WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 03.14.2014 140 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ccm musical theater seniors 2014 - photo mark lyons

Stage Door: Broadway's Future

I had a glimpse of Broadway's future last night on campus at UC. I attended Not Yet Famous, the 22nd edition of CCM's musical theater showcase, featuring the about-to-graduate senior class. The 19 vibrant performers presented a 45-minute program that they'll take to New York City on April 7 to present to casting agents, producers and others. It's how they begin to land contracts and establish relationships that will give them solid professional careers. With accompanist Julie Spangler at the piano, the singers worked as a large ensemble and smaller sets, but each one had multiple chances to show off her or his strengths as a singer, dancer and actor — they're all trained to be "triple threats" with a polished arsenal of vocal and movement skills. They were warmly received by the Friends of CCM, the support group that helps keep various programs at the conservatory going; the evening was a benefit. You have a chance to see the showcase for free if you act quickly: There will be performances on Saturday at 5 and 8 p.m. at Patricia Corbett Theater. No charge, but you need to call CCM's box office to reserve a seat (limit of two per order). I suspect tickets will be snapped up, so call right away: 513-556-4183. Wicked is in the midst of its three-week run at the Aronoff Center. This is one of the most popular Broadway shows of the 21st century (it's been running for a decade, as well as spawning productions around the world plus two national tours, one of which is in our midst). It's here through April 23, but tickets are expensive (cheap seats are $38 and anything else is more), so you might want to try your chances in the daily lottery for a $25 orchestra seats. Grab your valid ID and show up in person 2.5 hours before the curtain time to enter; if your name is chosen, you can purchase one or two tickets. Of course, if you're flush you can guarantee seats by buying what you need at 513-621-2787. The Playhouse just opened Pride and Prejudice, a theatrical adaptation of Jane Austen's most popular 200-year-old novel. I won't see it until next week (busy schedule), but if you're a fan — and it seems that everyone loves her novels of manners and romance — you probably need to line up to see this one. Director Blake Robison calls his production "epic," adding, "The story is a satire of the marriage market and an exploration of true love. What could be more fun than that?" It's onstage through April 5. Tickets: 513-421-3888. What with St. Patrick’s Day coming on Monday, this might be the perfect weekend to see Clifton Players’ production of The Irish Curse (at Clifton Performance Theatre, 404 Ludlow Ave.). Lots of folks have told me they enjoyed this tale about a group of Irish-American men who meet weekly in a self-help group in a Catholic church basement to discuss a sad “shortcoming” — let’s call it “small equipment,” a curse they believe has ruined their lives. It gets its final performance on Sunday, right before you line up for your first green beer. Tickets: 513-861-7469.
 
 

The Ariel Quartet to Perform All 17 Beethoven String Quartets

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 22, 2014
In the world of chamber music, Beethoven’s 17 string quartets are the ultimate summit. Composed over a span of more than two-and-a-half decades, Beethoven created masterpieces of astonishing beauty and complexity that never fail to engage listeners.  
by Rick Pender 11.22.2013
Posted In: Theater at 10:42 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
abe lincoln as a rapper - complete history of comedy - playhouse - photo sandy underwood

Stage Door: Comedies Abound

The theater season takes a bit of a pause around Thanksgiving, since many companies are readying holiday productions. But there are plenty of choices available this weekend. I'm not the only one who enjoyed the laugh-fest that is The Complete History of Comedy (abridged) at the Cincinnati Playhouse. I've heard numerous people who saw it say they were recommending it to others. In two hours the Reduced Shakespeare Company puts forth more humor than you can shake a stick at. (But be careful shaking sticks. You might get a pie in the face.) No matter your tastes in comedy — witty, loud or rude and crude — you'll find it in this production. How about Abe Lincoln as a deadpan rapper? This could be a good outing this weekend or a lot of fun for out-of-town guests who descend on you next week. Tickets: 513-421-3888. Tonight is an opening at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, the very frothy comedy Twelfth Night. (It's subtitle is "or What You Will," indicating that it's a lot of foolishness, which is an apt description.) In fact, Twelfth Night is a beautiful piece with clever situations, amusing characters, a bit of intrigue and a lot of mistaken identities. And several of the most laughable characters Shakespeare ever created, from the bombastic Malvolio to his persecutor Sir Toby Belch and Sir Andrew Aguecheek, plus the best of all Shakespeare's fools, Feste. It's a safe bet that this is a production that even those who fear Shakespeare will truly enjoy. Tickets: 513-381-2273 x 1. If you're more into storefront theater, you might check out the current production by Untethered Theater at Clifton Performance Theatre on Ludlow, just east of the business district. It's a tiny space (only 50 seats), but that makes it all the more interesting. The current production is Wendy Macleod's The House of Yes, a very dark comedy about a weirdly dysfunctional family. The story focuses happens while there's a Thanksgiving hurricane outside, so it's timely, too. Performances Friday and Saturday (through Dec. 7). Go here for tickets. This is the last weekend for Boeing Boeing, a crazy farce about a guy juggling three fiancees who happen to be flight attendants. It's at the Carnegie, featuring performers from the drama program at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. Tickets: 859-957-1940.
 
