A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant (Review)

Know Theatre's new holiday show is deadpan and satirical

2 Comments · Wednesday, December 3, 2008
It's the time of year when theater companies present shows that veer from their routine fare in hopes of selling lots of tickets to fund subsequent productions more aligned with their mission. Know Theatre presents a tongue-in-cheek, 50-minute musical telling the story of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard and the fundamental precepts of his church as interpreted by kids doing a reverent holiday skit. It's deadpan and satirical ... and also a tad mystifying.   

Santaland Diaries (Review)

Hit or miss holiday hilarity from David Sedaris

0 Comments · Friday, December 5, 2008
'Tis the season, and those jolly holiday elves at New Edgecliff Theatre have arranged for us to revisit Mrs. Jocelyn Dunbar of haute suburbia. She comes complete with a $1.98 blonde wig and a razor tongue, telling her merry tales of an overachieving older son, an underachieving younger son, a flame-tattooed, drug-devoted daughter, a crack-damaged infant grandson and, of course, her philandering husband and his holiday surprise to the Dunbar household: a screeching, mini-skirted, 22-year-old souvenir of his wartime romping in Vietnam.   

Alice in Wonderland (Review)

Cheering for cheer at Ensemble Theatre

0 Comments · Friday, December 5, 2008
'Alice in Wonderland' is Lewis Carroll's beloved whimsical tour de force, written as a cautionary lesson for the daughters of a friend. The story has been updated by Cincinnati playwright Joseph McDonough, with the addition of appropriately silly lyrics and catchy Pop tunes by David Kisor. McDonough's book remains faithful to the spirit of the original, but he hasn't shied away from adding elements familiar to contemporary young people.  

A Christmas Carol (Review)

Playhouse sustains holiday traditions

1 Comment · Monday, December 8, 2008
Charles Dickens published 'A Christmas Carol' in 1843, and onstage versions of it are today a holiday staple at theaters across the English-speaking world, cash cows that sustain operating budgets for the theater season. The tale resonates not simply because Scrooge's conversion has become a familiar holiday story but because Dickens wrote with passion about the plight of everyday people.  

It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Drama (Review)

Falcon Theatre takes a step back in time

0 Comments · Monday, December 8, 2008
Stepping inside the Monmouth Theatre in Newport for Falcon Theatre's production of 'It's a Wonderful Life' feels like a step back in time. The company has transformed the intimate performance space into the Falcon Broadcasting Company, a replica of a 1940s radio broadcasting studio. The effect is fun and nostalgic.   

Stages of Cheer

Even on a tight budget, there's holiday spirit at local theaters

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Despite the hard times upon us, you can still enjoy the holidays at a local theater. In fact, Charles Dickens (whose Christmas Eve tale of Ebenezer Scrooge helps many theaters in America balance their budgets) has become kind of a patron saint for the holidays.  

Let's Make a Deal for Theater Tickets

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 26, 2008
I'm not much for holiday shopping, but with the wheezing economy dimming our holiday spirits, I have some suggestions for gifts that will keep you (or those you love) theatrically entertained in the New Year without breaking the bank. A great option offered by many mid-sized theaters is a "flex pass."  

The Price (Review)

Arthur Miller delves into the detritus of broken promises

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 19, 2008
"The Price" is neither the last nor the least of Arthur Miller's plays, although it arrived later (1968) and is certainly a lesser effort than the two seminal plays that elevate him to the very pinnacle of American playwriting. Now through Nov. 23 at the Madisonville Arts Center, four Blue Chips Players are airing out the piece in a sometimes rambling, mostly vigorous, ever contentious production that's not unlike beating the dust out of an old carpet.   

God's Man in Texas (Review)

A decent play but less-than-effective showing at Mariemont Players

2 Comments · Thursday, November 13, 2008
David Rambo's 1999 play takes a savage, albeit occasionally comic, look at industrialized Christianity and at mega-churches that operate less on a foundation of faith than on the rock-solid egos of their heaven-hawking pastors.  

H.M.S. Pinafore (Review)

Gilbert & Sullivan comic opera lists a little

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 12, 2008
When done well, Gilbert & Sullivan comic operas can be a delightful blend of whimsical exuberance and lighthearted satire. Cincinnati Music Theatre's production of "H.M.S. Pinafore," directed by Rick Kramer, has a modicum of these qualities, but not enough.