by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:32 AM | Permalink
Perhaps this weekend
you want to take a last-chance trip down Memory Lane. You have that
option as the Showboat Majestic is wrapping up its production of Showboat Follies,
the final show that Cincinnati Landmark Productions will stage on the
historic vessel. It's a revue of songs and skits that should be fun if
not profound, but if you go (final performance is Sunday),
you'll be able to tell you foriends that you were among the last to
visit this nostalgic Cincinnati venue. (Unless the City of Cincinnati
finds another operator — which they've been seeking with no success.)
This weekend also offers the final performances of Oliver Twist at
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. It's a tale of crime and child abuse
from the Victorian era, and not terribly chipper — think A Christmas Carol
without any holiday spirits. But as always with Cincy Shakes, there's
some fine acting — and they've added some musical elements that keep
things interest, too. Through Sunday. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.
The most engaging theater onstage right now (and sticking around until Oct. 4) is Fly
at the Cincinnati Playhouse. It's a creative portrait of four aspiring
African Americans striving to be Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.
The challenges they faced — prejudice, rigorous training and
life-threatening aerial combat — not only made them pioneers who
addressed civil rights issues decades before the rest of America, it
made them heroes, too. Making this production all the more interesting
is a modern tap dancer who "underscores" many of the scenes with
movement and rhythm. I suspect you've never seen anything quite like
this. Tickets: 513-241-3888.
If you're a movie fan I suspect you've seen Carrie (based on Stephen King's novel about a bullied girl who unleashed her telekinetic powers) and Ghost
(about a guy who's murdered but comes back with the help of a crazy
psychic to save the lover he's lost). They've both been turned into
unmemorable musicals that are onstage locally for you to see. I've seen
them both, and I'm sorry to say that — despite some fine voices (in Carrie at the Carnegie, presented by Showbiz Players) and a lot of video and special effects (a touring production of Ghost at the Aronoff Center) — I believe you might be better off to pull out your DVD of either film to watch.
haven't seen it, but I'm intrigued by Northern Kentucky University's
production of Moby Dick Rehearsed. Herman Melville's great American
novel is brought to life onstage when a company of Shakespearean actors
stop rehearsing King Lear and consider a new play drawn from the tale of
the Great White Whale. Theater elements become aspects of the Pequod as the crew is lashed along in Captain Ahab's obsessive hunt for the beast that took his leg. Through Oct. 6. Tickets: 859-572-5464.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 07:31 AM | Permalink
Theatre company to focus on Covedale Center after 23 years on the river
Abandon ship! Well, that's not exactly true. In fact, Cincinnati
Landmark Productions has done a remarkable and loving job of sustaining
the ship — in the form of the Showboat Majestic, which it has operated
for 23 years in the face of at least 10 floods and countless repairs
(including a leaky hull). But with its lease running out later this
month, the company has decided not to return for the 2014 season.
Cincinnati Landmark will focus its endeavors on the
Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, the converted West Side movie
theater where it will offer a "Summer Classics Season" in a vein similar
to mainstream fare of classic comedies and musicals that has long drawn
audiences to the Majestic. There have been 170 productions on board
since 1991, attracting more than 350,000 patrons to the last floating
theater in the United States. Cincinnati Landmark is also embarking on a
new voyage with a performing arts center to be built in the Incline
District in East Price Hill, a venue anticipated to be up and running as
early as 2015.Tim Perrino, executive artistic director at Cincinnati
Landmark, says, "It's time to say goodbye. Our organization enjoyed a
prolific chapter in the Majestic's grand history, painstakingly caring
for the old boat" — launched in 1923 — "and producing seasons that paid
tribute to her heritage."
Opening this week on Wednesday, Showboat Follies
will be Cincinnati Landmark's final production on the Majestic. An
annual tradition, it's a compilation of musical showstoppers, comic
sketches, audience interaction and a return of the "Queen City Toast," a
longtime staple of season-closing shows. "This show has become our love
letter to the Majestic," Perrino says, adding that it's "a thank-you to
our subscribers, longtime supporters and the many artists who helped
make our time on the Showboat so special." Showboat Follies runs through Sept. 29.During the summer of 2014, Cincinnati Landmark will present four productions at the Covedale: Jerry Herman's Hello, Dolly! (May 22-June 1); Neil Simon's comedy, The Sunshine Boys (June 19-29); Footloose (July
24-Aug. 3), the 2014 Cincinnati Young People's Theater production, a
summer favorite using local high school talent; and a spectacular
song-and-dance show, The Will Rogers Follies (Aug. 21-31).
In 1989, the Showboat Majestic was named a National
Historic Landmark. No word from the City of Cincinnati, which has owned
the Majestic since 1967, as to what might be next. The Majestic was
operated with summertime shows by the University of Cincinnati for many
years, and it served as a popular venue during several of the Tall
Stacks festivals over the years.
1 Comment · Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Drawing on my efforts to cover theater in Cincinnati for a quarter-century (including writing for CityBeat
since 1994), two weeks ago I wrote about theaters that came and went
during the 1990s. This week, I’m looking at companies that started
during the 2000s.
Fifty years of marriage onstage at Covedale
0 Comments · Monday, October 22, 2012
The folks who run Cincinnati Landmark Productions know their audience:
This is the kind of warm-hearted, old-fashioned show that appeals to
their subscribers. But I Do! I Do! has really become a history lesson more than a romantic voyage.
Covedale stages Tennessee Williams' challenging portrait of a family's corruption
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Tennessee Williams was a brilliant American playwright, but his works are not easy going for people seeking pleasant
entertainment. Cat is not an
easy piece of theater: There’s not a likable character in this tale of a
greedy, selfish family.
0 Comments · Tuesday, August 28, 2012
As the final weeks of summer cool down, it’s time for
Cincinnati’s theaters to turn up the heat.
Covedale show is full of familiar tunes that will stick in your head
0 Comments · Friday, October 14, 2011
Irving Berlin lived for more than a century (1888-1989)
and his popular songs have outlasted even that incredible lifetime
— including “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” “Easter Parade” and
“There’s No Business Like Show Business” — so the current Covedale
Center revue I Love a Piano (a title from another of his well
known tunes) has a ready advantage with audiences of a certain age.
Cincinnati Landmark Productions takes ambitious swing at Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice classic
0 Comments · Monday, October 4, 2010
Cincinnati Landmark Productions' ninth season kicks off with an ambitious production of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's 'Evita,' the tale of the charismatic, controversial Argentine first lady Eva Perón. Brook Rucidlo, Michael Shawn Starks and Mike Sherman are strong vocalists, and this show has a hard-working chorus who play numerous roles and sing and dance from start to finish.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Want to feel younger, instantly? Head to the Covedale on the West Side for 'Meet Me in St. Louis.' If this nostalgic show, based on the 1944 Judy Garland film and full of playful tunes like "Skip to My Lou" and "Under the Bamboo Tree" doesn’t make you feel like a kid again, the audience will.
Showboat Majestic features an illuminating Eliza
0 Comments · Friday, September 18, 2009
Showboat Majestic closes out the 2009 summer season with the evergreen, ever-lilting, ever-intelligent Alan Lerner-Frederick Loewe 1956 musical 'My Fair Lady,' under Tim Perrino's direction. Much of this show is brightly energetic and cleverly staged, though occasionally ragged in execution on the postage stamp stage. All 18 cast members give the piece their Showboat best.