 

Singing The Personal And Political

A rarely performed 20th-century opera and a new work confront the clash of ideology and emotion

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The personal is definitely political in two operas onstage this month in both Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave, in which a young man chooses pacifism over a military career, and Fellow Travelers, based on the novel about a gay love affair during the McCarthy era.  

Parade (Review)

Carnegie, CCM co-production marches to a beat of injustice

0 Comments · Monday, April 15, 2013
The powerful true story of a terrible miscarriage of justice in 1913 Atlanta is the subject of the musical Parade.   
by Rick Pender 03.08.2013
Posted In: Theater at 10:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage 2-20 - cast of leveling up (playhouse) - photo sandy underwood

Stage Door: Tick Tock...

Can you hear the clock ticking? That's not just because this weekend marks the "spring forward" to Daylight Savings Time early on Sunday. It's also because several theater productions are just about over: If you want to see them, you only have a few days left. Leveling Up, the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's show about video gamers, is as contemporary as can be. One of its characters is recruited by the NSA to fly drones into war zones — activity that totally blurs the boundary between the real world and cyberspace, not to mention the moral boundaries between killing video villains and actual living people. (Review here.) The show is also about taking charge of your life in a world of maturity and responsibility, rather than retreating into simulated space. Deborah Zoe Laufer's script uses four characters, all twentysomethings, who will seem like people you know — their language, their actions, their concerns are the stuff of contemporary life. Box office: 513-421-3888. If you want something that's quite intentionally removed from everyday life, you need to check out the wry and ironic musical theater piece at UC's College-Conservatory of Music, Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's The Threepenny Opera. (Review here.) It's an allegory and critique of corrupt capitalism, told with dark humor in a production by CCM Opera chair Robin Guarino (who has staged productions at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City). She knows how to present the stark humor and cynical attitudes in Brecht's script, and the talented CCM musical theater performers (accompanied by a small onstage orchestra dominated by woodwinds and brass) provide great renderings of Weill's score. This is a rarely produced work, definitely worth seeing. Box office: 513-556-4183. Perhaps you prefer your cynicism in an 18th century mode: That's what you'll get with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of Dangerous Liaisons, a story of the idle rich who entertain themselves by seducing and manipulating their naive colleagues — or their innocent offspring. (Review here.) It's not a pretty story, in that the central characters are scheming and out for their own entertainment and pleasure, often for revenge. But if you like nasty behavior, this production has it in spades. Two of CSC's best veterans, Corinne Mohlenhoff and Giles Davies, play the Marquise de Merteuil and the Vicomte de Valmont, a pair of arch schemers who relish making a mess of others' lives. It's not everyone's cup of tea, but it's a literate, cleverly plotted piece of theater. Box office: 513-381-2273 x.1. The previous three shows finish their runs this weekend. When the Rain Stops Falling at Know Theatre has one more week (it closes on March 16), but you should order your tickets now: I expect the final performances will be hard to get into on short notice. (Review here.) This is one of the best shows that Know has staged in several seasons, a fine, complex script performed by a talented cast of nine, directed by Cincy Shakes Brian Isaac Phillips. (Four of the cast members are CSC regulars.) They play four generations of two families, strangely and fatefully intertwined. The story weaves back and forth between 1959 and 2039; at first it seems to be disjointed, then things suddenly beging to fall into place. By the time it's over — with several shocking moments along the way — you'll see how it all fits together. If you haven't seen this one yet, this is the ticket you need to get. Box office: 513-300-5669.
 
