Rose Grows away from CSF; ETC throws stones

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

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Sandy Underwood


Derry Woodhouse (left) and Chris Clavelli star in ETC's production of Stones in His Pockets, directed by former Playhouse Artistic Director Michael Murray.



Breaking news: Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival founder, former artistic director (2002-03) and popular actor NICK ROSE won't return to CSF next season, as previously announced. His leading roles — Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost and the lead in Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol — will be picked up by another CSF stalwart, GILES DAVIES, who's been largely absent for two seasons, although he did play Dracula last fall.

Staging a play in Cincinnati is nothing new for MICHAEL MURRAY. From 1975 to 1984 he did it frequently as artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. But for 20 years he's been elsewhere (he did spend six months here back in 1992 filling a gap in leadership at the Playhouse). His artistic presence is renewed this week: He's staging STONES IN HIS POCKETS at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC), Wednesday through May 16. His gig links back to his Playhouse days, where he hired a young assistant, D. LYNN MEYERS; today she's ETC's producing artistic director. Back then she was a recent grad of Thomas More College. "She's persistent and ambitious and refuses to take 'no' for an answer," Murray recalls. "I'm sure I interviewed other people, but she just stayed on my doorstep."

Breaking news: Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival founder, former artistic director (2002-03) and popular actor NICK ROSE won't return to CSF next season, as previously announced. His leading roles — Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost and the lead in Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol — will be picked up by another CSF stalwart, GILES DAVIES, who's been largely absent for two seasons, although he did play Dracula last fall. ...

Staging a play in Cincinnati is nothing new for MICHAEL MURRAY. From 1975 to 1984 he did it frequently as artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. But for 20 years he's been elsewhere (he did spend six months here back in 1992 filling a gap in leadership at the Playhouse). His artistic presence is renewed this week: He's staging STONES IN HIS POCKETS at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati (ETC), Wednesday through May 16. His gig links back to his Playhouse days, where he hired a young assistant, D. LYNN MEYERS; today she's ETC's producing artistic director. Back then she was a recent grad of Thomas More College. "She's persistent and ambitious and refuses to take 'no' for an answer," Murray recalls. "I'm sure I interviewed other people, but she just stayed on my doorstep." He likes what Meyers has created at ETC: "She's developed into a leader and an inspirer, attracting a talented and contagious group around her. They're all a joy to work with." Stones uses two actors for a story about a Hollywood film shoot in rural Ireland; they create 15 different characters in a story about how the filmmg affects the community. Murray says, "I can't think of another play that better exemplifies the power of imagination in the theater. This show uses the theater's greatest virtue, in which a little stage becomes a universe." Stones is the second Olivier Prize winner presented by ETC this season; last fall's Blue/Orange also won the London equivalent of an Emmy. Tickets: 513-421-3555 ...

It's been a decade, but Howard Korder's THE LIGHTS is also a winner — of the 1994 Obie Award for the best Off Broadway (hence "Obie") Play. It's being staged this weekend at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) in the Cohen Family Studio Theater by master's student DAVID GROOM. "The play," he says, "is about the very real, everyday struggle for survival in an urban landscape. I'm from New York and have experienced the rat race." The Lights portrays a young couple trying to make it in a big city; small acts lead to bigger consequences, and their day turns into a journey from innocence to experience. Thursday-Saturday only; tickets are free but must be reserved in advance: 513-556-4183. ...

Local theater fans will be glad to hear that TODD ALMOND, who knocked ETC audiences dead as the title character in 2001 and 2003 productions of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, is releasing a recording of original music, DEEP NORTH WOODS. Almond used several of his Cincinnati-based musical friends (who populated Hedwig's all-star band, the "Angry Inch") for the recording, including John Curley and Michael Horrigan (both former members of The Afghan Whigs) and Bill Alletzhauser (of Ruby Vileos; see Locals Only: A New Day). A. BETH HARRIS, another ETC favorite, is part of the crew, as is SARA GETTELFINGER, a 1999 CCM grad (as was Almond) who's now a Broadway regular. Almond's recording is getting a push in New York City, where he now lives and works, but he hasn't forgotten his fans in Cincinnati. He'll be in town for a co-release party with Ruby Vileos at the Southgate House Saturday night. Info: 859-431-2201. ...

The Cincinnati Playhouse has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts to participate in the Shakespeare in American Communities project. As part of SHAKESPEARE FOR A NEW GENERATION, the Playhouse will receive funds to support a tour (beginning in January 2005) to 20-25 area schools of a special 90-minute adaptation of its season-opening production of TWELFTH NIGHT. The Playhouse already has a substantial outreach program, serving nearly 80,000 students annually.

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