WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by Rick Pender 09.19.2012
Posted In: Theater at 10:22 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
on her pillow_paul wilson

Fringe Reprised

Know Theatre offering two solid pieces from 2012 Fringe Fest

Does this late September weather make you wish you could turn back the clock? Know Theatre is ready to take you back to June and the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival with a brief reprise of several shows and artists who pleased audiences three months ago. Today through Saturday you can stop by the theater on Jackson Street in Over-the-Rhine for performances by Honour Pillow (her Audience "Pick of the Fringe" show On Her Pillow (review here) will be presented tonight and Friday evening) or Dewey Chaffee and Douglas McGeoch (whose Screw You Revue (review here) was the Producers' Pick of the Fringe in June and will be presented on Friday and Saturday). There will also be performances by two favorite Fringe solo performers on Thursday and Saturday — Kevin Thornton and Tommy Nugent. For the schedule and tickets, click here.
 
 
by Julie Mullins 09.15.2012
Posted In: Dance at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
pm_nw2012_preview_02

Cincinnati Ballet's 'New Works' Opens with Emotion

Contemporary new work's moments of stillness and quiet grab you and draw you in

The intense energy between Principal dancers Cervilio Amador and Janessa Touchet is so palpable you can feel it — even when their hands aren’t touching. Their expressive duet in Heather Britt’s world premier “Opus 5.5” provided an inviting opening to Cincinnati Ballet’s annual Kaplan New Works season opener last Thursday evening. The production offers a rare chance to see dance up close, as it takes place in the company’s home performance studio at the Cincinnati Ballet Center. There’s nothing like watching live performance, but there’s something even more exciting and visceral about seeing the dancers glowing and their muscles flexing. Full of emotion, Britt’s sweeping contemporary new work has the dancers really moving all over: across the stage in sculptural lifts, through the air in expansive leaps and extravagant extensions. But it’s really the rare moments of stillness and quiet that grab you and draw you in closer. New Works’ stock in trade has always been pushing stylistic boundaries. “It’s our R&D,” says Cincinnati Ballet CEO/Artistic Director Victoria Morgan. “We need to scare ourselves, to try things we’ve never done before.” But this year is noteworthy for another reason: For the first time, all of the choreographers featured are female. Dance-wise, the women also stand out in the spotlight this year more than usual. Though, as always, there are plenty of equally fine turns by the men as well. Paige Cunningham Caldarella’s “Without Consideration,” the program’s most offbeat piece, presents a topsy-turvy look at social media and its pleasures and pitfalls. Its five short sections comprise a modern dance piece cut with classical ballet. It’s by turns satirical, ominous and oddly compelling. Clad in a lime green tee-shirt and a short, ruffled floral skirt, Corps de Ballet dancer Courtney Hellebuyck shines in her solo. She attacks each movement with ferocious intensity. Her dramatic facial expressions and stage presence are spellbinding. She and the other four dancers appear equally comfortable switching between styles — instant, by instant — in this mash-up of ballet and modern. The women even manage to perform modern floor drops in pointe shoes. A physical wall (think social media) covered in paper provides the backdrop and set piece. The dancers write on it, hurl themselves against it, and press into it. They connect and disconnect, or nearly connect with each other. But at times, they just miss, undulating away from each other. Individual gestures are repeated, such as one’s own hand suddenly turning the head and face away in a slo-mo sideways “slap.” It seems to suggest the struggle to turn one’s attention away from staying online all day. Amy Seiwert, San Francisco-based Resident Choreographer for Smuin Ballet (where she was also a longtime dancer), has created a thoroughly delightful getaway world in her world premier modern ballet ,“Think of You Often.” The weather is balmy. The light-colored clothing, designed by the Cincinnati Ballet Wardrobe Department, is carefree and casual. The women collectively become an ocean tide, even in their pointe shoes. Its feel-good soundtrack, music by the Swedish group Koop, delivers effusive swing and a touch of Latin flair. Principal dancer Sarah Hairston warmly embraces her role, full of flirtation and feline sassiness. First two, then four men lift and sway her — and no doubt cater to her every need. But don’t let the piece’s escapist playfulness belie its underlying choreographic sophistication. The partnering throughout is highly complex, original, and technically demanding. In a most striking duet, Zach Grubbs and Jacqueline Damico make the most intricate sequences look as easy and natural as an ocean breeze. Jessica Lang’s contemporary neoclassical work “La Belle Danse” (2007) presents a slightly quirky court dance of sorts. Set to a score of the likes of Handel and Mozart, it’s the sole work here that the Ballet has presented previously, in 2009. It’s the most classical piece on the program — relatively speaking — yet unexpectedly it marks the only one where the women wear soft shoes. Displaying a very different, more sacred type of passion in this role’s solo, Hairston demonstrates her versatility as  dancer, and a performer. The large cast brims over with expressive dancing, filled with plenty of leaps, turns, waltzing… and conducting gestures. Amador and Touchet rapid-fire their way through pirouettes and petit allegro galore. Although their style here sharply contrasts their opening duet, this superb pairing brings this production — one of the best New Works in recent years — full circle.
 
