by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:14 AM | Permalink
Don't despair that the Christmas holiday is behind you. Several theaters
are still staging enough cheer to keep you going for another week or so. Here's
what continues this weekend:
At the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park you'll find the traditional
Christmas favorite A Christmas Carol as well as The
Complete History of Comedy (abridged) onstage through Sunday. It feels
a bit odd to be watching Scrooge and the ghosts after Christmas Day, but the
Playhouse's rendition is such a lovely show and Bruce Cromer's portrait of the
old miser is so entertaining that you'll be charmed, I'm sure. And the Reduced
Shakespeare guys doing the "comedy" piece know how to evoke laughter
from the making of jokes in ways you haven't imagined. They're the guys who
originated this amusing formula with The Complete Works of William
Shakespeare (abridged), and they're making it work with this world premiere
production. It's a nice bit of entertainment for a weekend between the
holidays. Tickets: 513-421-3888.
Holiday themed laughs are being served up at Cincinnati Shakespeare
Company through Sunday, too, with their eighth annual presentation of Every
Christmas Story Ever Told (and then some). No Shakespeare in evidence
(although they're performing on the gussied-up set that was built for the
previous production, Twelfth Night) but four of CSC's best comic talents
are mashing up every imaginable tale you might think of that has a holiday
connection — Charlie Brown, Charles Dickens, Rudolph, the Nutcracker, It's a
Wonderful Life and many more. They'll have you laughing from start to
finish, especially if you make a stop by the bar in the lobby beforehand. Not
for the kids, but a lot of fun for anyone with an adolescent sense of humor.
Tickets: 513-381-2273 x 1.
If you want a nice outing for the kids, I recommend Ensemble Theatre
Cincinnati's holiday show, Around the World in 80 Days. Jules
Verne's adventure classic about a hectic circumnavigation of the globe in 1899
has been musicalized and condensed in a way that children will enjoy it — but
there's enough humor and talent onstage to keep adults entertained, too. ETC'S
production actually runs through the weekend after New Year's Day, but if the
kids are restless and you want to entertain them with live theater, this is a
great choice. Tickets: 513-421-3555.
0 Comments · Monday, December 16, 2013
Ready to move beyond the predictable in your pursuit of holiday theater? Three shows offer varied choices. A Klingon Christmas Carol gets its local premiere by Hugo West Theatricals at the Art Academy of Cincinnati through Dec. 22.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 4, 2013
It’s early December and time for you to
decide which hip holiday show you want to take in. Of course, you just
missed last weekend’s tour stop of How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,
a musical adaptation of the famous Dr. Seuss tale about the green
meanie Christmas hater, a latter-day Ebenezer Scrooge.
1 Comment · Tuesday, November 26, 2013
So it’s Thanksgiving week and I’m
wandering down memory lane to offer an insight into why I’m thankful to
be a theater critic. I grew up in a small town near Cleveland, acted
(poorly) in some high school productions and was infected with an
abiding love for theater. As a teenager I sought out productions at
places like the Cleveland Playhouse and summer seasons at Great Lakes
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Know Theatre is typically the last of our
local professional theaters out of the gate in the fall. It takes the
small company a while to recuperate from the Fringe Festival, from being
a venue for the MidPoint Music Festival and from the numerous other
activities they host at their Jackson Street venue in Over-the-Rhine.
But they’re finally in the midst of the run of their first regular
production for fall 2013, Mike Bartlett’s Bull.
Sweetness and sorrow
0 Comments · Tuesday, November 12, 2013
It’s a rare organization that can pull off a show so demanding. I guess
that makes Cincinnati Music Theatre rare, because their present
production of A Chorus Line offers excellent dancing, spectacular singing and acting performances that will make audiences laugh and break your heart.
Energetic, laugh-out-loud farce shines with spirit
1 Comment · Monday, November 11, 2013
Under the direction of Brant Russell, the newest member of
the drama faculty at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music, Boeing Boeing
is fresh and hilarious, a sheer delight.
by Rick Pender
I had occasion to be in downtown Dayton on business
earlier this week and thought I'd stay for the evening to catch the
Human Race Theatre Company's production of Fiddler on the Roof
at the Loft Theatre. It's not a space you'd immediately think of for
this often large-scale show, but director Kevin Moore has put of lot of
action and choreography (by Chris Crowthers) on the stage, centering on
Drew Pulver as the philosophical Jewish milkman, Tevye. He's the show's
charismatic core, but he's surrounded by a strong cast who really embody
their roles. Wandering on and off the stage, a four-musician band,
including George Abud as the expressive fiddler, ably accompanies the
cast, several of whom play multiple roles. The intimacy of the Loft
amplifies the heartfelt nature of the show, and the actors pour heart
and soul into the joyous storytelling. This production runs through Nov.
30, so you have time to plan a trip to Dayton yourself. If you're a fan
of musicals, you won't be disappointed. Tickets: 937-228-3630
If you're looking for a good musical closer to home, I can certainly recommend the Cincinnati Playhouse production of Cabaret,
which gets my Critic's Pick in the current issue (see review here). Director Marcia
Milgrom Dodge has taken it back to 1929 with costumes and choreography
very true to the period in a seedy, sexy Berlin nightclub. The Playhouse
doesn't often do musicals, but this one is done right. Tickets: 513-421-3888
Know Theatre is staging another work by Mike Bartlett. Last spring it was Cock; this time it's Bull (review here).
It's a story of two people bullying a third as they compete for jobs. A
nasty tale, not for the faint-hearted, but some fine writing and
acting. You'll feel ashamed of yourself for enjoying it, I suspect.
A fine production of John Steinbeck's Depression era tale of migrant workers and a guy who just doesn't fit in, Of Mice and Men (review here),
finishes its run this weekend at Cincinnati Shakespeare. Jeremy Dubin's
performance as cranky George and Jim Hopkins as simpleminded Lenny are
examples of the kind of fine acting that's a regular commodity at Cincy
Shakes. Tickets: 513-381-2273.
Finally, if you're in the mood for a hilarious farce, your
destination should be the Carnegie in Covington. CCM Drama has
transported some of its actors from the UC Campus to Covington, Ky., for a
production of a deliriously funny tale of one man in Paris juggling
three fiancees, Boeing Boeing. They're all flight
attendants, but advances in aviation screw up his neat schedule to keep
them discreet from one another. Comedy ensues. Tickets: 859-957-1940
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
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 30, 2013
When I mention the Cincinnati Playhouse
in the Park, you likely think of the theater that sits on the hilltop
above Mount Adams...But the folks who run the
Playhouse know that new audiences must be continuously cultivated, and
for that reason, they deliver performances through a program they call
“Off the Hill,” which tours shows for young audiences to community arts
centers across the Tristate.