Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is partnering with the theater
program at Xavier University to stage Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
(Oct. 25- Nov. 3; tickets are $15-$30; 513-745-3939.) This came about
because Stephen Skiles, who heads XU’s theater program, is friends with
Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC’s artistic director. Skiles was an acting
intern at the Cincinnati Playhouse 16 years ago when Phillips was
recruited to fill out a cast.
This dense, provocative script is a challenging work, but director
Brian Isaac Phillips has staged it beautifully with nine excellent actors who are
breathtakingly powerful in a complex tale that spans 80 years and four generations of two intricately interwoven families.
It doesn’t matter whether your preference at
teatime is for cake or muffins. You’ll be pleased with Cincinnati
Shakespeare’s production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest,
full of sweets and bon mots.
I submit as Exhibit A for the strength of Cincinnati theater the current production at Know Theatre, Part I of 'Angels in America,' 'Millennium Approaches.' This powerful script deserves and demands strong acting, and some of the city's best performers have risen to the challenge, guest directed by Cincinnati Shakespeare's Brian Isaac Phillips.
Given the acclaim behind 'Angels in America' and Tony Kushner's continuing reputation as one of our nation's great (if controversial) playwrights, you'd think an ambitious professional theater company in Cincinnati would have staged the work before 2010. But we've only had 'Angels' onstage at CCM and at Falcon Theatre in Newport. Finally, Know Theatre of Cincinnati opens 'Part I: Millennium Approaches' this weekend, while 'Part II: Perestroika' will be added to the run on April 23.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It depends on what your definition of 'well' is." Sure, 'All's Well That Ends Well' at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company ends up neatly with loose threads tidied away. But truest delights are the four strong women who, as in no other play by Shakespeare, dominate the action as played by Kelly Mengelkoch, Sherman Fracher, Amy Warner and Sara Clark.
Imagine one of René Magritte's paintings brought to fulminous, razzle-dazzle life. That's Sarah Ruhl's highly, wryly comic new play, 'Dead Man’s Cell Phone.' Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati offers this regional premiere in a well conceived but mostly impenetrable production directed by Michael Evan Haney and brilliantly designed by Brian c. Mehring.
Imagine the result if Noel Coward had written 'King Lear.' Imagine the savagery that families reserve for their most bitter internecine battles but verbalized in the lilting, wit-lit language of drawing-room comedy. That's the effect of 'The Lion in Winter,' which is opening Season 16 at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company with seven most familiar and ordinarily persuasive performers directed by artistic guru Brian Isaac Phillips.
Staff positions have taken the biggest hit as Cincinnati's arts and cultural institutions hunker down to survive the recession. Some organizations have adapted through deliberate attrition, while other belt-tightening measures have included shorter hours and curtailed programming. "It's a painful time," says Raphaela Platow, director of the Contemporary Arts Center. The bright side (surprisingly, there is one) is that attendance is up for many organizations.