This week kicks off the second half of the 2014-2015 theatre season and what a way to kick it off! First, opening Tuesday night is CINDERELLA at the Aronoff Center.
This national tour features a 2014 CCM graduate in the Ensemble as Stephanie Jae Park will perform for half of the show’s run before she leaves for New York to join the cast of the revival of THE KING AND I on Broadway. We last saw Ms. Park as Cosette in Les Miserables at CCM and her soprano was nothing short of stunning. It’s so exciting for me to have been able to watch someone grow through her ensemble work at CCM in RENT and other shows as well as a “boot camp” summer singing and dancing motown at Kings Island and on the Showboat in THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. She landed a national tour right out of school and is now heading to Broadway not even a year post-graduation. Congratulations!
This CINDERELLA is not Walt Disney’s version, of course, but features the songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein. Songs like “In My Own Little Corner,” “Impossible/It’s Possible,” “Ten Minutes Ago” and “Do I Love You Because You’re Beautiful?” are all featured in this 2013 Tony award winning revival. I’ve been told there’s some exquisite costumes and some pretty fancy stage magic in this one. I’m so looking forward to it! Tickets and more information are available by clicking here.
The Carnegie has gotten a reputation lately for doing “lightly staged” musicals as well as anyone; WEST SIDE STORY should be no exception given the cast and crew assigned to bring this classic to life. Featuring Marcus Shields and Abigal Paschke in the leads, this is the well-known tale of the Jetts and the Sharks and love in the face of gang-warfare. With incoming Director of Theatre Maggie Perrino starting today, I’m super excited to see the first show under her watch. She’s the producer of this one and she had this to say about director Brian Robertson in an interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Chris Varias:
“Brian is trying to do something that feels true to life, something that feels gritty,” she says. “Sometimes when you put something on stage with song and dance, you lose the reality. It’s like a movie. When you sit and watch a movie, it’s easy to separate yourself, because there are things you don’t see in real life. You get caught up in the fantasy in song and dance. Brian is trying to get people caught up in the emotion and conflict that was there in the story and really be affected by it. Everything feels real, the costumes, the movement and even the speech dialect. That really comes from him.”
This should be awesome; the cast list also features some of my favorite people in town like Darnell Pierre Benjamin, Paul Morris, Eric Vosmeier (who I’ve never seen on stage), Tyler Kuhlman, and Wright State standouts Keaton Eckhoff, Layan Elwazani, and Kate Mueller. I have my ticket to opening night and the show runs through January 18th. Tickets and more info can be found here.
Finally, next Monday night (trying to get the word out early so you can attend) will feature the staged reading of AND BABY MAKES SEVEN by Queen City Queer Theatre Collective. This is the third production from these folks at Below Zero Lounge and features the dynamic duo of Justin McCombs and Maggie Lou Rader (along with Erin McCamley). I’m going to try my best to make it. More information can be found here. Admission is free but $5 donations are suggested.
Also, tonight is SHERRY-OKE at Below Zero, hosted by Sherry McCamley! Here’s the Facebook event.
So, this should be a fantastic kickoff to 2015. With these great option as well as TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL still running at the Playhouse (and all of the other productions listed on BEHIND THE CURTAIN CINCINNATI), what are you doing to support local theater?