by Rick Pender
61 days ago
Posted In: Theater
at 12:00 PM | Permalink
Perhaps by now you’ve heard that Cincinnati Shakespeare
Company is building itself a new home at 12th and Elm streets in
Over-the-Rhine. (Construction is already under way.) But before the
move, there’s one last season of theater to be produced at 719 Race
St., Downtown, the space where the group has performed since the late
1990s but has outgrown.
Brian Phillips, Cincy Shakes’ producing artistic director,
says, “Before we go, we have one last season here on Race Street. We
will present a slate of titles that are as nostalgic as they are
timeless and represent the next phase of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
This is the perfect chance to join us as we bid a fond farewell to Race
Street, because this goodbye is only the beginning.”
The season announced today offers nine productions, commencing with a powerful stage adaption of The Diary of Anne Frank (Sept. 9-Oct. 1) featuring Courtney Lucien — currently playing the title role in the current adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma
— as the young Jewish girl who records her harrowing story in her
diary. Her family’s experience, hiding from Nazi persecutors in an
Amsterdam attic, endures as a condemnation of man’s capacity for cruelty
and a celebration of the resilience of the human spirit. It will be
followed by Bernard Pomerance’s award-winning American classic, The Elephant Man
(Oct. 14-Nov. 5). Longtime favorite actor Giles Davies will play the
deformed central character, Joseph Merrick, and Brent Vimtrup portrays
the young doctor who finds an intelligent, sensitive man behind his
The season’s first Shakespearean production at the classic theater is the romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing
(Nov. 18-Dec. 10). It’s about Beatrice and Benedick, a perfectly
matched couple who can’t stand each other — a formula for great comedy.
More Shakespeare comes in January as Cincy Shakes wraps up the History
Cycle, a feat undertaken by just one other theater in the U.S. The
presentation in chronological order of Shakespeare’s history plays about
the reigns of five British kings and a century of turmoil began in
2013. The concluding elements of this series will be the 2017
productions of Henry VI: The Wars of the Roses, Part 2 (Jan. 20-Feb. 11) followed by the cycle’s thrilling conclusion with the story of England’s most murderous monarch, Richard III (Feb. 17-March 11), played by Billy Chace.
Lorraine Hansberry’s masterpiece of the American stage, A Raisin in the Sun
(March 24-April 15) comes next, about a working class African-American
family in 1950s Chicago. A financial windfall opens a door to
opportunity, but social pressures undermine their dream. The 1959 play
is a classic in every sense of the word.
Cincy Shakes’ final production on the Race Street stage, fittingly, will be Shakespeare’s final play, The Tempest
(May 5-June 3). Longtime company member Nicholas Rose will play the
magician Prospero in a sweet story of revenge, love, magic and
To add several sparks of hilarity to its final season,
Cincy Shakes will present two other shows outside the subscription
season. They are All the Great Books (abridged) (July 22-Aug. 13, 2016), another script from the deliriously fevered brains that created The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), The Complete History of America and
more. They’re calling it a refresher of literature’s greatest hits for
“everyone from the illiterate to the literati.” And it wouldn’t be a
Cincinnati holiday season without another round of Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) (Dec. 14-31). The 90-minute send up of “Beloved Holiday Classics” returns for the 11th year.
It’s a great send-off for the company, the little literary
engine that could, which will open the following season in the new
facility in Over-the-Rhine in September 2017.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Just a few more shopping days before
Christmas. Theater is a great idea for last-minute gifts. Start a
tradition that’s easy to repeat year after year. A trip to see a show is
a wonderful gift, especially for kids. My earliest memory of
theatergoing is my grandfather taking me to see the musical Brigadoon. I still remember it.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 2, 2013
You might know that Shakespeare’s Richard III focuses on one of his great villains. But among his 38 plays, there’s also Richard II.
You probably know almost nothing about this guy — a weak king, deposed
in 1399 — who died in captivity in 1400.