The 10th anniversary of the CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS happens on Aug. 25; recognition for local theater performances and productions will be handed out in a ceremony — open to the public — at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. Check out the ballot (page 31) or vote online at
Sarah Brandon earned a CEA nomination for her role as the title character in ETC's Cinderella.
The 10th anniversary of the CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS happens on Aug. 25; recognition for local theater performances and productions will be handed out in a ceremony — open to the public — at UC's College-Conservatory of Music. Check out the ballot (page 31) or vote online at citybeat.com/cea; deadline for voting is July 31. In Curtain Call, I've been telling you a bit more about some of the nominees. This week it's local actors and actresses playing leading roles in musicals. There are four nominees in each category, and the winners are decided by the public. At Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati last December, intern SARAH BRANDON offered a new take on Cinderella, a bookish and nearsighted heroine who found a Prince Charming to match. Brandon applied verve and charm to a role that could have been predictable. The Cincinnati Playhouse picked LAUREN DRAGON as one of two performers to alternate as Rock icon Janis Joplin in Love, Janis. She brought Joplin's bluesy voice and raucous singing back to life. SHERRY MCCAMLEY portrayed hardboiled Penelope Pennywise, the manager of the filthiest urinal in town who ultimately has a heart of gold (or maybe porcelain) in Urinetown, presented by Showbiz Players.
McCamley is a high school music teacher who earned a 2002 CEA nomination for her work in Cowgirls at Ensemble Theatre. It wasn't enough for high school senior LAUREN SPRAGUE to nail the lead in 42nd Street at Lakota West High School. She warmed up for playing Peggy Sawyer, the chorus girl who gets to becomes an overnight star, by tap-dancing her way through Cincinnati Music Theatre's jaunty fall production of the same show. (She'll be studying at College-Conservatory of Music this fall.) Last summer CHARLIE CLARK brought pointillist artist Georges Seurat to life in New Stage Collective's local premiere of Stephen Sondheim's Pulitzer Prize-winning musical Sunday in the Park with George. In this show, the same actor returns in Act Two as Seurat's latter-day descendant, George, a performance artist. Clark made it work. Turning 30 is the subject of Jonathan Larsen's tick, tick ... Boom! NKU grad AARON LAVIGNE played Jon, a character based on Larsen, better known as the creator of Rent. It was a strong performance in the Know Theatre Tribe's first-ever musical production. JOSEPH MEDEIROS performed on Broadway as a kid (he was in the musical Big) then came to CCM for a degree in musical theater. He capped off his undergraduate career by playing Bobby Childs, a banker who'd rather be in show business, in Crazy for You. Finally, veteran community theater actor GARY ROGERS (he performed as a teenager at Mariemont players 29 years ago) kept audiences in stitches as Officer Lockstock, the cynical cop and tongue-in-cheek narrator in Showbiz Players' production of Urinetown. Next week I'll preview nominees for Best Play and Best Musical. ...
The July/August issue of American Theatre (published by Theatre Communications Group, it's the premiere publication about noncommercial theaters in the United States and beyond) contains an article about IN THE CONTINUUM, a play coming to the CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE this fall. (It will be presented in the Shelterhouse Sept. 30-Oct. 29, as part of a year-long tour to regional theaters.) The article, "So Far, Yet So Close," describes the play as "a vivid, moving, often hilarious set of themes involving an African, an American and the day they both learn they're pregnant and HIV-positive." He documents the presentation of the play by its creators — Nikkole Salter and Danai Gurira, who will appear in Cincinnati, too — in Harare, Zimbabwe, where Gurira grew up. It was part of the Harare International Festival of the Arts, one of nearly 100 acts. The show grew from a grad school project to a 13-week Off-Broadway run. Now Salter and Gurira are working on a new script (about female freedom fighters in Liberia) and a pilot for a series on the Oxygen cable network.
contact rick Pender: rpender(at)citybeat.com