Studio Series

Theaters, Actors, Etc.

Marin Mazzie

Marin Mazzie presents her one-woman show, Yes! It's Today!, Saturday at the Carnegie Center's Otto M. Budig Theatre.

A friend recently told me he's resumed going to see shows at UC's College-Conservatory of Music (CCM) and how much he's enjoyed renewing the acquaintance. I'm sure he has the 2006-2007 STUDIO SERIES season on his radar, 10 plays, musicals and operas staged in the intimate Cohen Family Studio Theater. The performances have limited runs (usually one weekend); most are free, although because of limited seating, ticket reservations are required. (Call 513-556-4183 on the Monday before the show opens.) This fall begins with an ancient comedy, written in 411 B.C., Lysistrata (Oct. 19-21); Aristophanes' classic is about women who withhold sex until peace is achieved. (Fancy that.) Next is a rowdy musical fable from 1976, The Robber Bridegroom (Nov. 2-4), based on a darkly comic novel by Mississippi writer Eudora Welty. A week later it's The Lucrezia Legend (Nov. 9-12), co-directed by opera professor SANDRA BERNHARD and drama professor MICHAEL BURNHAM. It weaves music by three composers (Respighi, Handel and Britten) with text by Shakespeare to re-create the story of a woman raped to test her faithfulness. Another opera, Conrad Susa's The Dangerous Liaisons (Jan. 12-13), is the only studio show charging admission ($10).

It's another version of the 18th-century story that's inspired several plays and films, including 1999's Cruel Intentions, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe and Reese Witherspoon. CEA Hall of Famer Burnham is at work again in February with Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors (Feb. 15-17), a tale of confused identities fueled by two pairs of twins. NICHOLAS MUNI, former artistic director at Cincinnati Opera and now a CCM professor, will stage a double bill — Chabrier's comic Une education manqué and Milhaud's poignant Le pauvre matelot (March 2-4). Musical theater choreographer DIANE LALA will stage Kander & Ebb's classic Cabaret (March 8-10). Drama chair RICHARD HESS, who earned two 2006 CEAs for his Fringe Festival performance piece (UN)Natural Disaster, will stage Charles Mee's Big Love (April 26-29). Based on an ancient play by Aeschylus, Mee's script premiered at the 2000 Humana Festival in Louisville. Mark Blitzstein's controversial 1937 Federal Theatre Project musical, The Cradle Will Rock (May 10-12), is about crooked politics and big business. The final studio production is an opera from 1779, Iphigénie en Tauride (May 25-27), considered the crowning achievement of German composer Christoph Willibald Gluck, whose work inspired Mozart and Wagner. ...

Speaking of CCM, 2004 drama grad DANIEL WISNER, a native of Fairfield, has a role in the new CBS series The Unit, an hour-long drama from the mind of playwright David Mamet. Wisner won CCM's Dolly Award his senior year, recognizing sustained excellence during his college acting career. The Unit premieres on Sept. 19; Wisner's recurring guest role begins on Sept. 26. ...

If you're a Broadway fan, you probably know MARIN MAZZIE, a three-time Tony Award nominee for Passion, Ragtime and the revival of Kiss Me, Kate. On Saturday evening at the Carnegie Center's Otto M. Budig Theatre she presents her one-woman show, Yes! It's Today!, featuring music by Kander and Ebb (whose Cabaret is currently running at the Carnegie — see review on page 52) and Jerry Herman (whose Mack and Mabel opens next week at Ensemble Theatre). The event, a benefit for JERSEY PRODUCTIONS, includes appetizers from Vito's Café; tickets ($100 apiece) are available from the Carnegie box office: 859-957-1940. ...

Cincinnati Shakespeare founder JASSON MINADAKIS, who left in 2003 to head up Atlanta's Actor's Express Theatre Company, is on the move again. He's been named artistic director of Marin Theatre Company north of San Francisco. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that Minadakis "has staged some of the most electrifying plays in the last three Atlanta seasons," including Megan Gogerty's Love Jerry, Tracy Letts' Bug (with Cincinnati actress SHERMAN FRACHER) and Edward Albee's The Goat. His final Atlanta production, opening Sept. 17, is Martin McDonough's dark comedy The Pillowman, a 2005 Tony Award nominee.

contact rick Pender: rpender(at)