September 04, 2018

25 Must-See Cincinnati Fall Arts Productions

CityBeat's Fall Arts Preview is an annual rundown listing the performances and shows our critics are most excited to see in the upcoming season. Read our feature stories on:
  • Choreographer Jennifer Archibald and the Cincinnati Ballet's 2018-19 season here;
  • Curator William Messer's FotoFocus retrospective at Iris Bookcafe here;
  • Broadway musical The Who's Tommy coming to Memorial Hall here;
  • And Cincinnati World CInema's new home at the former Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's theater here
Or check out these 21 additional picks for must-see fall arts...
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SEPT. 07-29
ONSTAGE: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum 
After 25 years, the venerable Cincinnati Shakespeare Company tries something “new” — for it, if not for us. It is presenting a musical: Stephen Sondheim’s 1962 Tony Award-winning A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A humorous tale about a scheming slave in ancient Rome, it has the infectious energy of vaudeville along with such songs as “Pretty Little Picture,” “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” “I’m Calm,” “Bring Me My Bride” and more. 
Sept. 7-29. $67 adult; $63 senior; $41 student. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography

SEPT. 07-29

ONSTAGE: A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum
After 25 years, the venerable Cincinnati Shakespeare Company tries something “new” — for it, if not for us. It is presenting a musical: Stephen Sondheim’s 1962 Tony Award-winning A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. A humorous tale about a scheming slave in ancient Rome, it has the infectious energy of vaudeville along with such songs as “Pretty Little Picture,” “Everybody Ought to Have a Maid,” “I’m Calm,” “Bring Me My Bride” and more.
Sept. 7-29. $67 adult; $63 senior; $41 student. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 1195 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincyshakes.com.
Photo: Mikki Schaffner Photography
SEPT. 07
EVENT: The World’s Largest Twist Dance
Central to the King Records legacy is that its recording artist Hank Ballard recorded the original version of “The Twist” — the greatest dance craze ever — at King 60 years ago this November. (It’d didn’t become a hit until non-King artist Chubby Checker covered it in 1960.) To celebrate Ballard’s musical milestone during King Records Month, attendees at the Sept. 7 Cincinnati Reds game will attempt The World’s Largest Twist Dance at Great American Ball Park, after the game’s conclusion and before the traditional Friday night fireworks. If this catches on, watch for The World’s Largest Mashed Potato Dance next year. 
6:40 p.m. game Sept. 7. Free with game ticket. Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, kingstudios.org.
The Twist in Berlin, 1964

SEPT. 07

EVENT: The World’s Largest Twist Dance
Central to the King Records legacy is that its recording artist Hank Ballard recorded the original version of “The Twist” — the greatest dance craze ever — at King 60 years ago this November. (It’d didn’t become a hit until non-King artist Chubby Checker covered it in 1960.) To celebrate Ballard’s musical milestone during King Records Month, attendees at the Sept. 7 Cincinnati Reds game will attempt The World’s Largest Twist Dance at Great American Ball Park, after the game’s conclusion and before the traditional Friday night fireworks. If this catches on, watch for The World’s Largest Mashed Potato Dance next year.
6:40 p.m. game Sept. 7. Free with game ticket. Great American Ball Park, 100 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, kingstudios.org.
The Twist in Berlin, 1964
SEPT. 13
LIT: Stephen Markley
Stephen Markley’s Ohio is creating buzz as a “Great American Rustbelt Novel” for its story of four former high-school classmates returning to New Canaan, Ohio after 9/11 and the start of the Great Recession to confront unresolved personal issues against a societal backdrop of foreclosures, Walmarts and opioid addiction. Its publisher, Simon & Schuster, considers it a fiction counterpart to Hillbilly Elegy or Janesville. The author will be here to discuss and sign copies of his ambitious book, a debut novel. 
7 p.m. Sept. 13. Free. Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road, Rookwood Commons, Norwood, josephbeth.com.
Photo: Michael Amico

SEPT. 13

LIT: Stephen Markley
Stephen Markley’s Ohio is creating buzz as a “Great American Rustbelt Novel” for its story of four former high-school classmates returning to New Canaan, Ohio after 9/11 and the start of the Great Recession to confront unresolved personal issues against a societal backdrop of foreclosures, Walmarts and opioid addiction. Its publisher, Simon & Schuster, considers it a fiction counterpart to Hillbilly Elegy or Janesville. The author will be here to discuss and sign copies of his ambitious book, a debut novel.
7 p.m. Sept. 13. Free. Joseph-Beth Booksellers, 2692 Madison Road, Rookwood Commons, Norwood, josephbeth.com.
Photo: Michael Amico
SEPT. 13-DEC. 30 and OCT. 20-JAN. 13
VISUAL ART: Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas rules the fall season at Ohio art museums. As part of the region-wide FotoFocus Biennial 2018 (see separate entry), she’ll be featured in Dayton Art Institute’s Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs from Oct. 20-Jan. 13, 2019. (There’s also a companion show, tête-à-tête, featuring photos that inspired her.) The brilliant African-American artist also has a major show — Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me — at Columbus’ Wexner Center for the Arts Sept. 13-Dec. 30. It will include nearly 30 paintings, videos and immersive installations. The show will focus primarily on her large-scale paintings, with each of the Wexner’s four galleries devoted to one of Thomas’ strong influences: her late mother, Sandra; her former lover, Maya; her current partner, Racquel; and herself. 
Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me: Sept. 13-Dec. 30. $8 adults; $6 seniors/faculty and students. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St., Columbus, wexarts.org. Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs: Oct. 20-Jan. 13, 2019. $8 adults; $5 seniors/military; free students, youth. Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, daytonartinstitute.org.
Photo: Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit 2015 // the Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection, Mickalene Thomas, Artist Rights Society New York

