Stage Door: Excellent "33 Variations" Wraps Up

A show that's likely to be considered one of the best of the 2009-2010 season is just about over. This weekend offers the final performances of Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati's production of 33 Variations. The intriguing play by Moisés Kaufman is about Katherine Brandt, a musicologist who tries to understand what motivated Beethoven to compose many variations on a simple waltz melody. The action moves back and forth between the 19th and the 21st centuries as the composer and the scholar both race against debilitating health — the onset of Beethoven's deafness and the physical deterioration of Brandt's body from Lou Gehrig's disease. —-

Ultimately this is a story about the sources of creativity and what makes us human. ETC offers a compelling production with a cast who are note-perfect in each of their roles, especially Amy Warner as Brandt, Dale Hodges as a starchy but caring music librarian, Dennis Parlato as the manic Beethoven and Drew Fracher as his loyal biographer. Pianist Scot Woolley provides musical accompaniment in most intriguing ways. When awards are handed out for the current season, this is a show that ought to be recognized.

So go see it now, while you can. Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Box office: 513-421-3555. Go here for more details.

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