WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Black Pearl Sings! (Review)

Two-person cast shines with heart and soul

0 Comments · Wednesday, March 20, 2013
In a broiling Texas summertime smack in the middle of the Great Depression, Susannah Mullally, a song collector from the Library of Congress, is just about to give up her day’s search when she hears a rich, expressive voice coming from somewhere down a prison hallway.   

Black Pearl Stings!

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.   

The Language You Cry In

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.  

Oh, Yes We Got Trouble (with a capital T)

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 students.   

Threepenny Opera (Review)

CCM shines with historical tale of corruption, greed

0 Comments · Friday, March 1, 2013
This 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.   

New Vistas

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 weapons.  
by Rick Pender 02.22.2013
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onstage 2-20 - when the rain stops falling (know) cast at table - photo deogracias lerma

Stage Door: Cincy Shakes Steals the Show(s)

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. Tickets: 513-399-6638 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
 
 

Epic Theater

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.  

Dangerous Liaisons (Review)

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.  

Leveling Up (Review)

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.  

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