Theatre Cincinnati opened a revamped version of the delightfully spirited Around The World in 80 Days on Dec. 4 to
a full house. The production is exactly what you would hope for from a
family-friendly holiday show.
It’s early December and time for you to
decide which hip holiday show you want to take in. Of course, you just
missed last weekend’s tour stop of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,
a musical adaptation of the famous Dr. Seuss tale about the green
meanie Christmas hater, a latter-day Ebenezer Scrooge.
So it’s Thanksgiving week and I’m
wandering down memory lane to offer an insight into why I’m thankful to
be a theater critic. I grew up in a small town near Cleveland, acted
(poorly) in some high school productions and was infected with an
abiding love for theater. As a teenager I sought out productions at
places like the Cleveland Playhouse and summer seasons at Great Lakes
The philosophy picked up by Flashdance: The Musical’s
welder/wanna-be-dancer Alex (Jillian Mueller) from her mentor is that
trying and falling is better than not trying at all. Its touring production
is still trying, including its current stop at Cincinnati’s Aronoff
Center. And it does have its moments, mostly when the energetic cast is
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is partnering with the theater
program at Xavier University to stage Arthur Miller’s The Crucible.
(Oct. 25- Nov. 3; tickets are $15-$30; 513-745-3939.) This came about
because Stephen Skiles, who heads XU’s theater program, is friends with
Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC’s artistic director. Skiles was an acting
intern at the Cincinnati Playhouse 16 years ago when Phillips was
recruited to fill out a cast.
Though he hails from Massachusetts and
lives in New York City, Mike Birbiglia has an affinity for Cincinnati
and Go Bananas Comedy Club. Through the fall, he will be visiting three
of his favorite comedy clubs — including Go Bananas — to work out
material for an upcoming theater tour, which will commence in January.
The Constella Festival got it right when
they named Missy Mazzoli as this year’s composer-in-residence. At 33,
she’s earned the awards, commissions and acclaim you’d expect from
artists twice her age. And her two Constella concerts this year feature
compositions she’s created since 2005, both for small ensembles and solo
Wartime tortures its victims long beyond the battlefields
and combat. Especially when a war tears apart the population of a single
nation, the scars run deep, last long and profoundly change lives.
That’s the circumstance of the characters in Martín Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun, receiving its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse.
Back in 2006, Lewis Black told CityBeat
in an interview that the Bush administration and the GOP were “fucking
out of their minds.” So it is fortuitous that a recent interview took
place on the second day of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster to protest
the Affordable Care Act.
Producers of musical theater are always on the prowl
for material that already has some emotional traction and romantic
tales that were films when today’s audiences were young and in love are
ripe for conversion into theatrical works. It’s possible to do this with
some success, but I’m afraid that the folks who’ve translated the film
into Ghost: The Musical didn’t have enough faith in the story.