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by Rick Pender 02.17.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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Stage Door: Transmigration and Several Critic's Picks

Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues is a complicated noir-ish tale of marital deceit and cryptic crime that unfolds more clearly because of its accomplished four-actor cast, including local professionals Bruce Cromer (who’s played roles as varied as Ebenezer Scrooge for the Playhouse to King Lear for Cincinnati Shakespeare) and Amy Warner (a regular at Ensemble Theatre and Cincinnati Shakespeare). The show is a fascinating piece of theater that takes work to watch, follow and absorb. I suppose that some casual theatergoers will be put off by it, but if you like challenging drama and multi-layered acting, you’ll leave the theater with your gears spinning. I gave Speaking in Tongues a Critic’s Pick in this week's "Curtain Call" column. Onstage through March 4. Box office: 513-421-3888.

If you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Fringe, you should check out the Transmigration Festival at CCM on the University of Cincinnati campus. I was there last evening and saw three of the six performances, especially enjoying Booth, an interactive piece by nine actors based on John Wilkes Booth’s final days. I also was entertained by The Eddie Shanahan Show, closely inspired by Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, but with some very modern twists. Attendees choose between six brief productions (30 minutes or less) that are completely created, promoted, enacted and staged by drama students. It’s a February boost of creativity, staged throughout the CCM facility, Friday and Saturday evenings at 7:30, as well as a 2:30 matinee on Saturday. Admission is free, but you need to call the CCM box office to reserve your ticket: 513-556-4183.

Another university option can be found at NKU. It’s Aaron Sorkin’s The Farnsworth Invention, telling the story of Phil Farnsworth who invented television but spent much of his life in legal wrangles with David Sarnoff, RCA executive and the first “media mogul.” Sorkin's credits — from The West Wing to The Social Network — are a guarantee of a heady, exciting tale based on real events. Tickets ($14 is the maximum price): 859-572-5464.

Know Theater’s “comedy of anxiety” by Allison Moore, Collapse, opens with the collapse of a highway bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis. But it’s about all kinds of things falling down — the economy, relationships. This is the kind of edgy script Know Theatre is known for, funny but meaningful. I gave the production a Critic’s Pick because it combines heart and humor. Collapse is presented with comic finesse and fine acting, especially by local professional actress Annie Fitzpatrick. Know’s best work of the season. Through March 3. Tickets: 513-300-5669.

This weekend is your last chance to see the regional premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Whipping Man at Ensemble Theatre (through Saturday evening). The historical play, set in Richmond, Va., in April 1865, just days after the end of the Civil War, is a gripping drama that’s beautifully staged and convincingly acted. I gave it a Critic’s Pick. The production has been extended a week because of demand for tickets; you won’t be contending with subscribers this weekend, so if you haven’t seen it yet — call for a ticket: 513-421-3555.

Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.

 
 
by Hannah McCartney 02.16.2012
Posted In: Theater at 03:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Transmigration Festival Premieres This Weekend

Support local drama students and see a range of original works

Think Cincinnati Fringe Festival goes to college. This weekend, drama students from University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music will strut their stuff as they create and execute every aspect of producing a play.

The fourth annual Transmigration festival will feature five 30 minute works covering a spectrum of thought-provoking, creative topics. One, Booth, retells the tale of the Lincoln assassination; another, forget me not, tells the story of a 20-year-old woman with struggling to reconcile adulthood with her lust for imagination. Watch America melt down in Y2012K, see a modern take on Dickens' A Christmas Carol in The Eddie Shanahan Show or see a mystery unfold in Knock Knock, a Clue-like mystery demonstrating that every story holds two sides. It's your choice; see one, see four.

Attending the fest is not only a way to support your local arts scene — watch the creativity and talent unfold of some of Cincinnati's brightest young thespians.

The performances are free, but reservations are required.
Call the CCM Box Office at 513-557-4183. Performances will be scattered throughout the Corbett Center for Performing Arts. Click here for more information about Transmigration.

