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by Rick Pender 03.16.2012
Posted In: Theater at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage 3-21 - time stands still - jen johansen as sarah goodwin - photo ryan kurtz.widea

Stage Door: ETC, Playhouse, Mariemont Players

Fewer productions onstage this week, but still some great choices. On Wednesday evening I attended the premiere of Donald Margulies’ very much in-the-moment drama Time Stands Still at Ensemble Theater. It’s the story of two journalists who have been addicted to the adrenalin rush of covering wars. He’s now running away and hiding in film reviews (there’s a touch of post-traumatic stress, it seems, because he’s watching classic horror films all the time), and she’s recovering from injuries that resulted from a roadside bomb blast in Iraq. What’s next for them? Well, that’s what the play is about — a return for more or settling for a calmer, safer life, represented by a happy if unlikely couple who visit them, the photographer’s editor and mentor and his naïve young girlfriend. Four intriguing character studies add up to an evening of thoughtful drama. I gave it a Critic’s Pick; here’s a link to my review. Through April 1. Tickets: 513-421-3555

I’ve been talking with lots of people about the Cincinnati Playhouse production of Stephen Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. It’s been directed by John Doyle, who inventively staged Sondheim’s Company in 2006, a production that moved to Broadway and earned a Tony Award. He uses the same approach this time: actors who provide their own musical accompaniment. I liked the results he got from his strong, talented cast. But I will say that this production evokes strong reactions: Some people love it, some are mystified and some hate the nontraditional approach. No one has said it’s not skillfully done, so I can safely tell you that you ought to go and see for yourself. Merrily has long been viewed as one of Sondheim’s few failures (its original run in 1981 lasted for only 16 performances on Broadway), but you wouldn’t know that from this staging: It’s a showbiz tale of chasing success that has not resulted in happiness. We start at the end of a friendship, with three people at one another’s throats, and then trace back to their earliest, optimistic moments together. With great music, a stylized set piled with pages of music (the central character is a Broadway composer) and some intriguing decisions by Doyle about elevating a realistic tale to something more deeply emotional, this version of Merrily is a fascinating production that musical theater lovers ought to see. In addition to my Critic’s Pick, this production has garnered five awards from the League of Cincinnati Theatres for Outstanding Ensemble, for performer Becky Ann Baker, for Scott Pask’s imaginative scenic design, Matt Castle’s music direction and Mary-Mitchell Campbell’s orchestrations. Can’t quite figure why director John Doyle wasn’t cited, since he’s the mastermind behind all this, but you can judge that one for yourself. Through March 31. Box office: 513-421-3888.

I don’t get to see too much community theater, but there are several companies that consistently present work worth watching: Mariemont Players is one of them. Through March 25 the company is presenting Cole, a musical tribute to the life of songwriter Cole Porter, from his days as a student at Yale, life in Paris then Manhattan then Hollywood. I haven’t seen it, but I suspect that it will be entertaining. At the Walton Creek Theater (4101 Walton Creek Road, just east of Mariemont). Tickets: 513-684-1236.

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

 
 
by Rick Pender 05.25.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Theater Offerings For a Hot Weekend

It’s a three-day weekend that’s more about being outdoors and kicking off summer fun. That being said, if you’re looking for a theater production that will give you some laughs for your weekend, I recommend catching a performance of see The Second City 2: Less Pride – More Pork at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park on its Shelterhouse Stage. I found it a notch up from the very entertaining first iteration of the show that set box-office records for the Mount Adams theater during the 2010 holiday season. Lots of hilarious fun-poking at … us. The clever cast from Chicago’s renowned comedy/improv troupe uniquely tailors each performance to the audience that shows up. Box office: 513-421-3888.

I haven’t seen the Showboat Majestic’s opening production of its 90th season (that’s right, the boat has been entertaining audiences for nine decades!), but Babes in Hollywood is another show that’s light and entertaining. It’s a revue of tunes made famous by Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney back in the 1930s and ’40s when they were happy-go-lucky adolescent stars. I did see the four-member cast do a number at last Monday’s LCT Awards event, and they have fine voices and a sense of style. I suspect this show will be popular with the grey-haired audience that frequents the Showboat, but I bet people of any age will have a good time watching. Box office: 513-241-6550.

If you want something a tad more profound, try Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most difficult plays. It’s officially categorized as a comedy because it has humorous and romantic elements. But the central story about a potentially fatal argument between a moneylender and a businessman is anything but amusing. CSC’s artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips takes on the role of the rapacious moneylender who has faced anti-Semitic discrimination for his entire life. Is Shylock a villain or a victim? Shakespeare gives him aspects of each, and CSC’s production does not tilt in either direction. You get to decide, and it won’t be easy. Review here. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.

