by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:46 AM | Permalink
Just how can Tracy Letts' sprawling play August: Osage County be wedged into the tiny Clifton Performance Theatre on Ludlow? Director Buz Davis knows that this show is more about characters and great dialogue than the set; he told me so. (Read more in my Curtain Call column here.) He's made it possible for you to sit in the midst of the home of the cantankerous Westons as they fuss and fight when their father goes missing and their mother's addiction to pain killers spills over into everyone else's lives. The show won both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award in 2008, so it's one you should have on your list to see if you're a serious theatergoer. (Through March 13). Tickets: 513-861-7469.Although it's about another family struggling to get along while husband and father is absent, there's a whole different dynamic in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women, presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. This adaptation by Emma Reeves should offer an excellent opportunity to see some of Cincy Shakes' best actresses onstage; it's being directed by Sara Clark (who would likely be in the show, but she's pregnant right now, wich doesn't quite fit this story). It opens tonight and runs through March 21. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.
The short run of a touring production of Cole Porter's jaunty Anything Goes is over on Sunday. Need a mid-winter getaway? Take a madcap cruise on the S.S. American and watch as love affairs go overboard and confusion reigns. This show from 1934 has been reinvented numerous times, most recently in a 2011 Broadway revival that won a boatload of Tony Awards. Tickets: 513-621-2787.It's always worth paying attention to productions on our local university stages, where fine renditions of classic theatrical works are the norm. Northern Kentucky University just opened a production of the great musical Les Misérables, onstage through March 1. I'm told most performances are sold out, but if you show up in person (no calls) you can be put on a wait list and fill seats available just before curtain time. At Xavier University this weekend (through a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee) you'll find a production of Shakespeare's most beloved comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream, staged by Jeremy Dubin, veteran member of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Tickets: 513-745-3939.Continuing productions this weekend include the Cincinnati Playhouse's staging of the charming romance between dog and cat lovers, Chapatti (through March 8; CityBeat review here) and Falcon Theater's production of the tense drama about race relations in 1960s Alabama, In the Heat of the Night (through Feb. 28). Falcon performs in a small theater space on Monmouth Street in Newport. … It's also the final weekend for Know Theatre's production of the one-woman version of The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel adapted for the stage. Cincy Shakes veteran Corinne Mohlenhoff is doing a bravura job with this thoughtful and frightening piece. Tickets: 513-300-5669Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:09 AM | Permalink
Speaking in Tongues is a complicated noir-ish tale of marital
deceit and cryptic crime that unfolds more clearly because of its
accomplished four-actor cast, including local professionals Bruce
Cromer (who’s played roles as varied as Ebenezer Scrooge for the
Playhouse to King Lear for Cincinnati Shakespeare) and Amy Warner (a
regular at Ensemble Theatre and Cincinnati Shakespeare). The show is
a fascinating piece of theater that takes work to watch, follow and
absorb. I suppose that some casual theatergoers will be put off by
it, but if you like challenging drama and multi-layered acting,
you’ll leave the theater with your gears spinning. I gave Speaking
in Tongues a Critic’s Pick in this week's "Curtain Call" column. Onstage through March 4. Box office:
you’re a fan of the Cincinnati Fringe, you should check out the
at CCM on the University of Cincinnati campus. I was there last
evening and saw three of the six performances, especially enjoying
an interactive piece by nine actors based on John Wilkes Booth’s
final days. I also was entertained by The Eddie Shanahan Show,
closely inspired by Dickens’ A
but with some very modern twists. Attendees choose between six brief
productions (30 minutes or less) that are completely created,
promoted, enacted and staged by drama students. It’s a February
boost of creativity, staged throughout the CCM facility, Friday and
Saturday evenings at 7:30, as well as a 2:30 matinee on Saturday.
Admission is free, but you need to call the CCM box office to reserve
your ticket: 513-556-4183.Another
university option can be found at NKU. It’s Aaron Sorkin’s The
telling the story of Phil Farnsworth who invented television but
spent much of his life in legal wrangles with David Sarnoff, RCA
executive and the first “media mogul.” Sorkin's credits — from
— are a guarantee of a heady, exciting tale based on real events.
Tickets ($14 is the maximum price): 859-572-5464.
“comedy of anxiety” by Allison Moore, Collapse,
opens with the collapse of a highway bridge over the Mississippi
River in Minneapolis. But it’s about all kinds of things falling
down — the economy, relationships. This is the kind of edgy script
Know Theatre is known for, funny but meaningful. I gave the
production a Critic’s Pick because it combines heart and humor.
Collapse is presented with comic finesse and fine acting,
especially by local professional actress Annie Fitzpatrick. Know’s
best work of the season. Through March 3. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
This weekend is your
last chance to see the regional premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The
Whipping Man at Ensemble Theatre (through Saturday evening).
The historical play, set in Richmond, Va., in April 1865, just days
after the end of the Civil War, is a gripping drama that’s
beautifully staged and convincingly acted. I gave it a Critic’s
Pick. The production has been extended a week because of demand for
tickets; you won’t be contending with subscribers this weekend, so
if you haven’t seen it yet — call for a ticket: 513-421-3555.Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a
few pieces of theater news.