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March 26th, 2010 By Rick Pender | Arts | Posted In: Theater, Theater

Stage Door: Long-Legs and Top Girls

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OK, I can't see any theater in Cincinnati this weekend because I'm attending the Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville, 100 miles down I-71. But if I were in town, I'd have to make some tough choices.

Because of a busy travel schedule, I missed the opening of Daddy-Long-Legs at the Cincinnati Playhouse, but everyone I've talked to has enjoyed it. CityBeat reviewer Tom McElfresh described it as " a two-performer evening of grace and delicacy that’s tuneful, true to the original and altogether satisfying." The romantic musical based on a 1912 novel about a young woman growing out of orphanhood into a charming adult runs through April 10, but by that time there will be lots of other shows competing for your attention, so I suggest that you head to Mount Adams this weekend. Get show details and tickets here.

If you want something more adventurous, you can get a double-dose of feminism and fearful fantasy this weekend with an excursion on separate nights to Northern Kentucky University, where two stimulating works are being presented in rep (that is, on alternating nights, or in the case of Saturday, one in the afternoon and the other in the evening). Both Top Girls and Omnium-Gatherum are by women. First staged in 1982, Caryl Churchill's Top Girls is an unusal marriage of imaginative and naturalistic material — Act I features women (the "top girls") from various periods of history together at a dinner party; Act II is about a woman struggling with the mundane turbulence of everyday life in a man's world.

Omnium-Gatherum, by Theresa Rebeck and Alexandra Gersten-Vassilaros, is a wholly different dinner party. Written and first presented just after 9/11 (in fact it was a Humana Festival production), it brings together a cross-section of dinner guests who represent many aspects of society and world population. They're teetering on the edge of Hell, it seems, and the world around them is crumbling. Both works are challenging and thought provoking. (By the way, Rebeck, a Cincinnati native, has a new show, The Understudy, coming to the Cincinnati Playhouse's Shelterhouse Theater next fall.) Through April 4; get details and tickets here.

 
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