I submit as Exhibit A for the strength of Cincinnati theater the current production at Know Theatre, Part I of 'Angels in America,' 'Millennium Approaches.' This powerful script deserves and demands strong acting, and some of the city's best performers have risen to the challenge, guest directed by Cincinnati Shakespeare's Brian Isaac Phillips.
Know Theatre of Cincinnati's staging of Tony Kushner's monumental '90s icon 'Angels in America' continues with 'Part II: Perestroika.' Let me simply say that if you miss this show you'll kick yourself. It's a showcase of excellent Cincinnati actors doing one of the most important plays of the past 25 years.
Given the acclaim behind 'Angels in America' and Tony Kushner's continuing reputation as one of our nation's great (if controversial) playwrights, you'd think an ambitious professional theater company in Cincinnati would have staged the work before 2010. But we've only had 'Angels' onstage at CCM and at Falcon Theatre in Newport. Finally, Know Theatre of Cincinnati opens 'Part I: Millennium Approaches' this weekend, while 'Part II: Perestroika' will be added to the run on April 23.
To paraphrase Bill Clinton, "It depends on what your definition of 'well' is." Sure, 'All's Well That Ends Well' at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company ends up neatly with loose threads tidied away. But truest delights are the four strong women who, as in no other play by Shakespeare, dominate the action as played by Kelly Mengelkoch, Sherman Fracher, Amy Warner and Sara Clark.
William S. Gilbert's 1877 comedy is commonly assumed to be the inspiration for Oscar Wilde's later classic, 'The Importance of Being Earnest.' If you've ever laughed your way through that clever comedy, you should head downtown to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for a fresh dose of hilarity.
This might be early, youthful Shakespeare, but it's still Shakespeare, which means it's about splendid language as much as farce. And here's the true marvel of this Cincinnati Shakepeare offering: For all its spaceships, flying nuns and gorillas (yes, there's a gorilla), the language smiles through, intact, respected and as sweet and thrilling as it should be.
Big stories in the news — events like 9/11 and the Iraq War — have been the focus of many plays and films during the past several years. They are points of reference in Dying City, a 2007 play by Christopher Shinn that portrays the effects of such world-changing events in the context of a small but powerful personal drama. New Stage Collective is giving the play its local premiere, the first work by Shinn presented on a Cincinnati stage. His provocative script and this strong production will warm up the January theater scene.