SEPT. 13-DEC. 30 and OCT. 20-JAN. 13

VISUAL ART: Mickalene Thomas
Mickalene Thomas rules the fall season at Ohio art museums. As part of the region-wide FotoFocus Biennial 2018 (see separate entry), she’ll be featured in Dayton Art Institute’s Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs from Oct. 20-Jan. 13, 2019. (There’s also a companion show, tête-à-tête, featuring photos that inspired her.) The brilliant African-American artist also has a major show — Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me — at Columbus’ Wexner Center for the Arts Sept. 13-Dec. 30. It will include nearly 30 paintings, videos and immersive installations. The show will focus primarily on her large-scale paintings, with each of the Wexner’s four galleries devoted to one of Thomas’ strong influences: her late mother, Sandra; her former lover, Maya; her current partner, Racquel; and herself.
Mickalene Thomas: I Can’t See You Without Me: Sept. 13-Dec. 30. $8 adults; $6 seniors/faculty and students. Wexner Center for the Arts, 1871 N. High St., Columbus, wexarts.org. Muse: Mickalene Thomas Photographs: Oct. 20-Jan. 13, 2019. $8 adults; $5 seniors/military; free students, youth. Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North, Dayton, daytonartinstitute.org.
Photo: Racquel Reclining Wearing Purple Jumpsuit 2015 // the Rachel and Jean-Pierre Lehmann Collection, Mickalene Thomas, Artist Rights Society New York
SEPT. 13
LIT: Luc Sante
The author Luc Sante, this year’s guest for the Mercantile Library’s Albert Pyle Urban Lecture, writes about the forgotten lives of cities by using photographs, police records, newspapers, pamphlets, song lyrics, legends and anecdotes as research material. His books include Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York and The Other Paris. Sante’s appearance starts with a reception followed by a talk. 
6 p.m. reception; 6:30 p.m. talk Sept. 13. $15; free for members. Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St., Downtown, mercantilelibrary.com.
Photo: lucsante.com

SEPT. 13

LIT: Luc Sante
The author Luc Sante, this year’s guest for the Mercantile Library’s Albert Pyle Urban Lecture, writes about the forgotten lives of cities by using photographs, police records, newspapers, pamphlets, song lyrics, legends and anecdotes as research material. His books include Low Life: Lures and Snares of Old New York and The Other Paris. Sante’s appearance starts with a reception followed by a talk.
6 p.m. reception; 6:30 p.m. talk Sept. 13. $15; free for members. Mercantile Library, 414 Walnut St., Downtown, mercantilelibrary.com.
Photo: lucsante.com
SEPT. 13-23
DANCE: Kaplan Series New Works
Jennifer Archibald likes a challenge. A native of Toronto and graduate of The Ailey School in New York City, she’s Cincinnati Ballet’s newest — and first female — resident choreographer. She was appointed to that position in 2017. Her latest contribution debuts as part of the Kaplan New Works Series, which opens this year’s ballet season with performances between Sept. 13 and 23. Cincinnati Ballet’s website says that, for her world-premiere piece, “Archibald will focus on the strength of the male dancer with a new ballet for five powerhouse men.” Archibald’s all-male piece for New Works is called “Quem Vive Vera,” or “he who lives shall see” in Latin. It portrays five men struggling to map out their futures, and follows the same vein of contemplation and understanding that many of her previous pieces have.
Sept. 13-23. $66-$75. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger

SEPT. 13-23

DANCE: Kaplan Series New Works
Jennifer Archibald likes a challenge. A native of Toronto and graduate of The Ailey School in New York City, she’s Cincinnati Ballet’s newest — and first female — resident choreographer. She was appointed to that position in 2017. Her latest contribution debuts as part of the Kaplan New Works Series, which opens this year’s ballet season with performances between Sept. 13 and 23. Cincinnati Ballet’s website says that, for her world-premiere piece, “Archibald will focus on the strength of the male dancer with a new ballet for five powerhouse men.” Archibald’s all-male piece for New Works is called “Quem Vive Vera,” or “he who lives shall see” in Latin. It portrays five men struggling to map out their futures, and follows the same vein of contemplation and understanding that many of her previous pieces have.
Sept. 13-23. $66-$75. Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown, cincinnatiarts.org.
Photo: Hailey Bollinger
SEPT. 14-21
ONSTAGE: The Who's Tommy
Since 1969, The Who’s Tommy has been striking resonant chords — first as a concept album by the legendary Rock group, then as a star-studded 1975 film and finally as a 1993 Broadway musical. That final incarnation, winner of five Tony Awards (including one for Pete Townshend’s original score and another for Wayne Cilento’s choreography) ran for more than two years. The powerful work will soon be available to Cincinnati audiences in Over-the-Rhine’s 556-seat Memorial Hall.
Sept. 14-15 and Sept. 20-21. $28-$42. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, memorialhallotr.com.
Phot: The cast of Tommy by Whittney Hammons

