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Singing The Personal And Political

A rarely performed 20th-century opera and a new work confront the clash of ideology and emotion

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 20, 2013
The personal is definitely political in two operas onstage this month in both Benjamin Britten’s Owen Wingrave, in which a young man chooses pacifism over a military career, and Fellow Travelers, based on the novel about a gay love affair during the McCarthy era.  

Flashdance (Review)

Lively choreography spices up an otherwise bland production

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
The philosophy picked up by Flashdance: The Musical’s welder/wanna-be-dancer Alex (Jillian Mueller) from her mentor is that trying and falling is better than not trying at all. Its touring production is still trying, including its current stop at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center. And it does have its moments, mostly when the energetic cast is dancing.  

Learning Experiences: Cincy Shakes and Xavier Theater Collaborate

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is partnering with the theater program at Xavier University to stage Arthur Miller’s The Crucible. (Oct. 25- Nov. 3; tickets are $15-$30; 513-745-3939.) This came about because Stephen Skiles, who heads XU’s theater program, is friends with Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC’s artistic director. Skiles was an acting intern at the Cincinnati Playhouse 16 years ago when Phillips was recruited to fill out a cast.  

Mike Birbiglia Tests New Material at a Favorite Local Club

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Though he hails from Massachusetts and lives in New York City, Mike Birbiglia has an affinity for Cincinnati and Go Bananas Comedy Club. Through the fall, he will be visiting three of his favorite comedy clubs — including Go Bananas — to work out material for an upcoming theater tour, which will commence in January.  

Music Beyond Genres

Constella Festival's Composer-in-Residence Missy Mazzoli defies convention

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
The Constella Festival got it right when they named Missy Mazzoli as this year’s composer-in-residence. At 33, she’s earned the awards, commissions and acclaim you’d expect from artists twice her age. And her two Constella concerts this year feature compositions she’s created since 2005, both for small ensembles and solo performance.   

Seven Spots on the Sun (Review)

Deep scars, painful memories

0 Comments · Monday, October 7, 2013
Wartime tortures its victims long beyond the battlefields and combat. Especially when a war tears apart the population of a single nation, the scars run deep, last long and profoundly change lives. That’s the circumstance of the characters in Martín Zimmerman’s Seven Spots on the Sun, receiving its world premiere at the Cincinnati Playhouse.    

Back with Black

0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Back in 2006, Lewis Black told CityBeat in an interview that the Bush administration and the GOP were “fucking out of their minds.” So it is fortuitous that a recent interview took place on the second day of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s filibuster to protest the Affordable Care Act.   

Ghost: The Musical (Review)

Musical based on film has more flash than heart

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Producers of musical theater are always on the prowl for material that already has some emotional traction and romantic tales that were films when today’s audiences were young and in love are ripe for conversion into theatrical works. It’s possible to do this with some success, but I’m afraid that the folks who’ve translated the film into Ghost: The Musical didn’t have enough faith in the story.  

Haunting Tales, Flying High

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 18, 2013
Occasionally I like to discuss where plays and musicals come from. We have two interesting examples locally this month: a touring production of Ghost the Musical at the Aronoff and the Cincinnati Playhouse’s regional premiere of Fly, a historical drama presented with imaginative staging.  

Behave Yourself

1 Comment · Wednesday, September 4, 2013
As the season kicks off, it’s the perfect moment for a few reminders about theater behavior. Attending a play does not require dressing up or even being concerned about when to applaud (that’s more complicated for symphony-goers). But it’s not the same thing as watching TV at home. After all, you’re out in public, in close proximity to other people who have paid to see live performers.  

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