0 Comments · Wednesday, May 4, 2016
This old-fashioned show from 1949 is just the kind of
musical that Cincinnati Landmark Productions excels at staging.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 6, 2016
A-B-C: “Always Be Closing.” That’s the
mantra of four desperate Chicago real estate agents, locked in close to
mortal combat to become top dog.
by Rick Pender
127 days ago
Posted In: Theater
at 05:58 PM | Permalink
2016-2017 shows announced for Cincinnati Landmark venues
we’ve just passed the halfway point of the 2015-2016 theater season, the
over-achievers at Cincinnati Landmark Productions just announced plans for future
productions at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts and the Warsaw
Federal Incline Theater for 2016-2017.
Perrino, CLP’s executive artistic director, says, “With our two venues,
Cincinnati Landmark Productions has two great platforms to create exciting
theater and palpable neighborhood vitality. We set a course for success with a
summer of sellouts at the Incline in 2015, and we’re chomping at the bit to
bring these just-announced shows to life in 2016 and 2017.”
Covedale’s offerings are designed for mainstream audiences, while the Incline
offers two distinct seasons — “Summer Classics” presents shows with broad
appeal; the “District Series” produces more adult fare, both musicals and
Covedale Center’s “Marquee Series” for 2016-2017 will offer:Godspell
(Sept. 8-Oct. 2, 2016), Stephen Schwartz’s first big musical theater hit, based
on the New Testament’s Gospel of Matthew. Schwartz is the composer of Wicked.The Foreigner
(Oct. 20, Nov. 13, 2016), a comedy by Larry Shue, in which a shy, lonely guy
poses as visitor from an exotic country who doesn’t speak English.
The Night Before Christmas (Dec. 1-23, 2016) for the holiday season.
19-Feb. 12, 2017), John Patrick Shanley’s 2004 Pulitzer Prize winner about a suspicious
nun and a progressive priest.
(March 9-April 2, 2017), Ken Ludwig’s farce about a pair of Shakespearean
actors scheming for an inheritance.
My Fair Lady
(April 27-May 21, 2017), Lerner and Loewe’s classic musical about a professor of
linguistics who trains a Cockney gal to pose as an elegant noblewoman.
Incline’s “District Series” plans to produce starting next fall:
[title of show] (Sept. 29-Oct. 16, 2016), a clever musical about creating a musical to
enter in a festival.
God of Carnage
(Nov. 17-Dec. 4, 2016), Yasmina Reza’s domestic drama about a pair of parents
who come to blows arguing about a fight between their children.
The Rocky Horror Show (Feb. 16-March 5, 2017), the sci-fi parody musical from
1973 that inspired the 1975 cult film.
6-23, 2017), Peter Shaffer’s award-winning drama about a psychiatrist treating
a teenager who blinded six horses.
the pipeline for the Covedale’s current season are productions of Neil Simon’s
warm-hearted comedy Chapter Two (Jan.
21-Feb. 14) and two classic musicals, She
Loves Me (March 1-April 3) and Brigadoon
(April 28-May 22).
at the Incline for the balance of this season are the satiric musical Avenue Q (Feb. 18-March 6) and David
Mamet’s hard-as-nails real-estate drama Glengarry
Glen Ross (April 6-24). Those will be followed by the previously announced
“Summer Classics” season for 2016, featuring three likeable musicals Anything Goes (June 1-26), Baby (July 6-31) and Chicago (Aug. 10-Sept. 4). The Incline’s
summer season in 2015 completely sold out three productions — The Producers, 1776 and 9 to 5.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:28 AM | Permalink
A fairytale, a ghost story and lots of musicals for the holidays
December is full of shows for your holiday viewing pleasure:
Every five years or so, Ensemble Theatre rolls out a new production of its holiday rendition of Cinderella.
This one just opened on Wednesday, and while it’s the same material
that was presented in 2005 and 2010, it’s been freshened with a new set
and colorful costumes — and especially a vibrant cast with great voices
for the tunes with lyrics by David Kisor and melodies by Fitz Patton.
