by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:11 AM | Permalink
I was at the Tuesday
night opening of a one-week run of the tour of the 25th anniversary
production of Les Misérables. You might be saying,
“I’ve seen that before — more than once.” But this is a new
version — no more turntable or pirouetting barricades. Now we have
some startling video that let’s you see the rebellious students
marching in the streets of Paris and Jean Valjean carrying Marius
through the sewers. The tour has great voices in all the roles; the
volume was amped up beyond my hearing threshold, but it’s a
powerful show — after all these years. Through Sunday at the Aronoff Center. Tickets:
Here’s a tip if you
want something that’s new(ish): The Light in the Piazza
was a Tony Award winner in 2005, and it’s being staged by one of
the most reliable community theaters in the Cincinnati area,
Footlighters Inc., at its Stained Glass Theatre in Newport. It’s a
romantic love story set in Italy in 1953, told with sophisticated
music, sometimes operatic performances. In June 2006, just before it
closed, it was broadcast on the PBS Live from Lincoln Center series,
drawing more than two million viewers. That many can’t make it to
Newport (it runs through May 19), but if you’re interested,
Footlighters is offering a “buy one, get one” deal for its 2 p.m.
matinee this Sunday, May 13. Tickets: 859-652-3849.
If you resonate with
the Blues, I recommend that you head to the Cincinnati Playhouse in
the Park for Keith Glover’s Thunder Knocking on the Door.
It’s a revival of sorts from 1999 — but thoroughly and creatively
reimagined for the Eden Park’s last mainstage production of Ed
Stern’s final season leading the Tony Award-winning theater. The
musical — with emotional tunes mostly by Keb’ Mo’ — tells the
story of the power of love, music and Blues guitar players. It’s
presented with panache, including technology and design that are all
about 2012. Through May 20. Box office: 513-421-3888.
The Doo-Wop silliness
of The Marvelous Wonderettes, a hit from 2010 at Ensemble
Theatre Cincinnati, is brought to life again with Life Could Be
A Dream, Roger Bean’s sequel to the story of some bubbly
girls who bond around teen hits from the ’50s and ’60s. This time
it’s boys, and that’s most of the difference. As in the two
Wonderette shows, Dream is shot through with adolescent angst,
this time around a local radio station contest that could “make
them famous.” It’s an excuse for two dozen tunes from the era, a
familiar formula. But ETC’s talented cast makes it a lot of fun.
(Through May 20.) Box office: 513-421-3555.
This weekend is your
final chance to see Know Theatre’s production of Bloody
Bloody Andrew Jackson. (Final performance is Saturday.) It’s
a youthful mix of political commentary, driving Rock, history, humor
and sober observations about America’s seventh president — played
as a Rock hero. I gave it a Critic’s Pick. Call the box office to
see if there are any cancellations: 513-300-5669.
Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.