by Rick Pender
11 days ago
Posted In: Theater
at 09:30 AM | Permalink
If you want to go to the theater this weekend, you have plenty of choices, so long as you have the spirit of the season. Let's start with the familiar: Cincinnati Playhouse launched its 24th year of A Christmas Carol last week, and it's always a pleasure to see, featuring Bruce Cromer as Scrooge. But there are many more fine acting performances, including Ryan Wesley Gilreath as Bob Cratchit and Douglas Rees as the ebullient Mr. Fezziwig. Played out on a wingding of a set that spins and glitters and makes it possible to tell the story swiftly, Dickens' classic tale is a wonderful holiday tradition. Through Dec. 28. Tickets ($30-$85): 513-421-3888
Another tradition continues at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, where Sleeping Beauty is being revived for the fourth time. For 18 seasons, ETC has presented original shows by two local creators, playwright Joseph McDonough and composer David Kisor. It's a family-friendly piece that's conceived to entertain kids and adults with its innocent charm and a message that one person can truly make a difference. Many of ETC's regular actors return annually to do these shows, especially Deb G. Girdler (as the evil Wisteria) and Michael G. Bath (as her nefarious henchman). Intern Deirdre Manning is the sweet princess who sleeps for 100 years, and Terrance J. Ganser is both the prince who fulfills her curse and the one who breaks her free a century later. Especially enjoyable as a trio of mischievous fairies are Sara Mackie, Denise Devlin and Brooke Steele as Marigold, Lilac and Daisy. (They will be familiar to ETC audiences from several productions of the "Marvelous Wonderettes.") Through Jan. 4. Tickets ($28-$44): 513-421-3555
Lots of good holiday choices are up and running elsewhere: Forever Plaid – Plaid Tidings at the Covedale Center on the West Side; The Comedy of Errors at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company downtown; The Eight Reindeer Monologues at Falcon Theatre in Newport; and the Children's Theatre of Cincinnati's production of The Snow Queen at the Taft Theatre downtown.
If you prefer to avoid elves, nutcrackers and bah-humbugs, you should try Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical (CityBeat review here) at the Playhouse or The Bureau of Missing Persons, a the magical, mysterious production at Know Theatre (CityBeat review here).
Ho, ho, ho, indeed. That's enough theater to make anyone jolly.Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
Sleeping Beauty needs a bit more villainy
0 Comments · Monday, December 8, 2014
I love that artistic director Lynn Meyers calls Ensemble Theatre’s holiday shows “nondenominational, multigenerational.”
by Rick Pender
10 days ago
Posted In: Theater
at 11:00 AM | Permalink
Sought. Ensemble Theatre
Cincinnati hosts its third annual Meals for Monologues on Monday
and Tuesday between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. at 1127 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine.
It's an open casting call to Equity and non-union actors for theater, film, TV
and/or commercial projects cast by the theater's artistic director D. Lynn
Meyers. Interested performers should bring two non-perishable food (pasta,
canned goods, etc.) or toiletry items (soap, toothpaste) to the theater — to be
donated to the Freestore/Foodbank as well as a current headshot and résumé and
a short prepared monologue, song or two monologues. (No accompanist, so songs
need to be performed a capellla.) Time slots are five minutes maximum
and are available by appointment only. The deadline was last Friday, but a
quick email to Ben Raanan (firstname.lastname@example.org) will let
you know if any slots are still available. Meyers is a member of the Casting
Society of America, and she has tons of projects and connections beyond shows
at ETC; she recently did a lot of casting during two locally shot films, Carol
and Miles Ahead.
Fundraiser for New Edgecliff. The classic holiday story, Miracle on 34th Street
— yes, the one with Kris Kringle and Natalie Wood as a child actor — will be
brought to life as a radio production on Sunday evening at the Northside Tavern
(4163 Hamilton Ave.) as an old-time radio drama. Produced by New Edgecliff
Theatre with sound effects by WMKV's Mike Martini, it's a benefit to the
theater group. Admission is $35, and it includes a dessert buffet at
intermission provided by Cincinnati State's Midwest Culinary Institute.
Tickets: 888-428-7311 (or at the door).
The Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney
Musical seems to be a big hit. The show, onstage in the Shelterhouse, opened
on Nov. 20, and on its first night artistic director Blake Robison announced
that sales were brisk enough to make it possible to extend the production a
week beyond its intended closing date (Dec. 28) to Jan. 4. Demand for tickets
has continued, so the Playhouse has extended the show another week, now closing
on Jan. 11. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
If you've read Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel The Handmaid's Tale,
you know it's a creepy vision of the not-too-distant future in which the United
States has become a theocracy called the Republic of Gilead. An oppressive
regime forces women to bear children for population growth, but Offred resists
the demands made of her. Cincinnati Shakespeare gave Joe Stollenwerk's
adaptation of the show a workshop in 2009 and a short-run production in 2011
featuring veteran Cincy Shakes actress Corinne Mohlenhoff as Offred. Next month
Know Theatre fills in a TBA slot in its season with the show's first
full-fledged production (Jan. 23-Feb. 21). Cincy Shakes' Brian Phillips will
stage the one-woman piece with Mohlenhoff. They are married, so this is an
unusual opportunity for them to work together on a new work rather than the
classics that Cincy Shakes usually stages. Tickets ($20) are now available: 513-300-5669.CityBeat's Rick Pender posts theater notices on
CALL BOARD every Monday morning.
Cromer gives an astonishing, memorable performance in ETC’s An Iliad
0 Comments · Thursday, October 16, 2014
Bruce Cromer's embodiment of Poet is an acting performance to cherish, one of the most powerful I have ever witnessed onstage.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Bruce Cromer’s performance as The Poet in An Iliad
is no easy task. He’s playing a world-weary soul, sick of repeating
tales of devastation and death.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 3, 2014
No costume challenge is too daunting for
two local design divas Reba Senske and Caren Brady Young.
Theater season starts now
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 20, 2014
Shows that open seasons for local theater
companies carry added freight: They tell theatergoers, “This is what to
expect from us.”
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati Intern Company
0 Comments · Friday, June 6, 2014
Both pieces, staged by directing intern Ben Raanan (the
program is about 100 minutes), are well chosen pieces for the talented interns.
I hope to see several of them remain in Cincinnati for subsequent onstage work.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:25 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati's artistic director D. Lynn Meyers has assembled another set
of intriguing productions for 2014-15, opening with the musical Hands on a Hardbody (September), a Tony-nominated 2013 musical with a book by Doug Wright, the playwright of I Am My Own Wife and bookwriter for Grey Gardens,
both hits for past ETC seasons. This one is based on a 1997 documentary
about a Texas contest to win a new truck by being the last person to
keep at least one hand on the new vehicle.
In October-November it will be An Iliad,
adapted from Homer's classic Greek epic of the Trojan War by Lisa
Peterson and Denis O'Hare. This one-man show will be staged by Michael
Evan Haney, always a good bet for a fine production, and feature veteran
actor Bruce Cromer as the many characters in the story.
For the holidays, ETC will bring back Sleeping Beauty, another of its smart fairytale adaptations that entertain kids and make adults smile.
To kick off 2015, ETC will offer Sharr White's drama The Other Place,
a gripping psychological thriller. The March-April slot has not been
filled yet. In May, former Cincinnati Playhouse artistic director Ed
Stern will work with popular stage veterans Dale Hodges and Joneal
Joplin to present the regional premiere of Outside Mullingar, a romantic comedy by John Patrick Shanley, winner of the Pulitzer, Oscar and Tony awards. (He's the writer of Doubt and Moonstruck.)
They'll play the parents of the show's shy central character, Anthony,
who lives on an Irish cattle farm, next door to Rosemary, who has pined
for him for years. This one just had a Broadway production, so ETC's
production will be one of its first on a regional stage.
Subscriptions are on sale now. For the coming season, ETC will offer a five-show Tuesday preview subscription, as well as Sunday
evening subscriptions. The preview package provides the first chance to
see productions (and at $125 price, considerably below the regular
subscription rate), and the Sunday evenings have great seating availability. You can order a subscription by calling 513-421-3555.