The Cincy Fringe Festival returns to Over-the-Rhine in all its fringy glory
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 22, 2013
My first tip: Don’t think you can outwit
the Fringe. I like to say that the festival is best described as theater
roulette. Give the cylinder a whirl, pull the trigger and see what
comes at you. Sometimes it might be what you expect, but more often than
not you’ll be surprised.
1 Comment · Tuesday, May 21, 2013
The League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT)
presented awards for the 2012-2013 theater season on May 20 at Know
Theatre, too late to report the results in this issue of CityBeat.
So I want to offer some thoughts and my own choices.
Tale of Hollywood desperation and dementia gets a big-time patina
0 Comments · Monday, May 13, 2013
David Zlatic designed a production — scenery, lighting in
the style of film noir and a stream of well executed photographic and
video projections in moody black-and-white — that works very well, including Desmond’s mansion with a sweeping central staircase.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 8, 2013
“If something is worth doing, it’s worth overdoing,” proclaims one of the spunky gals in the current iteration of The Marvelous Wonderettes
at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati this month. ETC apparently agrees, since
this is the fourth consecutive year it has staged one of Roger Bean’s
retro shows featuring music from the ’50s and ’60s.
Cincy Shakes presents strange brew of drama, comedy
0 Comments · Monday, May 6, 2013
Director Brian Isaac Phillips has set his production in the U.S. in the 1920s.
It’s a good match to Jacobean London and we
are given visual insight into the characters — from puritanical tyrants
in three-piece business suits to loose men in fur coats and lowlife
women as flappers.
0 Comments · Tuesday, April 23, 2013
New Edgecliff Theatre completes its 15th season with David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Proof
(onstage through Sunday at the Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Bank
Theater), a production providing ample evidence of NET’s strength...
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 10:17 AM | Permalink
There's a bounty of
theater choices to keep you entertained this weekend, with productions
on venues all over town — including on several university campuses. Here
are a few you might want to check out.
Edgecliff Theatre, which has presented shows at the Columbia
Performance Center on Cincinnati's East Side for quite a few years, has
been itinerant this year while they seek a new home. They're completing
their fifteenth season with a production of David Auburn's Proof
at the Aronoff Center's Fifth Third Bank Theater, which looks like it's
where they'll land for their next season. (I'll be writing more about
NET in my next CityBeat "Curtain Call" column on April 24.) I
attended the show's opening on Wednesday, and it's a solid production of
a very engaging play, the winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize. Greg
Procaccino, NET's former artistic director, has returned to stage a
simple but effective production that features Rebecca Whatley as
Catherine, the anxious, self-doubting young woman who has been a
caregiver for years for her father, a renowned math professor whose
mental instability has been a factor and a threat in his daughter's
life. The show has several gripping twists and turns, as well as a
satisfying resolution. Through April 27. Tickets: 513-621-2787.
Last week I was at the opening of Cock,
a regional premiere and Know Theatre's second production of the season. (CityBeat review here.)
It's the story of a man falling out of a gay relationship and into one
with a woman; he's torn by indecision and doubt about which way to go.
The show is staged (by director Brian Robertson) like a cockfight, with
the characters "pecking" at one another emotionally. It's also presented
in an unusual setting, bertween two rows of bleachers (like a cockfight
arena), so you're close to the action and able to see how others are
responding. It's a fight to the finish, and you can never be certain of
the outcome. Strong acting and a very contemporary, well-written script
by British playwright Mike Bartlett. Through May May 11. Tickets: 513-300-5669.
This is the final weekend at the Carnegie in Covington for the hard-hitting musical Parade
by composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown and playwright Alfred Uhry.
(CityBeat review here.) It's based on the true story of Leo Frank, unjustly accused of
murdering a young teenaged girl working in the factory he managed in
Atlanta in 1913. A Jew from New York, Frank was the target of profound
anti-Semitism and never had a realistic chance to defend himself,
although his wife tried mightily to expose the prejudice. It's a
powerful production, featuring a cast of musical theater talent from
UC's College-Conservatory of Music, directed by Dee Anne Bryll and Ed
Cohen. The show is not easy to watch, but it's deeply moving. Through
Sunday. Tickets: 859-957-1940.
