Still fresh after 30 years
0 Comments · Sunday, July 8, 2012
I’ve seen Ken Shue’s 1984 comedy The Foreigner in
several good productions. It’s one of the funniest plays I know, a
well-oiled laugh machine, but if you anticipate what’s happening, you’d
think it would diminish the humor.
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.
NKU presents 1955 play that wrestled with racial stereotypes
0 Comments · Monday, October 31, 2011
(1920-1994) didn’t get much recognition during her lifetime. She
won acclaim as an actress in the 1940s but was dissatisfied with
stereotyped roles, so she began writing plays. Trouble in Mind,
presented in 1955, made her the first woman to win an OBIE award, but
it never landed on to Broadway and was forgotten for years. Thanks to a prescient artistic decision, Northern Kentucky University
chose the show for this season.
Cincinnati theater is off and running
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Cincinnati’s Riverfest fireworks once fired the starting gun for local theater, but already several theaters have shows onstage. This week Cincinnati’s major theaters open their first productions of 2011-2012, launching a fall offering an unusual number of award-winning shows.
Spirit of invention animates NKU's production
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your box office. Consider Cinderella at Northern Kentucky University, an inventive take on a familiar show that's quickly selling out. Director Ken Jones and company have taken a simple, timeworn stage scheme and run with it, adding a trio of cute rodent clowns, a full repertoire of eccentric line readings and gestures, endless gags and, yes, a giant pest-ensnarement device set center stage as this tuneful, two-hour fairytale unfolds.
Holiday shows offer some sweets and some sass
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The holidays offer a perfect time to go to the theater with local productions for theater fans from wide-eyed kids to old cynics. Some shows are familiar, like a visit with old friends, while others spruce up an old story with some new garland — and perhaps a sprig of twisted sass. Here's a rundown on eight locally staged holiday recommendations.
NKU production of campy musical never quite lifts off
1 Comment · Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Midway through 'The Rocky Horror Show,' the title character says, "I feel that all is not well here. ... I have a feeling of foreboding." Rocky is assessing his situation with the sweetly naive Janet, not critiquing the production in which they're performing at Northern Kentucky University. But his observation applies.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 1, 2010
Over the past week, there's been a lot of theater news to report. The 14th and final Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater were held Aug. 29, where it was confirmed that the CEAs would join forces with the Acclaim Awards for the upcoming theater season. Earlier in the week, Ed Stern announced his departure from Playhouse in the Park following the 2011-12 season.
Season begins on a 'high' note at the Playhouse
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 1, 2010
September marks the beginning of Greater Cincinnati's 2010-11 theater season. Check it out: Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre, Cincinnati Shakespeare, Know Theatre, Human Race Theatre Company, Broadway Across America, the Covedale Center, CCM, Falcon Theater, NKU, the Footlighters and Cincinnati Musical Theatre are offering up a huge array of live theater this fall.
Renting, not buying, textbooks a growing trend on campus
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Neither a borrower nor a lender be, unless you're faced with the high costs of the college campus. In the case of classroom textbooks, college students are often finding renting can beat out owning by a mile. Chris Cole, a spokesperson at Northern Kentucky University, confirms the textbook rental trend as part of an overall strategy to make the college experience more affordable.