Monday Matinee 06.09.14 – This Week in Cincinnati Theatre

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2014 Fringe Festival Group Photo

Well, with the closing of the Fringe Festival and the opening of PRIVATE LIVES at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (review coming soon), the 2013-2014 Cincinnati theatre season has pretty much concluded.  Words can’t express my gratitude to all the directors, actors, and other folks who welcomed me into their theatres with open arms this year and I am very excited about covering the 2014-2015 season.  This summer I intend to preview as many of the upcoming seasons with as much in depth coverage as I can and I hope you’ll stick around during the “slow” part of the year.

I really took it easy during Fringe, catching just a handful of shows and I’d say that I fortunate with my choices.  SLUT SHAMING (the artist pick of the Fringe and the Overall Fringe Favorite from LCT), BLOGGING BEHIND BARS (the audience pick of the Fringe), SARGE (the critic’s pick of the Fringe and LCT’s Favorite for Overall Writing and Acting), and WHERE EDWARD WENT were all wonderful.  Ensemble Theatre’s Intern Company produced two one act shows, CRUMBLE (Lay Me Down Justin Timberlake) and AUTHORIAL INTENT.  Both were just a too little avant garde for my taste – but I appreciate the effort of all those involved.  I figure loving 4 out of 5 ain’t bad!

All in all, I heard so many positive reviews and comments about the Fringe Festival as a whole and the folks at the KNOW Theatre ought to be very proud of themselves for their 11th (and probably best) Fringe ever.  For me, the most enjoyable thing about events like this one is not just the creative energy in Over the Rhine, but also the ability to connect and reconnect with other artists and theatre lovers.  I had such a blast just hanging out down there.

Play-It-by-Heart-image-v3This week does open Dayton’s Human Race Theatre’s final show of their season, PLAY IT BY HEART.  Here’s a description:

It’s the passing of the torch in a country music dynasty as superstar Jeannine Jasper’s long career draws to a close. The changing world of the music industry is about to thrust her little sister, Jamie Lynn, into the spotlight. When an old flame comes calling, Jeannine envisions a quiet life offstage, but Jamie Lynn’s wild ways may cut short her time on top. Stage mother Naomi tries to keep control of her daughters until a scandalous secret comes to light and threatens to tear them apart. A musical about heartbreak and healing, this regional premiere comes alive with an exciting original score filled with new songs from the Nashville Sound to New Country and a book by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Brian Yorkey (If/Then, Next to Normal).

I can’t wait to see the show on Wednesday the 18th.  I’m especially looking forward to seeing CCM grad Kathryn Boswell and recent Wright State grad Cooper Taggard as well as Trisha Rapier, who was marvelous as Diana in Next to Normal last year.  It should be a great show! Tickets are available here.

There are a ton of great things to do and see in the summer, including Commonweath Theatre in Kentucky.  They are producing THE GAMES AFOOT as part of their dinner theatre summer season.  Here’s a description:

It is December 1936 and Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes, has invited his fellow cast-members to his Connecticut castle for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim appears. The danger and hilarity are non-stop in this glittering whodunit set during the Christmas holidays. Includes dinner, seating begins 2 hours before performance time.

A little Christmas in June?  The 11th – 29th to be exact. It’s got a great cast and sounds like a fun way to spend an evening . . . perhaps I’ll check it out!

Also, The League of Cincinnati Theatres will host their annual celebration party next Monday at Arnold’s (space will be limited and its expected to sell out so get your tickets now).  More information is available here.

Next week, I’ll be giving out some awards of my own. . . let’s call them the Sappies!  Stay tuned for my own unique take on the season next week.

Paige Dobkins in PLAYLIST LIVE! at Kings Island
Paige Dobkins in PLAYLIST LIVE! at Kings Island / Photo by Kirk Sheppard

As you may know I have a soft spot in my heart for the shows at Kings Island and this season is really one of their best yet.  THE BOYZ ARE BACK, a boy band review, is sensational and the dancing is fierce.  ROCK AND ROLL NEVER FORGETS features some of the best songs of Elvis, Michael Jackson, and other legendary figures in modern music . . . and some of these kids can flat out saaaang!  CIRQUE IMAGINE is a great acrobatic and strength show that you should definitely see and just opened this weekend is the Dee Anne Bryll choreographed PLAYLIST LIVE! featuring a fantastic live band and some of KI’s most seasoned performers.  Finally, this week will see the opening of TOTALLY 80s and I caught a glimpse of rehearsal yesterday . . .  I’m excited.  Check it out and if you see me there be sure to say hello.

Well, I think that’ll do it for this week.  Come back next week for the first annual SAPPIES and get out and do something to support local artists!

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