years since 1981, Northern Kentucky University has presented the Year
End Series Festival — shortened to the "YES," ten days of presentations
of three world premieres. This year's shows are a murder-mystery farce, Heart Attack with a Knife by Oded Gross; David L. Williams Spake, a drama set in Siberia; and a comic fable about fame and friendship, Furbelow
by J. Stephen Brantley. YES is a gargantuan undertaking, and it
represents how NKU prepares its drama students for careers in the
theater. Shows are presented in rotating repertory, so you should check the Web site for specific performance dates. Tickets: 859-572-5464.
area universities this weekend: At the Cohen Family Studio Theater at
UC's College-Conservatory of Music, you can see a production of Emily
Mann's Execution of Justice (UC's College-Conservatory of Music, through Sunday, 513-556-4183),
a new docu-drama about the trial of Dan White for the murder of Harvey
Milk, San Francisco's first openly gay Supervisor and Mayor George
Moscone. It's staged by retiring UC drama professor Michael Burnham. And
for musical theater fans, you can see Stephen Sondheim and James
Lapine's popular fairytale musical Into the Woods at Miami University (through April 27, 513-529-3200).
Fighting for Love: 'Cock' at Know Theatre
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Know Theatre has opted for quality rather than quantity in its productions this season. It’s following the highly regarded When the Rain Stops Falling with its second show, Cock by Mike Bartlett, maintaining a similar high level of material and performance
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
, Visual Art
at 09:26 AM | Permalink
Tonight (Friday) Know Theatre opens a new production of a
work that's bound to launch a lot of conversations. And let's not beat
around the bush: The real title of Mike Bartlett's play is Cock (The Cockfight Play
is the substitute title for media that are afraid to offend). It's a
tense comedy about sexual identity: John takes a break from his longtime
boyfriend and unexpectedly falls in love with a woman. The story is
about how he's caught in a tug-of-war between these two lovers, and the
play's conflict is John's navigation of his sexuality and his selfhood.
It's also told without scenery or props, focusing squarely on the
relationships. According to Know's Eric Vosmeier, "It's a kind of
pansexual love story that's told very simply without all the trappings
of a traditional production." Vosmeier describes this production as "one
of the first victories of Know's new scheduling model." The rights for
Cock just became available; this is only the second American production
of the play that premiered at London's Royal Court Theatre in 2009. The
show runs through May 11. Box office: 513-300-5669
This weekend is the opener for Covedale Center's production of Legally Blonde,
the show that kicked up controversy in a Loveland High School staging
last fall that led to the firing of a dedicated director. I still shake
my head over what could offend anyone about this PG rated piece of
musical theater, but you can check it out and decide for yourself at the
Covedale. It's about a young woman who won't take "no" for an answer
and becomes her own woman in the process — outshining everyone at
Harvard Law School. It's kind of crazy, but a lot of fun. No one will
get fired over this one, I suspect. Box office: 513-241-6550
The Otto M. Budig Theatre at the Carnegie in Covington is in the midst of a run of Jason Robert Brown's Parade.
My schedule and the theater's haven't matched up yet, but I'm eager to
see it — I'm headed there for the Sunday matinee this weekend. Set in
the sweltering intolerance of 1913 Atlanta, Parade is the story of Leo
Frank, a northerner and Jewish factory manager, wrongfully accused of
murdering a 13-year-old girl in his employment. Despite media frenzy and
public outrage, his courageous wife struggles in vain to clear his
name. The show won 1999 Tony Awards for best book and best score. This
is an off-campus production by the musical theater program at UC's
College-Conservatory of Music, and it's been given high marks by the
judging panel from the League of Cincinnati Theatres: for the ensemble,
for musical direction by Steve Goers, for featured actor Noah Ricketts
and for lighting design by Alan Hanson and Wes Richter. It's onstage
through April 21. Box office: 859-957-1940
Untethered Theater is midway through it's run of Jeff Daniels' Apartment 3A,
presented at the Clifton Performance Theatre on Ludlow, a few blocks
east of the Esquire. It's about a once idealistic young woman who has
been disillusioned in just about every aspect of her life. The show is
an exploration of faith and hope in today's world, described as "an
uncynical play about cynics in cynical times." Through April 27.
Dynamic, fast-paced comedy flips tables on character studies
0 Comments · Friday, March 29, 2013
The Book Club Play a comedy about five people with some personal
history who come together for monthly conversations about books, progresses — perhaps more accurately,
regresses — through a series of novels reflecting tastes, aspirations and