Best Of 2020

Best Musical Actors: "2 Pianos, 4 Hands"

Jefferson McDonald and Matthew McGloin performed 2 Pianos, 4 Hands at the Cincinnati Playhouse in November/December 2019. Were they pianists? Were they actors? Well, they were actually both. As pianists, they performed everything from Classical pieces to Pop selections — sometimes with intentional flaws and sometimes with dazzling skill. As actors, they portrayed Ted and Richard, a pair of aspiring young musicians hoping to become concertizing stars. But they also convincingly became one another’s colorful, quirky teachers, demanding and overbearing parents and arrogant, insensitive coaches. Even if audiences were full of people who knew nothing about the finer points of music, they were able to empathize with two guys pursuing but not quite reaching their dreams. McDonald and McGloin had the chops as actors and musicians to pull this off in a surprisingly entertaining way, using their music almost as elbows, jostling for position and clowning physically against one another. The show (the Playhouse’s holiday alternate choice to A Christmas Carol) did so well that its run was extended by a week into January. Playhouse in the Park, 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mount Adams, cincyplay.com.