1 Comment · Monday, September 23, 2013
It takes a brave theater company to stage Carrie: The Musical. Since 1988 when it
lasted for just five nights on Broadway and lost its $8 million investment,
it’s been ridiculed nearly as much as its beleaguered central character.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 08:54 AM | Permalink
Lots of choices to fulfill your appetite for good theater this weekend. Best bet is to catch one of the final performances of Other Desert Cities at Ensemble Theatre (Sunday at 2 p.m.
is your last chance), the story of parents and children who just can't
get along. (CityBeat review here.) Heavy doses of guilt, sarcasm and politics fuel a lot of
family angst, and some unexpected twists and turns keep things
interesting as a daughter who's a writer blames her parents for her
activist brother's suicide — in a very public way. The show features a
solid cast of local favorites. It's definitely worth seeing if you can
get a ticket. 513-421-3555.
A wholly different kind of show is Fly
at the Cincinnati Playhouse, an imaginative recreation of the lives of
four men recruited among hundreds of African Americans during World War
II to fulfill piloting roles in bombing missions over Europe. (CityBeat review here.) The
Tuskegee Airmen were the leading edge of the Civil Rights movement, men
who had to overcome prejudice to prove their worth. The production is
made visually and sonically engaging with videos that recreate flight
and a soulful tap dancer who brings emotion — joy, sorrow, grief and
anger — to various scenes. It's a very imaginative show. Through Oct. 5. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
On Wednesday evening, I caught the opening night of New Edgecliff Theatre's staging of William Inge's 1955 comedy-drama, Bus Stop.
It's about a collection of lost souls who end up trapped in a Kansas
diner during an overnight snowstorm. They're largely caricatures, but
Inge was a master of naturalistic dialogue, and in the hands of some
fine local performers directed by Jared Doren the show takes on a
pleasant, believable life. Some good things happen, some sad stories are
told, and some lessons learned. At the Aronoff Center's Fifth Third
Bank Theater, through Sept. 28. Tickets: 513-621-2787.
And for something completely different, you might want to check out a production by community theater group Showbiz Players of Carrie: The Musical,
Stephen King’s creepy novel about a bullied adolescent girl who
unleashes telekinetic vengeance on her persecutors. The show originated
on Broadway in 1988 and was long considered one of the worst ever, but
it was reborn in 2012, and became a hit. Decide for yourself by seeing
it at the Carnegie in Covington. Through Sept. 29. Tickets: 859-957-1940.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 08:35 AM | Permalink
Two more days of the
2013 Cincy Fringe remain. In its 10th year, this year's festival has
provided consistently high-quality offerings. If you're serious about
the full range of theater, you owe it to yourself to catch a couple of
them. I can't go into everything here, but you can check out my column
from the current issue of CityBeat here or go straight to CityBeat's hub for web coverage where you can read coverage of all the shows, thanks to our dedicated corps of reviewers.One further recommendation: Make your way to Know Theatre after 10 p.m. on Saturday
to mix and mingle with the lively crowd and be among the first to learn
which shows have earned "Pick of the Fringe" honors. There's no charge
for admission; buy a drink or two and tip the bartenders generously.
This is a volunteer-driven event, so you might also say thanks to anyone
wearing a volunteer T-shirt.
as the Fringe sails off into the sunset, there's still plenty of
theater onstage locally. For instance, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
opens its revival of its hit from last summer, The Hound of the Baskervilles.
(Find CityBeat's review of last summer's CSC production here.) A three-man cast plays all the characters in a very funny take on the
classic Sherlock Holmes tale. The actors, a trio of Cincy Shakes' best
(Jeremy Dubin, Nicholas Rose and Brent Vimtrup), have been staged by the
always inventive Michael Evan Haney, the Cincinnati Playhouse's
associate artistic director and perhaps our finest local stage director,
who manages to squeeze every possible ounce of entertainment from this
hilarious script. The show had a sold-out run last July, and you can
expect a similar response this month; the run continues through June 30. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.
Another option: Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, at Falcon Theater in Newport. It's a funny script by Mitch Albom (the author of Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet In Heaven) about two bumbling Alabama duck
hunters who think they’ve shot an angel. The story lands in a New York tabloid and explodes from there. Through June 15. Tickets: 513-479-6783.
