WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Jac Kern 05.30.2014 108 days ago
Posted In: Events at 12:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Your Weekend To Do List: 5/30-6/1

It’s Pride Week in Cincinnati, a time to celebrate and support the local LGBTQ community, promote diversity as well as equality and just have a good time as a plethora of events takes over the city. The Pride party has been going all week and the fun continues tonight with the Skyy Vodka Pub Crawl featuring bars and clubs in Over-the-Rhine, Northside, Downtown, Newport and Covington. Shuttles run three loops with six busses stopping at 20 bars. A $10 wristband gets you on the bus all night and into any bars that have cover charges. Find details here. Cincinnati Art Museum’s free Art After Dark series also takes a Pride theme this month. Stop by the museum before the crawl for performances by Young Heirlooms and the Cincinnati Men’s Chorus, gallery tours, giveaways and more from 5-9 p.m. Bar crawl wristbands can be purchased at the museum or Millennium Hotel, Below Zero, Rosie's Tavern or Chameleon between 8-10 p.m.  The much-anticipated annual Pride Parade steps off at 2 p.m. Saturday with a slightly different route due to streetcar construction: Seventh and Culvert streets to Vine Street to Fifth at Fountain Square, down Eggleston Avenue. The parade will end at Sawyer Point, where a family-friendly festival runs 3-9 p.m. There will be two entertainment stages (be sure to swing by the CityBeat stage!), rides and games for kids, food and drink. There will also be a public commitment/re-commitment ceremony at 6 p.m., free to all couples interested in participating. The ceremony will cap off with a couples’ first dance. The festival ends with a fireworks display at 9 p.m. Find a full entertainment lineup here. And be sure to check out this week’s Pride Issue. We’ve got interviews with local LGBTQ advocates, a calendar of events and more. The 2014 Cincinnati Fringe Festival is in full swing this weekend (continuing through June 7). We’ve previewed each of the 30-plus performances and will be posting reviews of every show as well — check them out here. Eccentric painter, sculptor, printmaker and collector of fancy antique oddities Hunt Slonem graces Cincinnati with his colorful, fabulous presence this week. The American artist has work showcased in more than 100 museums across the world — and now, Miller Gallery in Hyde Park. Perhaps best known for his neo-expressionist paintings of tropical birds and other animals, Slonem will be at the gallery for the opening Friday night. Meet the artist and peruse his works from 6-8 p.m.; The Exotic World of Hunt Slonem will be on display at Miller through June 29. Jane’s Saddlebag in Union, Ky., is a unique attraction sprawling over 35 acres of land that features a general store, restaurant, wine shop, petting zoo, historic spaces and recreations. Located near Big Bone Lick State Park, Jane’s is great for a weekend getaway close to home. Visit this weekend as they host their second annual wine festival noon-6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Sample wines from 20 local and regional wineries and shop handmade items from more than 40 craft vendors. Tickets are $12 and include four tasting tickets, a wine glass and live music. Go here for more info. For more art openings, parties, festivals and other stuff to do this weekend, check out our To Do picks, full calendar and Rick Pender’s Stage Door for weekend theater offerings.
 
 
by Rick Pender 05.30.2014 108 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 08:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
stage door 5-30 - spamalot by showbiz players - photo provided

