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Review)

0 Comments · Monday, September 12, 2011
One of the spellers in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee loves her dictionary because “lost things can be put in order,” and another recognizes that his involvement could show his family that “I might be smart.” The musical about adolescents competing for the national spelling bee is ultimately about how they find their places in life, and the show’s current production on the Showboat Majestic amplifies material in the script to create an inventive rendition of the 2005 Broadway hit.  

No Punches Pulled

Rock musical at ETC transformed an unlikely topic into a prize winner

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 7, 2011
It’s a rare for a musical to win the Pulitzer Prize for drama. You probably know some of those shows: South Pacific, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, A Chorus Line, Sunday in the Park with George. After Rent won in 1996, it was 14 years before another musical was honored: In 2010, Next to Normal by composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Brian Yorkey, was named. Now one of the first productions of the hard-hitting Rock musical is opening a three-week run at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC).  

Noises Off (Review)

Covedale Center squeezes out ever laugh

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Michael Frayn’s Noises Off might seem like a lot of easy laughs. The funny backstage farce has slamming doors, amusing misunderstandings and exaggerated characters. Its clever three-act structure takes you from a final rehearsal of a silly farce to frenzied backstage during a performance and then onstage for a final outing when things are way out of control. The madhouse of craziness keeps getting more delirious from one scene to the next, and the Covedale Center’s production does a good job of squeezing out every laugh.   

Sense & Sensibility (Review)

Austen’s production comes to life in Louisville

1 Comment · Wednesday, September 7, 2011
For 31 years Jon Jory was the artistic leader of Actors Theatre of Louisville. He championed Jane Martin, a reclusive playwright who many observers believed to be Jory himself. Since his departure for the world of academia a decade ago, Jory has turned his attention to another Jane — 19th-century novelist Jane Austen — and made a cottage industry of adapting her ever-popular novels into stage plays.  

Classic Sounds and New Twists

Classical musical season offers eclectic mix options

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
This year’s classical music season promises more than the predictable lineup of Beethoven, Mozart and Brahms, as fledgling ensembles continue to offer edgy programming, top performers mix it up, a new music festival debuts and even the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) ventures into the world of new music.  

'Open to the New'

Cincinnati's “Classical” music scene moving in exciting new directions

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
What is “new music” within the classical music genre? Philip Glass’ Cello Concerto, which receives its world premiere at the Cincinnati Symphony next year? CCM composer Michael Fiday’s “9 Haiku” for flute and piano performed last year by concert: nova? Leonard Bernstein’s 1937 Trio Sonata that gets its first local performance by the Morgenstern Trio in March? And is there even an audience for contemporary music?  

A Winning Season

Cincinnati theater is off and running

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Cincinnati’s Riverfest fireworks once fired the starting gun for local theater, but already several theaters have shows onstage. This week Cincinnati’s major theaters open their first productions of 2011-2012, launching a fall offering an unusual number of award-winning shows.  

Home (Review)

Professional cast makes QCT production worth seeing

0 Comments · Monday, August 29, 2011
One man’s story. A parable. Searing social commentary. A fairytale. A slice of history. You could apply any of these descriptions to Samm-Art Williams’ 1979 play Home, a breakthrough script from the Negro Ensemble Company that was nominated for a 1980 Tony Award.  

Pippin (Review)

Carnegie’s magical quest is a handsome and noble attempt at perfection

0 Comments · Monday, August 22, 2011
Meaning. Perfection. Absolute fulfillment. No easy things to find in life — or in musical comedy. Pippin, the peripatetic hero of the appealing 1972 musical of the same name, dedicates his life to an ideal that always seems just beyond his grasp. The Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center and Northern Kentucky University’s Commonwealth Theatre Company’s current production of Pippin tries just as hard, in its own quest, with similar results. All in all, it’s a satisfying evening.  

McClellan: Super Villian of Comedy

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 17, 2011
If you Google search “John McClellan,” you’ll find the late Democratic senator from Arkansas and the 19th-century chemist. So what is comedian, Akron native and onetime Cincinnatian John McClellan — who brought his "Punk Rock" stand-up tour to Northside's tiny music club/bar The Comet Aug. 13 — doing to distance himself from his fellow McClellans?  

Crazy For You (Review)

Lightweight production is a smart choice for CYPT

0 Comments · Monday, August 1, 2011
Ken Ludwig’s script is full of witty dialogue and funny situations that director Tim Perrino, who’s been staging Cincinnati Young People's Theater shows for 30 years, knows how to use to great effect. Music director Steve Goers leads eight musicians who sound like more playing the familiar George Gershwin score, and the sets — rotating mobile units designed by Matt Lape — make for swift scene transitions.  

Menopause the Musical (Review)

Show evokes knowing reactions, but it’s predictable

0 Comments · Thursday, July 28, 2011
I am not the target demographic for Menopause the Musical, the show that’s spent 10 years “celebrating the Change.” The tour is in the midst of a three-week stop in Cincinnati, playing to largely “girlfriend” audiences at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff.  

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.