Stage Door: Fantasticks and Opera Gala

Jun 18, 2010 at 2:16 pm

The Cincinnati Playhouse's production of The Fantasticks is a great choice for theater this weekend, but you might have a hard time finding seats. I've had two friends tell me they tried to get in and were told that the performance they hoped for was sold out. You can try to get on a waiting list (box office number is 513-421-3888) for a show that's really worth seeing.—-

Failing that, let me offer a shameless plug for my day job, inspired by the cover feature about Cincinnati Opera for this week's issue of CityBeat by Anne Arenstein. When I'm not writing my own occasional theater features and reviews for CityBeat, I work at the Opera. This weekend is the kick-off for the 2010 season. That might not immediately strike you as a big deal, but as you'll read in Anne's cover feature, Cincinnati Opera began performing 90 years ago. There is only one opera company in the United States that's been at this longer — New York City's Metropolitan Opera!

To mark this significant milestone, Cincinnati Opera (which moved from its amphitheater at the Zoo to Music Hall in 1972) is presenting a kind of "greatest hits" program on Saturday evening at 8 p.m. Each of the company's nine decades will be represented by arias and big choral numbers; on the bill are some of today's great singers — including Denyce Graves, who sang the title role in Margaret Garner, the sold-out 2005 hit commissioned by Cincinnati Opera in honor of the Freedom Center's opening. The evening will be hosted by Sherrill Milnes and Carol Neblett, two veteran singers who have a history with lots of local connections.

Even if you're not a regular operagoer, you'll recognize a lot of the music, made all the better by the opera's "pit band," the Cincinnati Symphony. There are still plenty of seats available. You can find more about the program and special deals at