0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2015
The dancers who back up Broadway
productions are called “gypsies.” They lead anonymous lives, but they’re
passionate, dedicated performers.
Covedale Center stages a Pulitzer Prize-winning classic
0 Comments · Monday, September 15, 2014
It is a wonderful risk any time a theatre company takes on a classic like Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire.
It is an especially wonderful risk for actors who go up against our
collective or personal expectations of what their performances should
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 10:09 AM | Permalink
Sherlock Holmes and the Adventure of
the Suicide Club opened last night at the Cincinnati
Playhouse in the Park. It's a new adventure for the Victorian sleuth. How can
that be, you might ask, if you're a Sherlock fan — this isn't a familiar title.
That's because playwright Jeffrey Hatcher picked up Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's
memorable detective, a master of deductive observation, and plugged him into a
tale of mystery and intrigue conceived by Robert Louis Stevenson back in 1878.
No spoilers here, but I will tell you that the plot of this show requires
closely following a complex tale of both personal and political intrigue.
Hatcher has set the story in 1914, on the brink of the first World War, and the
state of international relations in Europe is woven into the tale. But there's
nothing dry about this story, and Steven Hauck's performance as Sherlock is
very satisfying: He brings a quirky physicality as well as a sharp wit to the
character that makes him very engaging. Fans of Sherlock will not be disappointed
by this show. Through Oct. 4. Tickets ($30-$85): 513-421-3888.
I attended the opening of The Great Gatsby at
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company last week. In my review, I said, "the production gets the story and the era
right," and I added that CSC's Justin McCombs "perfectly
embodies" Nick Carraway, the honest narrator of this Jazz Age tale of
nouveau riche Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, the one-time debutante who
obsesses him. There's lots to like about this production, which captures the
essence of lavish parties and the fast life of the Roaring Twenties. Cincy
Shakes is committed to bringing classic literary works to the stage, and this
production is a good example of how they get it done. Simon Levy's script hews
close to F. Scott Fitzgerald's 1924 novel, and the company's actors bring life
to the characters. Through Oct. 4. Tickets ($22-$36): 513-381-2273.
Everyone I've talked to about Hands on a Hardbody
at Ensemble Theatre has been enthusiastic about the show that brings to life a contest to win a
Nissan pickup truck by keeping one hand on it the longest. It's a true story
(it was a 1997 documentary) and these feel like real people, down on their luck
but dreaming what a difference that winning could make. The music is by Trey
Anastasio (of Phish) and Amanda Green, and the script was written by Pulitzer
Prize winner Doug Wright. ETC has staged memorable productions of his play I
Am My Own Wife and his musical, Grey Gardens. But the real
attraction is an excellent cast who make you believe in these people,
struggling to stay away and outlast one another under the brutal sun beating
down on the Texas parking lot of a Nissan dealership. It's a fine entertainment.
Through Sept. 21. Tickets ($28-$44): 513-421-3555.
Just opened at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts
is a production of Tennessee Williams's great American play, A Streetcar
Named Desire. It's about a woman who's down on her luck but unwilling
to admit it. When genteel Blanche DuBois moves with her pragmatic sister and
her brutal, blue-collar husband, Stanley Kowalski, is a rude awakening that
goes downhill fast. Through Oct. 5. Tickets ($-$): 513-241-6550.
If you've become a fan of shows in the intimate Clifton
Performance Theatre, you might want to check out The Riverside, a
play written and directed by local theater artist Kevin Crowley. It's a story
set in a Cincinnati bar in 1989 as locals follow the saga of Pete Rose's demise
in baseball, the fall of the Berlin Wall and Tiananmen Square. But the bar
itself is changing, too, impacting the lives of the family that owns it as well
as its patrons.Through Sept. 27. Tickets ($25): https://cpt.tixato.com/buy/.
Bennett revue falls flat
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ I Left My Heart, A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett
at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts presents a musical
tribute to Bennett, with more than 30 songs made famous by or famously
sung by the legendary crooner.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 19, 2013
As the Sitwell’s Coffee House crowd
buzzes around him, Jon Kovach calmly ticks off his lengthy list of
commitments for the approaching summer.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
, Visual Art
at 09:26 AM | Permalink
Tonight (Friday) Know Theatre opens a new production of a
work that's bound to launch a lot of conversations. And let's not beat
around the bush: The real title of Mike Bartlett's play is Cock (The Cockfight Play
is the substitute title for media that are afraid to offend). It's a
tense comedy about sexual identity: John takes a break from his longtime
boyfriend and unexpectedly falls in love with a woman. The story is
about how he's caught in a tug-of-war between these two lovers, and the
play's conflict is John's navigation of his sexuality and his selfhood.
It's also told without scenery or props, focusing squarely on the
relationships. According to Know's Eric Vosmeier, "It's a kind of
pansexual love story that's told very simply without all the trappings
of a traditional production." Vosmeier describes this production as "one
of the first victories of Know's new scheduling model." The rights for
Cock just became available; this is only the second American production
of the play that premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2009. The
show runs through May 11. Box office: 513-300-5669
This weekend is the opener for Covedale Center's production of Legally Blonde,
the show that kicked up controversy in a Loveland High School staging
last fall that led to the firing of a dedicated director. I still shake
my head over what could offend anyone about this PG rated piece of
musical theater, but you can check it out and decide for yourself at the
Covedale. It's about a young woman who won't take "no" for an answer
and becomes her own woman in the process — outshining everyone at
Harvard Law School. It's kind of crazy, but a lot of fun. No one will
get fired over this one, I suspect. Box office: 513-241-6550
The Otto M. Budig Theatre at the Carnegie in Covington is in the midst of a run of Jason Robert Brown's Parade.
My schedule and the theater's haven't matched up yet, but I'm eager to
see it — I'm headed there for the Sunday matinee this weekend. Set in
the sweltering intolerance of 1913 Atlanta, Parade is the story of Leo
Frank, a northerner and Jewish factory manager, wrongfully accused of
murdering a 13-year-old girl in his employment. Despite media frenzy and
public outrage, his courageous wife struggles in vain to clear his
name. The show won 1999 Tony Awards for best book and best score. This
is an off-campus production by the musical theater program at UC's
College-Conservatory of Music, and it's been given high marks by the
judging panel from the League of Cincinnati Theatres: for the ensemble,
for musical direction by Steve Goers, for featured actor Noah Ricketts
and for lighting design by Alan Hanson and Wes Richter. It's onstage
through April 21. Box office: 859-957-1940
Untethered Theater is midway through it's run of Jeff Daniels' Apartment 3A,
presented at the Clifton Performance Theatre on Ludlow, a few blocks
east of the Esquire. It's about a once idealistic young woman who has
been disillusioned in just about every aspect of her life. The show is
an exploration of faith and hope in today's world, described as "an
uncynical play about cynics in cynical times." Through April 27.
Lumbering to the finish line
0 Comments · Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Broadway Bound is the third and final installment
in Neil Simon’s semi-autobiographical cycle of plays about growing up in
Brooklyn in the 1930s and ’40s.
Holiday theater for the nice and naughty
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 20, 2012
How does that upbeat holiday tune go? “It’s the most
wonderful time of the year”? If you’re a theater fan and a devotee of
holiday cheer, that’s the song you’re humming.
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.