Hello, faithful readers (and casual ones, too)! We are right in the thick of the theatre season and I’m having a blast! “Do you ever get tired of seeing so many plays?” someone asked me this week. “Absolutely not!” I said without even a thought.
Seriously, I’m so overwhelmingly grateful to the theatres in Cincinnati and Dayton who provide me with tickets so that I can see their productions and I hope I can do them justice while also providing some help to those of who wish to get the most bang for your buck. It’s a tightrope I walk between being positive and being supportive, but honestly it’s not as difficult as it sounds when there’s this much good stuff to see!
Speaking of that, last week I had the privilege of seeing CCM’s BLOOD BROTHERS and Know Theatre’s MOBY DICK (which is still running). And this week, I have SIX (yes 1,2,3,4,5,6!) great shows to see. Here’s a rundown of what’s opening this week.
“The ancient thrilling tales of the Trojan War and the modern world collide in this captivating theatrical experience as we explore the psychology of passion and rage. Acclaimed Cincinnati actor Bruce Cromer embodies the Greek classic’s famous characters Achilles, Hector, Agammemnon—even the beautiful Helen of Troy—as he shares the stage with only a virtuoso musician. This lean, muscular, tour-de-force performance conjures the fury of the gods as it delves deep into mankind’s unshakeable attraction to violence, destruction, and chaos.”
The show runs an hour and forty minutes with no intermission. Tickets and more information, including a preview performance on Tuesday, can be found by clicking here. The show opens Wednesday and runs through November 2nd.
On Thursday, I’ll attend the invited press preview for Falcon Theatre’s THE WOMAN IN BLACK. Falcon is my “home theatre;” it’s where I debuted on the boards and I continue to be involved with them. So, I may be a little biased but I am very excited to see what the directing duo of Ted Weil and Tracy Schoster have done with this chilling ghost story. Matt Dentino and Jay Benson star.
“One of the longest running plays in London, The Woman In Black is a classic Victorian ghost story, perfect for the Halloween season. Set in a theater, a stranger enters and employes the theater owner to help him tell his story. As he relates the tale, we are drawn into a world of mystery and haunting that has held thousands of audiences on the edge of their seats.”
Weil said at the Falcon Flip last week that this show is scary while being family friendly. The show opens officially on Friday and runs Fridays and Saturdays through November 2nd. Tickets and more information are available here.
On Friday, I’ll attend Opening Night of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s THE BIRDS. I am terrified of birds, for real, and the Hitchcock movie has haunted me since I saw it as a teenager. But I’m going to be brave and attend what I expect will be a wonderfully frightening theatrical adaption of the classic story. And what a great cast! Sara Clark, Nick Rose, Sherman Fracher, and Brent Vimtrup will take the stage to tell the story of “a group of strangers [who] find themselves thrust together, each seeking sanctuary from the savage avian menace. But as the situation becomes increasingly dire and the tension between the survivors inexorably grows, it isn’t long before the atmosphere turns ugly, and they discover that the horror hovering outside is nothing compared to that which lurks within.” I can’t wait, plus Opening Nights at CSC are some of the most fun with complimentary food and drink – and some of the best bartenders in town. Tickets and more information about THE BIRDS can be found here.
Also opening on Friday is Cincinnati Children Theatre’s production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST JR. at the Taft Theater. We all know the classic story and these folks know how to produce great theatre for children, as evidenced by their wonderful production of WILLY WONKA JR last year. It was my first time seeing one of their shows and I was blown away by the quality.
Artistic Director Angela Powell Walker directs this show, which is appropriate for children ages 4 and up. Maranda Rossi stars as “Belle” and Sam Rueff plays “The Beast.” Tickets and more information can be found here. There’s even a special event, called “The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Family Gala” Held on October 18, 2014 at 5 PM at the Scottish Rite Ballroom, this family event features a private performance followed by dinner, games, dancing and fun for all ages. Tickets are $150 for adults and $75 for children. Seating is limited. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the invitation list. Also, don’t miss this great article from the Cincinnati Enquirer about this year’s season.
Speaking of musicals, on Friday Xavier University Theatre will open GODSPELL, directed by Dee Anne Bryll. Look for a feature interview with Ms. Bryll on the blog tomorrow. This show is driven by student design and will feature an updated version of the musical arrangements.
From Xavier’s website: “A timeless tale of friendship, loyalty and love, Godspell follows a small group of people as they learn important life lessons by helping Jesus tell his timeless parables through games, storytelling and comedy. With a parade of beloved songs including “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Day by Day” and “By My Side,” Jesus’ message of kindness and tolerance comes vibrantly to life. This beloved classic from Stephen Schwartz, the composer of Wicked, is brought to the stage in a masterful retelling of the original, injected with contemporary references and dazzling new arrangements.” The show runs through October 25th. Tickets are available here. I’ll see the show on Sunday afternoon.
I’m going to see the pairing on Saturday night and am already emotionally preparing myself for Christine Dye’s gut wrenching performance in SARGE. I was so utterly moved by her performance at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival that I was unable to write a review, but I will commit to doing so this time. Plus, I hear Carol Brammer and Dylan Shelton are hysterical in the dark comedy of THE MONKEY’S PAW and I’m excited to see more of Crowley’s work. He’s teaching acting and script writing classes in Clifton now.
Tickets and more information about these two one act plays can be found here.
So, to recap where I’ll be this week… Wednesday it’s THE ILIAD, Thursday its THE WOMAN IN BLACK‘s press preview, Friday its THE BIRDS, Saturday its SARGE and THE MONKEY PAW, and Sunday afternoon is GODSPELL. It’s great to be a theatre advocate in Cincinnati, eh? If you’re there, be sure to say hi! With all these great options (including I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI still running at the Playhouse and the above mentioned MOBY DICK) what are you going to see this week?
PS There’s a staged reading of a new play called GRANT’S WISH by Ted Pollard at the Cincinnati Playwright’s Initiative on Tuesday at the Aronoff Center for the Arts. I attended their last one and while it wasn’t my cup of tea, this particular play sounds interesting. Tickets are only $8 at the door.
Also if you like staged readings, John Vanderplough and Jon Kovach will bring a play called TERRE HAUTE to life next Tuesday (we’ll talk more about it next week) at Miami’s Hamilton campus. I plan to attend.
PPS I got a wonderful note from Nick Rose (who will be featured in CSC’s THE BIRDS opening Friday) after he read my review of Macbeth, in which I lamented my desire to understand and enjoy Shakespeare more. He pointed me to his delightful YouTube channel and specifically an installment in which he and his wife, Sara Clark (also in THE BIRDS), talk about the language of the Bard. It’s very funny and educational, too! Check it out here. You can also follow him on Twitter here.