The Know Theatre Tribe offers lip service

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

SCPA student Kayla Richardson is performing in Madison, Wisc.



It's National Women's History Month, and the Know Theatre Tribe has found the perfect play to mark the occasion and reach out to diverse audiences: It's the regional premiere of Constance Congdon's LIPS, about the first female President of the United States and her patriotic campaign for the rights of gays and lesbians. The political satire on media manipulation will be directed by CHRISTINE DEFRANCESCO; her cast features MARY ANNE SMITH, MATTHEW A. PYLE and SARAH MANN-DRAKE. Know's executive director, JAY B. KALAGAYAN, says, "Lips personalizes important issues of politics and gay rights with real characters." As Cincinnati gears up to repeal Article 12 and gay couples line up to be married in several American cities, it sounds as if the theater company that got Cincinnati's attention last summer with Corpus Christi could have another show that will have people talking. At Gabriel's Corner (1425 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine). Info: 513-300-3669.

I don't often cover THE CHILDREN'S THEATRE, whose demographics don't exactly match CityBeat's and — even more pragmatically — their performances are often brief and during school hours. But they do offer performances to the general public, and they're certainly worth seeing — including this weekend's THE JUNGLE BOOK, presented at the Taft Theatre on Friday (7:30 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (2 p.m.). It's not the first time the Children's Theatre has staged the Kipling tale script, written by local playwright MARY TENSING in 1997. While these performances are for children, they feature adults — many of them professional actors; this production is staged to music by Bela Fleck, renowned Bluegrass and Jazz musician.

It's National Women's History Month, and the Know Theatre Tribe has found the perfect play to mark the occasion and reach out to diverse audiences: It's the regional premiere of Constance Congdon's LIPS, about the first female President of the United States and her patriotic campaign for the rights of gays and lesbians. The political satire on media manipulation will be directed by CHRISTINE DEFRANCESCO; her cast features MARY ANNE SMITH, MATTHEW A. PYLE and SARAH MANN-DRAKE. Know's executive director, JAY B. KALAGAYAN, says, "Lips personalizes important issues of politics and gay rights with real characters." As Cincinnati gears up to repeal Article 12 and gay couples line up to be married in several American cities, it sounds as if the theater company that got Cincinnati's attention last summer with Corpus Christi could have another show that will have people talking. At Gabriel's Corner (1425 Sycamore St., Over-the-Rhine). Info: 513-300-3669. ...

I don't often cover THE CHILDREN'S THEATRE, whose demographics don't exactly match CityBeat's and — even more pragmatically — their performances are often brief and during school hours. But they do offer performances to the general public, and they're certainly worth seeing — including this weekend's THE JUNGLE BOOK, presented at the Taft Theatre on Friday (7:30 p.m.), Saturday and Sunday (2 p.m.). It's not the first time the Children's Theatre has staged the Kipling tale script, written by local playwright MARY TENSING in 1997. While these performances are for children, they feature adults — many of them professional actors; this production is staged to music by Bela Fleck, renowned Bluegrass and Jazz musician. Info: 513-569-8080, ext. 10 or wwwthechildrenstheatre.com. ...

Speaking of children's theater, this weekend also offers the world premiere of composer DAVID KISOR's musical version of Louisa May Alcott's LITTLE WOMEN by the Preparatory Department at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Under the direction of DEE ANNE BRYLL, 68 kids from age 8 to 14 will re-create the March sisters and their lives in New England during the Civil War. Performances are Friday (7:30 p.m.) and Saturday (2:30 and 7:30 p.m.) and March 27 (2:30 p.m.) at CCM's Patricia Corbett Theater; and at Clermont College's Krueger Auditorium on March 26 and 27 (7:30 p.m.). Info: 513-556-2595. ...

From Madisonville to Madison, Wisc., has been a quick step for KAYLA RICHARDSON. The sixth-grader at the School for Creative and Performing Arts, who has also been active with the Cincinnati Black Theatre Company, is performing in a professional production of August Wilson's The Piano Lesson at Madison Repertory Theatre, part of what one local reviewer has described as an "outstanding ensemble cast," adding that it's "easily the best Madison Rep production of the past several seasons." Richardson was noticed by producers a year ago when she auditioned for the Broadway and touring companies of The Lion King; she was one of four finalists, but a growth spurt took her out of contention for the role of Young Nala. After several New York auditions, she's enjoying her role in Wisconsin, where she lived before moving to Cincinnati in 2000. She has many relatives there, including her grandparents — no doubt cheering her on.

Mini Reviews
CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE's Blue explores generational conflict in a well-heeled South Carolina family, in 1978 and then 15 years later. Samuel Clark (Peter Jay Fernandez) runs a successful African-American funeral home. His straight-talking mother, Tillie (Brenda Thomas), and his pretentious wife, Peggy (Denise Burse), don't get along. Their two sons struggle to find their own ways. Weaving through the action is Jazz singer Blue Williams (Kevyn Morrow), Peggy's favorite. When she plays one of his songs, he appears on a balcony or in a doorway to sing. This tale is too melodramatic for my taste, but Blue does present a warm, human — and flawed — family, one we might call "true blue." (RICK PENDER) Grade: B

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