If you're still working on your checklist of holiday shows, there have been several added performances for shows at Know Theatre, Ensemble Theatre and other venues you should keep in mind.
Cincinnati finally got its first "pop-up shop," a holiday effort by local merchants to band together to take over unused retail space in Over-the-Rhine for a short period and then vacate when done. See photos from its opening weekend here.
'Tis also the season for pop-up theater, smaller productions that are squeezed in between performances of mainstage shows. One opens tonight at Know Theatre of Cincinnati.
Usually I make a theater recommendation for the weekend on Friday, but this week, I'm talking about another Stage Door, the one at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company where it's serving as an exit for someone who has played a big role in keeping the company stable and focused since 1999.
So it's almost Thanksgiving and you need to find some good theater before you can begin working on all the preparations for the big meal later next week. My recommendation — Evita at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. Aubrey Berg, who has headed the musical theater training program at the University of Cincinnati for 24 years, directs the show about Eva Duarte Peron's rise to fame and power in Argentina and subsequent fall from grace (she died from cancer at 33).
Edward Stern, producing artistic director of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park since 1992, announced in August his plan to leave the Playhouse at the end of the 2011-2012 season. The Playhouse invites you to attend one of two input sessions regarding its search for new artistic leadership. The sessions, which are open to the general public, are set for this evening (Nov. 15) and next Monday (Nov. 22) at 5:30-7:30 p.m.
It was just a year ago that the Cincinnati Playhouse offered an enigmatic production of Anton Chekhov's The Three Sisters. It was staged by Tony Award winner John Doyle with an A-list Broadway cast, but Doyle's deconstructed take on the show had many audience members walking out at intermission. If you'd like to see what the show is really about, UC's CCM Drama program is offering a straightforward staging of the drama about three women trapped in a provincial town where their late military father had relocated his family.
The Broadway hit Rock of Ages took Arena Rock hits from the late ’80s by groups like Journey, Whitesnake, Styx and Bon Jovi and cobbled them together for an amped-up evening of Rock in the theater, particularly appealing to people who were, um, all about partying back in the day. Now it’s on the road, touring from city to city and inviting folks to relive their ill-spent youth — and have a raucous good time. It’s at the Aronoff Center starting tonight, running through Nov. 7.
The best theater is honest and real, and that's what True Theatre is setting out to offer via four evenings of "true stories told by real people" beginning tonight at 7:30 p.m. at Know Theatre and continuing into next summer.
Tune to PBS this evening for A Broadway Celebration: In Performance at the White House (9 p.m. on WCET locally) , featuring some of the biggest stars from the New York stage. Nathan Lane emcees the quickly paced hour, Idina Menzel — recently in Cincinnati with the Pops — sings "Defying Gravity" from Wicked and "What I Did for Love" (with composer Marvin Hamlisch as her accompanist), and veteran Elaine Stritch belts out two numbers from Stephen Sondheim's Follies, "Broadway Baby" and "I'm Still Here" (the latter earns the event's only standing ovation).
During several of the years I spent at CityBeat as arts and entertainment editor, I sat just a few feet away from Kathy Y. Wilson. She was an indisputable force of nature: When she arrived in the office, the otherwise quiet room full of writers exploded with her raucous laughter, challenging dialogue and outspoken presence.
I had the singular privilege of editing her "Your Negro Tour Guide" column for quite a bit of that time, giving me a regular dose of her wit and profound insights about an aspect of American life that some readers loved and others hated. No one was take-it-or-leave-it about Kathy and what she had to say in her writing.