by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 10:05 AM | Permalink
Looking ahead at Know Theatre's holiday schedule and beyond
In my recent Curtain Call column,
I talked about collaboration and made some mention of past ventures by
Know Theatre. After a period of self-examination covered in an earlier
column ("Big-Picture Thinking at Know Theatre," issue of Oct. 24), the Over-the-Rhine company has now shared some of its programming plans for the holidays and the months ahead.
For the holidays, they'll produce The Naughty List,
hosted by Ronda Androski and her great staff at Arnold's Bar &
Grill downtown and featuring the talent of OTR Improv, one of the groups
Know has nurtured with its Jackson Street Market. They'll take holiday
memories from those in attendance as they recreate holiday movies and
tell you how your life would have been different if you had received
that special gift you yearned for. The fun will be happeing in Arnold's
courtyard on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday evenings from Dec. 2 to 30.
Tickets will be $15 in advance and $18 at the door.
Know will also offer The Apocalypse Show!
for two nights on its home stage at 1120 Jackson St.. Since the world
is scheduled to come to an end on Dec. 21, 2012 (according to the Mayan
calendar), Know will produce a variety show to end all variety shows on
Dec. 20 and 21. There will be sketch comedy, predictions, guest
appearances, "gratuitous drinking and answers to all of your apocalypse
FAQs." Dec. 20 will be a fundraiser (tickets: $50), despite the funny
come-on that you should bring all your money, since it will be worth
nothing the next day! (If you come to the performance on Dec. 21, you
only need to scrape together $15 in advance or $18 at the door.)
Assuming that the world really isn't ending on Dec. 21,
Know will co-host its annual New Year's Eve event with CityBeat, the
Speakeasy Party from 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 (to 1 a.m.). Know typically
attracts 300 well-dressed guests for this event, and everyone has fun
with casino games, food, dancing to a DJ and a live band, martinis and a
champagne toast at midnight.
After all this fun stuff, Know will get down to some serious theater — presenting Andrew Bovell's "best new play of 2010," When the Rain Stops Falling
(Feb. 8-March 16, 2013). It's another partnership, with the production
being staged by Brian Isaac Phillips, artistic director at Cincinnati
Shakespeare Company. (Bovell's Speaking in Tongues had a great
production at the Cincinnati Playhouse last season.) The show uses an
intricate fabric of overlapping connections, moving between several
generations between 1959 and 2039 and between London and Australia. Acts
and sins of the past are connected to three generations that follow.
More will be following, including an unnamed production
running from April 5 to May 12. Sometime in late April (date TBA), just
in advance of the tenth annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival (May 28-June
8, 2013), Know will host the 2013 United States Association of Fringe
Festivals Conference. "We're honored to have been selected to host this
year's conference," says Know's Producing Artistic Director Eric
Vosmeier. "It's an amazing opportunity to work on ideas and issues at
the core of all Fringe Festivals. Every time I have been to a
conference, the Cincinnati Fringe is better for it. We can't wait to
show off our city to festival producers from all over the United
One more note: Know is selling its version of a
subscription, Flex Passes. But these have evolved: You can purchase six
flex passes for $90. Valid for most Know productions, they do not
expire. (If a show ticket has a higher price than the pass, you can use
your pass and just pay the difference.) Know's website will designate:
"Flex passes are valid for this event." When you run out of tickets (and
you surely will), you simply need to buy another pass.
Know's Fringe Festival has promoted itself with the slogan
"Weird, like us." And they're living up to that mantra in a way that
should appeal to its supporters and more.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
When Know Theatre of Cincinnati was
launched in 1997, it was an itinerant theater company. In fact, it was
called the “Know Theatre Tribe” and its shows, touring productions and
readings directed by founder Jay Kalagayan, were presented at bookstores
and art galleries around town.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:03 AM | Permalink
The fall theater season in Cincinnati is off to a great
start, with well received productions on several stages. If you get a
chance to see Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of To Kill a Mockingbird,
I urge you to do so. It's onstage through Sept. 30, but almost all of
its performances (including several added ones) have been sold out. Good
news for the theater, but not for you if you don't have tickets yet.
Nevertheless, it would be worth a call to CSC's box office (513-381-2273 x1)
to see if there's anything available. The chance to see Bruce Cromer
portray the virtuous attorney Atticus Finch is worth the effort.