Stage Door: Full Speed Fringe

If you haven't found a couple of 2014 Cincinnati Fringe show that you're dying to see this weekend, you need to go to CityBeat's Fringe hub for some recommendations — including reviews of early performances of all 30-plus shows. But if you're still coming up short, there are more choices from area theaters.  If it's fun you're seeking, you might want to stop by the Carnegie in Covington, where Showbiz Players is presenting Spamalot. It opens tonight and runs through June 8. You probably know that this very amusing musical (it won three 2005 Tony Awards, including best musical) is "lovingly ripped off" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you can repeat lines from that 1975 cult hit, then this is surely the show for you. Tickets ($21.50-$24.50): 859-957-1940 Although it's not part of the Fringe, Marc Bamuthi Joseph's red, black & GREEN: a blues surely could be. The hybrid performance work leads audiences through four seasons in four cities: summer in Chicago, fall in Houston, winter in Harlem and spring in Oakland. Memories, hallucinations, dreams and lamentations are set in shotgun houses and subway cars, on park benches and in father-son conversations. I haven't seen it, but people I know have raved about the power of the work, which ranges from hilarious to poignantly sad. Joseph is a spoken-word poet, and his work is meant to be a conversation starter about sustainability and community building. It's being presented on Friday and Saturday evening by the Contemporary Arts Center at the Aronoff's Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Tickets ($18 for CAC members, $23 for everyone else): 513-621-2787 This is the final weekend for The North Pool at the Cincinnati Playhouse. (CityBeat review here.) Rajiv Joseph's anxiety-filled drama is a sparring match between a hard-nosed vice principal who thinks he knows something and a student, the son of Middle Eastern immigrants, who has things he wants to keep to himself — but it's not what the school official thinks. In fact, they both have secrets that are slowly, painfully revealed. Great script, great actors. This one is definitely worth catching. Tickets ($25 for students; $30-$75 for others): 513-421-3888
 
 

The Next Generation of Local Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 28, 2014
I’ve been a theater critic for almost three decades. I’m an optimist: I routinely attend shows hoping to be pleased or surprised. Doesn’t always happen, of course, but I keep going back. Maybe that’s a little crazy, but I’ve kept at it for all these years because our Cincinnati theater scene gets better and better, and I want everyone to hear about it.  

Celebrating an Outstanding Critique

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 28, 2014
The folks behind the Cappies program that recognizes high school theater productions and performances decided to establish a new recognition for the 2014 awards, presented on Friday, May 23, at the Aronoff Center.   

Community Theaters: We've Gotta Crow

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 14, 2014
I don’t have the bandwidth nor does CityBeat have enough space to write often about community theaters — groups of volunteers who produce and perform in shows, often for audiences in a specific neighborhood — but that’s not because they don’t do a good job.  
by Rick Pender 04.18.2014
Posted In: Theater at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Stage Door: Weekend Theater Picks

There are several good theater choices south of the Ohio River this weekend.The theater (and dance) program at Northern Kentucky University presents a truly varied array of programming — this season has included a play by Orson Welles, the legendary musical South Pacific, Shakespeare's As You Like It and more. The academic year's final production Monty Python's Spamalot, opened last evening, and it seems to be a perfect vehicle for a lot of onstage clowning. (In case you haven't been tuned in, the show is subtitled "A musical lovingly ripped off from the motion picture Monty Python and the Holy Grail," and many of the show's most hilarious moments are reproduced wholesale onstage.) But clowning can be serious work, and if you catch NKU's production, pay attention to the choreography (the work of NKU grad Roderick Justice) which is complex, amusing and very well executed by the cast of 25. Director Ken Jones keeps things moving; the actors get into the tomfoolery from start to finish, especially Kat Moser as the diva who's the Lady of the Lake and Bradley Goren as long-suffering Patsy (he's the one who clicks the coconut shells to simulate King Arthur riding on horseback, among other amusing moments). The show is a fine entertainment, if you're a fan of the low but articulate humor of the Python troupe. Through April 27. Tickets ($8-$14): 859-572-5464.Comedy of an entirely different sort is available at another Kentucky venue, the Carnegie in Covington, where Mary Chase's 1945 Pulitzer Prize winner Harvey is available through April 27. This is a piece of gentle humor from the past, about a slightly off-kilter guy who sees a six-foot-plus rabbit — he calls it a "pooka" — named Harvey, much to the dismay of several family members who are embarrassed by his behavior. Their efforts to get him committed to a local asylum go awry to much merriment and a message about being, well, gentle and sweet. This is good, old-fashioned fun. Tickets: 859-957-1940.If you prefer a well-written contemporary drama, this weekend is your last chance to see A Delicate Ship at the Cincinnati Playhouse. Anna Ziegler's new show (this is its world premiere) is a memory play that explores an unexpected chain of events triggered by a love triangle. It's beautifully staged by Michael Evan Haney with a cast of three actors who are just right for each of their roles. I gave this one a Critic's Pick when it opened; it's as good as anything I saw recently at the much-respected Humana Festival of New American Plays at Actors Theatre of Louisville. Tickets ($30-$80): 513-421-3888.
 
