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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)

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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by Rick Pender 11.30.2011
Posted In: Theater at 06:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
always patsy cline @ cincinnati playhouse - carter calvert - photo sandy underwood

'Patsy Cline' Still Award-Worthy

Costumer is cited for authenticity

Let's give credit where credit is due. The League of Cincinnati Theatres award process moved quickly (if incompletely) on recognizing the Cincinnati Playhouse production of Always … Patsy Cline, which opened just a week ago today. The judging panel singled out costume designer Gordon DeVinney for his work. A panel member commented, “If you look at images of Pasty online, these ‘looks’ are incredibly authentic and evoke her persona in a startling and effective combination of era and personality.” DeVinney is the Playhouse’s costume shop manager; he has designed more than 30 productions for the Playhouse.

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by Rick Pender 11.29.2011
Posted In: Theater at 12:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
laurey & curly

CCM's Oklahoma! Gets Props

LCT hands out awards to three performers and the director

Well, the erratic LCT awards got this one right — even if the announcement arrives almost two weeks after the brief run of Oklahoma! at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music. (Nov. 17-20). Three performers and the show’s director and choreographer have been cited by a judging panel from the League of Cincinnati Theatres. The recreation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s trend-setting musical from 1943 is certainly one of the best productions I’ve seen all season. It marshaled the forces of 35 and an orchestra of more than 40 musicians. It’s not likely that you’ll see such a production anywhere but at a school like CCM

Professor of Musical Theatre Diana Lala, the show’s director and choreographer, was recognized with an LCT award for the show’s outstanding choreography. LCT panelists praised the quality and quantity of dancing, based on Agnes DeMille’s legendary work for the original 1943 Broadway production, as well as its “flawless” execution.

Three student performers were cited for their contributions to the show. Senior John Riddle from Vermillion, Ohio, was awarded for his performance as a leading actor, playing the cowboy Curly McLain. Senior Julia Johanos from Louisville, Colorado, was similarly recognized as a leading actress in a musical for playing Laurey Williams, the object of Curly’s romantic attention. One LCT judge said the leads “knocked this one out of the park with depth, musical talent and romantic chemistry.” Senior Eric Huffman from Lenexa, Kansas, played cowboy Will Parker, a featured role for which LCT recognized him as a “confident dancer, good singer and truly gifted actor.”

More information about the League can be found at www.leagueofcincytheatres.info.

by Rick Pender 11.29.2011
Posted In: Theater at 12:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
les waters - actors theatre ad - 11-29-11

Actors Theatre of Louisville Names New Artistic Director

Brit director Les Waters moves to Kentucky from Berkeley, Calif.

Les Waters, a British director who’s worked in the U.S. for nearly 20 years, has been named the next artistic director at Actors Theatre of Louisville. It’s only the third time in the theater’s 42-year history that a new artistic leader has been chosen. Jon Jory led the theater for three decades years, during which he established the highly respected Humana Festival of New American Plays, about to mark its 36th iteration. Jory was succeeded in 1999 by Marc Masterson, who left earlier this year to take over another proponent of new works for the American stage, South Coast Repertory Theatre in Costa Mesa, Calif.

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by Rick Pender 11.20.2011
Posted In: Opera, Theater at 06:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
Joshua Jeremiah

Cincinnati-Trained Singer Is Making a Name

From CCM to New York City Opera

For several years Joshua Jeremian seemed to be onstage everywhere in Cincinnati. He was a regular in opera productions at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, where he was pursuing a master’s degree and then an artist’s diploma (additional graduate-level training) as an opera singer. But he was glad to find performing opportunities with many Cincinnati perfroming arts institutions. In 2005 he played a pair of princes in Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati’s holiday musical, Sleeping Beauty. (In fact, the big-voiced baritone was nominated for a 2006 Cincinnati Entertainment Award for his performance at ETC.)

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by Rick Pender 11.18.2011
Posted In: Theater at 09:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
oklahoma @ ccm - photo ryan kurtz

Oklahoma!: A Classic in Every Way

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.

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by Rick Pender 11.13.2011
Posted In: Theater at 02:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
humana 36 poster

Actors Theatre Is Ready for Humana Festival No. 36

Here comes the big annual dose of new American plays

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.)

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by Rick Pender 10.21.2011
Posted In: Theater at 11:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
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Stage Door: Quirky Tunes by William Finn

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.

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by Rick Pender 10.13.2011
Posted In: Theater at 02:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
empty table & chairs

It's true. I can make a mistake.

LCT was responsible for poorly organized event

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 role. 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 organizer.

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.