I caught the opening night of the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Clybourne Park
last night. The play won the theater triple crown: Tony for best play
on Broadway, Olivier for best play in London, and the 2011 Pulitzer
Prize for drama. It's being staged by a lot of big theaters this season,
but you need go no farther than Mount Adams to see what all the fuss is
about. And there is a ton of fussing in Bruce Norris's script. He took
his inspiration from the events of Lorraine Hansberry's historic 1959
play A Raisin in the Sun, the story of a black family seeking to improve its lot by buying a home — in a previously all-white neighborhood. Clybourne Park's
first act looks at the same events from the neighborhood's perspective;
Act II jumps ahead 50 years to the same neighborhood, deteriorated but
coming back. Curiously enough — or is it predictably? — many of the
stresses and strains have only moved from one set of people to another.
Norris's clever script subtly presents parallels and contrasts, with
some humor and some pathos, and a sardonic sense that human nature is
what it is. The Playhouse does a great job with a cast that plays
different roles (some slightly connected from past to present) and a
revolving set that recreates the house at 406 Clybourne in Chicago in
1959 and 2009. This production will spur lots of thoughtful and spirited
conversation. Onstage through Feb. 16. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
at Know Theatre is being staged by former artistic director Jason
Bruffy. Steve Yockey's unusual script blurs the line between real life
and mythology, as weird events materialize in a suburban kitchen, what
with a talking three-headed dog and other unusual phenomena getting in
the way of necessary dialogue between a mom and her sullen son. It opens
tonight and runs through Feb. 22. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
Also opening tonight is Revelation
by Untethered Theater, in the compact space at Clifton Performance
Theater (404 Ludlow). It's described as a "pitch black comedy" about a
couple, one a Southern Baptist who is expecting the Rapture and the
other a premed student who happens to be an atheist. They travel from
New York to Arkansas in search of the New Jerusalem. Along the way, they
find a whole lot more. Opening tonight, onstage through Feb. 8. Info: 513-939-0599.
don't mean to sound like a broken record — I've mentioned the following
productions before — but several shows are here a bit longer that are
definitely worth considering:
The Book of Mormon continues at the Aronoff through Sunday.
If you haven't seen this hilarious musical, I have to ask why? And if
you have, you might want to catch it one more time if you can. (I went
twice, and it was every bit as funny the second time around — maybe more
so because I could focus on the crazy, rude lyrics and the beautifully
timed comedy.) Tickets: 800-982-2787.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's classic tale of singing kids, their stoic dad and the nun who brings them together, The Sound of Music, is
being offered in a "lightly staged" concert version accompanied by the
Kentucky Symphony Orchestra at Covington's Carnegie Center. It's been
enthusiastically received by folks I've talked with who've seen it.
Final performance is Sunday. 859-957-1940.
is also the final weekend for a charming production of Stephen
Sondheim's musical of mixed-up lovers in early 20th-century Sweden, A Little Night Music, at Mariemont Players. Tickets: 513-684-1236.
Hamlet, at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, runs until Feb.9, but you should catch it if you plan to attend the next CSC show, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, which tells the same story from the perspective of two minor characters — using the same cast. It opens on Feb. 14. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.