by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 03:37 PM | Permalink
just opened Thunder Knocking on the Door, a show it
staged in 1999 and sold a boatload of tickets — the most for any
musical it’s presented in the past two decades! I was there on
Thursday night for the opening, and this is a drop-dead gorgeous
production — costumes, sets, lighting and sound by Broadway
designers, and a cast of five who all have star-power. Even better,
they form a wonderful musical ensemble when they need to. Keith
Glover’s play is a fable about the Blues: Marvell Thunder is a
mystical presence who years earlier lost a “cuttin’ contest” to
a fellow named Jaguar Dupree, and now he’s back to even the score
“where the two roads meet,” somewhere near Bessemer, Alabama. But
Jaguar’s passed, survived by his wife (twice widowed since then)
and his twin brother. Her and Jaguar’s twin children, Jaguar Jr.
and Glory are musical and each have magical guitars that he
bequeathed to them. Jr. has lost his to Thunder, and now he’s
coming for the other one. But it’s complicated, because Thunder is
turning to stone because it’s been so long since he’s been in
love. All this is played out to a wonderful Blues score, most of it
by singer and composer Keb’ Mo’. There’s a great band backing
them up, and to make this tale all the more magical, among its
technical team is an “illusion designer.” You’ll be asking,
“How’d they do that?” more than once. I gave it a Critic’s
Pick, and you should get your tickets right away. 513-421k-3888.
production of the recent off-Broadway and Broadway Rock musical hit,
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson is a youthful mix of
political commentary, driving Rock performances, history, humor and
sober observations on the will of the people — just what we’ve
come expect from Know Theatre. Not many musicals begin with the cast
flipping the bird at the audience, but then not many musicals are
like this one, spinning a tale of America’s seventh president to
in-your-face Indie Rock tunes. This is Bloody Bloody’s first
professional regional production. I gave it a Critic’s Pick, and
the show is proving to be a big hit for Know. (Through May 12.) Box
Pump Boys &
Dinettes at the Covington’s Carnegie Center is something
like an off-Broadway classic (it had a brief Broadway run) from the
early 1980s. Set in a filling station that’s also a diner, it’s a
framework for downhome Country tunes and cornpone humor. Not much of
a story, but a talented cast makes this one a lot of light-hearted
fun. This is the final weekend. Box office: 859-957-1940.
Covedale Center is
presenting Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s but Joseph and
the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I saw it last Friday and
can recommend it as a production that does justice to a piece of
entertaining fluff. Director Tim Perrino has assembled a fast-paced
production with some fine voices. The jaunty show, which covers the
familiar tale in about 90 minutes (including intermission), has fun
with (and parodies) various musical styles — from Elvis-styled Rock
and Western Swing to French ballads and calypso. Stone walls and
palms slide back to reveal a sphinx and a smoking entrance for the
Pharaoh (aka Elvis). It’s not groundbreaking in any way, but it is
the kind of solid entertainment the Covedale has presented for 10
seasons. Through May 13. Box office: 513-241-6550.
And while I’m talking
about lighthearted shows, make not that a tour of Mamma Mia,
cramming tons of ABBA tunes into an implausible but funny story,
makes a one-week stop at the Aronoff starting on Tuesday. It would be
hard not to have a good time at any production of Mamma Mia.
Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.
by Kevin Osborne
Event will be Tuesday at Aronoff Center
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory will deliver his annual State of the City address next week.The address, which will be Mallory’s seventh since taking office, will be given 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will be held in the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, located at 650 Walnut St., downtown.When CityBeat asked what the theme would be for this year’s address, a spokeswoman for Mallory declined comment.“Our office won’t be previewing or giving information out about the speech this year,” said Julianna Rice, a policy aide to the mayor.Generally, because seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend must receive a ticket through the mayor’s office. For more information, call 513-352-3250.Mallory, a Democrat, was sworn in as the 68th mayor of Cincinnati on Dec. 1, 2005 and was reelected in 2009. He cannot run again in 2013 due to term limits.Mallory’s election marked a new era for City Hall as the first two-term mayor under the city's new “stronger-mayor” system, as well as Cincinnati’s first directly-elected black mayor, and the first mayor in more than 70 years who didn’t first serve on City Council.Mallory celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday.
