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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?  

My Name Is Asher Lev (Review)

Ensemble Theater production argues art vs. religion

0 Comments · Friday, January 29, 2010
The intensity that drives 'My Name Is Asher Lev' comes close to swamping the show in its regional premiere at Ensemble Theater of Cincinnati. The core argument — which pits unyielding, enslaving tradition against the enlivening freedom of artistic inquiry — begins to sound like posturing. And the play's vibrant energy, so promising at the outset, slides off into sound and fury.  

Batting a Thousand

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Terry Teachout writes for The Wall Street Journal. Earlier this month he wrote about "America's Favorite Plays," listing the plays most often produced in the U.S. between 2000 and 2010. Cincinnati audiences are lucky: We saw all 11 plays on Teachout's list thanks to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati.  

Sleeping Beauty (Review)

ETC's holiday show casts a spell on kids and adults

0 Comments · Monday, December 7, 2009
Compared to last year's ETC holiday show, 'Alice in Wonderland,' 'Sleeping Beauty' is prettier and less zany, as the source material would suggest. Its operatic soul lies uneasily with such crowd-pleasing gimmicks as an Elvis-inspired prince and a sock-puppet dragon who likes to play hide-and-seek.  

God Bless Them Every One!

Cincinnati theaters ready their holiday offerings

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 25, 2009
It's the time of year when theaters hope to strike holiday gold with shows that will deliver lots of ticket revenue — enough to provide the funds needed for the second half of their seasons. The hands-down winner, of course, is Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol,' a budget balancer for the Cincinnati Playhouse since 1991. But there are plenty of other holiday-themed stories being told on local stages this season.  

33 Variations (Review)

ETC's season opening show is a triumphant look at Beethoven's motives

0 Comments · Friday, September 4, 2009
Much was made of this show's Broadway debut earlier this year, especially Jane Fonda's starring role. ETC is offering only the second staging of this Tony Award-nominated work. Despite Amy Warner's moving performance in the role Fonda played, '33 Variations' is more than a star vehicle: It's a strong ensemble production that will engage audiences from start to finish.   

Fall Arts Preview: Theater

Despite New Stage Collective's demise, new local theater season has much to offer

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The landscape of Cincinnati theater has changed since a year ago. As the season starts this week, New Stage Collective is gone and the leaders of Know Theatre of Cincinnati have left, it's Playhouse in the Park's 50th anniversary, ETC has a fresh line-up and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues to stage excellent classic material.  

Lots of Winners in Local Theater World

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 19, 2009
The Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) for theater, set to be handed out Aug. 30, led me to wonder if our theater scene compares favorably with other cities. Would this year's 100 CEA nominees compete with performers and productions elsewhere? Those are subjective judgments, to be sure, but simply counting productions of important plays we match up reasonably well.   

CEA-Accredited Shows on Tap

0 Comments · Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Voting closed on Aug. 3 for the 13th annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEAs) recognizing outstanding performances and productions from the 2008-09 theater season. The awards will be presented at Below Zero Lounge in Over-the-Rhine on Aug. 30. The event is open to the public and free, a big party (cash bar) attended by local theater performers, directors, designers and fans celebrating the work of 100 nominees. Here's an early bird alert: Several CEA-nominated actors are returning to local stages this fall.  

Review: Gravesongs

0 Comments · Sunday, May 31, 2009
To showcase its intern company, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati has annually contributed a show to the Fringe that features these young performers in scenes by established playwrights or self-written pieces on a particular theme. This year, with a talented set of interns (five 23-year-old women plus a director) they undertook a more coherent piece of theater that has truly paid off.  

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