WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 02.27.2015 2 hours ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
little-women_-cincinnati-shakes-photo-mikki-schaffner

Stage Door: Cincinnati Theaters Generating Heat, Despite Cold Weather

Last weekend's snowstorm canceled performances at several local theaters (including the Cincinnati Playhouse), so you might have had several days without theater. Is it time to make up? I finally caught up with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's adaptation of Little Women​ last night, and I'm glad of it. While the weather is still cold and sidewalks still treacherously icy, the warmth generated by Jo March and her saucy sisters is a welcome tonic. Of course Louisa May Alcott's story of a temporarily fatherless family during the American Civil War is sentimental and, at times, rather maudlin, but the actresses at Cincy Shakes bring such vivacity to their roles that there's plenty to enjoy. Maggie Lou Rader is especially vivacious as Jo, the fiercely independent aspiring writer who insists on finding her own way in a world controlled by men; Kelly Mengelkoch is emotional, conscientious elder sister Meg; Caitlin McWethy is shy and loving Beth; and Courtney Lucien is Amy, the impetuous baby who matures in the second act. Annie Fitzpatrick is Marmee, their steadfast mother, and Justin McCombs is the spirited boy next door who captures the hearts of several of the sisters. The production is simply but effectively staged, enhanced by some subtle video projections and lovely choral singing of period hymns by the ensemble. It's a gentle story that beautifully conveys the virtues of family, sisterhood and feminine intellect in a period when such matters were not always top of mind. It's onstage through March 21. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1. Last Sunday, while many of you might have been watching the Academy Awards, I was one of 15 or so people in the audience watching Clifton Players' staging of August: Osage County. That's not quite as pitiful as it might sound, since the tiny Clifton Performance Theatre has only about 40 seats for this production. You're right in the midst of the bitter wars being conducted by the combative Weston family, brought together by the disappearance of their father and their mother's relapse into drug dependence and impossibly difficult behavior. But each of Beverly and Vi's three daughters have problems, issues and complicated family situations of their own, so Tracy Letts' three-act, three-plus hour show offers plenty of juicy roles for some of Cincinnati's best actors. The show has typically been played on a big set, but the closeness of CPT makes August: Osage County a powerful evening of dysfunction that's right in your face. Need some heat despite the cold snap? This is your show. It's a Critic's Pick (CityBeat review here). Onstage through March 13. Tickets: 513-861-7469.Performances tonight and Saturday evening will wrap up the run of In the Heat of the Night at Falcon Players in Newport (tickets: 513-479-6783), and Northern Kentucky University's Les Misérables continues through a Sunday matinee. The latter has been sold our for most performances, but if you show up an hour before curtain time, you can get your name on a wait-list for a seat. For a glimpse of the future, check out my blog postings here and here from earlier this week with 2015-2016 season announcements for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Landmark Productions (at the Covedale Center and the new Incline Theatre) and Cincinnati Shakespeare.Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 

August: Osage County (Review)

Truth telling: watch out

0 Comments · Thursday, February 26, 2015
George Washington was known for never telling a lie. But telling the truth — even the so-called truth — can be a hazardous path, as evidenced by the meltdown of the Weston family, who populate Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, August: Osage County.   

Chapatti (Review)

Finding love by living

0 Comments · Friday, February 13, 2015
Pets can fill our lives in important ways, but Christian O’Reilly’s play, Chapatti, at the Cincinnati Playhouse, suggests that human interaction — the company of another person — is needed for true fulfillment.   

Juicy Words and Family Feuds in a Tight Space

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 18, 2015
Director Buz Davis recently gave me a tour of the set he designed for August: Osage County, the show he’s directing at Clifton Performance Theatre.   

Local Festival Offers Unified and Universal Narratives

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Once again, the Mayerson JCC Jewish & Israeli Film Festival presents award-winning films born within the independent film scene and features appearances by filmmakers as well as special Q&A events with leading scholars in the region.  

Playwriting “Like a Girl”

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 4, 2015
In a “Curtain Call” column last August, I pointed out the scarcity of plays by women staged locally. But I neglected to mention one of the most important writers of the late 20th century: Wendy Wasserstein.  

MamLuft&Co. Dance Brings Mixed Repertory to Aronoff

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2015
Coming off a successful fall touring season with performances in Chicago and Roanoke, Va., the eight modern dancers of MamLuft&Co. Dance take the Aronoff stage this weekend for the company’s first mixed repertory concert.  

Making Waves

Camp Washington’s multipurpose gallery space Wave Pool boosts Cincinnati’s contemporary art community

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 7, 2015
San Francisco used to be a destination for aspiring artists until the high cost of living started driving creatives away. In its wake, suddenly Cincinnati’s affordability and desire for artists have pegged us as a potential new art frontier.    
by Rick Pender 01.02.2015 56 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 09:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
michael marotta_susan haefner_rosemary clooney in tenderly_photo sandy underwood

Stage Door: Start the New Year with a Show

With the holidays just behind us, there's a kind of a lull on local stages, but this weekend has a few offerings to consider. At the Cincinnati Playhouse there's a popular production that's been extended twice, so you still have chances to see Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical through Jan. 11. The show is a great recreation of the career of girl singer Clooney who grew up in Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati and rose to stardom in the 1950s and 1960s, only to find that the music world's fascination with Rock 'n' Roll was putting her in the rear view mirror. But she figured out how to reinvent herself and overcome drug dependency, too. Susan Haefner acts the part and sings a slew of convincing renditions of Clooney's Pop and Jazz hits. Michael Marotta plays her therapist and more: He steps in and out of portraits of all the other people in Clooney's life, from her mother and her sister to big names like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby. It's a very entertaining show, guaranteed to warm up an early January night at the theater. Tickets ($30-$85): 513-421-3888. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is offering one final weekend of its "non-denominational" holiday fairytale musical, Sleeping Beauty. With songs by local composer David Kisor and an entertaining script by Cincinnati playwright Joe McDonough, this production is good for kids and adults. Acting intern Deirdre Manning steps out in the title role with a fine singing voice and fellow intern Terrance J. Ganser is her Rock star prince and her soulful savior a century later. But the real zip in the show comes from Deb G. Girdler's evil Wisteria and Michael G. Bath as Falcon, her devious assistant. Final performance is 2 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets ($18-$44): 513-421-3555.Speaking of ETC, for the next week or so the theater is offering $10 off adult tickets to performances early in the runs of an engaging thriller The Other Place (Jan. 29-Feb. 3), the drama with historical context Detroit '67 (March 18-24) and a romantic comedy Outside Mullingar set in Ireland (May 6-12). Just mention the coupon code NEWYEAR15 when purchasing tickets in those date ranges online (www.ensemblecincinnati.com), in person or by phone (513-421-3555), and you'll save $10. That's a good way to get 2015 off on the right foot! Rick Pender's STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
 
 

FotoFocus Biennial Already Planning Ways to Ring in 2016

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 31, 2014
FotoFocus seems to be establishing itself on the city’s arts calendar.  

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