by Rick Pender
15 days ago
Posted In: Theater
at 10:42 AM | Permalink
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
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.
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.
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
Posted In: Theater
at 10:19 AM | Permalink
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
at 10:52 AM | Permalink
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.
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).
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
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.
by Jac Kern
mean Drinking Liberally — the progressive, informal social group sprung from Living Liberally. Join
like-minded individuals at Clifton’s Fries Café (first and third Tuesdays;
second and fourth Tuesdays at Dutch’s Bar and Bottle Shop) and talk current
events, the upcoming election and other hot issues in a relaxed setting. Arrive
by 7:45 p.m. to get in on an Adriatico’s order.
Piccadilly Circus has set up its big top at the Bank of Kentucky
Center and tonight is the last chance to check out the spectacle. Expect
standard circus favorites like camels and elephants, high bar performers and
clowns. Bring the kids early and check out a free petting zoo and elephant,
camel and pony rides. Showtimes tonight are 4:30 and 7:30 p.m; bring $10 cash
ConnectedConversations continues its series of inspirational speakers tonight
with pioneer, publisher and producer Vy Higginsen. Higginsen’s story is marked
with numerous accomplishments – she was the first black female radio
personality to land a prime time gig in New York City, the first woman in
advertising sales at Ebony magazine, the first black woman to produce a drama
on Broadway and has founded a non-profit for young artists. Titled “Seeing No
tonight’s 7:30 p.m. show promises an
This is the perfect time of year to start a home garden, and tonight Civic
Garden Center presents an organic vegetable gardening class. Tending a garden
doesn’t have to be a pain – instructor Melinda O’Bryant will demonstrate how to
care for your garden using compost, organic fertilizers and pest controls and
weed suppression techniques. The program runs from 6:30-8 p.m. and admission is
just $10; free for CGC volunteers.
of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music hosts two free concerts at 8 p.m.
tonight. Visiting composer from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Scott Wyatt performs with and CCM faculty and students in the Cohen Family
Studio Theatre. As part of CCM’s Guest Artist Series, the New Continent Saxophone Quartet of the
Sichuan Province, China plays Robert J. Werner Recital Hall.Check out our music blog and To Do page for more happening tonight.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Cincinnati no longer has a theater awards
program resembling the Tonys (nominees for the year’s best Broadway
productions will be out soon), but that won’t stop me from naming my
choices for the best shows so far.