For something more serious, I suggest Showbiz Players production of Spring Awakening
at the Carnegie in Covington, the winner of eight Tony Awards
(including best musical). It's a tale of teen angst and emerging
sexuality, a powerful piece with a driving Rock score. Onstage through June 8. Tickets: 859-957-1940.
And there's still time to catch Shipwrecked! on the Playhouse's Shelterhouse stage (through June 16).
It's a fantastic and family-friendly tale about adventure and
storytelling, told imaginatively using three actors and a lot of clever
sound effects and adaptation of everyday things to create exotic
settings and dangerous moments, rescued by heroism or happenstance. (CityBeat review here.) A
good show for the whole family. Tickets: 513-421-3888
Finally, a reminder: The Tony Awards, recognizing Broadway's best shows, will be be broadcast on Sunday evening on CBS, starting at 8 p.m., hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:44 AM | Permalink
Nineteen all-volunteer community theaters honored
Last weekend a dozen Cincinnati-area community theaters
competed in the annual Regional OCTA Fest, each presenting 30-minute
excerpts of shows that had been produced sometime during the 2011-2012
season. Performances were presented on Thursday, Friday and Saturday;
the final day was capped by the annual Orchid Awards recognition program
on Saturday evening, where more than 60 productions received awards.
The excerpt competition, with performances evaluated by
three adjudicators from elsewhere in Ohio, results in three productions
being selected to go to the statewide event on Labor Day weekend.
Selected this year were Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, presented by the Drama Workshop; the musical Avenue Q, presented by Showbiz Players; and the musical Rent,
presented by Footlighters, Inc. An alternate is selected, too, in the
event that some complication prevents one of the chosen productions from
traveling to the state competition. The 2012 alternate is An Inspector Calls, presented by The Village Players.
Nineteen Cincinnati community theaters — all-volunteer
groups that produce shows throughout the region — were honored with
Orchid Awards at Saturday’s banquet, with recognition for individuals as
well as elements of productions. Footlighters, which presents its shows
at the Stained Glass Theater in Newport, had the show with the most
awards: Rent picked up 26, including one for “overall performance
quality.” Coming in second with 20 awards was Greater Hamilton
Community Theater’s production of the musical Little Women. Footlighters, always a strong contender, also took third place (16 awards) with a production of the musical The Light in the Piazza. Rounding out the top 10 award-winning productions were Cole (15 awards; Mariemont Players); The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (13, Greater Hamilton Community Theater); Titanic (12, Cincinnati Music Theatre); Over the River and Through the Woods (12, Mariemont Players); Same Time Next Year (12, Mariemont Players); Becky’s New Car (12, Middletown Lyric Theatre); and The Crucible (12, The Drama Workshop).
A final note: Mariemont Players, which produces six shows
annually (most groups present three or four, at most) had the strongest
overall showing, picking up a total of 68 Orchid recognitions.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Votes are rolling in for the 2009-2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Already more than 1,000 local theater fans have checked off their favorite local theatrical performances. If you haven't voted yet (Aug. 9 is the deadline), please add your own feedback. Results will be announced during the CEA event at Know Theatre on Aug. 29.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A lot of theater awards are handed out around the nation this time of year, including the Acclaims earlier this week in Cincinnati. I organize the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, which will return in August (for year 15) to honor excellence from this season just before the next one kicks off. Awards are arbitrary, subjective and unscientific, but that doesn’t stop us from being fascinated or rooting for our favorites.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Actors and stages and shows ... oh, my! April has offered Cincinnatians several unparalleled weeks of "We're off to see the theater." No matter which yellow brick road you followed, it likely led to a stage with an excellent production. Let me recap...
The word from Showbiz Players is 'entertaining'
2 Comments · Sunday, April 18, 2010
One of the first productions of this Broadway musical hit licensed to an amateur theater is happening right here in Cincinnati. Showbiz Players, a community theater with a history spanning three decades, presents it at the Madisonville Arts Center through April 25, and this production works hard to recreate the original.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2009
It's a New Year, a time typically full of hope and new beginnings, including our local theater scene. The economic downturn, however, is having an effect.