While you might think of a play or a musical as entertainment — which it is — there’s another dimension worth considering. They are also works of literature, words written on a page meant to be spoken or perhaps sung. The success or failure of a performed work often hinges on the quality of the words in a play’s script or a musical’s book.
Actors often say the most invigorating part of any production is rehearsing, in “the room” where a director imposes a vision and steers performers and designers toward the final product. For this reason, you should pay heed to who’s directing shows you choose to see.
If it's laughter you're seeking for the holidays, you'll find plenty at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the new comedy revue from the legendary Chicago-based Second City improv company. It's full of our familiar foibles as well as a cast of local crackpots and characters. Never has it been so much fun to be teased.
With just a few days left for Christmas shopping, I'm making a few theater-related suggestions: a Broadway snowglobe, new musical theater recordings, 'Sondheim: The Birthday Concert' on DVD and gift certificates to our wonderful local theater companies.
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.'
During a week when we count our blessings, I want to mention several things I'm grateful for, starting with Mrs. Mary Price, a high school English teacher who pulled me out of a study hall in 1963 and urged me to audition for a play she was directing. I've been in love with theater ever since. I'm grateful to CityBeat for supporting my support for local theater, and I'm grateful to all the fine theaters in Greater Cincinnati that provide a remarkable variety of choice.
Kathleen Turner just completed a month of performances at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park in Matthew Lombardo's drama 'High,' and she also made time to stump for Planned Parenthood's local branch. As chairwoman of the national Planned Parenthood Board of Advocates, Turner spoke to local residents about the importance of sex and contraceptive education. "What we stand for is to plan your parenthood, is to plan when you want to have a child. And make that part of your life decision rather than simply have it happen to you."
Somewhere in playwright Theresa Rebeck's past there must have been a 420-too-friendly techie who smoked up the booth, a big-name hack who got the plum job and a lover who walked out without a word. Or maybe these professional disasters and personal heartbreaks, captured so hilariously and affectingly in the Cincinnati native's 'The Understudy,' are simply the products of Rebeck's rich imagination. Either way, the comedy has a ring of authenticity that anyone who's ever acted (onstage or in life) should appreciate.
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.
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.