There’s a new theater downtown, just a few doors north of Cincinnati Shakespeare’s venue. They’re calling themselves Speakeasy Theatre, and they’re performing in a storefront space at 815 Race Street. Their inaugural production is Paul Baerman’s The Whistler. The show, directed by Tim Waldrip, is set in 1965 in an unnamed Southern city where a lot a racist attitudes are out in the open. The Andy Griffith Show is in its fifth season, and the guy who whistles that show’s theme (played here by local professional actor Michael G. Bath) is living off the royalties of his work. But life gets more complicated when he meets an African-American trumpet player (Tony Davis is taking on the role) who shares his passion for music. The show just opened on Thursday and I haven’t seen it, but it’s always good to give a new theater a try. The Whistler will be onstage through June 10. Box office: 513-861-7469.

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

 
 
by 12.03.2008
at 11:51 AM | Permalink | Comments (2)
 
 

Nutcrackering Scrooge

The Nutcracker, A Christmas Carol, model trains, zoo  lights, skating on Fountain Square - do you ever wonder if Cincinnati is capable of creativity around the holidays? Beyond the Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati - an institution that actually takes some risks - the others stick with the same old script with the only news being who will play Scrooge for the next 25 years.. 

 If you could pick  the Holiday line up for 2009, what would it look like?

 
 
by Rick Pender 01.05.2011
Posted In: Theater at 11:27 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Human Race Theatre Co. Director Dies

Marsha Hanna, artistic director of Dayton's Human Race Theatre Company, died on Monday. I was saddened to learn of her passing — especially at age 59 — because she was a passionate advocate for theater, not just in Dayton but throughout the region.

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by Rick Pender 11.09.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_onstage_grim and fischer_ kate braidwood and andrew phoenix_photo james douglas

Stage Door: The Little Guys

There's plenty of good theater available around town in the next few days, including the just-opened production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway at the Cincinnati Playhouse, as well as Romeo and Juliet and Titus Andronicus, which finish their runs at Cincinnati Shakespeare this weekend. But for this week's edition of Stage Door, I'm recommending three productions that might not be on your radar.

One of the big hits of the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival, Grim and Fischer, is back for performances on Friday and Saturday. It was only offered three times back in June, and a lot of people missed the unusual "full-face mask" show about death (aka Grim, as in "Grim Reaper") matching wits with elderly Mrs. Fischer, who's not ready to take her leave of this world. Everyone who saw the wordless piece raved about it, so Know Theatre (they guys who present the Fringe) have brought back the two performers from Wonderheads Theatre in Portland, Ore., to give us three more chances, Friday and Saturday evening at 8 p.m. plus a 3 p.m. Saturday matinee. I'm not missing their 50-minute performance this time around. Tickets ($12): 513-300-5669.

Community theater often brings back classics that audiences love, and Footlighters (you can find them at Newport's Stained Glass Theatre, right across the street from the York Street Cafe) is doing just that with Thornton Wilder's 1938 Pulitzer Prize winner, Our Town. But don't think you've been there and done that, since this production takes several familiar conventions and freshens them. The "Stage Manager," usually a folksy older guy, is played by a woman, and many of the references to New England life in the early 1900s are minimized, which makes the show feel a lot more universal and relevant to life today. Through Nov. 18. Tickets ($20): 859-652-3849.

And my third recommendation is from another community theater, one that really knows its way around musicals: Cincinnati Music Theatre is staging Stephen Sondheim and George Furth's Company, a Tony winner from 1970 — and again in 2007 when the Cincinnati Playhouse's revival of the story of Bobby and his married friends moved to Broadway and was named the year's best musical revival. It has a brilliant and energetic score, great comic scenes and songs you're likely to know, including "Another Hundred People," "The Ladies Who Lunch" and "Being Alive." CMT presents its shows at the Aronoff Center's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Through Nov. 17. Tickets ($22): 513-621-2787.

 
 
by Jason Gargano 11.18.2010
at 05:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Charley Harper Lives

The late, great Cincinnati artist Charley Harper lives on this month via a new coloring book, the aptly titled Charley Harper Coloring Book of Birds.

Ammo Books — a crafty, discerning California-based publisher that previously put out the authoritative Harper tome, Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life — sent me a copy this week, and I can confirm that it's a unique (and challenging, given Harper's sharp-angled style) gift option for the coloring-crazy nephew on your Christmas list.