 

The Music Man (Review)

Showboat production is a celebration of America

0 Comments · Saturday, September 15, 2012
My historic experience with The Music Man makes me a serious judge of whether a production of this iconic show succeeds. As a one-time mayor of River City, I pronounce this one a success.  
by Jac Kern 09.14.2012
Posted In: Events, Music, Performances at 02:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
rjd2_bydanmcmahon2_72dpi

Your Weekend To Do List: 9/14-9/16

The thought of an “underground” party might conjure up images of a chic 1920s speakeasy or perhaps a creepy warehouse rave. Neither is true of Saturday’s Scion Exposed tunnel party, which is literally underground, at 220 Central Ave. beneath the Second Street overpass. Part car show, part concert, Scion Exposed features a pop-up skate park, food trucks, drinks and more, all free from 2 p.m.-midnight. RJD2 headlines the music stage with support from Chairlift, DAAP Girls and more performing throughout the day. RSVP here for free admission; Scion owners get advanced entrance at noon. Celebrate Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day during the Cincinnati Celtic Festival Saturday and Sunday. The free fest moves from Fountain Square to Washington Park this year, but continues to celebrate all things Celtic with plenty of music, food and entertainment. Knock back some Guinness, cheer on Irish dancers and get jig-y to the sounds of bagpipes between noon and 10:30 p.m. both days. With local Celts taking over the park, this month’s City Flea moves up the street to the lot at Twelfth and Vine. Vendors will be hawking everything from clothing and accessories to home goods and fine art from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The City Flea is a fun one-stop spot to support local artisans and sellers all under one roof. Sans roof. Downtown isn’t hogging all the fun this weekend — Milford’s Longstone Street Festival brings more than 15 area bands to the ‘burbs Saturday. Area musicians will perform on two stages along Main Street where kid-friendly activities await (we’re talking a Velcro wall, bungee joust, rock climbing and more). Saunter through historic downtown Milford, stop in a few shops and restaurants and enjoy the music from 11 a.m.-11 p.m. The fun continues west at the Westwood Art Show, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. More than 70 artists, crafters and DIY-ers will be selling goods including photography, re-purposed jewelry and accessories, woodwork, sculptures, pottery, edibles and more. This weekend’s theater offerings include Ensemble Theatre’s Good People, The Three Musketeers at Playhouse in the Park, To Kill a Mockingbird at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Covedale’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Peep the links for our reviews of each.Browse our calendar for other events, art exhibits, volunteer opportunities and more to do this weekend.
 
 

Open Studio

Manifest Gallery welcomes its first artist-in-residence

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 12, 2012
Manifest’s latest addition is the Manifest Artist Residency. Annually, beginning in July each year, Manifest will host a working artist in the studio facility inside the gallery building.  
by Rick Pender 09.07.2012
Posted In: Theater at 11:25 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
good people @ etc - annie fitzpatrick, kate wilford & deb g. girdler - photo ryan kurtz

Stage Door: 'Good People' and 'The Three Musketeers'

After a long hot summer (well, it's still feeling like a long hot summer), we have a full array of shows onstage in Cincinnati for you to choose among. I've seen two of them so far: Good People at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati and The Three Musketeers at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. ETC's production of Pulitzer Prize winner David Lindsay-Abaire's 2011 piece (this is the regional premiere of Good People, which was nominated for a Tony a year ago) about a woman who falls off the bottom of the employment ladder has enough humor to be entertaining (especially with Annie Fitzpatrick in the central role of Margie and Kate Wilford and Deb Girdler as her gossipy friends and bingo-night comrades) and enough contemporary relevance to be thought-provoking. ETC's D. Lynn Meyers is at her best staging naturalistic shows with social meaning, and that's exactly what this one offers. It has a great cast and flexible, attractive scenic design by the ever-creative Brian c. Mehring. I gave it a Critic's Pick. Through Sept. 23. Review here. Box office: 513-421-3555. I wanted to love The Three Musketeers at the Playhouse (through Sept. 29), but its balance of humor and heart is out of whack to my tastes. There's lots of adventure, hilarity and laughter — especially some no-holds-barred swordplay — but the show tries to hard to entertain that it misses out on the true emotion that should lie beneath. I suspect many people will love this thrill-a-minute tale of political intrigue and valor, loyalty and royalty in 17th-century France, and perhaps it will evolve to deeper feelings as it runs. I love new Artistic Director Blake Robison's desire to put appealing, family-friendly work onstage, and he's using this production to show what he means. I hope his approach gets a tad more texture and depth as his tenure continues. Review here. Box office: 513-421-3888. I haven't yet seen To Kill a Mockingbird at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, and their publicity says it's already sold out its first-two weekends. So you might want to put that one on your calendar for sometime before it wraps up (Sept. 30). In the meantime, you might want to head to Washington Park on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. for a special free presentation of CSC's touring production of The Tempest. It's a perfect piece for outdoor performance, set on an island with a sorcerer and his lovely daughter and some shipwrecked nobles who are responsible for his exile. Audience participation will be a key component of this event, with the audience asked to create large-scale effects by blowing bubbles, making waves with silk and generating sound effects. Sounds like great fun. Music (by The Young Heirlooms) begins at 6 p.m. This is a good one to bring kids to see. Also off and running this weekend is Cincinnati Landmark's production of Tennessee Williams' Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. It's a classic drama of sexual tension and family strife, a bit heavier fare than is usually found at the Covedale Center. It's a sign of the company's ambition to be a full-fledged theater offering a wide range of material. (Through Sept. 30.) Box office: 513-241-6550.
 
