by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 10:47 AM | Permalink
Traditional shows, Cirque du Soleil and openings at Know and Cincy Shakes
Thanks to spot-on
casting of the four actors who bring Kim Rosenstock’s new play
Tigers Be Still to life at the Cincinnati Playhouse,
the show about people dealing with depression is charming, funny,
optimistic and even heart-warming. It’s about a young woman with a recently earned
degree in art therapy; she’s been down in the dumps about finding
work, but not as much as her mom who’s gained weight and her sister
who’s been dumped by her fiancé. She’s starting a new job thanks
to her mom’s long-ago boyfriend, now a middle school principal. He
has issues of his own — from a slacker son to anxiety about a tiger
that’s escaped from the local zoo. Sound zany? Well, it is — as
well as entertaining. The League of Cincinnati Theatres singled out
this production’s sound design by Vincent Olivieri for an award.
One panelist wrote, “On a very small stage, scenes took place in a
school gym, drugstore, office, closet, outdoors and in the living
spaces of two houses. Except for the main set, capturing the essence
of these scenes was limited to a couple of props and pieces of
furniture — and the sound!” Through April 15. Box office:
There’s a final
performance on Saturday afternoon of Rapunzel! Rapunzel! A Very
Hairy Fairy Tale, presented by The Children’s Theatre of
Cincinnati. The world premiere musical by composer Janet Vogt and
writer Mark Friedman has received an award from the league of
Cincinnati Theatres for its scenic design by David Centers. Tickets:
513-569-8080, x13. His design for the show was described by LCT
judges as “simple and very well executed in a style that was great
for the play.” In addition to the show’s signature tower, the set
also boasts a forest that “wasn’t too dank, dark and dismal, but
instead had personality.” (Centers, a veteran local designer and a
graduate of the School for Creative and Performing Arts, received an
LCT Award in the same category earlier this year for his work
Disney’s My Son Pinocchio Jr.) Tickets: 513-569-8080, x13.
On Wednesday I attended
the Cirque du Soleil production of Dralion at the Bank
of Kentucky Arena, adjacent to Northern Kentucky University. It’s
another extravaganza of strength and showmanship, athleticism and
artistry. This struck me as a somewhat more compact show than I’ve
seen in the past: The talent is just as great, but the concept —
connections between East and West — is pretty vaporous. But there
are three wonderful clowns, and several of the performances do things
that make you say, “How can a human body do that?” Balancing on
one hand, flying through the air on a hoop, skipping rope in a human
pyramid — it’s amazing stuff. It’s being presented through
Sunday: Lots of available seats on opening night, so I’m guessing
you can still find tickets for all performances. Through Sunday.
productions wrap up this weekend. The Cincinnati Playhouse’s unique
staging of Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s musical Merrily
We Roll Along, which uses actors who also play musical
instruments has its final performances on Saturday. I gave the
production a Critic's Pick; Merrily is only infrequently staged, so this is a chance not to be
missed. Box office: 513-421-3888. Ensemble Theatre concludes the run
of Time Stands Still, a fine drama with a great
ensemble cast directed by Michael Evan Haney. Final performance is on
Sunday. This tale of burned-out journalists and last gasps at
relationships by Donald Margulies, a Pulitzer Prize-winning
dramatist, also earned a Critic's Pick. Box office: 513-421-3555.
production of the recent off-Broadway and Broadway Rock musical hit,
Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, opens on Saturday. (It’s
onstage through May 12.) Word has it that tickets are already selling
fast. Box office: 513-300-5669. This weekend is also the opening for
Cincinnati Shakespeare’s production of The Grapes of Wrath,
which runs through April 29. Box office: 513-381-2273, x1.Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender offers theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Reach into your wallet and pull out a $20
bill. Do you know anything about the dashing guy portrayed there?
Andrew Jackson, a military hero, was our seventh president, serving from
1829 to 1837. But he was a rock star back in his day, a rabble-rouser.
by Jac Kern
The instructors at The Art Institute of Ohio — Cincinnati talk the talk and walk the walk. In addition to teaching up-and-coming artists, they, too, create works of art on a regular basis. Tonight, check out their work during the college's 2012 Faculty Exhibition closing reception. The event runs from 6-8 p.m. in the Mason school's gallery. If you're interested in attending the Art Institute, stop by to check out the work and come back on March 31 when the school holds an open house.Bree from Hot Wheels Entertainment hosts karaoke at The Drinkery every Tuesday. Whether you're a karaoke god or just a spectator, swing by the OTR bar between 9 p.m.-2 a.m. for tunes and booze. Find details here.Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative (CPI) continues its New Voices Season of Staged Readings with Edge Walking. Written by Barbara Harkness and directed by Patrick Downey, Edge Walking follows two parents who are faced with a child claiming he is the reincarnation of their oldest son who died as a POW in Vietnam. The encounter brings up feelings of anger, loss and grief as each character must deal with the death. Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. performance are just $8 and can be purchased before the show at the Aronoff Center. For more information, call CPI's Kalman Kivkovich at 513-861-0004.The library's Northside branch hosts a series of poetry and short story readings showcasing local authors from 6-8 p.m. tonight. Lyrical Synaesthesia is a quarterly reading event designed to showcase the breadth of talent in Cincinnati and help foster a strong living literary tradition in the Queen City. Tonight's free event is hosted by Justin Patrick Moore and will feature readings from Matt Hart, Nick Barrows, Abiyah and Betsy Young. Hosted by Justin Patrick Moore. The first 20 to arrive will receive a free chapbook published by Aurore Press.