If you can't score a ticket at CSC, you might try to get in to see Good People,
a new play by Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire, which
concludes its run on Sunday. The tale about an unskilled woman from
South Boston seeking work in today's world has the ring of truth and
reality to it, and Annie Fitzpatrick's portrait of hard-luck Margie —
who thinks of herself as "good people" — is touching and relevant to the
world we live in. Tickets are selling at a fast clip for this one, too,
so call to find out if seats are available: 513-421-3555.
Want to take some kids to a show they'll enjoy? It's
always fun to introduce them to live theater, and there are two great
choices currently onstage: The Cincinnati Playhouse production of The Three Musketeers (running through Sept. 29, 513-421-3888) is full of action and adventure, good guys and bad guys. And The Music Man, on the Showboat Majestic (through Sept. 30, 513-241-6550),
is a classic musical with a lot of humor — and a winning acting job by
charming Owen Gunderman as Winthrop, the kid who overcomes his shyness
when he gets a cornet to play in a boys' band.
Want something a tad more adventurous: Check out the Fringe
shows that Know Theatre has brought back from last June's festival for
several days. It's a sampling of some of the best work that drew big
crowds to the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, including two "Pick of the
Fringe" offerings, On Her Pillow and The Screw You Revue,
and two solo performers, Tommy Nugent and Kevin Thornton, who always
draw a crowd. Probably no problem with ticket availability, but I
recommend calling in advance: 513-300-5669.
Know Theatre brings back award winning shows from 2012 Fringe
1 Comment · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Perhaps you overslept back in June and
missed the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. You now have a chance to make up for it or to satisfy a fall craving for
Fringe performances, thanks to the festival’s presenter, Know Theatre
by Jac Kern
at 11:26 AM | Permalink
True Theater, the
local group that organizes shows of real, live storytelling, presents another
evening of true tales tonight at Know Theater with trueGRIT. Hear accounts of survival, determination and courage told
by the people who lived through it — regular folks in the community. Tonight’s
show will feature a man who took on his employers to fight racial
discrimination; a woman who’s life changed with a gunshot; a man who took on
nature in a brave fight and more intriguing, relatable stories. Tickets to the
7:30 p.m. event are $15.
but can’t seem to get past the DIY boards on Pinterest? The Contemporary Arts
Center hosts a unique, weekly craft night with “One Night One Craft.” Each
Monday, crafters of all levels are invited to learn a new project, mingle with
friends, enjoy a drink and walk home with a fantastic handmade item. This week,
Professor John Humphries will instruct visitors on painting with wine, coffee
and other pigmented beverages. Attendees can expect to create around 5-6
drawings by the end of the night. And don’t worry, the wine isn’t just for
painting — there will be a cash bar. Just bring a $5 material fee and leaver
your artistic reservations at the door. One Night One Craft: Vintage Views of the City - Painting
with Wine runs 6-8 p.m. tonight.Jewish young professionals (ages 21-35) and their dates are invited to a
wood-fired pizza cooking class tonight at A Forkable Feast. Access (an
initiative of The Mayerson Foundation) presents this event, where JYPs will create
their own pizzas from scratch, fire them up and —best of all — eat ‘em! The fun
begins at 7 p.m. Guests should have already RSVPed here.
is in full swing this week, with plenty of exhibits, rides, classic grub and
various contests. Today, visitors can check out the Valley Exotics petting zoo
(noon-9 p.m.), carnival rides (2-11 p.m.), “baby contest” (which I can only
assume is a child auction; 4 and 8 p.m.), a tractor pull at 7 p.m. and live entertainment
from Willis Music students (7-11 p.m.). The fair continues 8 a.m.-midnight
daily through Saturday. Admission is $10, most rides included with entry.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:05 AM | Permalink
Some fine entertainment can be found onstage this weekend. Just opening is Cincinnati Shakespeare's production of The Hound of the Baskervilles, a clever, three-man rendition done in the style of The 39 Steps,
with actors taking on multiple roles and looking for moments of humor
and slapstick. In addition to using three fine actors from CSC's company
— Jeremy Dubin, Nick Rose and Brent Vimtrup — the show is being staged
by Michael Evan Haney, associate artistic director at the Cincinnati
Playhouse. A few years back he staged a similar version of Around the World in 80 Days
that was an entertaining delight. Haney is one of our finest local
directors, so you can expect this to be a production definitely worth
seeing. It opens tonight and runs through Aug. 12. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.
