Sunday afternoon, some 100 people (perhaps many more — it was really crowded!) gathered at the downtown studio of artist Tom Bacher for a surprise party celebrating Dennis Harrington's 30-plus years of work in Cincinnati's visual arts community. Harrington currently is director of the non-profit Weston Art Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts. He was hired there in 1995, when it was new, by Sally LoveLarkin and became director upon her retirement in 1998.
Since 1997, CityBeat has sponsored local theater recognition through the annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The 14th annual event is Sunday evening at Know Theatre (1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine); doors open at 6 p.m., program is at 7 p.m. It also happens to be the last CEAs for theater.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern today announced that he will leave the esteemed regional theater after two more seasons, following the 2011-12 season, his 20th. Ed’s tenure at the Playhouse predates CityBeat’s coming into existence: He began in 1992, two years before CityBeat began publishing. I had the pleasure of writing about the recovery of the theater under Stern for EveryBody’s News and then for CityBeat; the Playhouse was in desperate financial straits when Stern and Executive Director Buzz Ward took over — a $1.25 million accumulated deficit.
OK, I’m a little behind the curve in sharing the word about Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati’s 25th season, which was actually announced about a week ago. It was a tad anticlimactic, since Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers had announced some of this information back in early June. Nevertheless, with the opening of the 2010-2011 season just a few weeks away, the complete picture is now in place. ETC will offer four regional premieres, a premiere musical revue and several special limited performance events.
If you remember Roger Miller, your recollection is probably of mindless but jaunty Country tunes like "King of the Road," "Dang Me" or "Chug-a-Lug." But he had a moment — actually more like a year or two, I suppose — when he turned his attention to musical theater and wrote songs for a show called Big River, based on Mark Twain's novel Huckleberry Finn. It was a Tony Award winner in 1985 and has some deeply heartfelt and melodic tunes, including "River in the Rain" and "Worlds Apart." You can see for yourself how entertaining his music and this show can be starting this weekend when Covington's Carnegie Center produces the show, pretty much kicking off the 2010-2011 theater season.
Just as the 2010-11 theater season is about to kick off, Know Theatre of Cincinnati has shared plans for its 13th season. They'll offer four mainstage productions (there were five in 2009-10), the eighth annual Cincy Fringe Festival and a new family of programs dubbed the "Jackson Street Market." The season begins in earnest after Know hosts MidPoint Music Festival showcases Sept. 23-25.
Cincinnati has had many famous visitors over the years including Mark Twain, Oscar Wilde and John F. Kennedy. Now we can add Superman to the list.
As part of an ongoing storyline in DC Comics' Superman title, the Man of Steel will visit the Queen City in issue #703, on sale in September.
No bad luck for this Friday the 13th: The Showboat Majestic is presenting The Nerd, a great 1981 comedy by Larry Shue, who also wrote The Foreigner.
Theresa Rebeck's hilarious comedy The Understudy kicks off the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's Shelterhouse season next month (Sept. 23-Oct. 17). The Cincinnati native is a frequently produced playwright nationwide — her show Bad Dates was a big hit for the Playhouse and other regional theaters some years ago. I learned yesterday in a conversation with the Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern that we'll get another dose of her work a year from now in the form of a world premiere.
Public voting for the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater ends at midnight tonight. The public determines winners in 18 categories, while a panel of local theater critics chooses recipients in eight addition "Critical Achievement" categories.
See Rick Pender's Curtain Call column from last week for an overview of the nominated shows and theater companies, including information on new categories introduced this year.