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'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.  

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.