in Cincinnati tend to have theater in short supply. Thanks to the
Carnegie Center in Covington, there’s a bounty of fizzy fun in the form
of the very tongue-in-cheek musical Xanadu, staged by Alan Patrick Kenny.
When playwright Peter Shaffer's 'Equus' opened on Broadway 35 years ago, it wasn't easy to discern his purpose. Had he set out simply to craft a racketing good script with a philosophical undertow for audience members to puzzle over with their after-theater drinks? Or had he aimed higher? Today 'Equus' feels undated if not yet timeless. And it's as provocative as ever, especially in an energized New Edgecliff Theatre production.
No swindle here: a professional cast, a polished design, an 11-player orchestra, a hot show just a few seasons removed from Broadway, a reasonable ticket price, all in comfortably posh surroundings at Covington's Carnegie Center. For a musical about con artists, 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' is surprisingly on the level.
At The Carnegie, director Greg Procaccino, producer Joshua Steele and music director Alan Patrick Kenny have devised a 'Secret Garden' that's good looking and difficult listening. Leading performances are fetching, especially Ty Yadzinski as a dour, bedeviled widower and Charity Farrell as the cheeky then cheerful orphan who discovers the locked garden and transforms it into a colorful, healing retreat.
So it's "hail and farewell" to Alan Patrick Kenny and New Stage Collective. With eight performances of Stephen Sondheim's and Hugh Wheeler's 'A Little Night Music' (presented at Know Theater), NSC completes its seventh and final season of always ambitious, often audacious playmaking.
Alan Patrick Kenny did not find it easy earlier this month to discuss how New Stage Collective's production of Stephen Sondheim's 'A Little Night Music' would be the company’s final production. He said, "I did everything I could to avoid it." After seven seasons, NSC and its ambitious co-founder have succumbed to a lack of funding.
The neighborhood's professional theater companies (Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, Know Theatre of Cincinnati and New Stage Collective) had a thrilling year artistically in 2008. They offered shows that spoke to issues of the day, and they brought tens of thousands of visitors to Over-the-Rhine, most of them the young professional types city leaders seem to covet. For their track record of serving Over-the-Rhine, their dedication to thought-provoking artistic work and their perseverance in face of economic difficulties and general apathy from the powers-that-be, CityBeat names Know's Jason Bruffy, New Stage's Alan Patrick Kenny of Collective and ETC's Lynn Meyers our 2008 Persons of the Year.
All the world's a stage, a famous writer once said, and we're simply players on it. We have our exits and entrances, taking on many roles throughout our lives. The stage we play on today is Over-the-Rhine, the oldest, most abused and most misunderstood neighborhood in Greater Cincinnati. A cast of thousands awaits.
This is an intellectual vaudeville that uses some songs, lots of supporting music, even a casual dance or two to augment its witty examination of serious ideas. So "The History Boys" is right up director Alan Patrick Kenny’s alley. And what a scampering pleasure he makes of it, raucous scene after raucous scene, right up to a powerful closing moment when the boys turn “Bye, Bye Blackbird” into a singularly appropriate dirge.