Stage Door: Another Weekend Full of Great Theater!

At least ten shows on local stages include 'A Raisin in the Sun' at Cincy Shakes, 'Small Engine Repair' at Clifton Performance Theatre and 'Disenchanted' at the Carnegie.

click to enlarge Torie Wiggins, Burgess Byrd and Shadow Avilí in "A Raisin in the Sun" - Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Torie Wiggins, Burgess Byrd and Shadow Avilí in "A Raisin in the Sun"
Believe it or not, there are at least 10 shows on local stages this weekend. I second Erica Reid’s Critic’s Pick for A Raisin in the Sun at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. This classic play about strife between the generations of the African-American Younger family in 1950s Chicago is told by a talented ensemble cast that provides a lesson about how “family and love play a big part in sustaining our dreams and braving the reality of our future.” The production is nearly three hours long, but every minute of it is compelling — sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking. Tickets: 513-381-2273.

The phenomenon of “storefront theater” is not seen much here in Cincinnati (it’s commonplace in Chicago), but Clifton Players and Untethered Theatre, two groups that work together at Clifton Performance Theatre (Ludlow Ave.), show what’s possible in a small space with intense stage productions. They’ve just kicked off a staging of John Pollono’s Small Engine Repair, a “manly comedy” about three buddies learning the difference between men and boys. It’s described as a crude, funny, thrilling roller coaster of a story. Through April 6. Tickets: clifttonperformancetheatre.com.

If the boys leave you cold, you might want to drop in at the Carnegie in Covington for Disenchanted, a gathering of fairy tale princesses who are tired of the stereotypes they’ve been plugged into. Snow White, Rapunzel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and more have a snarky girls’ night out. Through April 9. Tickets: 859-957-1940.

Cincinnati Playhouse has productions on both of its stages right now. One is a heady but extremely well-acted adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre on the Marx mainstage through April 8. (I recommend checking out a synopsis of the novel if you go.) The other is the world premiere of Jen Silverman’s All the Roads Home. She’s a hot commodity in the theater world these days with productions of her shows landing on stages from coast to coast. Read more about her in my Curtain Call column in this week’s CityBeat. Her new play is a coming-of-age story about three generations of young women: Madeleine in the 1950s, her daughter Max in the 1970s and Max’s daughter Nix today. There are insights about escaping small towns and chasing dreams and about how one generation shapes the next. It’s on the Shelterhouse stage through April 23. Playhouse Box Office: 513-421-3888.

I haven’t seen David Lindsay-Abaire’s Rabbit Hole at Falcon Theatre in Newport, but reliable sources tell me that the heartbreaking story of a family struggling to recover from the accidental death of their only child is very well done. It’s onstage through April 8. Tickets: 513-479-6783.


Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here. 

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