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by Maija Zummo 04.15.2014
at 12:29 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Takes Over New York City

Cincy in NYC Week features Queen City art, music and food in the Big Apple

Cincinnati's arts groups and chefs are road tripping it to New York City for a seven-day showcase highlighting the eats, arts and culture of the Queen City for Cincy in NYC.

The showcase, which runs May 6 through May 12, features events and performances from the Cincinnati Ballet, CCM alumni, the May Festival Chorus and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Playhouse in the Park, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Taft Museum of Art, Queen City chefs (Jean-Robert de Cavel, Julie Francis of Nectar, David Cook of Daveed's NEXT, David Falk of Boca, Jose Salazar of Salazar, chocolatier Jean-Philippe Solnom and Stephen Williams of Bouquet) and more.

According to an article in Cincy Magainze, the original idea was that just the Cincinnati Ballet would return to New York City for the first time in 30 years. But it turns out the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and the May Festival Chorus were also scheduled to be in NYC, performing around the same time as the ballet's performance week at the Joyce. So, long story short, other Cincinnati-based art groups were recruited to head East and now there's a ton of Cincinnatians trekking to New York to show the city what the Midwest has to offer.

Events kick off on May 6 with a performance from the Cincinnati Ballet at the Joyce and round out with a performance by CCM's quartet-in-residence, the Ariel Quartet, at the 92nd Street Y. 

MAY 6
The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 7:30 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

CCM Jazz Alumni at Jazz at Lincoln Center — Past and present CCM big band alumni perform at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola. 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. $30-$45. Broadway at 60th Street, New York, jalc.org/dizzys.

MAY 7
Music and Words with Ricky Ian Gordon — The composer will discuss his work with moderator Evans Mirageas, the Harry T. Wilks Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Opera. 7 p.m. Free for members; $20 for non. The National Opera Center, 330 Seventh Ave., New York, operaamerica.org

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 7:30 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 8
May Festival/Symphony Party — The May Festival and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra host a cocktail soiree. 6-8 p.m. $275 (patron); $200 (guest). New York Yacht Club, 37 W. 44th St., New York, cincyinnyc.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 8 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 9
Playhouse Staged Reading in Afternoon — Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park presents a reading of Fool, by Cincinnati native Theresa Rebeck, creator of TV's Smash. The reading features an all-star cast of Cincinnati stars. 2 p.m. Free but tickets required. Pearl Studios, 519 Eighth Ave., 12th Floor, Studio D, 513-421-3888.

Cincinnati Night at Carnegie Hall — The May Festival Chorus and the CSO take the Carnegie Hall stage as part of the prestigious Spring for Music Festival with a program including John Adams' iconic "Harmonium" and the New York premiere of R. Nathanial Dett's "The Ordering of Moses." 7:30 p.m. $25. Carnegie Hall, 881 Seventh Ave., New York, mayfestival.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 8 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

Cincinnati Party for Young Professionals — Cincinnati-native YPs are invited to an evening of live music, mingling and an open bar. Dhani Jones will MC. 9-11 p.m. Free. Arlene's Grocery, 95 Stanton St., New York, cincyinnyc.com.

MAY 10
Queen City Chefs Take a Bite Out of the Big Apple — Jean-Robert de Cavel, Julie Francis of Nectar, David Cook of Daveed's NEXT, David Falk of Boca, Jose Salazar of Salazar, chocolatier Jean-Philippe Solnom and Stephen Williams of Bouquet head to the James Beard House in NYC to cook a seven-course dinner. While they planned the menu together, they're each responsible for a different course. 7 p.m. $170; $130 for James Beard members. James Beard House, 167 W. 12th St., New York, jamesbeard.org.

Cincinnati Art Museum's Eyes on the Street Panel — A panel discussion of street photography in the 21st century. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. $5. Aperture Gallery, 547 W. 27th St., Fourth Floor, New York, cincyinnyc.com.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 2 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

Metropolitan Museum of Art Tour — Enjoy a special docent-led tour of the Met's Rembrandt galleries, including Portrait of a Man Rising from His Chair, on loan from the Taft Museum of Art. 2 p.m. $29. The Met, 1000 Fifht Ave., New York, taftmuseum.cincyregister.com/rembrandtatmet.

MAY 11
World Piano Competition Gold Medalists at the Carnegie — Performance by gold medalist Alexander Yakovlev, 2012 World Piano Competition winner. 2 p.m. $15. The Carnegie, 881 Seventh Avenue and 57th Street, New York,  carnegiehall.org/events.

