Theater on the River in 2011

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The historic Showboat Majestic is in the midst of its 88th season at Cincinnati's Public Landing (it opens The Nerd later this week), but today it's announcing the 2011 season. There are five shows, three musicals and two plays, an entertaining lineup that seems designed to please its older demographic.

The season opens with Li'l Abner (May 4-22, 2011), based on the famous comic strip by Al Capp, full of down-home nonsense and political humor. It's not much staged anymore (I've never seen it), so I'm glad to have it produced locally. Neil Simon's God's Favorite (June 1-19) is up next, a funny play inspired by the trials and tribulations of Job in the Bible.—-

At midsummer the Boat will fill its tiny stage with 42nd Street (July 6-24), a big — and I mean BIG in every way — celebration of Broadway. It seems a pretty ambitious undertaking, but the staff has a way of making things work.

August offers Joe DiPietro's Art of Murder (Aug. 10-28), an award-winning mystery from 2000 by the playwright best known for I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. The 2011 season will wrap up with a show that seems perfectly suited for the Showboat: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Sept. 7-25). It's a charming piece that involves the audience with a lot of genuine humor.

The Showboat aims to entertain, not to push artistic boundaries. It does so very well and has a loyal following of folks who have been coming for years to see shows on America's last showboat, a genuine National Historic Landmark. Choose wisely, and you'll find something to enjoy.

For more information, call 513-241-6550 or click here.

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