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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Be it the inevitable awareness that students, in particular, are struggling with the startling fallout of this challenging economy or simply an acknowledgment that higher education is being forced to evolve away from the cold bureaucratic model in order to better compete, change is certainly afoot on area campuses this fall.
Votes are rolling in for the 2009-2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. Already more than 1,000 local theater fans have checked off their favorite local theatrical performances. If you haven't voted yet (Aug. 9 is the deadline), please add your own feedback. Results will be announced during the CEA event at Know Theatre on Aug. 29.
It's too late to vote early, but not too late to vote for the 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. If you haven't done so yet, go to citybeat.com to pick your favorite stage performances from the past season. What's at stake? Well, no big prizes, but theaters and actors thrive on awareness and recognition, and that's what the CEAs offer. This year, with four new categories for community theater actors and productions and another four for university performers and shows at educational institutions, there are 27 categories of nominees.
The 16-year-old touring show presently performing at NKU's Bank of Kentucky Center is polished and professional yet presented with affecting naiveté. It captures the essence of why Cirque du Soleil has become a worldwide brand, offering an opportunity to enter an alternate universe, a place skillfully and imaginatively conceived that resembles a dream more than waking reality.