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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)
makemeasongweb - photo nikolas robalino

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.

by Rick Pender 10.11.2011
Posted In: Theater at 01:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
ayli - playouse - david graham jones is touchstone, sarah dandridge is rosalind and francesca choy-kee is celia - photo sandy underwood

LCT issues some more awards

But do they have their act together?

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.

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by Rick Pender 10.02.2011
Posted In: Theater at 11:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
bloody bloody image - photo joan marcus

A Bloody Good Addition to Know's Season

Broadway hit joins an edgy line-up

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.

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by Rick Pender 09.30.2011
Posted In: Theater at 02:18 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
bruce cromer

Stage Door: A Play About (and For) Thinkers

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.)

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by Rick Pender 09.20.2011
Posted In: Theater at 05:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
playhouse exterior

Behind the Scenes

See how the magic works backstage

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.

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by Rick Pender 09.12.2011
Posted In: Theater at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wanna Be a Playwright?

New Edgecliff offers training for aspiring writers

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.

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by Danny Cross 09.11.2011
Posted In: Theater at 07:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
ed stern (jan 2011)

Stern Endowment bodes well for Playhouse’s future

Supporters hope to raise $5 million to honor retiring artistic director

Ed Stern retires from the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park next spring after 20 seasons, but his presence will be felt long after that thanks to funds that are being raised to honor him. The Edward Stern Endowment for Artistic Excellence will ensure the Playhouse’s future as a place where the nation’s finest directors, actors, designers and playwrights can produce remarkable work for Cincinnati audiences.

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