Monday Matinee 06.16.14 – The 2014 Sappies (Part One)

Happy Monday everyone!  It’s a beautiful day and its really starting to feel like summer.  I took a road trip to Pittsburgh on Saturday to see LEGALLY BLONDE at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and am hoping to go back up for their production of FOOTLOOSE next week.  It was a pleasant drive and a fun trip and I enjoyed myself.

The cast of PLAY IT BY HEART
The cast of PLAY IT BY HEART

Some tidbits real quick:   This Wednesday I’m heading to Dayton to see PLAY IT BY HEART at the Human Race Theatre. This country music drama looks intriguing . . . I’m excited to see it!

PRIVATE LIVES at Cincy Shakes has added dates so if you weren’t able to get tickets and want to go, you should check again by clicking here. I enjoyed the show a lot!

Also, Neil Simon’s THE SUNSHINE BOYS opens at the Covedale this Thursday. Here’s a synopsis:

“The story focuses on characters Al Lewis and Willy Clark, a one-time vaudevillian team known as “Lewis and Clark” who, over the course of forty-odd years, not only grew to hate each other but never spoke to each other off-stage throughout the final year of their act. The stubborn Clark, who was not ready for retirement, resented the wiser Lewis for breaking up the act when he opted to leave show business. It is now 1972 and CBS is inviting the team to reunite for a special on the history of comedy, with the pair representing the vaudeville era at its best. Clark is convinced by his nephew Ben to revive one of the old routines one last time. Much of the humor is derived from efforts to get the two cantankerous actors into the same room for a rehearsal, their differences of opinion once they reunite, and their shenanigans on the actual broadcast.”  The show opens Thursday and runs through June 29th.  Tickets are available here but it appears that they are selling fast.  Opening night looks almost full.  Good for them!

LCTLogoTonight is the League of Cincinnati Theatres annual Awards celebration at Arnold’s.  I won’t be there but I’m sure it will be a fantastic event.

Here’s the agenda, according to the LCT FaceBook page:  Design and Special Awards announced at 6:30, Acting announced at 7:30, and Directing, Best Productions and more at 8:30.  Plus: Sherry McCamley will be providing Sherry-oke and Arnold’s will provide the food.  There will be a limited number of tickets available at the door.


Because its the end of the season, it seems logical that I would give out some awards of my own.   I’ll be breaking these up into at least a couple of posts, too, and these first few aren’t going to be typical awards.   My friend, Liz Eichler, suggested I give a bottle of maple syrup to the winners . . . that’s a great idea, but I’m cheap so just pretend that you’ve gotten a statue in the incredibly politically incorrect shape of Aunt Jemima, ok?

CincinnatiShakespeareCompanyLogoFirst, I’d like to give the Sappie for MOST COMFORTABLE SEATS to Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  As a big and tall person, I appreciate the depth of their rows and the width of their chairs.  It’s almost comfortable for me!  It matches the comfortable atmosphere in the place; it feels like family there.  I cannot wait to see THE BIRDS, WAITING FOR GODOT, LITTLE WOMEN, and THE GREAT GATSBY among the other great shows they have planned for 2014-2015.

Caleb Donahoe in THE FULL MONTY at Festival 56
Caleb Donahoe in THE FULL MONTY at Festival 56

Next, the Sappie for MOST WORTHWHILE ROAD TRIP TO SEE A FRIEND PERFORM goes to Festival 56 in Princeton, IL.  I went there last summer to see a friend in THE FULL MONTY and its was about a 6 hour drive.  I enjoyed it, though, and wish I could go back up there this weekend to see THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE.

Honorable mention for this award goes to PCLO in Pittsburgh for this past weekend’s excursion to see LEGALLY BLONDE; it didn’t win just because it wasn’t as far!

Sean Burlingame and Patrick Phillips are just two of the students involved in FROM WHITE PLAINS
Sean Burlingame and Patrick Phillips are just two of the students involved in FROM WHITE PLAINS

The Sappie for MOST SURPRISING DISCOVERY of the season goes to Xavier University’s brand new Department of Theatre. I’ll be completely honest; I’d seen the very well done version of THE CRUCIBLE at UC-CCM and when I was recruited to see Xavier’s version a few weeks later I was not looking forward to it.  But I was blown away their joint production with Cincinnati Shakespeare Company!  Then they followed that marvelous show with FROM WHITE PLAINS, which rocked my socks off with its truth and creative perspective on bullying.  I’m expecting some big things from them this year with GODSPELL this fall and my favorite musical, SPRING AWAKENING, this Spring.  They will do four total productions and I can’t wait to see them all!

Daniel Britt and Bekka Eaton in the beautifully sweet, LIGHT SENSITIVE, at Mad Anthony Theatre Company
Daniel Britt and Bekka Eaton in the beautifully sweet, LIGHT SENSITIVE, at Mad Anthony Theatre Company

Honorable mention for this category goes to MAD ANTHONY THEATRE COMPANY in Hamilton.  Their productions of LIGHT SENSITIVE, ROUNDING THIRD, and THE STORY OF MY LIFE were fantastic! Who knew that sleepy little Hamilton had such a vibrant theatre scene?  I can’t wait to see what they do with their newly refurbished space in 2015!

Jeremy Fischer as RP McMurphy and me, Kirk Sheppard, as Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST at Falcon Theatre / Photo by Mikki Schaffner
Jeremy Fischer as RP McMurphy and me, Kirk Sheppard, as Chief Bromden in ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST at Falcon Theatre / Photo by Mikki Schaffner

Finally, the Sappie for the THEATRE MOST LIKELY TO TAKE A CHANCE ON AN UNKNOWN award goes to Falcon Theatre in Newport, KY.  My friend Jon Kovach suggested I audition for ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST – and mentioned me to Ted Weil, the artistic director – and Voila! I was cast in my first show as Chief Bromden by director Terry Gosdin.  I can’t say thank you enough for these folks for taking a risk on this brand new actor.   I learned a lot and made some dear friends in the process.  Falcon thinks outside the box and their season next year looks amazing. I hope you’ll join them for all of their shows. . . they work very hard with limited resources and do an amazing and entertaining job.

I’ll have a ton more thoughts about the season next week so I hope you’ll come back and read more as I get a little more serious with some specific recognition for performances and productions next week.  In the meantime, what you going to do to support local theatre?

Thanks for Reading.

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