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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.  

End Days (Review)

ETC show uses humor to explore anxieties about carrying on

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 22, 2011
The title of Deborah Zoe Laufer’s thoughtful comedy, End Days, says it all — the end is near. However, depending on which character you listen to, the shape of that conclusion is not clear. The play portrays a family changed by the events of 9/11, two years earlier.  

Rent (Review)

CCM produces impact and contemporary meaning

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 2, 2011
Every decade or so a new musical comes along to breathe new life into an art form that some fear is outdated, bringing young audiences back to the theater. In the 1950s it was West Side Story. In the ’60s it was Hair. And in the ’70s it was A Chorus Line. The ’90s trendsetter was Rent, an off-Broadway work inspired by Puccini’s opera La Bohme that became an unlikely Broadway.  

Fiddler on the Roof (Review)

0 Comments · Thursday, February 24, 2011
The classic musical Fiddler on the Roof has moved audiences to “happiness and tears” for almost a half-century. The current touring production onstage at the Aronoff Center has the capacity to do that, even though it’s a bare-bones rendition with an uneven cast. The fact is that Jerry Bock’s music and Sheldon Harnick’s lyrics, not to mention Joseph Stein’s book, constitute such wonderful material that theatergoers tend to be pleased regardless of the quality of a production.  

Cinderella (Review)

Spirit of invention animates NKU's production

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your box office. Consider Cinderella at Northern Kentucky University, an inventive take on a familiar show that's quickly selling out. Director Ken Jones and company have taken a simple, timeworn stage scheme and run with it, adding a trio of cute rodent clowns, a full repertoire of eccentric line readings and gestures, endless gags and, yes, a giant pest-ensnarement device set center stage as this tuneful, two-hour fairytale unfolds.  

Pride and Predjudice (Review)

Jane Austen adaptation saved by rewarding climax

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Patience. That’s Jane Austen’s prescription for love woes of any kind, and it’s my advice for enjoying Pride and Prejudice, a Cincinnati Shakespeare Company production with a lot of talking, a lot of dancing and a romantic climax that makes it all worthwhile.  

The Elephant Man (Review)

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
This simple, steady production is a very successful piece of theatrical storytelling. Brought to life by a highly committed group of actors and an inventive design team, all involved left a fair amount of elbow grease on the floor of the Falcon’s non-traditional and unapologetic space. Jared D. Doren’s creative direction and design made excellent use of the small stage, easily guiding the audience’s imagination from seedy fairground to crowded train station to homey hospital quarters.  

The Piano Teacher (Review)

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Under the direction of Ed Stern, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s production of Julia Cho’s play The Piano Teacher is a stark, engrossing and painful thriller. Memory is not a lane meant for strolling; memory is labyrinth. There are places that cannot be avoided and even others that cannot be faced. And stories, those we tell others and those we tell ourselves, are forces to be reckoned with.  

The Odd Couple (Review)

Carnegie’s production is an audience pleaser

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 8, 2011
If you haven’t ventured to Covington’s Carnegie Center for a show at the Otto M. Budig Theatre, you’re overlooking a pleasant evening’s entertainment. From the opening lines, it’s easy to like The Odd Couple, especially with the poker buddies who provide context for the “couple.”  

Aliens With Extraordinary Skills (Review)

Know Theatre production portrays the plight of immigrant clowns in New York

0 Comments · Monday, January 31, 2011
Give Know Theatre credit for presenting plays with unexpected perspectives. Its current production is about a pair of clowns who have arrived in the U.S. as victims of an immigration scam, written by Saviana Stanescu, a playwright from Romania who lives and works in New York City.  

Over the Tavern (Review)

The fractious Pazkinskis have moved in at the Playhouse

0 Comments · Friday, January 28, 2011
Every year during the holidays an impoverished but caring family with four kids, the Cratchits of 1843 London, take up residence at the Cincinnati Playhouse for 'A Christmas Carol.' Those endearing folks have been displaced by another struggling family with four kids, the Pazinskis of Buffalo in 1959, in Tom Dudzick's nostalgic comedy 'Over the Tavern.'