 

The Formula at Covington's Carnegie Is Working

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 16, 2014
You won’t find cutting-edge material onstage at the Carnegie. The theater’s managing director Joshua Steele has mastered two elements: He collaborates with a wide array of local theater artists and companies, and he produces works that are, by and large, familiar fare.  
by Rick Pender 03.21.2014
Posted In: Theater at 08:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Stage Door: Excellent Options

The three-week run of the tour of Wicked wraps up this Sunday at the Aronoff Center. It's a faithful reproduction of the Broadway hit, with performers who can give you the experience of seeing the original, a kind of prequel to The Wizard of Oz. (Tickets, $38-$188: 513-621-2787, but each performance has a pre-show lottery; if your name is pulled, you can buy a ticket for $25). If you've already seen this one, I suggest you check out one of the great new productions on local stages.Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati has offered another powerhouse season this year, but I'll venture to say that The Mountaintop is aptly named: It's at the peak. It's an imagined story about Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the night before he was assassinated. I'll venture to say that you've never seen him in quite this altogether human light, as portrayed — dare I say wholly embodied — by Gavin Lawrence. And then he's visited by Camae, a sassy maid who evolves into something so much more as he contemplates the meaning of his life. The always watchable Torie Wiggins takes on this role, and it might be one of her best performances yet at ETC. The Mountaintop won London's Olivier Award for Best New Play in 2011, and in my opinion, it's one of the best productions we'll see here in Cincinnati this theater season. Through April 6. (Tickets, $25-$43: 513-421-3555).I caught up with the Cincinnati Playhouse's production of Pride and Prejudice at the Playhouse earlier this week. (It opened a week ago, but I was out of town.) It's a faithful rendition of Jane Austen's beloved novel, gorgeously staged and costumed. It has a big cast, so all the characters, quirky and memorable, are present and accounted for — a few actors need to play more than one role. If you're an Austen fan, I suspect you'll like this one; if not, you might find it kind of uneven, since some characters come across as cartoons (especially Elizabeth Bennet's meddlesome, garrulous mother and the arrogant Lady Catherine de Bourgh) while others are more naturalistic. Kate Cook's Lizzie has all the right notes (she ought to, as she's played the role several times elsewhere) and Loren Dunn's Mr. Darcy, while a bit slow out of the gate, eventually captures the character's aloof charm. Director Blake Robison has done a good job with an interesting adaptation that has scenes that flow swiftly one into the next, sometimes with overlapping elements that recall past moments. Through April 5. (Tickets, $30-$80: 513-421-3888).Back in the early 1980s, the musical A … My Name is Alice had a long run at New York City's The Village Gate. Northern Kentucky University is producing its version of this collection of songs focused on the paradoxes women face — beauty, strength and heart. The show, created by an array of comedians, lyricists and composers, has 20 songs. It's being staged by Corrie Daniely, the newest faculty member in NKU's theater and dance department. Through April 30. (Tickets, $8-$14: 859-572-5464).
 
 

Coming to a (Movie) Theater Near You

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 18, 2014
I love going to the movies, but I leave writing about them to others, especially my CityBeat colleague tt stern-enzi, who routinely offers a perspective worth reading. Nevertheless, I’m going to local cineplexes more often for digital transmissions of theater from around the world.  

I Left My Heart, A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett (Review)

Bennett revue falls flat

0 Comments · Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Cincinnati Landmark Productions’ I Left My Heart, A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts presents a musical tribute to Bennett, with more than 30 songs made famous by or famously sung by the legendary crooner.  

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