Want to enjoy after-work drinks while learning about an important local cause? GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) Greater Cincinnati presents a happy hour at Know Theatre from 5:30-7:30 p.m. tonight. Learn about GLSEN's mission to make schools safe for all students regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Enjoy a cash bar and complimentary hors d’oeuvres while the organization will gives a brief presentation at 6:45 p.m. Learn more about GLSEN and how to become on ally here.Find ongoing art exhibits and other daily events here and follow our music blog for nightly live music offerings.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 13, 2012
Most CityBeat readers want to read
about things to do right here and right now, so I don’t allocate many
words to theater season announcements that show up this time of year.
Keep your eye on citybeat.com, especially the arts blog, for
up-to-the-minute information and recommendations.
by Rick Pender
Posted In: Theater
at 11:16 AM | Permalink
Last night I attended
the opening of the Cincinnati Playhouse production of Stephen
Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along. It’s been
directed by John Doyle, who inventively staged Sondheim’s Company
in 2006, a production that moved to Broadway and earned a Tony Award.
He uses the same approach this time — actors who provide their own
musical accompaniment — and the results are top-notch because he’s
assembled a strong, talented cast. This show has long been viewed as
one of Sondheim’s few failures, but you wouldn’t know that from
this staging: It’s a showbiz tale of success that has not led to
happiness. We start at the end, with three former friends at one
another’s throats, and then trace back to their earliest moments
together. With great music, a stylized set piled with pages of music
(the central character is a composer) and some intriguing decisions
by Doyle about elevating a realistic tale to something more deeply
emotional, this version of Merrily is a great choice for anyone who
loves musicals. Through March 31. Box office: 513-421-3888
A completely different
choice is the Afghan Women’s Writing Project at Know
Theatre, this weekend only. Playwrights Elizabeth Martin and Lauren
Hynek took material written by women in Afghanistan who risk their
lives to write their stories and turn them into material for the
stage. Several outstanding local actresses — including CEA Hall of
Famer Dale Hodges and frequent CEA award winner Annie Fitzpatrick —
are among the interpreters. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 8
p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. If you go on Friday, plan to stick around for
a post-show discussion. Tickets ($18): 513-300-5669
If you like
heart-warming, schmaltzy tales, you should find your way to Newport’s
Monmouth Theatre where Falcon Theatre is presenting Visiting
Mr. Green. It’s the story of a young man “sentenced” to
regular visits with an elderly gentleman he nearly ran over. Beneath
the surface of their disparate worlds they discover some surprising
common ground. What makes this rather predictable story come to life
is the acting: Joshua Steele and Mike Moskowitz, who happen to be
grandfather and grandson, portray their characters with
believability. This is the second of two weekends, Saturday at 7:30
p.m., Sunday at 3 p.m. Tickets: 513-479-6783
A year ago Cincinnati
Shakespeare had a big hit with Jane Austen’s Pride &
Prejudice. They’ve done it again with another adaptation, Sense
& Sensibility. This time it’s two sisters, one rational
and one emotional, wonderfully portrayed by Kelly Mengelkoch (as the
reserved, reasonable Elinor) and Sara Clark (as willful, romantic
Marianne). They’re surrounded by droll supporting characters in a
story of romance and domestic intrigue. I gave the production a
Critic’s Pick. It’s onstage until March 18, but many performances have sold out.
Speaking of Cincinnati
Shakespeare, the company recently announced its 2012-2013 season,
which will feature some memorable characters — Sherlock Holmes,
Atticus Finch (in To Kill a Mockingbird), Romeo & Juliet,
Lady Bracknell (in Oscar Wilde’s hilarious The Importance of
Being Earnest), Richard II and Nick Bottom (Midsummer Night
Dream’s aspiring actor who makes an ass of himself). You can
read about the entire season in my blog post from last Sunday.Each week in Stage
Door, Rick Pender theater tips for the weekend, often with a few pieces
of theater news.
TRUE Theatre begins 2011 with more personal tales
0 Comments · Monday, January 3, 2011
Five storytellers, some selected, some volunteers, each take the microphone for 10 minutes, sans notes, to tell a true story from their own lives in line with this installment's theme: "beginnings."
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 21, 2010
With just a few days left for Christmas shopping, I'm making a few theater-related suggestions: a Broadway snowglobe, new musical theater recordings, 'Sondheim: The Birthday Concert' on DVD and gift certificates to our wonderful local theater companies.
0 Comments · Monday, December 6, 2010
I annually face the holidays with mixed
emotions. I love the holiday season, but I also know that it means I'll be in overdrive, attending numerous theatrical holiday productions. But there are excellent options again this holiday season, starting with Cincinnati Playhouse's 'A Christmas Carol' and ETC's 'Cinderella.'
Holiday shows offer some sweets and some sass
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 24, 2010
The holidays offer a perfect time to go to the theater with local productions for theater fans from wide-eyed kids to old cynics. Some shows are familiar, like a visit with old friends, while others spruce up an old story with some new garland — and perhaps a sprig of twisted sass. Here's a rundown on eight locally staged holiday recommendations.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 24, 2010
During a week when we count our blessings, I want to mention several things I'm grateful for, starting with Mrs. Mary Price, a high school English teacher who pulled me out of a study hall in 1963 and urged me to audition for a play she was directing. I've been in love with theater ever since. I'm grateful to CityBeat for supporting my support for local theater, and I'm grateful to all the fine theaters in Greater Cincinnati that provide a remarkable variety of choice.