In its final weekend onstage, Commonwealth Dinner Theatre's production of The Foreigner
continues through Sunday. It's a daffy situation comedy about a shy
Brit stuck at a fishing lodge in rural Georgia where there are a lot of
nefarious goings-on. To help him cope, his friend tells the innkeeper
that Charlie is a "foreigner" who doesn't speak English. That premise
leads to all kinds of complications and a hilariously happy ending. This
production is a laugh machine, but its star Roderick Justice is
absolutely perfect in the role, giving it a funny physicality to match
the comedic writing. Box office: 859-572-5464.
And if the weekend isn't enough for you, call up Know Theatre and make a reservation for Monday evening's quarterly dose of
This time the theme for sincerely presented monologues is "true Grit."
It will be an evening of storytelling, tales of perseverance, endurance
and survival from everyday people. These programs are always fascinating
because they're told with heartfelt honesty. I highly recommend
attending; tickets are only $15. Box office: 513-300-5669.Each week in Stage Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces of theater news.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 30, 2012
By the time you read this, the 2012
Cincinnati Fringe Festival will be fully under way. Even if you can’t
see every show, you owe it to yourself
to come for an evening or two and sample the creativity that will be
flowing throughout the 10 venues across Over-the-Rhine.
Politics, Rock and the will of the people take center stage
0 Comments · Saturday, April 7, 2012
Not many musicals begin
with the cast flipping the bird at the audience, but then not many
musicals are like Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the brash show
that spins a tale of America’s seventh president to in-your-face
Indie Rock tunes.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:54 AM | Permalink
I was at UC’s
College-Conservatory of Music last evening to see this weekend’s
production of Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia. I love this
densely intellectual script that’s awash in math and physics theory
as well as conflicting perspectives deriving from the Romantic
movement and the Age of Enlightenment. The play alternates between
1809 and 1993, with characters in the more recent era speculating
about actions and motives of people, including the poet Lord Byron,
from nearly two centuries earlier. It’s a fascinating conceit, but
it’s also three hours of dialogue that require close attention —
and a lot of the CCM audience took off at intermission. The challenge
is exacerbated by a lot of fast-talking using British accents and
amplification (the actors wear body mics) that sounds blurry. That’s
too bad, because the production looks great, is nicely costumed and
has some fine performances, and Stoppard’s script is one of the
great plays of the past 30 years. But unless you’ve seen it or read
it, you might find this production a challenge. Box office:
Pump Boys &
Dinettes at the Covington’s Carnegie Center is something
like an off-Broadway classic (it had a brief Broadway run) from the
early 1980s. Set in a filling station that’s also a diner — where
you can “Eat and Get Gas” — it’s a jaunty framework for
downhome Country tunes and cornpone humor. It opens a three-weekend
run a week ago, and I found it to be a delightfully entertaining
production. Read my review here. Box
More musical froth is
available this weekend, including My Favorite Year,
through Sunday at Northern Kentucky University (859-572-5464), and
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat through
May 13 at the Covedale Center (513-241-6550). The former is a story
about backstage shenanigans in the early days of television; the
latter is an early show by Andrew Lloyd Webber based on a familiar
biblical story. Neither is profound, but both should fun to watch.
For a musical with some
sharper edge, you might check out Know Theatre’s production of the
recent off-Broadway and Broadway Rock musical hit, Bloody
Bloody Andrew Jackson. The show is a youthful mix of
political commentary, driving Rock performances, history, humor and
sober observations on the will of the people — just what we’ve
come expect from Know Theatre. (The “orchestra” for the
production is the local band The Dukes Are Dead.) The show has a cast
of strong musical theater performers, and they make this sassy
political satire a Critic’s Pick. This is Bloody Bloody’s
first professional regional production, and it will surely be the big
hit of Know’s season. (Through May 12.) Box office: 513-300-5669.
