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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Every decade or so a new musical comes along to breathe new life into an art form that some fear is outdated, bringing young audiences back to the theater.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 Bohème 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.'  

Next Fall (Review)

ETC explores faith, belief, happiness and love in 2010 Tony nominee

0 Comments · Thursday, January 27, 2011
This play touches on faith and belief, to be sure, but also commitment, relationships, happiness and love without passing judgment or pushing a particular perspective. See this profoundly human show and you'll be both moved and perplexed.  

Burn the Floor (Review)

Production features beautiful curves and muscles

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 25, 2011
There’s nothing emaciated or delicate about these 21 dancers, complemented by two singers and two percussionists. In fact, this show of “dance-sport” is about beautiful curves and well-defined musculature. And lots of gorgeous skin, accentuated by beautiful, often minimal costumes that change continuously, sometimes startlingly.  

Multicultural Exchange

CCM, Beijing’s Central Opera and local Chinese Music Society collaborate

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Puccini’s opera Turandot challenges even the biggest opera companies. But if the singers have the dramatic heft required and the orchestral and choral forces are on board, outsize sets and costumes hardly matter. Fortunately, UC’s College-Conservatory of Music has the musical resources to mount a concert performance of Turandot, presented in collaboration with Beijing’s Central Opera Troupe and the Greater Cincinnati Chinese Music Society.  

Brighton Beach Memoirs (Review)

Heartfelt portrait of family is a good choice for Covedale

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Neil Simon is a comic playwright, but in 1983 his writing showed new depth with Brighton Beach Memoirs. The first of several autobiographical plays, this one features his alter ego, Eugene, at 14, growing up part of an extended family in the Brooklyn/Coney Island neighborhood of Brighton Beach, an enclave of second-generation Jewish immigrants.  

The Dore of Preception

Podcasts, stand-up and radio shows help spread Jimmy Dore's socially-aware comedy

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
When he hears people describe fellow comedians Jon Stewart and Bill Maher as “liberal comics,” Jimmy Dore bristles. “They’re comedians,” he insists. “They tell jokes.” More than once on his Jimmy Dore Live radio show, as well as his podcast Comedy and Everything Else, he has stated that a comedian should “speak truth to power.”  

King John (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare offers rare staging of King John

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Shakespeare’s King John is not frequently produced. It has many unfamiliar historical characters (John reigned during the early 13th century; history remembers him because he was forced to sign the Magna Carta in 1215). He was a ruthless schemer, more concerned with pomp and personal preservation than ruling justly, and Shakespeare’s play is shot through with murky themes of devious politics.