Hope springs eternal in CSC staging of Harper Lee's evergreen tale
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
is about the importance of tolerance and understanding, something not
achieved in these circumstances but that seems possible eventually.
Those sparks of hope have made this a meaningful tale for a
half-century, and CSC has brought the story to life.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:25 AM | Permalink
After a long hot summer (well, it's still feeling like a
long hot summer), we have a full array of shows onstage in Cincinnati
for you to choose among. I've seen two of them so far: Good People at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati and The Three Musketeers at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
ETC's production of Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's 2011 piece (this is the regional premiere of Good People,
which was nominated for a Tony a year ago) about a woman who falls off
the bottom of the employment ladder has enough humor to be entertaining
(especially with Annie Fitzpatrick in the central role of Margie and
Kate Wilford and Deb Girdler as her gossipy friends and bingo-night
comrades) and enough contemporary relevance to be thought-provoking.
ETC's D. Lynn Meyers is at her best staging naturalistic shows with
social meaning, and that's exactly what this one offers. It has a great
cast and flexible, attractive scenic design by the ever-creative Brian
c. Mehring. I gave it a Critic's Pick. Through Sept. 23. Review here. Box office: 513-421-3555.
I wanted to love The Three Musketeers at the
Playhouse (through Sept. 29), but its balance of humor and heart is out
of whack to my tastes. There's lots of adventure, hilarity and laughter
— especially some no-holds-barred swordplay — but the show tries to
hard to entertain that it misses out on the true emotion that should lie
beneath. I suspect many people will love this thrill-a-minute tale of
political intrigue and valor, loyalty and royalty in 17th-century
France, and perhaps it will evolve to deeper feelings as it runs. I love
new Artistic Director Blake Robison's desire to put appealing,
family-friendly work onstage, and he's using this production to show
what he means. I hope his approach gets a tad more texture and depth as
his tenure continues. Review here. Box office: 513-421-3888.
I haven't yet seen To Kill a Mockingbird at
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and their publicity says it's already
sold out its first-two weekends. So you might want to put that one on
your calendar for sometime before it wraps up (Sept. 30). In the
meantime, you might want to head to Washington Park on Sunday evening at
7 p.m. for a special free presentation of CSC's touring production of The Tempest.
It's a perfect piece for outdoor performance, set on an island with a
sorcerer and his lovely daughter and some shipwrecked nobles who are
responsible for his exile. Audience participation will be a key
component of this event, with the audience asked to create large-scale
effects by blowing bubbles, making waves with silk and generating sound
effects. Sounds like great fun. Music (by The Young Heirlooms) begins at
6 p.m. This is a good one to bring kids to see.
Also off and running this weekend is Cincinnati Landmark's production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
It's a classic drama of sexual tension and family strife, a bit heavier
fare than is usually found at the Covedale Center. It's a sign of the
company's ambition to be a full-fledged theater offering a wide range of
material. (Through Sept. 30.) Box office: 513-241-6550.
Playhouse production has lots of laughs but could use more heart
0 Comments · Friday, September 7, 2012
Director Blake Robison's first production is jam-packed with rousing non-stop action, hearty laughs and big
storytelling as well as beautiful scenic and costume elements.
Class polarities fuel ETC's meaningful character synergy
0 Comments · Thursday, September 6, 2012
The interplay between characters in Good People
is full of believable truth, and ETC director D. Lynn Meyers excels in
staging such material. It’s a total package that feels good
and real from start to finish.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:12 AM | Permalink
Star-studded cast to perform darkly comic musical one-night only
There's a new piece of musical theater in the oven, and you'll be able
to get a peak and a listen on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m., when it has a
one-night-only public performance at Covington's Carnegie Center. The
evening will feature several local theater veterans including two with
national reputations, so it's a very promising event. The Sandman is a new musical by Richard Oberacker and his writing partner Robert Taylor. They teamed to create Ace (which premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse back in 2006), and Oberacker was the creative force behind Don't Make Me Pull This Show Over, a hit at the Cincinnati Fringe in 2008 and returned for a full production at Ensemble Theatre the following season.The Sandman
is strange and darkly comic musical, drawn from a nightmarish fantasy by E.T.A. Hoffman, the author of the story of The Nutcracker and the personal inspiration for the opera The Tales of Hoffman.
