a swanky 1976 cocktail party, we witness the last gasp of two former
friends. Composer Franklin Shepard, at the pinnacle of success in the
entertainment world, is miserable. Author Mary Flynn is outspoken,
loud and drunk. They argue about their old pal Charley Kringas, whose
name can’t even be mentioned without ire.
In Irish playwright Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas, Michael Shooner plays a thoroughly nasty theater critic; a writer without much to say but who enjoys lording his influence over
actors and theaters. Most critics actually love the theater, but not this guy — it’s largely an experience for him to bully people and
freeload food and drink on opening nights. He enjoys preying on those who fear
him. So perhaps it’s only natural that he ends up in the employ
of a coven of vampires.
One of the songs in Into the Woods
warns, “Careful the things you say. Children will listen.” In the case
of the current production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s a
blender full of fairytales, some familiar and some not, the “children” —
that is, CCM’s performers in training — clearly listened well as Aubrey
Berg directed them in a remarkably mature and thoroughly entertaining
The popularity of Jane Austen continues unabated. A sparkling adaptation of Pride & Prejudice
was an audience favorite a year ago for Cincinnati Shakespeare, and
another Jon Jory adaptation of the 19th-century author’s stylish novels
of romance and domestic intrigue, Sense & Sensibility, is likely to repeat that box-office bonanza.
Speaking in Tongues is a fascinating piece of theater. But it takes work to watch, follow
and absorb. Casual theatergoers might be put off,
but those who like challenging drama and multi-layered acting will leave the
theater with their gears still spinning.
Playwright Theresa Rebeck knows Cincinnati (she grew up here), so her world premiere play takes dead aim by putting a very recognizable image our town onstage. You will know these people — your neighbors and people you grew up with if you’re from Cincinnati.
Allison Moore’s new play is quite literally
a play for our anxious times. Its four characters are each driven by some form
of anxiety unlikely in previous generations. Moore has tapped into the contemporary
zeitgeist to write a story that, while full of zany, improbably humor,
nevertheless hits a sensitive nerve that you’re likely to recognize and perhaps
You might be aware of many of Cincinnati’s local theaters. But there is one probably not on your radar. Nevertheless, ArtReach annually reaches
hundreds of thousands of kids in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan,
Illinois, Tennessee and Wisconsin.
You can’t go wrong
with this much expressive dancing, and the kids who perform it will
win your heart, from tiny Jeremy Zorer who gets the show started, to
Billy’s ebullient, cross-dressing friend Michael (Ben Cook). The
show evoked a rousing, and well-deserved response from the audience
on opening night.
This weekend, Zappa’s music gets the help
of musicians who are very much on to the molecules. Leave it to the
innovative ensemble concert:nova to present Shut Up and Play the Zappa! featuring
chamber pieces by Zappa and his musical mentors, as well as covers of
his Rock music, at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley.
wrote Henry VIII in 1612 or 1613, probably in collaboration
with John Fletcher, another playwright. The events of the history
play date from an era not long before Shakespeare’s birth, and the
work — known originally and hyperbolically as All Is True —
chronicled events that were still vivid in England’s cultural
Identifying the year’s best theater
productions is a more idiosyncratic task this year because of the
disappearance of two long-established awards programs. CityBeat’s
Cincinnati Entertainment Awards had their final iteration in August
2010, with the plan to merge them into the Acclaim Awards, launched by The Cincinnati Enquirer in
This backstage musical about good-hearted people
putting on a show to save a struggling Vermont ski lodge is perfect
for the Covedale’s mainstream audience, and the performance I
attended at the converted movie theater, a Sunday matinee, had every
one of its 400 seats filled with people loving what they were seeing.
This is surely Shakespeare’s most
verbose and verbally tricky text, even in the reduced version Clark has
staged, absent two very wordy characters. Delivered at high speed, this
production is a constant game of catch-up.