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Shrek The Musical (Review)

This crowd pleaser is a "ogre" achiever

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Much to my surprise, I had a great time at Shrek The Musical. I went expecting a silly cartoon and that’s exactly what it is — but it’s a really well-done silly cartoon, perfect fare for an audience full of kids and parents. (At two-and-a-half hours long, I thought it might be too much for little ones, but many stuck it out on opening night.)  

[title of show] (Review)

New Edgecliff offers a show for people who love musicals

0 Comments · Monday, April 18, 2011
[title of show] revels in the musical genre with self-referential songs like “Untitled Opening Number” and “Secondary Characters,” and it wrestles with the double-edged sword of subject matter (“Monkeys and Playbills”) and paralyzing self-doubt (“Die Vampire, Die”). New Edgecliff Theatre has pulled together a strong case of singing actors who fill its 90 minutes with nonstop entertainment.  

Fringe Festival Lineup Announced

Eighth annual festival promises two great weeks in June

0 Comments · Monday, April 18, 2011
Despite recent chilly weather, I have received a sure sign of intense future warmth. It came in the form of the news release from Know Theatre listing the shows that will make up the eighth annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which opens its two-week run on May 31 at 6 p.m. with CityBeat’s official Fringe Kick-off Party. All in all, there will be 35 different productions to see, including three works from a new program, FringeNext, that’s powered by high school students.  

Fractured Barry Tales

Comedian Todd Barry brings Rock club tour to Newport

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Todd Barry comes to town this week on the Spring Value Tour along with comedian Neil Hamburger, the bizarre alter ego of musician Greg Turkington. It’s a nice juxtaposition of styles, with Barry’s casual manner providing a stark counterpoint to Hamburger’s frenetic delivery.  

Shrek the Musical (Review)

A crowd-pleasing combination of physical and highbrow humor

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
I went into Shrek The Musical expecting a silly cartoon. That’s exactly what it is — but it’s a really well-done silly cartoon, perfect fare for an audience full of kids and parents. This high-class touring production features an eye-popping array of colorful costumes for an army of fairytale characters, constantly changing scenery (several backdrops have moving projections of clouds and weather) and crazy choreography (including a number with tap-dancing rats).   

NKU’s Y.E.S. Festival (Review)

Many journeys among three titles

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Northern Kentucky University’s Y.E.S Festival is showcasing three new and very different plays through April 17: Karla Jennings’ Monstrous Beauty; Jacqueline T. Lynch’s One Good Turn; and Kelly Kingston Strayer’s Marfa, Texas. A new script is an exciting thing to see, and the young actors all bring a refreshing earnestness to their work that is engaging in itself.   

Carousel (Review)

Carnegie production features fantastic music and singing

0 Comments · Monday, April 11, 2011
If it’s great singing and musical accompaniment that draws you to classic musicals, then you need to spend some time at the Carnegie Center in Covington where there’s currently a satisfying staging of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel at the Otto M. Budig Theatre.  

The Dragon (Review)

Know’s production takes too long to tell an obvious story

0 Comments · Monday, April 11, 2011
Know Theatre of Cincinnati is known for its fearless work and for partnering with other artists and companies. But I wish more of their work engaged me. I looked forward to Know’s collaboration with Madcap Puppets for The Dragon, in hopes of more innovation. But what’s onstage, using a newly adapted script, struck me as lethargic and not inventive enough.  

Behind the Eye (Review)

Playhouse premieres stunning new play about an iconic woman

0 Comments · Monday, April 11, 2011
The deft and compelling story of Lee Miller, a photographer’s model in Vogue in the 1920s, a photographer herself in the 1930s and a fearless photojournalist across Europe during World War II. The show — and Miller’s life — ends in an unexpected moment that leaves the audience gasping. Anyone who yearns for the power of dynamic theater needs to look Behind the Eye.   

The Handmaid's Tale (Review)

Cincy Shakes presents a frightening look at a possible not-too-distant future

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel from 1985, The Handmaid’s Tale, tells a frightening story about a woman trapped in a not-too-distant future that seems even more real today than it did when the book was first published a quarter-century ago. A conservative overthrow of the U.S. government has created the Republic of Gilead, a theocracy in which women are subjugated to stereotypical roles.  

Hitting the Target

Louisville’s Humana Festival features shows that could please Cincinnati audiences

0 Comments · Monday, April 4, 2011
This year marks the 35th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays presented by Actors Theatre of Louisville. Every year this event draws the attention of theater professionals from across the nation and around the world. Six world premieres are offered in rolling repertory, an amazing feat made possible by Actors Theatre’s excellent physical complex with three stages.  

Julius Caesar (Review)

Women in men’s roles misses the mark

0 Comments · Sunday, March 27, 2011
Director Jeremy Dubin writes in a director’s note, “Intrinsically and irrevocably tied to the creation of Rome is this image of feminine strength, an image of tenderness engirded by ferocity, an image of the most dangerous creature known to the world — a mother protecting her young.” But perhaps the decision to use women in men's roles is akin to the lesson of this interpretation of Julius Caesar. It’s admirable to undertake a dramatic change that might offer a new perspective. But beware the consequences.  

With Much Fanfare

“Fanfares” and CSO’s not-so-quiet role in shaping American culture

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Without much fanfare — well, actually, with fanfare — the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) has played a key role in the shaping of American popular culture as we know it. That’s the contention made — a bit indirectly — by Sean Wilentz, a Princeton University professor, in his recent book Bob Dylan in America.  

Stewart Goodyear Makes For A Good Year

Stewart Goodyear debuts tribute to WGUC and Paavo Jrvi

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Pianist Stewart Goodyear made his debut with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra in 2004 with an electrifying performance of Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. He’s been back twice, but this weekend Goodyear returns not only as a soloist, but as a featured composer. The CSO will perform his fanfare Count Up.  

Gee's Bend (Review)

Playhouse production is an honest play about quilters in Alabama

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Playwright Elyzabeth Gregory Wilder researched Gee’s Bend by interviewing women who wove quilts from tattered clothing and other scraps of their lives in an Alabama island community that gives the play its name. She was advised, “Just write it honest.” Wilder took that wisdom to heart, and it shines through the Cincinnati Playhouse’s current production of her moving story of one family’s journey across a half-century of American life.