CityBeat hosted the 14th annual and final Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater Sunday night at Know Theatre in Over-the-Rhine, and as always the local theater community enjoyed the opportunity to catch up after summer breaks and celebrate before the new season gets underway. Awards were handed out in 27 categories, some voted on by the public and some determined by a "critical achievement" panel of local critics. Find a list of all the nominees and winners here.
Since 1997, CityBeat has sponsored local theater recognition through the annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The 14th annual event is Sunday evening at Know Theatre (1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine); doors open at 6 p.m., program is at 7 p.m. It also happens to be the last CEAs for theater.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern today announced that he will leave the esteemed regional theater after two more seasons, following the 2011-12 season, his 20th. Ed’s tenure at the Playhouse predates CityBeat’s coming into existence: He began in 1992, two years before CityBeat began publishing. I had the pleasure of writing about the recovery of the theater under Stern for EveryBody’s News and then for CityBeat; the Playhouse was in desperate financial straits when Stern and Executive Director Buzz Ward took over — a $1.25 million accumulated deficit.
If you remember Roger Miller, your recollection is probably of mindless but jaunty Country tunes like "King of the Road," "Dang Me" or "Chug-a-Lug." But he had a moment — actually more like a year or two, I suppose — when he turned his attention to musical theater and wrote songs for a show called Big River, based on Mark Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn. It was a Tony Award winner in 1985 and has some deeply heartfelt and melodic tunes, including "River in the Rain" and "Worlds Apart." You can see for yourself how entertaining his music and this show can be starting this weekend when Covington's Carnegie Center produces the show, pretty much kicking off the 2010-2011 theater season.
Just as the 2010-11 theater season is about to kick off, Know Theatre of Cincinnati has shared plans for its 13th season. They'll offer four mainstage productions (there were five in 2009-10), the eighth annual Cincy Fringe Festival and a new family of programs dubbed the "Jackson Street Market." The season begins in earnest after Know hosts MidPoint Music Festival showcases Sept. 23-25.
No bad luck for this Friday the 13th: The Showboat Majestic is presenting The Nerd, a great 1981 comedy by Larry Shue, who also wrote The Foreigner.
Theresa Rebeck's hilarious comedy The Understudy kicks off the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Shelterhouse season next month (Sept. 23-Oct. 17). The Cincinnati native is a frequently produced playwright nationwide — her show Bad Dates was a big hit for the Playhouse and other regional theaters some years ago. I learned yesterday in a conversation with the Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern that we'll get another dose of her work a year from now in the form of a world premiere.
Public voting for the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater ends at midnight tonight. The public determines winners in 18 categories, while a panel of local theater critics chooses recipients in eight addition "Critical Achievement" categories.
See Rick Pender's Curtain Call column from last week for an overview of the nominated shows and theater companies, including information on new categories introduced this year.
Kind of a lazy Saturday. The hustle and bustle around Manhattan’s theater district subsides somewhat on the weekends, at least on Saturday morning before the tourists wake up. Wandered down to 40th Street to browse in the Drama Book Shop, an historic hangout for actors and writers, but a wonderful store for anyone who loves theater. I bought a script for Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, August Osage County, which is coming to southwestern Ohio in September when it will be co-produced by Dayton’s Human Race Theatre and Wright State University.
Other than that excursion, I had a double-header theater day with a matinee of David Mamet’s new play Race in the afternoon and an evening performance of the ’80s Arena Rock musical Rock of Ages in the evening.
Before heading to South Pacific, I took a Friday morning excursion to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (better known today as BAM) and toured some of their historic facilities, including an old theater repurposed by dividing it into four small cinema spaces and a nearby building, dubbed The Harvey (for administrator Harvey Lichtenstein, who ran BAM for more than three decades), which was once a vaudeville theater.