Stage Door: Mostly new shows, plus a clutch of classics

Theater opportunities this weekend include 'Girlfriend' at Know Theatre, Cincy Shakes' 'All the Great Books (abridged)' and the Cincinnati LAB Theatre's New Works Festival.

click to enlarge Montez O. Jenkins-Copeland as Will and Cary Davenport as Mike in 'Girlfriend' at Know Theatre - Photo: Dan R. Winters Photography
Photo: Dan R. Winters Photography
Montez O. Jenkins-Copeland as Will and Cary Davenport as Mike in 'Girlfriend' at Know Theatre

On a hot August weekend evening, a show in an in an air-conditioned theater might be just what you need

I gave Know Theatre’s production of Girlfriend a Critic’s Pick in my CityBeat review. Playwright Todd Almond, who’s a University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music grad (he was a voice major there, but he’s also and actor and composer), wrote about a pair of teenage boys in Nebraska in the 1990s coming to terms with their attraction to one another. Almond’s script is also a framework to hang a collection of songs from Matthew Sweet’s 1991 album of the same name. Will (Montez O. Jenkins-Copeland) is an awkward social outcast; Mike (Cary Davenport) is a popular athlete with a bent for music. The actors portray the pair as two awkward kids finding their way through a mutual crush. Anyone who’s ever fallen in love will recognize the boys’ happy, breathless feelings. Girlfriend is not terribly profound, but it’s a very sweet evening of Indie Rock tunes and recognizable emotions. Through Aug. 27. Tickets: 513-300-5669.

Head to Falcon Theatre in Newport (636 Monmouth St.) this weekend for Cincinnati LAB Theatre’s New Works Festival. Depending on the evening you attend, you will be able to see a fully staged workshop production of a new play or listen to a reading of a new script. Cincinnati LAB Theatre supports playwrights in Greater Cincinnati by developing new works through a workshop model. Kirk Sheppard’s Chase the Dragon is one of the workshop productions (performed Saturday at 8 p.m. as well as Friday, Aug. 12), taking a look at at-risk youth. The other workshop show, Elizabeth a. Harris’ Judas (tonight at 8 p.m. as well as Saturday, Aug. 13), explores the role of Jesus’ typically vilified disciple. Readings of Brian Griffin’s 3some and Valetta Anderson’s Medusa in You will be happening on those dates too. Tickets:

All the Great Books (abridged) at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will provide a lot of laughs if you show up. Erica Reid’s CityBeat review described it “a light, cornball show with high energy and a great cast. Whether or not you’re a student of great literature, you’ll have fun watching the antics of Miranda McGee, Justin McCombs and Geoffrey Warren Barnes II. It’s onstage through Aug. 13. Tickets: 513-381-2273.

Cincy Shakes’ FREE Shakespeare in the Park series is in full swing with performances of Macbeth tonight at Cottrell Park in Mason, Saturday evening at Glenwood Gardens Park in Woodlawn and Sunday at the Community Park Pavilion in Milford. They all begin at 7 p.m. As the name implies, there’s no charge to attend. Check for a complete schedule of August performances.

The kids are in charge at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts with the 2016 Cincinnati Young People’s Theatre production of the classic musical West Side Story through a Sunday matinee. Students from 32 area high schools are involved in the 35th year of this institution, staged annually by Tim Perrino, who’s given great theatrical experience to teens, many of whom have gone on to onstage careers. Tickets: 512-241-6550.

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