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A Year of Great Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 26, 2010
A lot of theater awards are handed out around the nation this time of year, including the Acclaims earlier this week in Cincinnati. I organize the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, which will return in August (for year 15) to honor excellence from this season just before the next one kicks off. Awards are arbitrary, subjective and unscientific, but that doesn’t stop us from being fascinated or rooting for our favorites.  

The Fantasticks (Review)

Playhouse wraps up 50th anniversary season with 50-year-old classic musical

0 Comments · Sunday, May 23, 2010
There are several obvious reasons why Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is wrapping up its 50th anniversary season with 'The Fantasticks.' For one, the long-running musical began its onstage life the same year the Playhouse first presented plays in a Cincinnati Parks shelter house in Mount Adams. The show's staying power is amply displayed by the current charming production, staged by Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern.  

Ain't Misbehavin' (Review)

Playhouse 'misbehaves' with too much motion and too little music

0 Comments · Monday, May 10, 2010
While watching the opening night of 'Ain't Misbehavin' at the Cincinnati Playhouse, I kept wondering, "How could so much of the Fats Waller revue seem so perfunctory, mechanical and tired of itself?" As the show barreled along, there was no end to the energy — or was it frenzy? And there was no shortage of style — or was it shtick?   

Springtime Avalanche of Theater

0 Comments · Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Actors and stages and shows ... oh, my! April has offered Cincinnatians several unparalleled weeks of "We're off to see the theater." No matter which yellow brick road you followed, it likely led to a stage with an excellent production. Let me recap...  

The History of Invulnerability (Review)

Powerful Playhouse world premiere should be required viewing

1 Comment · Sunday, April 11, 2010
David Bar Katz's story about Superman and his comic book creator might sound like an amusing, nostalgic show. The Shelterhouse Theatre is papered with comic book panels, and the lights come up on Superman (handsome Steve Wilson) with a confident "I'm in charge" look as he begins to describe his genealogy. The true subject, however, is vulnerability rather than invulnerability.  

David Bar Katz and the Truth of 'Invulnerability'

1 Comment · Monday, April 12, 2010
David Bar Katz probably has more in common with Jerry Siegel than with Superman, but he's put them onstage together in his world premiere play 'The History of Invulnerability' at the Cincinnati Playhouse. "They interact with one another," Bar Katz explains. "Superman represents his unconscious provoking him."  

Springing Forward With the Stars

0 Comments · Monday, March 15, 2010
As Daylight Savings Time arrived last Sunday, local theaters began to turn the spotlight to their 2010-11 seasons. News is seeping out regarding what we'll see in the year ahead, and I want to share some newsworthy details about the Cincinnati Playhouse, Broadway Across America and Cincinnati Shakespeare Co.  

Daddy Long Legs (Review)

Playhouse musical is expressive, impressive world premiere

0 Comments · Monday, March 22, 2010
Nearly a century has elapsed since Jean Webster's 1912 novel 'Daddy Long Legs' was published. Now her story of a talented, forthright foundling named Jerusha and her mysterious, reclusive mentor returns, this time onstage in an expressive, impressive world premiere musical at the Cincinnati Playhouse from playwright-director John Caird (who won a Tony for his Broadway work on 'Les Miserables') and composer-lyricist Paul Gordon (whose 'Emma' won audience approval at the Playhouse last season).  

How? How? Why? Why? Why? (Review)

NPR's Kevin Kling was born to spin tales

0 Comments · Monday, February 22, 2010
If God really did create people so he'd have an endless supply of stories — to quote a line from the likable 'How? How? Why? Why? Why?' now at the Playhouse — then the heavens must be smiling down on Kevin Kling. The playwright/performer well known to fans of National Public Radio seems to have been born, raised and divinely ordained to spin a tale.  

Situation: Critical

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 3, 2010
I know more critics who love theater than who live to spew out negativity. In fact, I've often said it seems nonsensical (if not masochistic) to carve out a career as a critic if you hate the theater and never enjoy the experience. Why subject yourself to night after night of torture if you really find actors or directors incompetent or self-serving?  

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