The Cincinnati Ballet at The Joyce Theater — The ballet celebrates it's 50th anniversary with a week-long tour at the Joyce, where they'll be performing three New York City premieres: Hummingbird in a Box, featuring seven new compositions by Grammy-winner Peter Frampton; Chasing Squirrel, an eccentric work by Trey McIntyre; and Caprice, a new ballet choreographed by Val Caniparoli that features live musicians performing Paganini's Violin Caprices. 2 p.m. $19-$49. Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Avenue at 19th Street, New York, cballet.org/newyorktour.

MAY 12
CCM's Ariel Quartet — The internationally acclaimed Ariel Quartet and CCM's quartet-in-residence perform Haydn's String Quartet in G Major, Op. 76, No. 1; Beethoven's String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130 and more. 7:30 p.m. $30. 92nd Street Y, SubCulture, 45 Bleecker St., New York, 92y.org.

For more information on all the events and Cincy in NYC in general, head to cincyinnyc.com.
 
 
by Steven Rosen 09.25.2009
Posted In: Visual Art at 03:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Cincinnati Art Museum: Genius Factory

Cincinnati Art Museum did well at this week's announcement of MacArthur Foundation $500,000 "genius grants" — one of the most prestigious in the world. Among the 24 recipients were artist Los Angeles artist Mark Bradford (pictured), who creates large-scale map-like collages out of everyday material and whose show Maps & Manifests was featured at Cincinnati Art Museum in 2008.

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by Steven Rosen 10.24.2012
Posted In: Visual Art at 02:44 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Cincinnati Art Museum's Rifle Firing Set for Monday

The firing of a high-powered rifle inside the Cincinnati Art Museum, sending a bullet past masterpieces through the first-floor Schmidlapp Gallery and into a block of bronze in the middle of the Great Hall, will occur on Monday, museum officials said.

Todd Pavlisko, the New York-based, locally born artist who proposed the project, will be at the museum Friday for final planning and discussions. (CityBeat will interview him for a story in next week’s Big Picture column.)

The museum has refused to allow press — or the public — to witness the actual event, for security concerns, according to Director Aaron Betsky. It also won’t say what time it will occur. The male sharpshooter who will fire the high-powered rifle from a mounted stand also doesn’t want to be identified. The museum normally is closed to the public on Monday.

A spokeswoman said the museum will be on “lockdown” for the event. Those who will attend the actual shooting include the artist and the sharpshooter, Betsky and Chief Curator James Crump and several others. A Cincinnati police officer also will be present, a requirement of the City Council ordinance permitting the event. 

According to an earlier press release, which did not set a specific date for the actual rifle shot, Pavlisko’s project is an outgrowth of his work with photography and video. This will reference the work of Harold Edgerton, whose photographs capturing bullets passing through fruit and droplets of milk have become masterpieces for making visible that which the naked eye could not see. Pavlisko’s idea is to contrast the flight of the bullet with the timeless nature of the masterpieces on display in the Schmidlapp Gallery. (The bullet will be 12 feet from any actual artwork.)

High-speed cameras and video equipment will document the shot, and the resultant work will be on display May 25-Sept. 22 in a show called Crown. So, too, will the 36-inch cast brass cube, or what remains of it, as the bullet strikes it.

 
 
by Rick Pender 02.27.2009
Posted In: Theater at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Stage Door: Two Gentlemen of Verona

If the last gasps of winter still have you shivering, you can warm up this weekend with some frothy musical theater at UC's College-Conservatory of Music, where Two Gentlemen of Verona is dancing its heart out. With a silly story (thanks to Shakespeare) and an eclectic score (from the guy who wrote the music for Hair), this 1971 show doesn't get staged very often. But you'll wonder why if you find yourself in Patricia Corbett Theater: Thanks to CCM 1995 grad Andrew Palermo, who's returned to direct and choreograph the show, the cast never stops dancing.

Don't fret about the story — changing affections, disguises, villains and heroes — just watch as the tale takes you from the university town of Verona to the urban Milano. The costumes (preppy white shirts and ties in the former, metropolitan chic black and Hip Hop in the latter) will tell you where you are. And the performers are all shining stars from CCM's musical theater program, several of them ready to move along to Broadway. This is the CCM musical people will continue to talk when the current season is over. Two Gentlemen runs longer than usual for a CCM show — two weekends (final performance is March 8) — but don't dally to get your tickets: By next weekend they'll all be claimed. Box office: 513-556-4183.

 
 

 

 

 
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