Brooke Steele is picture-perfect as the golly-gee title character who
prefers reading to going to a ball. But Kate Wilford as “Gwendolyn the
Well Wisher” (“I give good advice and then wish you well,” she tells
everyone with a sweep of her hand to musical accompaniment) encourages
her to go so she can meet Prince Frederick (Warren Bryson), who happens
to be another bookworm. They’re a lovely couple who overcome the modest
barriers thrown their way (she loses a pink sneaker that helps him
locate her later), but the show’s real energy comes from Sara Mackie and
Torie Wiggins as Cinderella’s crass stepsisters. They’re loudmouthed
losers, spewing malapropisms and ridiculous self-aggrandizement
(Wiggins’ Clarissa bellows competitively, “My patheticism outshines all
others”) — constantly mugging and fawning and arguing. Deb G. Girdler as
their manipulative mother Brunhilda is also great fun to watch as she
tries to control events to her own advantage. As is always the case with
ETC’s holiday musicals with scripts by local playwright Joe McDonough,
there’s a timely moral: “The essence of true beauty lies … beyond what’s
seen by normal eyes.” Oh, Cinderella and Frederick wear glasses — but
they see love pretty clearly. Through Jan. 3. Tickets: 513-421-3555
I’ve been attending A Christmas Carol at
the Cincinnati Playhouse for 25 years, as long as they have produced
it. The script — Howard Dallin excellent adaptation of Dickens’ classic
story — is top-notch and doesn’t need to be tinkered, but with actors
coming and going, it’s always fun to see how things shake out from one
year to the next. Greg Procaccino is the only actor to be in the show
every year, playing Marley’s regretful ghost and slimy junk buyer Old
Joe; the always-watchable Bruce Cromer holds the longevity record
playing Scrooge (11 years, after 8 as Bob Cratchit). Kathleen Wise
brings a light, bemused touch to Christmas Past in her first year;
returning performers include Ryan Gilreath as nervous, angular Cratchit
and Kelly Mengelkoch as the patient, loving Mrs. Cratchit, as well as
Douglas Rees as the ebullient Fezziwig and Annie Fitzpatrick as his
playful wife. There’s a new Tiny Tim for 2015, Henry Charles Weghorst,
the tiniest ever, I believe (he needs two pillows to sit at the dining
table), and truly adorable. This Playhouse production continues to be a
joy to watch, a glorious, glittering set and costumes that deliver you
to the mid-19th century. Pay attention to the David Smith’s sound design
and recorded music, which set the emotional tone for virtually every
scene. A Christmas Carol is a welcome Cincinnati holiday tradition. Through Dec. 30. Tickets 513-421-3888
Cincinnati Landmark Productions is offering shows at both
of its venues this month; neither is holiday per se, although the
musical Rent (at the Warsaw Federal Incline Theatre in
Price Hill through Dec. 20) begins and ends with Christmas, celebrating a
year of the “seasons of love” experienced by a clutch of impoverished
young artists in New York’s East Village. This is a high-quality
production, a great choice for fans of contemporary Rock music. Rent
is almost 20 years old, but it has stood the test of time, especially
as performed by the Incline’s committed, diverse cast of excellent,
energetic singers. Tyler Kuhlman as the depressed guitarist Roger has
the looks and the vocal chops for the role, and Lisa Glover is a fine
match as Mimi, the sexy club dancer and drug addict who makes a lot of
bad choices. Kelcey Steele provides the necessary connective tissue as
videographer Mark, and RJ Caldwell ably portrays Tom Collins, an
anarchist professor and street activist with AIDS. But the production’s
most memorable performances come from Aiden Sims as Maureen, the brassy
performance artist, and especially charismatic Christopher Carter as the
transgender drag queen Angel: His high-flying rendition of “Today 4 U”
is a show-stopper. The ensemble shines when presenting of Rent’s
iconic numbers, particularly “La Vie Bohème and “Seasons of Love.” This
production is a bold choice for the new venue, seeking audiences in
search of more ambitious, adult fare — there were empty seats on opening
night. Rent offers strong evidence that the Incline is up to the
challenge. I give this one a Critic’s Pick. … I was part of a very full
house for Mary Poppins last Sunday (at the Covedale
Center for the Performing Arts, also finished on Dec. 20); this
production is clearly intended as holiday fare for families. I wish it
were a bit more joyous. Mary (Alyssa Hostetler, who’s a fine singer) is a
rather starchy character who’s not very loveable. The uptight Banks
family she convinces to reconnect and have fun has an initially
irritable dad (Dave Wilson, another excellent voice) and a mom who’s a
budding feminist (Sarah Viola, who sings very well, too) — these aren’t
characters that children can instantly love. Even the two Banks kids
(Lili Shires and Peter Godsey, who work hard at being coy) are kind of
obnoxious. The production felt long, with numerous labored scene
changes. On the other hand, the audience had a great time — the songs
(familiar from the 1964 movie) are beloved, and everyone seems to know
them. That’s fun. Tickets: 513-241-6550
The touring production of Irving Berlin’s White Christmas
wraps up its engagement on Sunday. It’s a fine cast of singers and
dancers, a production full of familiar tunes that’s worth seeing if you
have the scratch for seats at the Aronoff Center. Tickets: 513-621-2787
If you prefer something not holiday-oriented, Xavier University’s theater program is staging Kenneth Lonergan’s This Is Our Youth.
It’s a three-character play from the 1990s (set in the early 1980s)
about young people struggling with the transition to adulthood. Guest
director Ed Stern, the Playhouse’s retired artistic director, told me it
was a great opportunity to work with actors who are exactly the right
age to play these roles. Read more from Stern in my recent Curtain Call
column. Performances are this weekend only, including a Sunday
matinee. Xavier Box Office: 513-745-3939
Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 7, 2015
Between 1982 and 2015, Americans’
attitudes about sex evolved. For evidence, check out two plays in
production locally: Laura Eason’s contemporary Sex with Strangers at the Cincinnati Playhouse on its Shelterhouse stage and William Mastrosimone’s 1980s drama Extremities at Incline Theater.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Let me admit right up front that I’m a total sucker when it comes to A Chorus Line.
No matter how many times I’ve seen it (quite a few over the past four
decades since it opened on Broadway in 1975), there are still moments
that grab at my heartstrings and bring tears to my eyes.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Landmark Productions (CLP) has hit a home run with the debut of the Warsaw
Federal Incline Theater this summer. I’m sorry
to say that the summer’s final offering doesn’t measure up to its predecessors.
0 Comments · Thursday, August 20, 2015
Landmark Productions (CLP) has hit a home run with the debut of the Warsaw
Federal Incline Theater this summer. As Artistic Director Tim Perrino announces
from the stage most evenings, the three-show season will record 45 straight
0 Comments · Monday, July 13, 2015
We all know the basics of how
the Declaration of Independence turned out, especially this time of year when
we celebrate that historic document on the Fourth of July. But do we really
know much about the men who fussed and debated in Philadelphia in 1776 to craft
the words that set in motion the course of American history?
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 8, 2015
The League of Cincinnati Theatres was
established in 1999 to strengthen, nurture and promote local theater