Short works by Eugene O'Neill and Samuel Beckett from the late 1950s comprise a double bill at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. What's so compelling is the fact that actor Joneal Joplin plays the lead part in both shows.
Director Matt Johnson has set the battle of the sexes in a "mythical Hollywood studio" of the 1930s. What often goes wrong with adaptations is that they're not fully applied, but Johnson's update works flawlessly and completely, adding layers of humor for theatergoers who might not routinely warm to a play by Shakespeare.
It's the time of year when theaters hope to strike holiday gold with shows that will deliver lots of ticket revenue — enough to provide the funds needed for the second half of their seasons. The hands-down winner, of course, is Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' a budget balancer for the Cincinnati Playhouse since 1991. But there are plenty of other holiday-themed stories being told on local stages this season.
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.
Imagine the result if Noel Coward had written 'King Lear.' Imagine the savagery that families reserve for their most bitter internecine battles but verbalized in the lilting, wit-lit language of drawing-room comedy. That's the effect of 'The Lion in Winter,' which is opening Season 16 at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company with seven most familiar and ordinarily persuasive performers directed by artistic guru Brian Isaac Phillips.
The landscape of Cincinnati theater has changed since a year ago. As the season starts this week, New Stage Collective is gone and the leaders of Know Theatre of Cincinnati have left, it's Playhouse in the Park's 50th anniversary, ETC has a fresh line-up and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues to stage excellent classic material.
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for theater, set to be handed out Aug. 30, led me to wonder if our theater scene compares favorably with other cities. Would this year's 100 CEA nominees compete with performers and productions elsewhere? Those are subjective judgments, to be sure, but simply counting productions of important plays we match up reasonably well.
Voting closed on Aug. 3 for the 13th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) recognizing outstanding performances and productions from the 2008-09 theater season. The awards will be presented at Below Zero Lounge in Over-the-Rhine on Aug. 30. The event is open to the public and free, a big party (cash bar) attended by local theater performers, directors, designers and fans celebrating the work of 100 nominees. Here's an early bird alert: Several CEA-nominated actors are returning to local stages this fall.
This summer Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is presenting 'Romeo and Juliet' in a portable production that will travel to 16 locales (and is free). The presentation is a concise rendition of the tragic love story, using seven actors, each playing at least two roles with a lot of quick costume changes.
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.