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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.  

How? How? Why? Why? Why? (Review)

NPR's Kevin Kling was born to spin tales

0 Comments · Monday, February 22, 2010
If God really did create people so he'd have an endless supply of stories — to quote a line from the likable 'How? How? Why? Why? Why?' now at the Playhouse — then the heavens must be smiling down on Kevin Kling. The playwright/performer well known to fans of National Public Radio seems to have been born, raised and divinely ordained to spin a tale.  

Colored Museum (Review)

NKU production upstages itself with razzle-dazzle

0 Comments · Monday, February 22, 2010
When George Wolfe's 'The Colored Museum' was new, back in 1986, it drove some New York critics to spasms of praise for its liberating satire. Now onstage at Northern Kentucky University, there's considerably more sizzle than satire — or substance — to the show, which has been frazzle-dazzled into vaudeville that insists on upstaging itself.  

Simply the Bess

Local audiences get a chance to see a more PC version of 'Porgy and Bess'

2 Comments · Monday, February 22, 2010
George Gershwin had high hopes for his first opera, a setting of DuBose Heyward's novel 'Porgy.' "If I am successful," he wrote, "it will resemble a combination of the drama and romance of 'Carmen' and the beauty of 'Meistersinger,' if you can imagine that." The 75th anniversary touring company comes to Cincinnati for one night (Feb. 24) with a production approved by the Gershwin estate and overseen by Michael Capasso, general director of New York's Dicapo Opera Theatre.  

Adding Machine (Review)

An appropriate staging for society's current recessionary state

0 Comments · Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Smart calculation: In the wintry depths of the Great Recession, Know Theatre of Cincinnati brings a bleak chamber opera based on an anti-capitalist play from the 1920s, in which an outsourced drone gets revenge on the boss.  

The Women in the Mirror

A first-hand account of MUSE's visit to an area women's prison

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 10, 2010
I am on a bus with 46 other members of MUSE, Cincinnati's Women's Choir, and we're headed for prison: the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville. We're singing for the inmates, and a current of unease runs underneath the animated chatter.  

Schneider Gets Back on Stage

Fellow 'SNL' alum push comedian to try stand-up again

0 Comments · Friday, January 29, 2010
Like most current and former 'Saturday Night Live' cast members, Rob Schneider started out as a stand-up comic. Unlike many of that show's alumni, since then he hasn't spent a lot of time telling jokes in front of live audiences. It was pals Chris Rock and Adam Sandler who gave him the nudge.  

The Fall of Heaven (Review)

Walter Mosley's onstage debut wrestles with good and evil

0 Comments · Friday, January 29, 2010
In a recent essay in Newsweek, Walter Mosley stated, "Everybody is guilty of something." That truism is apparent in 'The Fall of Heaven,' the first play by the well-known crime and mystery novelist in its world premiere at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.  

My Name Is Asher Lev (Review)

Ensemble Theater production argues art vs. religion

0 Comments · Friday, January 29, 2010
The intensity that drives 'My Name Is Asher Lev' comes close to swamping the show in its regional premiere at Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati. The core argument — which pits unyielding, enslaving tradition against the enlivening freedom of artistic inquiry — begins to sound like posturing. And the play's vibrant energy, so promising at the outset, slides off into sound and fury.  

Walter Mosley Creates Drama

Prolific writer tries his hand at playwriting with 'The Fall of Heaven'

0 Comments · Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Walter Mosley hates to be pigeonholed. Perhaps that goes back to his origins: His mother was Jewish, his father African-American. His genealogy perhaps instilled in him a desire to explore different avenues, and that's what his life has been about. A computer programmer until he was 34, he's now spent two decades as a prolific and successful writer. His first play, 'The Fall of Heaven,' is receiving its world premiere at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.