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Excellence Is Its Own Award

Even without award shows to celebrate it, 2011 offered plenty of good theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 28, 2011
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 2005.  

White Christmas (Review)

Covedale holiday production is an entertaining eyeful

0 Comments · Friday, December 9, 2011
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.   

Love’s Labour’s Lost (Review)

Cincy Shakespeare production has a lot to say

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 7, 2011
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.  

Snow White (Review)

ETC production offers a different telling of a familiar story

0 Comments · Friday, December 2, 2011
Good and evil play tug-of-war throughout the story of Snow White, Ensemble Theatre’s new holiday fairytale musical.  

Meet the Penguins

Penguin Encounters offer up-close experience with those lovable birds

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 30, 2011
When we were kids, my sister collected penguins. Plush penguins, ceramic penguins, penguins wearing knit hats and scarves, penguins ice skating and more. Now even the most hardcore penguin enthusiasts can indulge their obsession with the Newport Aquarium’s Penguin Encounters.   

Always ... Patsy Cline (Review)

Cincinnati Playhouse portrays a singer whose calling card was honesty

1 Comment · Monday, November 28, 2011
There’s a lot to like about the Cincinnati Playhouse’s non-holiday show for the holiday season. It’s a revue that includes two dozen of Cline’s best-known songs, and actress Carter Calvert perfectly captures the iconic Country singer’s delivery and manner.   

Abraham Lincoln’s Big, Gay Dance Party (Review)

Know production is passionately conceived but a little zany

0 Comments · Monday, November 28, 2011
Don’t go thinking this show has anything to do with the holidays, and despite the fact that some fourth-graders light its political fuse when their teacher replaces a holiday pageant with a script that references a possible gay relationship involving the 16th president, this is not a show for kids. Who is it for? I’m not really sure, although some at the opening performance found it hilarious.  

Abe, Ebenezer, Crumpet and More

Take a sleigh ride around town for onstage holiday cheer

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 22, 2011
It’s just about time for that magical season of holiday shows in Cincinnati — some tried and true, and some for the Grinches who don’t resonate with the good cheer that permeates the world through most of December. Let’s take a little sleigh ride around Cincinnati’s theaters to see what’s happening.   

In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (Review)

CCM production at the Carnegie has a thrilling current

1 Comment · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Sarah Ruhl’s In the Next Room, or the vibrator play, now at Covington’s Carnegie Center in a production by the drama program at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, has a current running through it. The production is warm, bright and slightly shocking.  

Creating a New Canon

Cincinnati Opera, CCM collaborate on Opera Fusion production of Doubt

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 9, 2011
At the end of John Patrick Shanley’s multi-award winning play and film Doubt, the formidable Sister Aloysius cries, “Oh, Sister James. I have doubts! I have such doubts!” Those two short lines are laden with pathos, emotion and high drama. It sounds operatic — and it will be. Opera Fusion: New Works chose the drama of struggle for faith and power for its inaugural workshop production, with libretto by Shanley and the score by protean composer Douglas Cuomo.  

Wicked (Review)

2 Comments · Friday, November 4, 2011
Stephen Schwartz’s Wizard of Oz-inspired musical about the green witch has become a cultural icon for adolescent girls who yearn for freedom and success. Thousands, with or without their families, will flock downtown between now and Thanksgiving weekend, and they won’t be disappointed.  

National Conversation

Playhouse artistic director wants to be part of the dialogue

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Last week the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park announced that Blake Robison, currently the producing artistic director at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Md., will become its next artistic director, succeeding Ed Stern, who retires after 20 years a the end of the current season.   

Trouble in Mind (Review)

NKU presents 1955 play that wrestled with racial stereotypes

0 Comments · Monday, October 31, 2011
Alice Childress (1920-1994) didn’t get much recognition during her lifetime. She won acclaim as an actress in the 1940s but was dissatisfied with stereotyped roles, so she began writing plays. Trouble in Mind, presented in 1955, made her the first woman to win an OBIE award, but it never landed on to Broadway and was forgotten for years. Thanks to a prescient artistic decision, Northern Kentucky University chose the show for this season.

Risky Business

Cincinnati native Kevin Allison’s podcast champions ‘risky’ storytelling

1 Comment · Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Kevin Allison wants you to listen to his podcast, and he will tie your shoes to his balls to do it. The Cincinnati native left town in 1988, and his comedy career launched into overdrive even before he graduated from New York University four years later. Allison now runs a storytelling podcast out of New York City called Risk!, which encourages people to tell stories “you never thought you’d dare to share.”  

Red (Review)

0 Comments · Friday, October 21, 2011
Anyone seeing this show will walk out of the theater thinking about how an artist relates to his art, and how the world relates to what he creates. These are fascinating connections that are neither quantifiable or predictable. In fact, they are issues that vibrate between two poles, emotion and intellect, a subject that Rothko wrestles with constantly.