by Rick Pender
at 09:20 AM | Permalink
Know Theatre opens Andy’s House of [BLANK] tonight at 8 p.m. The show is the spawn of the second round of Know’s Serials, a happily creative two-month program of five 15-minute episodes. This one, a musical about a shop full of oddities and a story of love, regret and time travel, was a crowd favorite early in 2015. It struck Know’s artistic team as warranting further development, so they invited creators/storytellers Trey Tatum and Paul Strickland to turn it into a full-fledged work. As in Serials, it’s staged by director Bridget Leak. It’s being produced in Know’s Underground Bar, cleverly transmuted into the interior of Andy’s oddity shop with a set drawn on cardboard. Strickland (who’s also a singer and songwriter) has created a bunch of musical numbers; he and playwright Tatum are in the show, as if they were teens working at Andy’s back in the day and now retelling what went on. Read my Curtain Call column here to learn more. It’s happening through Nov. 14. Tickets: 513-300-5669.Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Carousel, with a short run at UC’s College-Conservatory of music this weekend, is a classic from the Golden Age of Broadway musicals. It’s a darker story than you might expect from Rodgers and Hammerstein: Billy Bigelow, a good-looking bad boy who runs the merry-go-round at the carnival is love-’em-and-leave-’em kind of guy until he meets Julie Jordan. He tries to live a better life once they’re married and she’s pregnant, but it’s not really his thing. He dies after a bungled robbery and then has a chance to come back and make things right with his teenage daughter. There’ a lot of great music in this show — “If I Loved You” is one of several classic numbers — and with faculty member Diane Lala staging it (and choreographing it, too), it’s sure to be extremely watchable. Final performance is the Sunday matinee. Tickets: 513-556-4183.Floodwaters are threatening life and limb in the past and the present at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park where Dana Yeaton’s Mad River Rising is on the big stage. Set in an abandoned barn, it’s the story of Angus Stewart (played with dry humor and stubborn attitudes by 82-year-old actor Robert Hogan) who witnessed a devastating flood in 1937 that all but destroyed his family’s farm. In old age he’s trying to stave off waves of newfangled innovation and life choices that have abandoned the traditional values of farming and owning land. Hogan is a fine performer, and the story has intriguing moments as he tangles with family members trying to accommodate him, help him or navigate around him. It’s a fine portrait of the challenges of aging. Here’s a to my CityBeat review. It’s onstage through Nov. 14. Tickets: 513-421-3888.Elsewhere: Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati finishes its run of the very funny one-man show Buyer and Cellar, about an actor hired to manage a faux shopping mall in the basement of Barbra Streisand’s Malibu estate. (CityBeat review here.) Actor Nick Cearley turns in winning performances as the actor, as Streisand and a handful of others as he retells the ups-and-downs of “selling” to one tough customer. The run ends on Sunday. Tickets: 513-421-3555. … Cincinnati Shakespeare’s fine production of the prize-winning American drama Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller continues through Nov. 7. (CityBeat review here.) One of our region’s great professional actors, Bruce Cromer, turns in a heart-rending performance as Willy Loman, whose aspirations have come to a grinding halt; Annie Fitzpatrick’s powerful portrait of Willy’s devoted, weary wife Linda makes the sad story all the more compelling. Tickets: 513-381-2273. … Covedale Center is presenting a frothy farce by Ken Ludwig in the tradition of Marx Brothers’ comedies. Fox on the Fairway is a madcap story set at a private country club. Onstage through Nov. 15. Tickets: 513-241-6550.One more thing: Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is presenting a series of behind-the-scenes events that will enhance your appreciation of how theater productions are put together. This month’s Caffeinated Conversation on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. explores how ETC’s season is put together, how local actors are found and what it’s like to direct plays and musicals that deal with mental illness, economic disparity and racial tension. One of Cincinnati’s most admired directors, D. Lynn Meyers, will speak and answer questions. Tickets ($15): 513-421-3555.Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Trey Tatum and Paul Strickland grew up
just 45 miles apart — Tatum in southern Alabama and Strickland in
Florida’s Panhandle. But they didn’t meet until their paths crossed in
Cincinnati during the Fringe Festival in June 2014.
