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Cyrano Rehearsed (Review)

Despite the poetry, New Edgecliff production wastes serious potential

0 Comments · Friday, April 16, 2010
Over several seasons, outgoing Artistic Director Greg Procaccino has elevated New Edgecliff Theater's reputation with sensitive, provocative productions like 'Glengarry Glen Ross' and 'Equus.' Now, in a curious farewell gesture, he's wasting audience enthusiasm and some estimable players in a misconceived muddle called 'Cyrano (Rehearsed).'  

Mary Poppins (Review)

Touring show is simply too much of a good thing

0 Comments · Monday, April 12, 2010
Everyone who sees this stage production will enjoy it, although the show strikes me as more overstuffed than Mary's magical carpetbag. After almost three hours, many of the children in the audience were asleep or whining to go home. That's not to say the show lacks entertaining moments. In truth, there are simply too many.  

Bury the Dead (Review)

Anti-war drama at The Carnegie a little too pompous

0 Comments · Monday, April 12, 2010
Since Irwin Shaw's expressionistic, ritualistic play opened on Broadway in 1936, five more major wars have come along to prove its horrific accusation: Old generals march young men off to their slaughter while spouting jingoistic exhortations that civilians accept and industrialists turn into profit. Shaw's work is back, with accusations intact and ritual inflated, in a co-production between The Carnegie Center in Covington and UC's College-Conservatory of Music.  

The History of Invulnerability (Review)

Powerful Playhouse world premiere should be required viewing

1 Comment · Sunday, April 11, 2010
David Bar Katz's story about Superman and his comic book creator might sound like an amusing, nostalgic show. The Shelterhouse Theatre is papered with comic book panels, and the lights come up on Superman (handsome Steve Wilson) with a confident "I'm in charge" look as he begins to describe his genealogy. The true subject, however, is vulnerability rather than invulnerability.  

Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (Review)

Know Theatre's 'Angels' debut is powerfully staged and acted

0 Comments · Monday, April 5, 2010
I submit as Exhibit A for the strength of Cincinnati theater the current production at Know Theatre, Part I of 'Angels in America,' 'Millennium Approaches.' This powerful script deserves and demands strong acting, and some of the city's best performers have risen to the challenge, guest directed by Cincinnati Shakespeare's Brian Isaac Phillips.  

Singin' in the Rain (Review)

Covedale production of classic makes a splash

0 Comments · Saturday, April 3, 2010
'Singin' in the Rain,' presented at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, is a true tribute to the classic film. Matt Dentino and Dan Doerger (pictured) could have been plucked from the movie. Doerger is especially a key component, keeping the comedic undertones noticeable.   

Omnium Gatherum (Review)

NKU students offer mostly rattling good spit-and-spirit theater

0 Comments · Monday, March 29, 2010
Under Professor Sandra Forman's zesty direction, the student actors turn the first hour of this 2002 script by Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros into rattling good spit-and-spirit theater. It's just post-9/11, and seven glitterati (some lampooning real world celebs) gather over gourmet grub prepared by domestic diva Suzie, played by Katie Kershaw.   

Top Girls (Review)

NKU actresses take on an earlier generation's cry of distress

0 Comments · Monday, March 29, 2010
Can a 28 year-old-play about societal values still pack a punch? Unfortunately, yes — which means we haven't fixed it yet. If 'Top Girls' isn't the shocker it was when Caryl Churchill's play first appeared on a London stage in 1982, it's only because we've seen enough to recognize the problems.  

Daddy Long Legs (Review)

Playhouse musical is expressive, impressive world premiere

0 Comments · Monday, March 22, 2010
Nearly a century has elapsed since Jean Webster's 1912 novel 'Daddy Long Legs' was published. Now her story of a talented, forthright foundling named Jerusha and her mysterious, reclusive mentor returns, this time onstage in an expressive, impressive world premiere musical at the Cincinnati Playhouse from playwright-director John Caird (who won a Tony for his Broadway work on 'Les Miserables') and composer-lyricist Paul Gordon (whose 'Emma' won audience approval at the Playhouse last season).  

The King of the Ring

Seattle Opera's general director comes to town to talk Wagner

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Speight Jenkins will be the first to tell you that there's grand opera and then there are Richard Wagner's operas, those massive, sprawling epics populated by feuding gods, warrior women sporting winged helmets, knights of the Grail and sexually frustrated lovers. These "integrated works of art," as Wagner called them, are the ultimate challenge for any opera company, demanding forces that could populate a small town.  

Becky's New Car (Review)

ETC's latest production accelerates in the humor lane

0 Comments · Friday, March 12, 2010
A successful comedy is tougher to pull off than a serious dramatic play. Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati's D. Lynn Meyers never seems daunted by that challenge. The latest piece of evidence is ETC's production of 'Becky's New Car' by Steven Dietz. I've seldom heard people laugh out loud so heartily or repeatedly as they did on opening night for this clever show.   

Karen Finley Does Jackie O

Performance artist brings her consideration of an icon of national trauma to UC

0 Comments · Monday, March 8, 2010
Karen Finley, the New York-based performance artist who's appearing at the University of Cincinnati this week and presents her latest piece, "The Jackie Look," March 10, isn't satisfied with operating in a single field. Her unique, wordy performances blithely overstep the lines between fine art, theater, literature and social anthropology. She's willing to try an idea or context on for size to see what a new activity might symbolize.  

The 39 Steps (Review)

Touring Broadway show hits all the right notes

0 Comments · Thursday, March 4, 2010
Sometimes the best comedy comes from being dead serious. We learned from 'Monty Python' that no matter how silly those fellows were in word or action, they seldom cracked a smile. That's a fundamental reason why 'The 39 Steps' is a raucously funny evening in the theater: Four actors are deadly earnest, even when the action is frantically ridiculous. Laughter is inevitable.  

Othello (Review)

Cincinnati Shakespeare classic could use a bit Moor

0 Comments · Monday, March 1, 2010
Considering the talent and sensitivity of the people involved onstage and in the director's chair, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's 'Othello' is a disappointment. Little is egregiously wrong. Nobody falls down. Nobody goes up in his or her lines. But it's all so pedestrian.  

Anything Goes (Review)

CCM's presentation of Cole Porter tunes will stick in your head for days

0 Comments · Monday, March 1, 2010
Some contemporary theatergoers bemoan today's lack of tuneful musicals. That's because of shows like Cole Porter's 1934 hit, 'Anything Goes,' currently at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. Roughly 30 performers belt out tunes that have been standards for decades: "You're the Top," "It's De-Lovely," "I Get a Kick Out of You," "Let's Misbehave" and "Blow, Gabriel, Blow" will be stuck in your head for days if you go.