WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Giving the Gift of Theater

0 Comments · Tuesday, December 18, 2012
All right, you’re going to have to forgive me — I am a theater critic and a theater lover. Those terms are not mutually exclusive.  

Making Merry, Theatrically

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
It’s time for mistletoe and holly, when theaters entice folks in search of holiday cheer (and occasional parodies thereof) to celebrate the season. Many theaters need December ticket revenues to present shows onstage for the rest of the year.  
by Rick Pender 10.19.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
onstage - blue man group - balls - photo paul kolnik

Stage Door: Blue Man Group

My first and foremost recommendation for the weekend is  Blue Man Group. (Review here.)  It's a performance experience unlike much of anything else you've probably ever experienced in a theater — raucous music, zany humor, eye-popping technology and infectiously fun engagement with the audience. Amazingly, it's done without spoken words — the guys mime (well, kind of, it's actually more like they're mute in the style of Harpo Marx, with a lot of staring and double-takes), although they're backed up by awesome video that does offer some instruction (and laughs) for the literate. As I've said before, it's hard to describe but easy to enjoy. This is Blue Man Group's first time in Cincinnati, presented by Broadway Across America; the Aronoff Center might never be the same. (Through Oct. 28) Box office: 800-982-2787. Last night I enjoyed opening night for the thoroughly authentic and charming production of Neil Simon's Brighton Beach Memoirs at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. It's the story of a Jewish family in Brooklyn in the 1930s, but thanks to Simon's witty, heartfelt recollections of his own youth, it has a feeling of universality. The narrator is Eugene Morris Jerome (who's a stand-in for Simon himself), and actor Ryan DeLuca conveys the joys and pangs of adolescence and puberty with feeling and hilarity. He frequently addresses the audience about his interactions with his grouchy parents and his woebegon aunt, his worldly brother, his pampered cousins — he's documenting them for something he'll write when he's older, a novel or perhaps a play! And that play is the one onstage at the Playhouse, the first Neil Simon script ever presented there in more than 50 seasons. (Through Nov. 10.) Box office: 513-421-3888. Continuing productions of the comedy Mrs. Mannerly at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (513-421-3555) and Shakespeare's romantic tragedy Romeo & Juliet at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (513-381-2273, x1) have been positively reviewed and appreciated by audiences. This weekend also marks the opening of Cincy Shakes' staging of Shakespeare's bloody history of the Roman emperor Titus Andronicus, staged with tongue in cheek (and in a pie) for the Halloween season. It happens on the nights when the R&J cast takes a breather. You might also consider two special events: New Edgecliff Theatre's annual one-night fundraiser, Sweet Suspense Theatre, a presentation in the style of a radio play, happens on Saturday evening. This year the production, a new adaptation of Oscar Wilde's story of The Canterville Ghost, is being presented at the Cincinnati Art Museum — and includes an extended intermission with lots of goodies from local bakeries and restaurants. (Tickets: 888-588-0177). You might also want to check in with the Playhouse about ticket availability for Post Secret on Monday evening; the one-night presentation of  a piece based on an anonymous "true confessions" website is rumored to be sold out, but there might be a waiting list if you call the box office. (513-421-3888)
 
 
by Rick Pender 08.27.2012
Posted In: Theater at 08:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 
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New Edgecliff Theatre Cancels 'Talk Radio'

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 Bogosian's 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.
 
 

Reasons to be Pretty (Review)

New Edgecliff production is typical LaBute

3 Comments · Sunday, April 15, 2012
Reasons to be Pretty, getting its local premiere at New Edgecliff Theatre, was Neil LaBute's first play to make it to Broadway, where it landed in 2009 and earned a few Tony nominations.   

St. Nicholas (Review)

In search of innocent victims — critics and vampires

3 Comments · Thursday, March 1, 2012
In Irish playwright Conor McPherson's St. Nicholas, Michael Shooner plays a thoroughly nasty theater critic; a writer without  much to say but who enjoys lording his influence over actors and theaters. Most  critics actually love the theater, but not this guy — it’s largely an experience for him to bully people and freeload food and drink on opening nights. He enjoys preying on those who fear him. So perhaps it’s only natural that he ends up in the employ of a coven of vampires.   

Burn This (Review)

0 Comments · Saturday, October 1, 2011
The title of Lanford Wilson’s Burn This suggests it will be inflammatory and tempestuous. Knowing that its original New York production starred John Malkovich and Joan Allen might heighten your expectation that a local production by New Edgecliff Theatre (NET) would pin you to the wall. Featuring Nathan Neorr’s energetic performance as the crazed Pale, a man hopped up on grief, drugs and booze (the role Malkovich inhabited in 1987), there’s potential for a riveting production.  
by Rick Pender 09.12.2011
Posted In: Theater at 02:25 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
net-actors-theatre-logo-(72dpi)

Wanna Be a Playwright?

New Edgecliff offers training for aspiring writers

If your aspirations include playwriting, New Edgecliff Theatre is offering a weekend intensive playwriting workshop for anyone age 16-22 — from beginners who have never dabbled in playwriting, to professionals wanting to get back to the basics. Catie O’Keefe, a professional playwright who is NET’s playwright-in-residence, will lead the workshops.

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[title of show] (Review)

New Edgecliff offers a show for people who love musicals

0 Comments · Monday, April 18, 2011
[title of show] revels in the musical genre with self-referential songs like “Untitled Opening Number” and “Secondary Characters,” and it wrestles with the double-edged sword of subject matter (“Monkeys and Playbills”) and paralyzing self-doubt (“Die Vampire, Die”). New Edgecliff Theatre has pulled together a strong case of singing actors who fill its 90 minutes with nonstop entertainment.  

God Bless Our Holiday Shows, Every One!

0 Comments · Monday, December 6, 2010
I annually face the holidays with mixed emotions. I love the holiday season, but I also know that it means I'll be in overdrive, attending numerous theatrical holiday productions. But there are excellent options again this holiday season, starting with Cincinnati Playhouse's 'A Christmas Carol' and ETC's 'Cinderella.'  

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