0 Comments · Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Blake Robison wants the Cincinnati
Playhouse in the Park to be at the forefront of Cincinnati’s cultural
conversation. “It’s our responsibility to bring the best theatrical
material, both old and new, to our community," he says.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 07:00 PM | Permalink
Season ahead includes homegrown works, award-winning shows and a couple of musicals
The Cincinnati Playhouse announced its 2014-15 season on Monday. I’m especially looking forward to Peter and the Starcatcher, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike and Circle Mirror Transformation, as well as the premiere production, Safe House. Here’s what’s coming our way, in chronological order:
Jeffrey Hatcher’s new whodunit featuring the world’s favorite detective, Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of the Suicide Club. (Marx Theatre, Sept. 6-Oct. 4, 2014)I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti, adapted from foodie Giulia Melucci’s hilarious memoir. (Shelterhouse Theatre, Sept. 27-Oct. 26, 2014)A world premiere by up-and-coming playwright and Cincinnati native Keith Josef Adkins, Safe House, inspired by his Kentucky ancestors. (Marx Theatre, Oct. 18-Nov. 15, 2014)Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical,
which traces America’s favorite girl singer from her Cincinnati
childhood and Hollywood stardom to triumphant comeback. It’s by the
local team of composer Janet Yates Vogt and writer Mark Friedman.
(Shelterhouse Theatre, Nov. 15-Dec. 28)The season also includes Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, back for its 24th year. (Marx Theatre, Nov. 26-Dec. 28, 2014)A new version of the recent Broadway show, Ring of Fire: The Music of Johnny Cash, directed by and featuring the star of the Broadway production, Jason Edwards. (Marx Theatre, Jan. 17-Feb. 15, 2015)The second U.S. production of an offbeat love story, Chapatti, a tasty new comedy of misadventures involving love and pets. (Shelterhouse Theatre, Feb. 7-March 8, 2015)Peter and the Starcatcher, the magical, family-friendly Peter Pan prequel that hooked five Tony Awards. (Marx Theatre, March 7-April 4, 2015)A compelling, darkly funny new play by Tracey Scott Wilson, Buzzer, getting its world premiere at Chicago’s Goodman Theatre this month. (Shelterhouse Theatre, March 21-April 19, 2015)The 2013 Tony Award-winning best play, Christopher Durang’s hit comedy Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, full of echoes of Anton Chekhov. (Marx Theatre, April 25-May 23, 2015)The comic off-Broadway hit Circle Mirror Transformation, winner of the 2009 Obie Award for best new American play. (Shelterhouse Theatre, May 9-June 7, 2015)
In a recent conversation, Artistic Director Blake Robison
described his program priorities and told me the Playhouse takes them
seriously. “Variety is one of our hallmarks. We’re always going to make
sure there are new works and culturally diverse works and that there are
family-friendly or multigenerational things. We will find ways to
continue to support and entertain the traditional audience while
reaching out in various directions to new audiences. It’s our
responsibility to bring the best theatrical material both old and new to
I’d say Robison’s third season sticks to his priorities.
0 Comments · Monday, December 23, 2013
How was 2013 as a year for plays and
musicals in Cincinnati? From where I stand — or sit, since I’m most
often in a seat at one of our local theaters — it stacked up pretty
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:00 AM | Permalink
Blake Robison to stage "Cabaret," "Pride and Prejudice" among compelling new work
“People look to the
Cincinnati Playhouse for classic entertainment and the best contemporary
theatre,” says Blake Robison, producing artistic director, as he announces his
second season, coming in September. For 2013-2014 he’s assembled an array of
big titles — including the classic Kander and Ebb musical Cabaret and a stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice — and a
collection compelling new work (including two world premieres), mostly on the
Shelterhouse Theatre stage.
The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has two stages: The Robert
S. Marx Theatre is the mainstage with 626 seats; the Thompson Shelterhouse
(which is in fact a one-time park shelter) can accommodate an audience of 225.
Both have thrust-style stages surrounded by audience seating on three sides,
making the action is close and intimate in both theaters.
On the Marx Stage:
Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan (Sept. 7-Oct. 5, 2013). The story of World War II’s
Tuskegee Airmen is told using live action, video projections and tap dancing.
