Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fall Theatre Season Heats Up The Cincinnati Region

It's time to mark your calendars for your theatre picks this fall.  I'm anticipating some great performances!  However, I haven't seen anything about Cats returning.

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

      This fall looks like a winner for theatergoers since there will be a number of classics and newly minted award winners in production.  Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will present two Tony Award winning Best Plays (God of Carnage and Red) on the Marx Mainstage.  God of Carnage won the Tony in 2009 and Red won it a year later.  Carnage was written by Yasmina Reza and translated by Christopher Hampton and Playhouse had a big hit with
Reza’s earlier Art a few seasons back.   It’s a dark comedy about two sets of parents who meet to discuss a playground incident between their young sons.  

Red was written by John Logan, a playwright better known for his movies with major directors (Any Given Sunday, Gladiator, The Aviator, Sweeney Todd), and relates the complex emotional and aesthetic issues concerning Mark Rothko in the late ‘50s while he tried to complete his commission for the Four Seasons Restaurant.  It’s a great script on paper so it will be interesting to see how it plays.  Playhouse supplements these with Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which should be tight and fun on the Shelterhouse stage and Always...Patsy Cline, a hit in the past for its candor and humor before hitting the prime family holiday season with A Christmas Carol.

God of Carnage
September 3 - October 1, 2011
Marx Theatre

As You Like It
October 1 - November 6, 2011
Thompson Shelterhouse

October 15 - November 12, 2011
Marx Theatre

Always...Patsy Cline
November 19, 2011 - January 22, 2012
Thompson Shelterhouse.

A Christmas Carol
December 1-30, 2011
Marx Theatre

Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati

      Last year’s Puiltzer Prize winner Next to Normal, music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, premieres at Ensemble Theatre.  This is an intense show and Ensemble is the first regional theatre to present it.  It deals with a modern suburban nuclear family coping with the mother’s bipolar disorder, but it actually goes a lot deeper psychologically with the potential reasons behind her latest episode.  The music and tone are reminiscent of The Who’s Tommy.  Ensemble had deservedly big hits with Hedwig and the Angry Inch in two productions so fingers are crossed for Normal.

      Ensemble continues with Michael Hollinger’s Ghost-Writer, a literary mystery that looks somewhat intriguing.  Hollinger wrote Opus, an award winning production for Ensemble about four years ago.  It was an excellent production of a good play, but I waited for one of those dang violins to be smashed to smithereens and was both relieved and annoyed when both were.  David Kisor and Joseph McDonough’s newest musical pantomime, Snow White, premieres during the holidays and, if it’s anything like their previous collaborations, it will be delightful, funny with serious undertones, and sold out.  Get your tickets when they’re available.

Next to Normal
September 7-25, 2011

Ghost Writer
October 12-30, 2011

Snow White
November 30-December 31, 2011

Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (UC)

      CCM presents the recent Coram Boy by Helen Edmundsen, a Dickensian tale and the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic Oklahoma.  This mainstay has seen a number of productions nationally, noted either for a stripped down, realistic approach and/or a focus on multicultural casting.  I hope that director Diane Lala mixes it up for this show and that she casts it properly.  Evita didn’t work for me last year because Aubrey Berg seemed to be trotting out his original 25-year-old production without the requisite talent to pull it off, though they could have pulled off an Irving Berlin or Cole Porter musical very well.

Coram Boy
October 26 - 30, 2011

November 17 - 20, 2011

Northern Kentucky University

      NKU opens with Little Women:  The Musical directed by Sandra Forman.  She usually is a strong director of student actors and presents elegantly thought out productions.  Her spring production of One Good Turn was a misstep because of a mediocre script, though she chose it.  Mark Hardy then directs Alice Childress’ Trouble in Mind and this is a show to anticipate.  It was written in the 1950s and addresses casting issues for Blacks in that period.  Hardy’s sense of historical accuracy and period manners has been one of NKU’s theatre’s strengths.  His production of The Women three years ago was superb and Titanic was a good production of a good musical (I think it was overrated by Rosie O’Donnell among others when it premiered on Broadway).  Mike King stretches from comedy by directing Antony and Cleopatra, one of Shakespeare’s most difficult tragedies because of the Battle of Actium disaster.  However, it also has some of his greatest poetry and the extraordinary relationship between the title characters.  

Little Women The Musical
September 29 - October 9, 2011

Trouble in Mind
Dates TBD

Antony and Cleopatra
December 1-11, 2011

Other regional theatre productions not to be overlooked include:

Cincinnati Shakespeare

A Man for All Seasons
September 9 to October 2, 2011 
A historical tale of the opposition of Sir Thomas More to the ambition, integrity, and principles of King Henry VIII— told from the common man's perspective.

Other productions include Macbeth and Love's Labour's Lost.

Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts

Disney's Beauty and the Beast 
September 27 - October 9, 2011
The classic tale of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress.

Wicked returns November 2 - 26, 2011.

New Edgecliff Theatre
Burn This
September 29 - October 15, 2011
After Robby's death, his brother and roommate work to unravel the secrets of the person they both loved.

Other productions include Poe-sessed and The Santaland Diaries.

Falcon Theatre

Debbie Does Dallas: The Musical
October 7 - 22, 2011
The hysterical send up of the adult film genre follows the plot of the classic 70′s film (yes,there was a plot) and sets it to music.
Other productions include It's A Wonderful Life.

Know Theater
Know Theater has not announced its season yet, so check their website soon.

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