If you're a fan of musicals, you should be happy this weekend, whether your preferences are big or small. Let's start with big, or perhaps I should say BIG! The tour of Shrek The Musical at the Aronoff delighted me a lot more than I had expected. It looks great — colorful costumes, dazzling sets — and it has a cast of people who can really sing and dance. The show has a lot of humor that everyone, including kids, can enjoy, and moments when the real musical theater geeks will recognize gently satirical pokes at other hit shows.
There are several interesting things happening onstage this weekend, many with very short runs. Miami University has opened a two-weekend run of The Wiz (a funky musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz) and Showbiz Players begins its run of Altar Boyz (an amusing musical about a boy band that was a big hit for the Playhouse a few seasons back). On Saturday, for one day only (two performances), you can see a one-man touring production of The Screwtape Letters based on a novel by C. S. Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia). It's at the Aronoff's big hall at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
It's a good weekend for local theater, with two confirmed choices and a fascinating new production with a lot of potential. Both shows that opened a week ago — End Days at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and Gee's Bend at Cincinnati Playhouse — have been recommended by the Acclaims judging panel that considered them, and both have received nominations for performers and other aspects.
ArtsWave has put out a very positive press release about the attendance for its first three Sampler Weekends, as well as information for the next three — including one this Saturday.
Ed Stern, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s producing artistic director, today announced the shows that will make up his 20th and final season for the city’s Tony Award-winning regional theater. It consists of several shows that have proven track records with audiences as well as a smattering of new works. The season is precisely the kind of mix that audiences have come to expect from Stern during his two decades at the Playhouse — that is, unpredictable selections with enough of the tried-and-true and the wait-til-you-see-this-one that will keep everyone eager to see what’s next.
Lots of good theater onstage this weekend — like Gee's Bend at the Playhouse and End Days at Ensemble Theatre — but if you want to do something that will last a long time, take a kid to UC's College-Conservatory of Music to see The Last Dragon of Camelot. It's the world premiere of a musical for young actors (the cast is made up of kids from ages 8 to 14), all enrolled in CCM's Prep program, which offers classes for kids who are excited about theater. Regardless of whether the kid you take is inspired to become a performer or not, I bet that he or she will be one step closer to a life of enjoying the arts.
After a big burst of theater in February, this weekend is kind of a pause before another surge. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is concluding its sold-out run of Pride and Prejudice Sunday and Covedale Center for the Performing Arts wraps up Shout! The Mod Musical the same day.
For the ninth time during Ed Stern’s tenure at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, a show by Stephen Sondheim will be presented. Stern, the Playhouse’ Producing Artistic Director, has a soft spot for the great American composer and lyricist who turned 80 a year ago. He will bring back Tony Award-winning director John Doyle (pictured) to stage Merrily We Roll Along in a production that uses actors who also provide the musical accompaniment. The show will be presented next year in March.
There's a lot of good theater in town this weekend, but if you don't have a ticket you might have a tough time getting in. The following three shows are truly worth the effort, however. Here's the scoop
The American Theatre Critics Association (ATCA) today announced six finalists for its Harold and Mimi Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award recognizing playwrights for the best scripts that premiered professionally outside of New York City during 2010. Among the finalists is The History of Invulnerability by David Bar Katz, a script that premiered in April 2010 at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.