This new work will be directed by Khan, its co-creator.
by John Kander and Fred Ebb (Oct. 19-Nov. 16, 2013). Set in Berlin in the
1930s, and especially in the decadent Kit Kat Club, it’s a musical love story
with lots of choreography. Marcia Milgrom Dodge, a Broadway veteran, will
Christmas Carol, adapted by Howard Dallin (Nov. 27-Dec. 29, 2013). Michael
Evan Haney will direct the holiday show with a cast of 30 for the 21st time.
Park by Bruce Norris (Jan.18-Feb. 16, 2014). This one won the 2011 Pulitzer
Prize and Tony Award for best play. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry’s classic
play, A Raisin in the Sun, the play
is explores racial attitudes in a Chicago neighborhood in 1959 and 2009.
Artistic Associate Timothy Douglas (who staged the current production of A Trip to Bountiful) is the director.
Prejudice, adapted by Joseph Hanreddy and J. R. Sullivan (March 8-April 5,
2014). Robison will direct this lavish, full-scale production of Jane Austen’s
Fur by David Ives (April 19-May 17, 2014). Maybe you know Ives’ very funny
collection of skits, All in the Timing. This is a full-length comedy about a
director seeking the right actress who gets more than he bargained for.
Artistic Associate KJ Sanchez is staging this one.
On the Shelterhouse Stage:
Spots on the Sun by Martín Zimmerman (Sept. 28-Oct. 27, 2013). The first of
several world premieres for the season, this one is a fable of revenge and
redemption set in a Latin American village just after a brutal civil war.
Sanchez is directing this one.
Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) by the Reduced Shakespeare Company
(Nov. 9-Dec. 29, 2013). The same guys who abbreviated Shakespeare, the Bible
and American history are at it again, premiering their latest abridgment right
here in River City.
by Amy Herzog (Feb. 8-March 9, 2014). Robison will stage this tale of a pair of
unlikely roommates, a 91-year-old grandmother and her 21-year-old grandson.
Ship by Anna Ziegler (March 22-April 20, 2014). Another world premiere
production, this one by an impressive young playwright who offers a humorous
and heartbreaking look at love, memory and decisions that change lives. Michael
Haney will direct. (Haney, perhaps Cincinnati’s best local director, was the
Playhouse’s Associate Artistic Director from 2001 to 2013; starting in the
fall, he joins Douglas and Sanchez in a trio of “artistic associates” who each will
direct two shows.)
Pool by Rajiv Joseph (May 3-June 1, 2014). Rajiv Joseph’s riveting
psychological drama is the story of a transfer student from the Middle East
whose life quickly becomes complicated. Douglas is the director.
Spectral sequel premieres at Cincinnati Playhouse
0 Comments · Saturday, January 26, 2013
Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s world premiere play, Abigail/1702, is the Mount Adams theater’s 66th premiere, and a
positive sign that new artistic director Blake Robison will continue the
company’s long tradition of fostering new theatrical works and emerging writers.
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Collaboration is the byword for many
arts organizations today, especially theaters where financial support is
tough to obtain and ticket revenues are seldom enough to support the
cost of productions. By working together, economies can be achieved and,
in some cases, multiple constituencies can be activated.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
More often than not, I try to introduce CityBeat
readers to new plays and writers. We see quite a few such shows locally
thanks to Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the Cincinnati Playhouse
and Know Theatre. In fact, looking at American Theatre’s list of
2012-2013’s “Top 10” most-produced plays, six have already been
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Daniel Beaty spent his first 18 years in
Dayton. He considers that a blessing. “I’m a native Ohioan,” he said in a
recent phone interview, as he prepares to bring his one-man show, Through the Night,
to the Cincinnati Playhouse, where it begins a four-week run on Thursday.
Playhouse production has lots of laughs but could use more heart
0 Comments · Friday, September 7, 2012
Director Blake Robison's first production is jam-packed with rousing non-stop action, hearty laughs and big
storytelling as well as beautiful scenic and costume elements.
Playhouse artistic director wants to be part of the dialogue
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Last week the Cincinnati Playhouse in the
Park announced that Blake Robison, currently the producing artistic
director at the Round House Theatre in Bethesda, Md., will become its
next artistic director, succeeding Ed Stern, who retires after 20 years a
the end of the current season.