Touring Broadway production uses oddball characters to show the dark side of life
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 28, 2012
When you base a musical on legendary cartoons, you better
be sure that the original material is referenced and that it delivers the same
level of humor. That means more in the way of faithfulness than originality,
but who cares when it’s The Addams Family?
The touring production of the recent Broadway show, currently onstage at the
Aronoff Center, delivers on humor, entertainment and a faithful recreation of
the oddball characters who revel in the dark side of life.
by Jac Kern
One year ago today, the home of Shannon DeBra, founder of the all-foster rescue Recycled Doggies, caught on fire. Thirteen dogs and one cat died as a result, and Recycled Doggies faced a tremendous setback. Tonight, on the tragedy's anniversary, animal lovers everywhere are invited to attend a benefit, give what you can and support the organization and all its foster families and volunteers. Head over to Star Lanes at the Levee for a silent auction, raffles, happy hour specials and, of course, plenty of bowling fun. Go here to RSVP to the event, which runs from 5:30-8:30 p.m.CANstruction kicked off today, with teams building artistic creations made entirely out of canned goods. Stop by the Weston Gallery to see their progress and drop off canned goods of your own. All donations, and all cans used to build the artwork, will go to the Freestore Foodbank.
Crazy! Cool. No, I'm not talking about TLC's 1994 album, I'm talkin' 'bout West Side
Story. The Bernstein and Sondheim hit is alive and well 55 years after
its debut on Broadway. The Jets and Sharks put any Crosstown Shootout
rivalries to shame, and in this revived version, audiences can expect a
grittier tale with more Hispanic influence. The classic runs at the
Aronoff Center through March 11. Find details here.Every Tuesday is Writer's Night at MOTR Pub. Songwriters, poets, spoken word artists — anyone with original work is welcome to share. Sign ups open at 8:30 p.m. and $40 goes to a special winner each week. Lucas of The Dukes Are Dead hosts. Enjoy a beer, a BLT and great company.Honey in Northside offers a $10 comfort food menu every Tuesday. Choose from homestyle favorites like fish and chips, meatloaf and mashed potatoes, chicken stew with dumplings and more. It's a great chance to try the local spot if you've never been and you're on a budget. Peep our full review of Honey here.Check out our To Do page for tons of recommended art shows open today.
Coal-burning electricity fuels production at Aronoff
0 Comments · Thursday, January 19, 2012
You can’t go wrong
with this much expressive dancing, and the kids who perform it will
win your heart, from tiny Jeremy Zorer who gets the show started, to
Billy’s ebullient, cross-dressing friend Michael (Ben Cook). The
show evoked a rousing, and well-deserved response from the audience
on opening night.
2 Comments · Friday, November 4, 2011
Stephen Schwartz’s Wizard of Oz-inspired
musical about the green witch has become a cultural icon for adolescent
girls who yearn for freedom and success. Thousands, with or without
their families, will flock downtown between now and Thanksgiving
weekend, and they won’t be disappointed.
0 Comments · Thursday, September 29, 2011
There’s no doubt that Disney’s Beauty and the Beast
is a show audiences have loved. It had 5,461 performances over 13
years, making it the eighth longest-running show in Broadway history.
Based on the animated film with great musical numbers and done right,
it’s a surefire crowd-pleaser. That’s pretty much what’s landed onstage
at the Aronoff for a two-week run, with a young cast that’s full of
May 20 • Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall
0 Comments · Monday, May 16, 2011
Jazz and Bluegrass are slightly different branches of the same Southern tree, and there might be no better way to exemplify the genres’ commonalities than to put them in the same studio and on the same stage to show just how perfectly their styles and personalities mesh.
May 3 • Aronoff Center for the Arts
0 Comments · Monday, April 25, 2011
Considering the level of reverence Bert Jansch elicits from Boomer Rock icons like Neil Young and Jimmy Page, it’s surprising to learn that the 67-year-old Scottish guitarist/singer/songwriter is their contemporary rather than their elder. But by 1965, when Young, Page (and Donovan, another Jansch acolyte) were still searching for their musical direction, Jansch had already made one of his greatest albums, as important as any to ever come out of the British Folk revival.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 1, 2011
I like to write about the excitement of new works and regional premieres, which are important in sustaining theater as an art form. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect the classics. In its prior 16 seasons, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presented all but five of the Bard’s 37 plays. They’ve checked another one off the list with the just-concluded production of King John and they plan to complete the canon in 2015 by offering one of the remaining works in each of the next four years.