0 Comments · Monday, October 12, 2015
Theatre continues its second season under the artistic direction of Andrew
Hungerford with more experimental and adventurous fare, producing new works and
connecting with new collaborative partners.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:38 AM | Permalink
History, Spelling and One-Minute Plays
Of course, everyone is focused on baseball this weekend,
leading up to Tuesday’s All-Star Game right in our own backyard — and
that’s great for Cincinnati. But if you’re looking for theatrical
entertainment, it’s here, too.
I had a chance to see the musical 1776 at
Cincinnati Landmark’s new Warsaw Federal Incline Theater on Wednesday.
It’s just the second show to be staged there, but it’s a fine one from
just about every angle. The 1969 show — as much a play about American
history as a musical (it has a stretch of 30 minutes in which no music
happens) — is seldom produced in part because it requires nearly two-dozen strong singing male actors. This production found them, and they
do a fine job: Especially noteworthy is Rodger Pille as the feisty John
Adams, as well as his colleagues Ben Franklin (played by Bob Brunner )and
Thomas Jefferson (taken on by Matt Krieg). But numerous others have
their “historical” moments, as do Allison Muennich as Adams’
understanding wife Abigail and Lindsey Franxman as Jefferson’s lovely
wife Martha. The show is both entertaining and inspiring, even if it
takes a lot of liberties with real events. It won the 1969 Tony Award
for best musical, and it’s a delight to see. It’s onstage at the Incline
through July 26. Tickets: 513-241-6550
After 10 years, the musical about adolescents vying for honors in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has
become pretty familiar. But it’s still a lot of fun to watch, and I
suspect anyone who goes to the Commonwealth Theatre Company’s dinner
theater production on campus at Northern Kentucky University will be
having a good time — maybe even becoming a volunteer speller to join the
contest. For 8 p.m. shows in the Stauss Theatre, there’s dinner at 6:30 p.m.
in the Corbett Lobby. Through July 26. Tickets: 859-572-5464
If you want something a little more off the beaten path, you’ll find it at Know Theatre on Saturday and Sunday when the One-Minute Play Festival
has three performances. Part community-convening, part social action
and part play festival, the program investigates who we are and how we
relate to our community through a series of 60 moments of storytelling
by local writers and actors. If you’ve enjoyed the annual Fringe
Festival, you should show up for this one. Tickets: 513-300-5669.In a
similar vein — and just a block away from Know Theatre’s Over-the-Rhine
location — you’ll find a show by the GoodPeople Theatre Company, Is This Really Happening Right Now? It’s
some vignettes by two local writers exploring friendships and
relationships — on a blind date, in a coffee shop, in a Laundromat and
over Tinder. Tickets ($15) at the door at Simple Space (16 E. 13th St.,
Over-the-Rhine).And if you still need more, remember that Monday will
be the second round of Serials! at Know Theatre, with five
plays started by local writers pick up for another 15-minute episode,
but now penned by a different playwright. This time around the theme is
“Round House,” and it’s sure to generate some zany stuff.
Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 24, 2015
Know Theatre’s Tamara Winters is straightforward when asked why the Over-the-Rhine theater launched Serials! a year ago: “We wanted to give audiences a reason to keep coming back. We keep bringing it back because it’s working!”
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 10, 2015
The 2015 Cincinnati Fringe Festival wrapped up last Saturday, but the glow continues.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 3, 2015
Just four more days for the 2015 Cincy Fringe. CityBeat’s
review team has been covering each show’s opening, giving Critic’s
Picks to “must-see” productions. Here are a half-dozen edited clips, in
case you need tips for shows to consider. Find more picks and full
reviews of the 40-plus productions at citybeat.com.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 27, 2015
The 13th annual Cincinnati Fringe is under way. Shows start Wednesday and continue through June 6. CityBeat writers will attend the opening performance of every production and provide next-day reviews
Events kick off Tuesday and the weirdness continues through June 6
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 20, 2015
As the Cincinnati Fringe Festival comes
upon its 13th year — starting May 26 and running through June 6 — we
thought it would be informative to hear from seven people who work
behind the scenes to produce this annual two weeks of theater,
creativity and fun.