by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 09:09 AM | Permalink
It’s a three-day
weekend that’s more about being outdoors and kicking off summer
fun. That being said, if you’re looking for a theater production
that will give you some laughs for your weekend, I recommend catching
a performance of see The Second City 2: Less Pride – More
Pork at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park on its
Shelterhouse Stage. I found it a notch up from the very entertaining
first iteration of the show that set box-office records for the Mount
Adams theater during the 2010 holiday season. Lots of hilarious
fun-poking at … us. The clever cast from Chicago’s renowned
comedy/improv troupe uniquely tailors each performance to the
audience that shows up. Box office: 513-421-3888.
I haven’t seen the
Showboat Majestic’s opening production of its 90th season (that’s
right, the boat has been entertaining audiences for nine decades!),
but Babes in Hollywood is another show that’s light
and entertaining. It’s a revue of tunes made famous by Judy Garland
and Mickey Rooney back in the 1930s and ’40s when they were
happy-go-lucky adolescent stars. I did see the four-member cast do a
number at last Monday’s LCT Awards event, and they have fine voices
and a sense of style. I suspect this show will be popular with the
grey-haired audience that frequents the Showboat, but I bet people of
any age will have a good time watching. Box office: 513-241-6550.
If you want something a
tad more profound, try Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production
of The Merchant of Venice, one of Shakespeare’s most
difficult plays. It’s officially categorized as a comedy because it
has humorous and romantic elements. But the central story about a
potentially fatal argument between a moneylender and a businessman is
anything but amusing. CSC’s artistic director Brian Isaac Phillips
takes on the role of the rapacious moneylender who has faced
anti-Semitic discrimination for his entire life. Is Shylock a villain
or a victim? Shakespeare gives him aspects of each, and CSC’s
production does not tilt in either direction. You get to decide, and
it won’t be easy. Review here. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.
There’s a new theater
downtown, just a few doors north of Cincinnati Shakespeare’s venue.
They’re calling themselves Speakeasy Theatre, and they’re
performing in a storefront space at 815 Race Street. Their inaugural
production is Paul Baerman’s The Whistler. The show,
directed by Tim Waldrip, is set in 1965 in an unnamed Southern city
where a lot a racist attitudes are out in the open. The Andy
Griffith Show is in its fifth season, and the guy who whistles
that show’s theme (played here by local professional actor Michael
G. Bath) is living off the royalties of his work. But life gets more
complicated when he meets an African-American trumpet player (Tony
Davis is taking on the role) who shares his passion for music. The
show just opened on Thursday and I haven’t seen it, but it’s
always good to give a new theater a try. The Whistler will be
onstage through June 10. Box office: 513-861-7469.
Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.
Cincinnati theater is off and running
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Cincinnati’s Riverfest fireworks once fired the starting gun for local theater, but already several theaters have shows onstage. This week Cincinnati’s major theaters open their first productions of 2011-2012, launching a fall offering an unusual number of award-winning shows.
Showboat Majestic scores with a show of genuine hilarity
0 Comments · Tuesday, August 17, 2010
Most theatergoers don't want to see anything too challenging in the summertime. If you're looking for that kind of amusement, you'll find it aboard the Showboat through Aug. 22. Larry Shue's 'The Nerd' offers twists and turns that will turn you upside down once or twice before the evening is over ... with some genuine laughter along the way.
Showboat's 'cornpone congregation' blooms with fine voices
0 Comments · Thursday, July 15, 2010
'Cotton Patch Gospel' is based on a 1971 retelling of the Gospel of Matthew by Clarence Jordan, with music by singer-songwriter Harry Chapin written just before his death in a car accident in 1981. Excellent singing by the 10 cast members sustains the two-act revival meeting from start to finish with updated versions of familiar Bible parables. Joshua Steele shows off his fine voice and acting talents as Jesus, and Max Chernin is Matthew, the show's affable narrator.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 23, 2010
There's a song in 'The Fantasticks' that bemoans the heat of the summer sun — "This Plum Is Too Ripe" — and that's how hot weather makes me feel. It's made more depressing by the reduction of shows that might provide some diversion. Most local stages are dark for the summer, which is a shame. But there's still summer theater to be found, so let's do a quick overview.
Showboat cast works too hard at being silly
2 Comments · Friday, May 14, 2010
The moral of the 1936 comedy 'You Can't Take It With You' is pretty simple: Don't work too hard, and life is for living. Paint, write, manufacture illegal fireworks in the basement — do whatever makes you happy. Not all the actors on the Showboat Majestic, however, embrace this message.
Showboat Majestic features an illuminating Eliza
0 Comments · Friday, September 18, 2009
Showboat Majestic closes out the 2009 summer season with the evergreen, ever-lilting, ever-intelligent Alan Lerner-Frederick Loewe 1956 musical 'My Fair Lady,' under Tim Perrino's direction. Much of this show is brightly energetic and cleverly staged, though occasionally ragged in execution on the postage stamp stage. All 18 cast members give the piece their Showboat best.
CEA Hall of Famers have transformed landmarks into successful entertainment venues
0 Comments · Monday, August 24, 2009
For creating and sustaining Cincinnati Young People's Theatre Festival for nearly 30 years, for keeping the Showboat Majestic afloat (literally and artistically) and for turning a deteriorating West Side movie theater into a popular performing arts venue, the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts, Tim and Jennifer Perrino and Denny Reed are being honored by the League of Cincinnati Theatres with the 2009 "Continuing Achievement Award." On Sunday evening at Below Zero Lounge in Over-the-Rhine, they'll be inducted into the Cincinnati Entertainment Awards Hall of Fame.
'The Musical of Musicals' floats parodies on the river stage
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 7, 2009
The Showboat Majestic is set to host five musicals for the price of one. Kind of. In fact, 'The Musical of Musicals: The Musical' is just one story, but it's interpreted five ways — in the styles of various legendary musical theater creators. Given that musicals are in high demand on the Showboat, this show is perfectly suited for summer audiences and their expectations.
Rollin' on the river in the 85-year-old Showboat Majestic
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Cincinnati’s Showboat Majestic, owned by the city and operated by Landmark Productions, is 85 years old. It first floated out from an upriver boatyard on the spring rise in 1923.