Stage Door: Gospels and Ghosts

It's been a long hot summer without much theater to choose from, but this weekend you have several options. I can personally recommend Cotton Patch Gospel at the Showboat Majestic, which I saw earlier this week (read my review here).—-

The singers make this show worth watching — it's a retelling of familiar Bible stories like the Good Samaritan via a score that's laden with Bluegrass tunes. (They're by singer/songwriter Harry Chapin, written just before his death in a traffic accident in 1981.) The show is kind of a one-trick pony: Once you get it that this is the story of the Gospel of Matthew transported to Georgia, the jokes are pretty much the same throughout. But the effervescent cast makes this production a lot of fun to watch.

If you want something fun but a bit more sophisticated, I suspect that you'll enjoy Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, a witty comedy offered by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. It opens a three-week run tonight. Leading the cast is Annie Fitzpatrick as a daffy psychic; the actress seen most often at Ensemble Theatre (she's nominated for a 2010 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for her role in Dead Man's Cell Phone) is making her first appearance at Cincy Shakes, joining a cast that includes several of that company's acting veterans, Corinne Mohlenhoff and Jeremy Dubin.

And don't forget to cast your votes now for the Theater CEAs and support your local theater community. Head here to pick your faves. And pencil in Sunday, Aug. 29 for the CEA event at Know Theatre of Cincinnati.

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