SEPT. 14-21

ONSTAGE: The Who's Tommy
Since 1969, The Who’s Tommy has been striking resonant chords — first as a concept album by the legendary Rock group, then as a star-studded 1975 film and finally as a 1993 Broadway musical. That final incarnation, winner of five Tony Awards (including one for Pete Townshend’s original score and another for Wayne Cilento’s choreography) ran for more than two years. The powerful work will soon be available to Cincinnati audiences in Over-the-Rhine’s 556-seat Memorial Hall.
Sept. 14-15 and Sept. 20-21. $28-$42. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, memorialhallotr.com.
Phot: The cast of Tommy by Whittney Hammons
SEPT. 20
PERFORMANCE: Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow
Renaissance man Henry Rollins has already made his mark in the worlds of Punk and Post-Punk, Spoken Word, film criticism, writing, publishing, acting and radio programming. Now he’s taking on Rick Steves as a travel personality. For his Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow, he is showing photos he took during visits to Baghdad, Pyongyang and other hot (or cold) spots in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South America and Antarctica. And he will tell the stories behind the pictures. 
7:30 p.m. Sept. 20. $30; $155 VIP. Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatiarts.org.
Photo: Provided

SEPT. 20

PERFORMANCE: Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow
Renaissance man Henry Rollins has already made his mark in the worlds of Punk and Post-Punk, Spoken Word, film criticism, writing, publishing, acting and radio programming. Now he’s taking on Rick Steves as a travel personality. For his Henry Rollins Travel Slideshow, he is showing photos he took during visits to Baghdad, Pyongyang and other hot (or cold) spots in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South America and Antarctica. And he will tell the stories behind the pictures.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 20. $30; $155 VIP. Music Hall Ballroom, 1241 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, cincinnatiarts.org.
Photo: Provided
SEPT. 22
CLASSICAL: Alma de España
When was the last time you could attend an opening gala for only $35? Cincinnati Song Initiative launches its third season with Alma de España, a three-year project presenting songs by six Spanish-speaking composers. There is a good reason for celebration because the featured singers are soprano Paulina Villarreal and mezzo Jessica Rivera, who was Nuria in Cincinnati Opera’s 2008 production of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Cincinnati Song Initiative’s concert settings are always intimate and followed by a reception. 
7:30 p.m. Sept. 22. $35; $15 student. Willis Music Steinway Gallery, 8118 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, cincinnatisonginitiative.org.
Photo: Jessica Rivera by Isabel Pinto

SEPT. 22

CLASSICAL: Alma de España
When was the last time you could attend an opening gala for only $35? Cincinnati Song Initiative launches its third season with Alma de España, a three-year project presenting songs by six Spanish-speaking composers. There is a good reason for celebration because the featured singers are soprano Paulina Villarreal and mezzo Jessica Rivera, who was Nuria in Cincinnati Opera’s 2008 production of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar. Cincinnati Song Initiative’s concert settings are always intimate and followed by a reception.
7:30 p.m. Sept. 22. $35; $15 student. Willis Music Steinway Gallery, 8118 Montgomery Road, Kenwood, cincinnatisonginitiative.org.
Photo: Jessica Rivera by Isabel Pinto
SEPT. 27-29
COMEDY: Improv Festival Cincy
Improv Festival Cincy celebrates its fifth anniversary in September with an increase in shows, more local troupes and more chances to see headliners. It also has workshops taught by traveling artists and after-parties with the artists. Among the headliners are Atlanta’s Working Title, Chicago’s Emily Fightmaster and Friends, Portland’s Broke Company, Minneapolis’ The Bearded Company and from Chicago an improvised Rock Opera titled Anarchy. 
Sept. 27-29. $35 for two performance tickets; $65 for four performance tickets; $90 for six performance tickets. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, ifcincy.com.
Photo: Emily Fightmaster provided by ifcincy.com

SEPT. 27-29

COMEDY: Improv Festival Cincy
Improv Festival Cincy celebrates its fifth anniversary in September with an increase in shows, more local troupes and more chances to see headliners. It also has workshops taught by traveling artists and after-parties with the artists. Among the headliners are Atlanta’s Working Title, Chicago’s Emily Fightmaster and Friends, Portland’s Broke Company, Minneapolis’ The Bearded Company and from Chicago an improvised Rock Opera titled Anarchy.
Sept. 27-29. $35 for two performance tickets; $65 for four performance tickets; $90 for six performance tickets. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine, ifcincy.com.
Photo: Emily Fightmaster provided by ifcincy.com