 
 
by Rick Pender 02.10.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: More Great Theater

On Thursday evening I was that the Cincinnati Playhouse for the opening of Speaking in Tongues. If you like heady, noir-ish drama with flashes of sardonic humor, this is the show for you. Andrew Bovell’s 1996 script uses four actors to play nine characters whose lives intersect and diverge and reconnect in ways that you have to pay attention to if you want to get the story. This is not a sit-back-and-relax kind of play, but rather one you’ll be trying to follow the narratives, which are neither linear nor chronological. But they are certainly fascinating. The cast includes two of Cincinnati’s best local professional actors, Bruce Cromer and Amy Warner, and two others who have delivered memorable Playhouse performances, R. Ward Duffy and Henny Russell (who happen to be husband and wife). In fact, Warner is married to director Michael Evan Haney, so this show about deceitful relationships and the importance of trust and faith must have made for an intriguing rehearsal process. Be prepared to think hard if you go to see this one on the Shelterhouse stage. 513-421-3888.

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by Rick Pender 02.03.2012
Posted In: Theater at 10:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door

'The Whipping Man,' 'Spring Awakening,' 'Red' and 'Collapse' are all worthy weekend productions

Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.

The Whipping Man is drawing big audiences for Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. In fact, they’ve added several performances extending the closing date from Feb. 12 to Feb. 18. It’s the story of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master, stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then does John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they must celebrate with limited means. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with a plot that will keep you guessing. As I noted recently in this week's Curtain Call column, director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast, especially Ken Early as Simon. This one is a must-see. Box office: 513-421-3555

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by Jac Kern 01.31.2012
Posted In: Architecture, Arts community, Visual Art at 05:30 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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EcoSculpt Returns to Fountain Square


Remember last spring when the Square was taken over by environment-conscious art? EcoSculpt will be back April 13-29, exhibiting large-scale sculptures made entirely of recyclables.

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by Shawn Buckenmeyer 01.31.2012
Posted In: Arts community, Visual Art at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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ArtSeen: Spotlight on Kristy Kemper


Kristy Kemper, a senior at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, creates visually beautiful works of art filled with vibrant, lovely colors and stylistic, flowing Art Nouveau shapes and forms. The artist draws attention to the world of animals and their behaviors drawing us into a magical, beautiful and sometimes dangerous world.

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by Rick Pender 01.27.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Weekend Theater Roundup

Each week in Stage Door I offer theater tips for the weekend, sometimes with a few pieces of theater news.

The Whipping Man opened on Wednesday at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The show made a big splash at Manhattan Theatre Club in New York last spring with Andre Braugher in the central role of Simon, a dedicated former slave who remains in a ruined mansion in 1865 Richmond in the days just after the Civil War. Caleb, the wounded son of his former master stumbles in (desperately needing some horrendous surgery) and then John, another former slave, a young man raised side by side with Caleb. The slave-owning family was Jewish, and it’s almost time for Passover, which they decide to celebrate. It’s a powerful show about freedom and responsibility with some jaw-dropping plot twists. Director D. Lynn Meyers gets the most from her cast. This one is a must-see. Onstage through Feb. 12.

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by Mike Breen 01.24.2012
Posted In: Movies at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Oscar Nominees Announced

The nominees for the 84th annual Academy Awards were announced this morning. Local-boy-done-very-very-good George Clooney, as expected, is up for this year's Actor in a Leading Role trophy for his work in The Descendants, while The Ides of March scored Clooney another nod for best Adapted Screenplay (the only nomination for the largely-locally-filmed flick). Below is the full list of noms. So — who's winning an Oscar this year?

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by Rick Pender 01.20.2012
at 11:18 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Local Theatre Overfloweth this Weekend

There are lots of good choices for theatergoing this weekend. Enjoy these newly opened productions and your last chance to see an excellent production at the Playhouse.

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by Rick Pender 01.13.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:04 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Henry, Magnolia and Patsy

That headline might sound like a new TV sitcom, but it’s actually a rundown of three shows you might consider seeing this weekend. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Henry VIII: All Is True, the Cincinnati Playhouse’s Always, Patsy Cline and a presentation at Know Theatre of a one-man hit show from the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe, Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown.

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