0 Comments · Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s Black Pearl Sings!
is a play come as a warning shot foretelling the modern-day recording
industry (such as it is) and its sad history of theft by corporate
henchmen. More obviously and tellingly, the play is
also a dance of race relations, race politics and the sometimes
heartbreaking history of relationships between black and white women.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Playwright Frank Higgins began his
writing career as a poet, so he pays careful attention to the way he
puts words together. After some time working at poetry, he felt that his
best pieces were stories about people.
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 6, 2013
Theater is a great, creative outlet for
kids. Sonja Hansen’s efforts in Loveland inspired dozens of them and
engaged their families in a wholesome, enjoyable extracurricular
activity. Such undertakings are also learning experiences. Sadly, this
lesson in repression over trivial matters sends a terrible message to
CCM shines with historical tale of corruption, greed
0 Comments · Friday, March 1, 2013
CCM production is an engaging if sordid recreation of the creators’
intentions, a bravura performance that serves as a reminder of how
theater can provide sharp social commentary. Bravo to Guarino and her
student cast for this memorable production.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 26, 2013
This week marks the opening Actors
Theatre of Louisville’s 37th annual Humana Festival of New American
Plays. First up is Meredith McDonough’s The Delling Shore, about
two rival authors and their daughters, a work in which words become
by Rick Pender
at 09:18 AM | Permalink
It might be hard to imagine that a show like Legally Blonde: The Musical
could stir up controversy, which it did last fall at Loveland High
School. But that's not stopping other theaters from putting it onstage,
including Northern Kentucky University, which opened a campus production
on Thursday (and continues through March 3). It's the familiar story of
Elle Woods, spurned by her fiancé, off to Harvard Law School in pursuit
of him, only to discover that she's got the smarts to be more than just
a girlfriend. Not profound, but certainly entertaining. Tickets: 859-572-5464
On Wednesday evening, I attended the first performance of Slow Descent from Heaven,
a world premiere play by local writer Catie O'Keefe. Presented by New
Edgecliff Theatre (O'Keefe is their playwright-in-residence), it's an
ambitious work, presented in a converted classroom at the Clifton
Cultural Arts Center (3711 Clifton Ave.) in a production directed by Ed
Cohen. The central character, Molly (Elizabeth A. Harris), is a NASA
scientist whose story is bookended by space shuttle disasters in 1986
and 2003. She's an angry, tense character, and her involvement with men
has affected her career and her attitude. The story has a reverse
chronology, so we peel backward in time to learn more about why she's
the way she is. I'm glad to have seen this, but I think the script needs
more work in delving into Molly's psyche. Right now, her angst is all
on the surface, and her interface with the two men in her life (plus the
funny mother of one of them) is too predictable. Nevertheless, it's
great to see a group like NET encouraging the development of new work.
Another group producing new work is Thompson House Newport
(the venue formerly known as Southgate House). They are staging a new
Rock musical, Variables, the comic story of five friends
out for a night on the town. Their evening takes a serious turn when
it's interrupted by disturbing news. It's the work of composer Jered S.
Ryan and lyricist Mark D. Motz. Performances are on Feb. 23, 28 and
March 2. I haven't seen it, so I can't offer an assessment, but it's
another example of our fertile local theater scene. Tickets: www.thompsonhousenewport.com
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's production of Dangerous Liaisons (review here) is a listless interpretation of a show that should
be deliciously (dare I say "dangerously") nasty. There are some fine
actors onstage — notably Giles Davies and Corinne Mohlenhoff, both
longtime favorites at CSC — and moments when the chemistry works, but
not enough of them. Tickets: 513-381-2273, x1.
Several Cincy Shakes actors are doing a fine job on another stage, in Know Theatre's production of When the Rain Stops Falling, a compelling story of multiple, intersecting generations of two families. (review here) It's a fascinating piece of writing by Andrew Bovell, and
a taut, engaging 100-minute production, staged by CSC's Brian Phillips.
If you're looking for the one show to see this weekend, this is the one
I'd point you to. Tickets: 513-300-5669
CCM takes on Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill's acclaimed dark comedy
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Premiered in Berlin in 1928, The Threepenny Opera
is an iconic work, the creation of composer Kurt Weill and
poet/dramatist Bertolt Brecht, and opens a two-weekend run at CCM as
part of its Kurt Weill festival, sponsored by the Kurt Weill Foundation
for Music, Inc.
Seductive drama triumphs with beautiful design and humor
2 Comments · Monday, February 18, 2013
In Hampton’s 1985 play, the Marquise de Merteuil and the
Vicomte de Valmont are manipulative aristocrats in 18th-century France
who spend their time seducing scores of people and plotting to destroy
anyone who embarrasses or rejects them.
Boundaries between fantasy, reality blur in Deborah Laufer's modern script
1 Comment · Monday, February 18, 2013
Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer has found a vein of universality in her new play, Leveling Up,
using the world of online gaming in which players vie for higher levels
of power and accomplishment, as a metaphor for growing up.
Decline and fall
2 Comments · Monday, February 11, 2013
This dense, provocative script is a challenging work, but director
Brian Isaac Phillips has staged it beautifully with nine excellent actors who are
breathtakingly powerful in a complex tale that spans 80 years and four generations of two intricately interwoven families.