If you need a reminder of what a classic play can achieve, you should stop by UC's College-Conservatory of Music this weekend to see the drama program's production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town. Faculty member Diane Kvapil has directed a sturdy version of the show that leans a little more than I like in the direction of humor, but nevertheless shows off why the show won the 1938 Pulitzer Prize for drama and remains a staple of theater companies more than 60 years later.
If circuses haven't been the same for you since realizing that animals don't actually like trainers who crack the whip, go to Cirque du Soleil. CityBeat staffers were among the folks who attended last night's sneak preview of their new show, OVO, at Coney Island. It was amazing: technically impeccable, delightfully entertaining and 100 percent cruelty free!
OVO runs through May 15, and there's a Mother's Day
discount promotion going on now. Click here for details.
It’s no coincidence that the late David Foster Wallace’s new novel, The Pale King, was published on April 15. Actually, “new novel” might not be the best wording — the 560-page book, which carries the telling subtitle An Unfinished Novel, was crafted from Wallace’s papers after he committed suicide in 2008.
I’ve yet to read The Pale King, but after perusing several reviews in recent days (including Tom McCarthy’s incisive piece in yesterday’s New York Times Book Review), I have a pretty good handle on its setting: the seemingly banal inner workings of the Internal Revenue Service.
Don’t go looking for Boris Karloff or any kind of campy make-up if you decide to see the National Theatre of London’s production of Frankenstein on Tuesday or Wednesday evening at The Carnegie in Covington. This version, provided via HD digital transmission, is much more faithful to Mary Godwin’s creepy and profound Gothic novel written in the summer of 1816. When it was finally published two years later (by which time she had married poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and become Mary Shelley), few people believed it could have been written by a young woman not yet 20 years old.
If you're a fan of musicals, you should be happy this weekend, whether your preferences are big or small. Let's start with big, or perhaps I should say BIG! The tour of Shrek The Musical at the Aronoff delighted me a lot more than I had expected. It looks great — colorful costumes, dazzling sets — and it has a cast of people who can really sing and dance. The show has a lot of humor that everyone, including kids, can enjoy, and moments when the real musical theater geeks will recognize gently satirical pokes at other hit shows.
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County has added a must-see piece to its This Is Strobridge show of posters that Cincinnati' Strobridge lithography company made around the turn of the 20th century for theaters and other entertainment events. It is of a musical production of The Wizard of Oz, directed by one Julian Mitchell, showing a sleeping Dorothy being aided by her traveling companions after falling "under the spell of the poppies."
There are several interesting things happening onstage this weekend, many with very short runs. Miami University has opened a two-weekend run of The Wiz (a funky musical adaptation of The Wizard of Oz) and Showbiz Players begins its run of Altar Boyz (an amusing musical about a boy band that was a big hit for the Playhouse a few seasons back). On Saturday, for one day only (two performances), you can see a one-man touring production of The Screwtape Letters based on a novel by C. S. Lewis (author of The Chronicles of Narnia). It's at the Aronoff's big hall at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
The Cincinnati Art Museum has announced the winner of its second biennial 4th Floor Award for regional contemporary artists -- Darren Goodman of Waynesville, Ohio. He will receive $1,000 and a solo exhibition in the art museum’s Vance-Waddell Gallery this year from Sept. 17 through Nov. 27th.
According to a museum press release issued today, he earned his BFA from Bowling Green State University and apprenticed under glass master Leon Applebaum in Corning, N.Y.. Godman was commissioned by Ferrari to create trophies for the International Challenge Races (2009. From 2005 to 2007 he taught private classes in glass, and coordinated a glassblowing class for Wyoming High School students. In his work, Goodman explores color in glass and is inspired by natural forms. In his most recent installation, 2010's Tears of Joy, Goodman built on the “mistake” of molten glass falling to the ground. Using the same action, he created massive blue drops that were suspended together inches above the floor. In both his installations and individual pieces, Goodman endeavors to utilize the properties that are found solely in glass.
Three finalists each receive $500 -- Terence Hammonds, Casey Millard and Alice Pixley Young, all of Cincinnati,
It's a good weekend for local theater, with two confirmed choices and a fascinating new production with a lot of potential. Both shows that opened a week ago — End Days at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati and Gee's Bend at Cincinnati Playhouse — have been recommended by the Acclaims judging panel that considered them, and both have received nominations for performers and other aspects.
ArtsWave has put out a very positive press release about the attendance for its first three Sampler Weekends, as well as information for the next three — including one this Saturday.