The Lights shine at CCM

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

Cincinnati native Richard Oberacker will conduct Cirque du Soleil's newest show in Las Vegas.



There's been a slight change of plans at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), but don't worry — they're not turning out the lights. In fact, the Department of Drama will be turning on THE LIGHTS, a 1994 Obie winner by Howard Korder (April 29-May 1, in

CCM's Cohen Family Studio Theater). The dark investigation of a young couple struggling to exist in a large city replaces In Arabia We'd All Be Kings. The show will be staged by David Groom, a master's student, who says, "The play is about the very real everyday struggle for survival in an urban landscape. I'm from New York and have experienced the rat race, an urban survival of the fittest, where only the most resilient spirits can thrive in an environment crushed by people out for their own best interests." Tickets for the free production will be available on April 26. Info: 513-556-4183 or

Cincinnati native Richard Oberacker will conduct Cirque du Soleil's newest show in Las Vegas.



There's been a slight change of plans at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), but don't worry — they're not turning out the lights. In fact, the Department of Drama will be turning on THE LIGHTS, a 1994 Obie winner by Howard Korder (April 29-May 1, in

CCM's Cohen Family Studio Theater). The dark investigation of a young couple struggling to exist in a large city replaces In Arabia We'd All Be Kings. The show will be staged by David Groom, a master's student, who says, "The play is about the very real everyday struggle for survival in an urban landscape. I'm from New York and have experienced the rat race, an urban survival of the fittest, where only the most resilient spirits can thrive in an environment crushed by people out for their own best interests." Tickets for the free production will be available on April 26. Info: 513-556-4183 or www.ccm.uc.edu ...

Cincinnati native RICHARD OBERACKER — he graduated from Anderson High then earned a drama degree from CCM in 1993, although he's also a talented composer and conductor — spent time in Cincinnati last spring as the music director for the touring production of The Lion King. But now he has a new gig. He tells me, "I have been asked to be the conductor for the new Cirque du Soleil show being built in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Casino.

The show is currently untitled, but the inside scoop is that it is their most expensive — more than O, by a long shot — and their most technologically advanced yet." He also reports that his replacement conducting The Lion King is another CCM grad and Cincinnati native, DAVID KREPPEL, a musical theater grad from 1992. Ober-acker is affiliated with a small Cincinnati-based company, New Voice Theatre, which he says will soon have some exciting news. Last August, his original musical, The Gospel According to Fishman, received a one-night concert staging by New Voice, with the composer taking a break from The Lion King to return to Cincinnati to conduct.

Mini Reviews
ALTERACTIVE, the Monday night series of performance art pieces at the Cincinnati Playhouse, offered Minnesota actor Charlie Bethel in a one-man rendition of the Old English heroic saga, Beowulf, on Feb. 23. It was a memorable evening, a simple storyteller with rolled-up shirtsleeves and a glass of water, recounting a tale of heroism and fearsome demons — and Bethel nailed it, playing his part just like an ancient bard, the guy who recited such tales to rapt crowds, long before they were written down (Beowulf was recorded about 800 A.D.). For the 150 people in the audience, it was a magical night of theater. (RICK PENDER) Grade: A+

CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is more than a modern deconstruction of Shakespeare's Hamlet. Tom Stoppard's 1966 script is a serious modern play with Shakespearean roots, making it a perfect work for CSF. We get tantalizing glimpses of scenes from Hamlet, but this story is about two of the Danish prince's college buddies. As Rosencrantz, Chris Guthrie is full of childish clowning, often seeking to cheer his dour companion. Jeremy Dubin's Guildenstern comes from the pessimistic end of the spectrum, a bemused cynic with a dry double take. The practiced choreography of intellect and emotion between them is like literary "who's on first." (RICK PENDER) Grade: A

CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE's The Drawer Boy tells you immediately that something's slightly askew with its cozy farmhouse kitchen, full of crazy angles. It's the perfect environment for the cockeyed play about two aging Canadian farmers in the 1970s whose lives are turned upside down by a young, idealistic actor from Toronto. Cantankerous Morgan looks out for sweet, forgetful Angus; actor Miles' naíve, well-intended presence evolves from amusement to unwelcome intrusion. The Drawer Boy's warm humor leads audiences to some profound insights about human nature, with glimpses regarding how people come to understand and care for one another. (RICK PENDER) Grade: A-

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