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by Rick Pender 02.10.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: More Great Theater

On Thursday evening I was that the Cincinnati Playhouse for the opening of Speaking in Tongues. If you like heady, noir-ish drama with flashes of sardonic humor, this is the show for you. Andrew Bovell’s 1996 script uses four actors to play nine characters whose lives intersect and diverge and reconnect in ways that you have to pay attention to if you want to get the story. This is not a sit-back-and-relax kind of play, but rather one you’ll be trying to follow the narratives, which are neither linear nor chronological. But they are certainly fascinating. The cast includes two of Cincinnati’s best local professional actors, Bruce Cromer and Amy Warner, and two others who have delivered memorable Playhouse performances, R. Ward Duffy and Henny Russell (who happen to be husband and wife). In fact, Warner is married to director Michael Evan Haney, so this show about deceitful relationships and the importance of trust and faith must have made for an intriguing rehearsal process. Be prepared to think hard if you go to see this one on the Shelterhouse stage. 513-421-3888.

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by Rick Pender 02.03.2012
Posted In: Theater at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door

'The Whipping Man,' 'Spring Awakening,' 'Red' and 'Collapse' are all worthy weekend productions

Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.

The Whipping Man is drawing big audiences for Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. In fact, they’ve added several performances extending the closing date from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18. It’s the story of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master, stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then does John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they must celebrate with limited means. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with a plot that will keep you guessing. As I noted recently in this week's Curtain Call column, director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast, especially Ken Early as Simon. This one is a must-see. Box office: 513-421-3555

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by Rick Pender 01.27.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Weekend Theater Roundup

Each week in Stage Door I offer theater tips for the weekend, sometimes with a few pieces of theater news.

The Whipping Man opened on Wednesday at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The show made a big splash at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York last spring with Andre Braugher in the central role of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they decide to celebrate. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with some jaw-dropping plot twists. Director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast. This one is a must-see. Onstage through Feb. 12.

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by Rick Pender 01.13.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Henry, Magnolia and Patsy

That headline might sound like a new TV sitcom, but it’s actually a rundown of three shows you might consider seeing this weekend. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Henry VIII: All Is True, the Cincinnati Playhouse’s Always, Patsy Cline and a presentation at Know Theatre of a one-man hit show from the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe, Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown.

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by Rick Pender 01.06.2012
Posted In: Theater at 12:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Cline Still Going Strong

While most local theaters are cranking up rehearsals for shows to open later this month, the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Always, Patsy Cline is still going strong. (It runs until Jan. 22.) That means this weekend is a good time to catch this recreation of the iconic Country singer.

Her story is told from the point of view of Louise, a devoted fan (played with comic zest by Kathleen M. Brady), a good old gal from Texas who first saw Cline singing on television and then coaxed some friends to go to her appearance in a Houston club. They met, became friends and pen pals. As Louise recounts the path of their friendship, Carter Calvert sings more than two dozen of Cline's greatest hits — "Anytime," "Your Cheatin' Heart," "San Antonio Rose" and of course, "Crazy." Calvert, a graduate of Cincinnati's School for Creative and Performing Arts, remarkably reproduces Cline's vocal stylings. You'll feel as if you've gone back in time and heard the real McCoy.

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by Rick Pender 12.25.2011
Posted In: Theater at 08:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: A Willing Piece of Theater

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company announced today (Merry Christmas!) that it will add a performance to its season with the regional premiere of Vern Thiessen’s Shakespeare’s Will. Veteran Cincinnati actress and CSC Ensemble member Sherman Fracher will take on 10 performances of the one-woman show, Jan. 21-Feb. 5, 2012. (The production will run concurrently with Henry VIII: All is True.) CSC’s producing artistic director, Brian Isaac Phillips, is staging the piece.

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by Rick Pender 12.14.2011
Posted In: Theater at 09:44 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Friday is Deadline to Apply for 2012 Cincy Fringe

Be weird! Be entertaining! Be part of the 2012 Fringe!

If you’re thinking of submitting a production for the 2012 Cincy Fringe Festival, now is the time to solidify your thoughts and get your application in to Know Theatre, the Fringe’s organizer. Friday Dec. 16 is the absolutely final day to do so. Follow this link for details, but don’t dally — this is a firm deadline.

The Fringe typically offers about 35 productions during its two-week run, May 30-June 9, 2012, this year. The Fringe is a juried festival that employs a selection committee composed of local artistic directors, actors, writers and producers to select which acts will be included. They study the sample material submitted with applications, then make recommendations based on several key factors: 

  • Will this work be unique to our region?
  • Can the proposed project be produced within the Fringe structure?
  • How does the proposed project fulfill the goal of the Fringe to present diversity, creativity, innovation, inspiration, and passion? 
  • How will a specific production benefit by being included in the Fringe?

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by Rick Pender 12.14.2011
Posted In: Arts community, Theater, Classical music at 09:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Governor's Awards Recognize Cincinnatians

Playhouse leaders, music philanthropist will be honored in May

Among the eight winners announced for the 2012 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio are several Cincinnatians. Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern, who retires at the end of the current theater season, and Executive Director Buzz Ward have been named the recipient of the year’s recognition in the field of Arts Administration. Louise D. Nippert will be honored in the category of Arts Patron.

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by Rick Pender 12.09.2011
Posted In: Theater at 10:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Holiday Award Winners

White Christmas, Love's Labour's Lost are recognized

I’ve extolled the virtues of White Christmas at the Covedale Center in my CityBeat review, but I’m not the only one who feels that way. The judging panel from the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) has chimed in with an award for Dan Doerger, playing the role of Phil Davis, originated in the 1954 film by Danny Kaye. I would have also recognized Rick Kramer, playing Doerger’s song-and-dance partner, Bob Wallace (played by Bing Crosby in the movie). The LCT panelists cited the “marvelous chemistry” between the two of them. Doerger, who dances as well as he sings and acts, was seen recently in Covedale productions of Singin’ in the Rain and Annie Get Your Gun. White Christmas continues through Dec. 23.

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by Rick Pender 12.02.2011
Posted In: Theater at 01:49 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: It's the Truth Edition

There are lots of holiday shows available to you this weekend, and just about every one of them is pretty entertaining. But based on a smallish audience at last night’s opening of The Santaland Diaries, I want to draw your attention to New Edgecliff Theatre’s revival of a great performance from a year ago: Joshua Steele takes on David Sedaris’ hilarious account of holiday employment as an elf at Macy’s Santaland. It was great a year ago, but this time around he’s taken it up another notch.

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