Oberacker, whose day job is as a music director with Cirque du Soleil
in Las Vegas, will spend a week here to workshop the show about a month
from now, and he will play piano for the performance on that Sunday
evening. A star-studded cast has been recruited, topped by Broadway veteran, Tony nominee and nationally respected musical performer
Pamela Myers. She'll play Frau Kaeseschweiss, an unusual nanny recruited to serve as a nanny the children of the Strauss family. Charlie Clark and Sara Mackie
(both Cincinnati veteran theater professionals and familiar to ETC and
Carnegie theater audiences) will play the parents, with Clark as an
ingenious German clockmaker who sets in motion a series of bizarre and
unnatural events when he meets the strange Dr. Copelius, played by Bruce Cromer. (Cromer is spending this month at Cincinnati Shakespeare as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird).
The devilish deal between them to save the Strauss's daughter's life
takes a strange and chaotic turn and sinister forces at play are
revealed — forces from which only the children may be able to save their
parents. Another piece of good news: Busy local director Ed Cohen will be involved in staging the piece, which will utilize a number of projected illustrations to evoke the mood and setting.Oberacker is excited by the quality of the cast assembled for the
performance, especially with Myers' involvement. (Like him, both are
Cincinnati natives and grads of UC's College-Conservatory of Music. She
was the first musical theater grad in 1969; although he was a musical
prodigy, conducting shows for community theaters while still in high
school, he excelled in CCM's drama program, graduating in 1993.) In a
recent email, he told me that Myers is playing "a titanic role that
narrates the whole show" and added that it's "huge to have Pam in a role
tailor made for her."
The Carnegie's website has the performance listed but no further
information. If you want to be there, I suggest you call the box office
and make your interest known: 859-957-1940.
Onstage, visual arts and lit
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
FOTOFOCUS might be taking over many local arts venues this fall, but local theaters, galleries, dance companies and others have another full slate of thoughtful entertainment in store.
0 Comments · Tuesday, August 28, 2012
As the final weeks of summer cool down, it’s time for
Cincinnati’s theaters to turn up the heat.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 08:40 AM | Permalink
Company recently found out Columbia Performance Center was no longer available
New Edgecliff Theatre will cancel its first production of the season,
largely the result of its need for a new venue. The group has performed
in the Columbia Performance Center, the "pink church" on Eastern Avenue
in the Columbia-Tusculum neighborhood on Cincinnati's East Side, for
several years. Without much notice over the summer, NET was informed by
the property's owner that the facility would no longer be available.
Artistic Director Jim Stump tells me that they've been notifying the
actors and designers who had been recruited for a staging of Eric
Talk Radio that the production, scheduled to open on
Sept. 27, is not going to happen. He wrote to me in an email, "This is
due to a number of factors, not the least of which was the suddenness of
our losing the Columbia with little warning. This meant we spent a
significant portion of the time we would normally dedicate to the first
production to the search for a new venue. In the end, we didn't feel we
could present a production of the quality our audiences would expect."
NET is still seeking a permanent solution to its venue needs, but Stump says the company will present
The Santaland Diaries and The 12 Dates of Christmas at the Aronoff's Fifth Third Bank Theater in December.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:47 AM | Permalink
Most of the theaters in town are gathering their strength
for the fall season, so there's not much to recommend this weekend —
unless you haven't made it to the Carnegie in Covington yet to see the
delightfully silly production of Xanadu. (Review here.) The recipe for
this delicious concoction is a really lame movie from 1980, some clever
new writing by playwright Douglas Carter Bean, really inventive
direction by Alan Patrick Kenny (the guy who staged Jerry Springer: The Musical
a few summers back) and a cast who can sing (Pop tunes from the ’80s),
dance (to a disco beat, no less), act (like Greek muses, well, kind of)
and do it all on roller skates! This weekend is your final chance to see
After Xanadu closes on Sunday, our local theaters will pretty much be
dark for a week or so. Then right after Labor Day, you'll have tons of
choices. Look for my Curtain Call column in the upcoming issue of
CityBeat for a glimpse of what's in store for September.
Odd couple concept pleasant and predictable
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
The title of Richard Dresser’s 2002 play, Rounding Third, the current production on board the Showboat Majestic, is a pretty obvious clue that this is a show about baseball.