If you've ever wondered why musical theater fans think of Oklahoma! as the show that launched the "Golden Age" of musical theater, you need to get a ticket for this weekend's CCM performance of the 1943 classic by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II. I attended the opening last night, and it's a stunning production firing on all cylinders. The cast is first-rate, especially senior John Riddle as handsome cowboy Curly McLain and Chris Blem as threatening Jud Fry. Julia Johanos is a feisty Laurey Williams, and CCM and Broadway veteran Pamela Myers comes back to where she got her start to play Aunt Eller, full of wisdom, piss and vinegar.
The 36th annual Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville is set for Feb. 26 through April 1, 2012. The theater today announced the line-up of full-length works. (A bill of three ten-minute plays will be announced at a later date.) Here’s what’s in store for the festival that the theater world looks to every year for the hottest new plays and playwrights. (Maple and Vine by Jordan Harrison from the 2011 festival is getting rave reviews at Chicago’s Next Theatre Company and is about to open at Playwrights Horizons in New York City.)
Broadway musicals aren't always about song and dance. One of the best proponents of material that's quirky and idiosyncratic is composer and lyricist William Finn, whose earliest shows — eventually combined into the award-winning Falsettos — were about being gay in New York City. He's also created pieces like A New Brain (about a man contemplating surgery for a brain tumor) and the commercially successful show, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Mea culpa. In a recent post, I
suggested I was disheartened by the lack of attendance at the “Meet the
Artistic Directors” event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers on Oct. 2 — six artistic
directors, moderated by the Enquirer’s
Jackie Demaline, with three people in the audience, each with some connection
to the speakers. Pretty sad. I mistakenly assumed that Demaline organized this
event as she has for several years; given her parting of ways with the
League of Cincinnati Theatres, I had offered to step in if needed, but was
never contacted. So I drew the conclusion that she had returned to her past
I was wrong.
A representative of LCT wrote this
to me today: “The
‘Meet the Artistic Directors’ was entirely an LCT event. Jackie had nothing to
do with it, other than to be asked to moderate. The fault lies with LCT, not
Jackie or the Enquirer. Cathy
Springfield led the LCT board to think it was all taken care of, when it
actually was not.” I apologize to Demaline for jumping to this conclusion. It’s
evident that she was not the organizer. In fact, it appears the event had no
The larger point of my blog post that LCT appears to be in disarray is underscored by this confusion. But let’s point the blame in the right direction. It was LCT’s fault, not Demaline or the Enquirer.
The League of Cincinnati Theatres LCT) continues its program of recognition for 2011-2012 theater productions with recently announced awards for productions of As You Like It at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Gruesome Playground Injuries at Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Nine shows have now been handed awards by panels of informed theatergoers.
My Curtain Call column about Know Theatre of Cincinnati from Wednesday’s edition of CityBeat was incomplete, since Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier was still wrestling for the rights to several shows. The picture is more sharply in focus today with the big announcement that Know will present the regional premiere of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, which will wrap up the 2011-12 season between March 31 and May 12.
This weekend one of the finest actors in our area, Bruce Cromer, will conclude a run in A Man for All Seasons at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. He's handling the heady, demanding role of Sir Thomas More in Robert Bolt's 1962 Tony Award winning play. Cromer makes him witty, caring, sharp and cantankerous, an admirable verbal combatant — ultimately more fearful of being unfaithful to his conscience than to his king. It's a tour-de-force performance, worthy of praise wherever it might be presented. (Read my full review here.)
A lot more than actors go into making a play come to life onstage — lights, sound, scenery, props, dressers and so on. These are part of the rehearsal process, of course, but they get their final tweaks during technical rehearsals, an aspect of production that audiences seldom get to see. Sure, it might take away a bit of the magic, but in truth, it takes a special kind of magic to make these things happen — and you have a chance to do see how its done on Sunday afternoon at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park during a free “open tech rehearsal” of the upcoming Shelterhouse production of Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
If your aspirations include playwriting, New Edgecliff Theatre is offering a weekend intensive playwriting workshop for anyone age 16-22 — from beginners who have never dabbled in playwriting, to professionals wanting to get back to the basics. Catie O’Keefe, a professional playwright who is NET’s playwright-in-residence, will lead the workshops.