Stage Door: The Beatles rekindled, great works abridged and a whole lot of musicals

Beatles tribute band The Mersey Beatles stops by the Aronoff for one night only — accompanied by John Lennon's sister — and Cincy Shakes reduces everything from 'Aeneid' to 'Wuthering Heights' to their lowest common absurdities.

click to enlarge Justin McCombs, Miranda McGee and Geoffrey Warren Barnes II in Cincy Shakes' 'All the Great Books (Abridged).' - Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
Justin McCombs, Miranda McGee and Geoffrey Warren Barnes II in Cincy Shakes' 'All the Great Books (Abridged).'

Need some entertainment to help you forget the summer heat? Here are some thoughts.

It’s not exactly theater, but it’s onstage, so I’m reminding you that tonight “the British are coming!” The Mersey Beatles, a band of musicians all born in Liverpool, England (that’s the town in England where The Beatles originated) are in Cincinnati for a one-night stand tonight at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater. From 2002 to 2012 the quartet was the resident tribute band at the Cavern Club, the Liverpool nightclub where The Beatles perfected their act before launching their global careers in the 1960s. The Mersey Beatles have toured to more than 20 countries, recreating John, Paul, George and Ringo’s greatest hits. At the merchandise table in the lobby before and after the show, John Lennon’s sister Julia Baird will be in attendance to sell and sign copies of her book, Imagine This: Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon. Friday night only. Tickets: 513-721-3344.

If you were paying attention in high school, perhaps you read all the great books. But I bet you resorted to Cliff’s Notes — or skipped class that day. So if you want to get caught up (sort of), you need to check in with a trio of jokesters at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for the summer production of All the Great Books (Abridged). Miranda McGee, Justin McCombs and Geoffrey Warren Barnes II — who kept audiences in stitches last summer with The Complete History of America (Abridged) — are at it again, this time sending up nearly 100 classics of world literature in less than two hours. Need to brush up on the Aeneid or Beowulf or Huckleberry Finn or Wuthering Heights? They’ll be mentioned, although more with hilarity than sincerity. Perfect summertime silliness is the promised outcome. Through Aug. 13. Tickets: 513-321-2273.

If you want to see how all this “abridgement” got started, you need to hightail it to Mariemont Players for the final weekend of The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged). It’s by Adam Long, Daniel Singer and Jess Winfield, the same guys who established the franchise that pokes fun at history and literature. Through Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Walton Creek Theatre (4101 Walton Creek Rd., just east of Mariemont). Tickets: 513-684-1236.

On numerous other stages this weekend you’ll find many choices for musicals. It’s the final weekend of Some Enchanted Evening, a revue of tunes by Rodgers and Hammerstein at Northern Kentucky University’s Commonwealth Dinner Theatre (through Sunday); tickets: 859-572-5464. Cincinnati Landmark’s Warsaw Federal Incline Theater continues its production of Baby, about the trials and tribulations of pregnancy (through July 31); tickets 513-241-6550. 

And two area community theaters are offering ambitious productions of recent Broadway hits. Sunset Players is staging the musical rendition of Punk band Green Day’s American Idiot, the story of three disaffected young men in post 9/11 America (through Saturday evening at the Arts Center at Dunham); tickets: 513-588-4988. 

Fairfield Summer Theater is presenting the regional amateur premiere of Billy Elliott — The Musical at Fairfield High School’s Performing Arts Center (8800 Holden Blvd., Fairfield). Billy is a boy in a coal-mining town in Northern England whose dad and brother want him to be a boxer. But Billy has other ideas — and they involve ballet. The show, which requires at lot of dancing by young performers, was a multiple Tony Award winner in 2009. This weekend only. Tickets: 513-874-7469.


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

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