 

The Three Musketeers (Review)

Playhouse production has lots of laughs but could use more heart

0 Comments · Friday, September 7, 2012
Artistic Director Blake Robison's first production is jam-packed with rousing non-stop action, hearty laughs and big storytelling as well as beautiful scenic and costume elements.  

Sex Slavery Survivors Shine in 'Another Me'

1 Comment · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
The young women photographed in Another Me: Transformations from Pain to Power have all been victims of kidnapping or outright sale of themselves into sex slavery. One is as young as 8 years old, none are more than 22. Rescued and placed in the Sanlaap Shelter in Kolkata, they found returning to a self they had lost hard going.  

Matthew Shelton Brings His Lightboxes and Music Home

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 5, 2012
I first met Matthew Shelton in the bottom of a swimming pool. It was a program in which musicians performed on the floor of the empty Ziegler Pool in Over-the-Rhine. Shelton, with his deep resonant voice and wry, smart songs, made an immediate impression playing guitar in the pool’s deep end. He towered above — or, rather, below — his surroundings.  
by Rick Pender 09.05.2012
Posted In: Theater at 09:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
pamela myers

Outstanding Cast Assembled for Oct. 7 Workshop at Carnegie

Star-studded cast to perform darkly comic musical one-night only

There's a new piece of musical theater in the oven, and you'll be able to get a peak and a listen on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 p.m., when it has a one-night-only public performance at Covington's Carnegie Center. The evening will feature several local theater veterans including two with national reputations, so it's a very promising event. The Sandman is a new musical by Richard Oberacker and his writing partner Robert Taylor. They teamed to create Ace (which premiered at the Cincinnati Playhouse back in 2006), and Oberacker was the creative force behind Don't Make Me Pull This Show Over, a hit at the Cincinnati Fringe in 2008 and returned for a full production at Ensemble Theatre the following season.The Sandman is strange and darkly comic musical, drawn from a nightmarish fantasy by E.T.A. Hoffman, the author of the story of The Nutcracker and the personal inspiration for the opera The Tales of Hoffman. Oberacker, whose day job is as a music director with Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, will spend a week here to workshop the show about a month from now, and he will play piano for the performance on that Sunday evening. A star-studded cast has been recruited, topped by Broadway veteran, Tony nominee and nationally respected musical performer Pamela Myers. She'll play Frau Kaeseschweiss, an unusual nanny recruited to serve as a nanny the children of the Strauss family. Charlie Clark and Sara Mackie (both Cincinnati veteran theater professionals and familiar to ETC and Carnegie theater audiences) will play the parents, with Clark as an ingenious German clockmaker who sets in motion a series of bizarre and unnatural events when he meets the strange Dr. Copelius, played by Bruce Cromer. (Cromer is spending this month at Cincinnati Shakespeare as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird). The devilish deal between them to save the Strauss's daughter's life takes a strange and chaotic turn and sinister forces at play are revealed — forces from which only the children may be able to save their parents. Another piece of good news: Busy local director Ed Cohen will be involved in staging the piece, which will utilize a number of projected illustrations to evoke the mood and setting.Oberacker is excited by the quality of the cast assembled for the performance, especially with Myers' involvement. (Like him, both are Cincinnati natives and grads of UC's College-Conservatory of Music. She was the first musical theater grad in 1969; although he was a musical prodigy, conducting shows for community theaters while still in high school, he excelled in CCM's drama program, graduating in 1993.) In a recent email, he told me that Myers is playing "a titanic role that narrates the whole show" and added that it's "huge to have Pam in a role tailor made for her." The Carnegie's website has the performance listed but no further information. If you want to be there, I suggest you call the box office and make your interest known: 859-957-1940.
 
 

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