At the 2004 CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS on Nov. 22, CityBeat announced that the next CEAs in 2005 will divide the recognition program into two events, with theater awards for 2004-2005 presented in August, just before the beginning of the fall season. This year's program at Old St. George (lots of great photos can be found at
Former CSF regular Marni Penning accepts her CEA for a performance by a visiting actor.
At the 2004 CINCINNATI ENTERTAINMENT AWARDS on Nov. 22, CityBeat announced that the next CEAs in 2005 will divide the recognition program into two events, with theater awards for 2004-2005 presented in August, just before the beginning of the fall season. This year's program at Old St. George (lots of great photos can be found at citybeat.com/cea) recognized a broad array of local actors: CORINNE MOHLENHOFF and SUNSHINE CAPPELLETTI for their comic duet in Ovation Theatre's Fallen Angels; BRUCE CROMER for his manipulative psychologist in ETC's Blue/Orange; CHRIS GUTHRIE as Scrooge in Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol at CSF; PAM DAY as Mother in CMT's Ragtime; and TOM CARTWRIGHT as the title character in Jekyll & Hyde, staged by Showbiz Players. At the awards program, Cartwright sang "This Is the Moment," while nominees ALLISON ELFLINE and KERA HALBERSLEBEN performed a number from Side Show and A. BETH HARRIS did a sultry tune from Nite Club Confidential. Visiting actor awards went to MALIK EL-AMIN for his role as a young man wrongfully convicted of murder in ETC's A Lesson Before Dying and to former CSF regular MARNI PENNING, who returned to town a year ago to play the feisty lead in The Taming of the Shrew. Penning delivered an emotional speech, citing the inspiration of two other actresses: "My 16-year-old cousin, Drew, whose play I missed this weekend to come here, and my good friend Deborah Ludwig, co-founder of Ovation Theatre, both of whom beat leukemia this year." Productions earning recognition were Showbiz's Jekyll & Hyde (community theater) and Joe McDonough's One at the Cincinnati Playhouse (local premiere). The Playhouse's production of Metamorphoses was the evening's big winner, picking up three awards — for ensemble acting, technical achievement (who could forget that onstage swimming pool?) and overall production. The Cincinnati Fringe Festival received a special CEA for its successful 2004 launch. And the Cincinnati Playhouse's ED STERN and BUZZ WARD were inducted into the CEA Hall of Fame, based on the recommendation of the League of Cincinnati Theatres.
We see lots of plays and musicals in Greater Cincinnati. Lynne Aronson observes, "There are literally thousands of wonderful one-act plays that no one ever gets to see performed. Some are fun, some are thought provoking, others are just a bit bizarre." Aronson, who produces the annual ONE-ACT PLAY FESTIVAL, adds, "The point is, you get to experience all of these feelings in one enjoyable evening." You actually have your choice of several afternoons and evenings, Friday-Sunday and Dec. 10-12 at Newport's Monmouth Theatre. The theme this year is "Women X 4," because four local directors are collaborating to mount five scripts, including "For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls" by Christopher Durang. Tickets: 859-655-9140 ...
While it's not exactly a holiday story — well, part of it does happens at Christmas time at Daddy Warbucks' mansion — you might want to take some kids to see Annie, Jr. presented by THE CHILDREN'S THEATRE this weekend at the Taft Theatre. The original show (back in 1977) won seven Tony Awards; this is an abbreviated version aimed at young audiences. Tickets: 513-569-8080.
OVATION THEATER COMPANY knows lots of kids onstage make a heart-warming holiday production and a box-office success. A year ago The Best Christmas Pageant Ever sold out regularly; this year the tale of an apparently doomed pageant has moved to the larger Jarson-Kaplan Theater. A rowdy family of bullies invade a traditional Sunday School and take over the plum roles: Rather than make a mess of it, the Herdmans get the Christmas message and pass it along. They also offer pragmatic suggestions, like calling it "Revenge at Bethlehem" and having a Wise Man bring a Christmas ham. Director Don Volpenheim has improved the production from last year, but it's still a bunch of amateurs doing a show about a bunch of amateurs. That's the charm, of course, especially the adorable, stage-struck little angels. Teenage narrator Ana Gilmore has more natural stage presence than the adult actors. (Rick Pender) Grade: C+