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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.  

Hope in Motion

LGBT youth arts group delivers inspirational message

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In 2003, Susan Haugh founded Dreams of Hope, “A Creative and Performing Arts Group For Queer Youth and Allies.” Haugh’s commitment is grounded in her experience as a music and dance teacher in Pittsburgh’s public schools. Haugh has been out lesbian since her teens.  

Two Gentlemen of Verona (Review)

Few motives or profound emotions in CSC’s latest production

0 Comments · Monday, May 9, 2011
Even the Bard’s byline doesn’t guarantee that that this early Shakespearean play is a comic gem. It has a few humorous moments, which do provide some respite in Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s current production, but they are few and far between in a silly tale that offers little motivation for its central characters and implausible solutions to their largely mean-spirited actions.  

OVO (Review)

Cirque du Soleil production is up and running at Old Coney

0 Comments · Friday, May 6, 2011
The whole premise of Cirque du Soleil — and each of its two dozen or so productions, including OVO, currently being presented at Old Coney, east of Cincinnati — is to offer flawless, dazzling and inventive entertainment. That’s what I’ve seen with each Cirque show I’ve experienced, and there was no disappointment with OVO, which I finally got to see on May 5, after almost two weeks of delay due to the swollen Ohio River which flooded some of the area where the tents and parking have been placed.  

25 the Musical (Review)

ETC celebrates its anniversary years with a musical revue

0 Comments · Thursday, May 5, 2011
Musicals are not Ensemble Theatre’s bread and butter. But after 25 years, ETC has produced enough to excerpt selections for a thoroughly entertaining evening celebrating the theater’s anniversary. Big name shows as well as the twice-presented Rock show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, are represented along with comic gems and a healthy dose of songs from David Kisor’s holiday fairytale musicals.  

Beehive (Review)

Music from the ’60s is not on the beat often enough

0 Comments · Monday, May 2, 2011
I’m no expert on pop culture, but I was a teenager in the 1960s. So the 40 or so tunes by “girl groups” and women singers that constitute Beehive are front and center in my mental jukebox. It feels good to stroll down memory lane, and Beehive’s visuals with dozens of wigs and evolving outfits, from pink chiffon to mini skirts to bell bottoms and fishnet stockings, were a reminder of how music and style intermingled.  

Soft Funny Underbelly

Comedy unit Underbelly celebrates residency’s second birthday

0 Comments · Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Underbelly has been entertaining in-the-know audiences since 2009 and has managed to spark sketch comedy’s resurgence in Greater Cincinnati and comedy in general at the Southgate House. Underbelly’s anniversary will be celebrated on May 3 at the group’s monthly first-Tuesday show in the venue’s Parlour.  

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.