 
by Steven Rosen 12.12.2012
at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
krisrucinski2

A Star is Born at CCM

After previewing for CityBeat the recent American Voices XIV: Celebrating John Cage at 100 concert at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, I attended the crowded event to see the group I had featured, Percussion Group Cincinnati, perform Cage’s Music for Three while the CCM Philharmonia played Cage’s Ranga. It was as charming and strange, as enigmatically mysterious, as one expects of Cage.But what was completely unexpected — and absolutely, breathtakingly, thrilling — was the performance before that, CCM student Kris Rucinski’s mastery of the four movements of Lou Harrison’s Piano Concerto. Harrison, who died in 2003, had written the concerto in the 1980s for Keith Jarrett. The online Arts Journal has called this sweeping, complex and majestic half-hour piece “as formidable as any ever composed by an American.” And with good reason — its fiery passages erupt and tumble like lava; its quieter and more reflective moments are transcendent.It would seem a piece for a mature virtuoso, yet Rucinski showed stunning, sustained accomplishment, at peak fast-paced moments striking and pounding the keys, hand over hand, like Cecil Taylor. At others, he was as confidently elegant as any seasoned classical soloist.Pursuing a Master’s in Piano Performance, Rucinski already has several videos on You Tube. He’s a phenomenal talent, someone I suspect could some day become of CCM’s many most illustrious students. Maybe very soon.
 
 

CCM’s Kurt Response

With Kurt Weill Foundation grant and blessing, CCM builds festival celebrating innovative composer

0 Comments · Tuesday, November 13, 2012
The 2012-2013 season has no special significance for Kurt Weill, the German-American composer of “September Song,” “Speak Low” and “Mack the Knife.” But it’s a landmark year for the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music (CCM).  

More Than the Sum of the Parts

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.  
by Jac Kern 04.18.2012
Posted In: Movies, Events, Performances, Concerts, Culture, Arts, Holidays at 08:29 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_willem_dafoe_the_hunter

Your Wednesday To Do List

Celebrate: Today's oddball holidays include International Jugglers Day and National Columnists Day. Apparently a "juggler" can refer to an actual entertainer who can juggle several objects at once or a person who "juggles" multiple tasks or responsibilities (isn't that all of us?). Be sure to also show support for your favorite local columnists today. All chocolates, flowers and exotic dancers can be directed to 811 Race St., Downtown.Cincy World Cinema continues to present unique film opportunities for the Tri-State by screening The Hunter at Covington's Carnegie Center tonight and Thursday. Directed by Daniel Netthein, The Hunter  is based on Julia Leigh's critically acclaimed novel of the same name. Willem Dafoe stars as a Martin, a mercenary sent to Tasmania to hunt the last of a rare tiger breed. Martin is sent from Europe by an ambiguous biotech organization in an effort to extract mysteriously valuable genetic material from the nearly-extinct tiger. The screening begins at 7:30 p.m. both days. Tickets at $10 in advance, $12 at the door. Read our review here.University of Cincinnati's College-Conservatory of Music's production of Arcadia opens tonight with a preview at 8 p.m. The 1993 Tom Stoppard comedy takes place in an English country house in 1809 and 1993, weaving two story lines into one witty, cohesive piece. Both stories delves into past and present pursuits of knowledge and passion. The show runs through Sunday in CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater. Tickets for tonight's preview are just $11.The Mercantile Library turns 177 today, and to celebrate the institution, Civil War historian Peter Cozzens will present a lecture on Cincinnati Generals Hayes and Lytle and their involvement in the Civil War. Hayes was a member of the Mercantile Library and is one of three members to go on to become president. Signed copies of some of Cozzen's 16 books will be available for purchase. The 7 p.m. lecture is $15 for members, $20 non-members. Reserve your spot by calling 513-621-0717. Happy Birthday, Merc! You don't look a day over 150.Check out our music blog and To Do page for more arts, theater, events and concerts.
 
 

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