Company’s production of The Grapes of Wrath (running
through April 29) is a powerful theatrical interpretation of John
Steinbeck’s grim tale about a Depression-era family of Oklahoma
sharecroppers driven to homelessness by ecological and economic
disasters. It’s a portrait of the desperate life wrought by the
Depression in the 1930s and a powerful reminder that life hasn’t
improved for many Americans 80 years later. CSC’s production is
made all the more relevant by folksy musical interludes performed
live by some of the actors. A downer of a story, but definitely worth
seeing. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 08:08 AM | Permalink
Twenty-nine shows in two weeks, commencing May 29
Know Theatre has announced the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe
Festival, kicking off May 29 and continuing through June 9. Festivities begin
with the official CityBeat Fringe Kick-Off Party on May 29 at 6 p.m. (A
suggested donation of $5 gets you in.) During the Festivals’ two-week run, 29
productions will receive multiple performances. Some shows are locally
originated (14) and others are by touring artists (15) who travel to festivals
around the United States. If everything selected actually happens (that’s
seldom the case), there will be 10 plays, nine solo shows, four dance works and
six multimedia/variety pieces.Several award-winning groups popular with past Fringe
audiences are set to return. One of the most popular performers from 2011,
Kevin J. Thornton — his I Love You (We’re Fucked) had a sold-out run and
returned for another stint last October — is back with Strange Dreamz.
Thornton has appeared in the Capital Fringe, Indy Fringe, NYC Frigid Festival,
Tucson Fringe Festival, Phoenix Fringe Festival, Orlando Fringe Festival,
Kansas City Fringe Festival, and the Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Four Humors Theater from the Twin Cities is back for
the fifth consecutive year, this time presenting Bombus and Berrylinne, or the
Bumblebee and the Hummingbird. The group has previously produced Mortem
Capiendum (Producer’s Pick of the Fringe, 2008), April Fools (2009), and Harold
(Critic’s Pick of the Fringe, 2010) and the hilarious James Bond-inspired
puppet show You Only Live Forever Once (2011).
The longevity honors will continue to be held by Cincinnati
Fringe veteran group Performance Gallery, returning for their ninth year with Rodney
Rumple's Random Reality. Past Cincinnati Fringe appearances include Images of a
Beating Heart (2004), The Killer Whispers and Prays (2005), Godsplay (2006), Girlfight
(2007), Fricative (2008), KAZ/m (2009), The Council (2010) and The Body Speaks
(2011). Brad Cupples, the playwright for Performance Gallery’s 2010 entry,
returns with Third Quarter Moon: A Complex Derivative Love Story.
We’ll see shows from established local companies, including Quake:
A Love Story from New Edgecliff Theatre (they presented Darker in 2011) and Don't
Cross The Streams: The Cease and Desist Musical, a stage musical from
Covington’s Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center.
Two new local companies will present for the first time.
Homegrown Theatre, led by local actress Leah Strasser will present an absurdist
piece, The Doppelganger Cometh and Overtaketh, while
Essex Theatre Arts Studio, founded by actors Bob Allen and Elizabeth Harris,
will stage Love Knots, a series of shorts plays about love and romance by
local playwright Phil Paradis.
There will be plenty of new acts, including Grim &
Fisher (the award-winning A deathly comedy in full-face mask) from Portland,
Ore., and Rebecca King (Storms Beneath Her Skin), a transgender artist from
Chicago. New York artist Tanya O’Debra’s Radio Star has won awards in San
Francisco, Montreal and New York City.
There will be dance performances by Houston-based dance
company Psophonia (Delicious) and two local groups, MamLuft&Co.’s (Latitude)
and Pones, Inc. (Project Activate). The latter is a collaborative and
participatory performance that asks “How do you
activate Cincinnati?” It’s the product of five local service organizations with
12 professional artists from a variety of disciplines.Each evening after performances, artists, audience members,
staff, and volunteers gather at Know Theatre’s Underground bar for the Fringe
Bar Series featuring the “Channel Fringe Hard Hitting Action News Update.”
Events there include Fringe previews, Fringe Olympics, Fringe-e-Oke, Fringe
Prom, and the 22.5 hour play project.
This year marks the second year of FringeNext, offering
three shows created and performed by high school students. Two are originating
from the School for Creative and Performing Arts; the third is from Lakota West
Individual tickets to shows are still $12. “Full Frontal”
passes are $200, providing access to every event in the festival. “Flexible
Voyeur” six-show passes are on sale for $60, the price equivalent of five tickets.
“One Night Stand” passes are $35; that’s good for one weeknight (as many as
three shows) and a drink at Know Theatre's Bar. Pre-sale single tickets will go
on sale mid-May.
For more information about the performances or to purchase
passes, check out www.cincyfringe.com or call (513) 300-KNOW (5669).