Tag Archives: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE Review

Links to all reviews can be found using the REVIEWS link at the top of the page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my Facebook fan page. You can also receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

Siblings Masha (Elizabeth Hess, Vanya (John Feltch,& Sonia enjoy an atypically peaceful, harmonious scene. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Siblings Masha (Elizabeth Hess, Vanya (John Feltch,& Sonia enjoy an atypically peaceful, harmonious scene. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through May 23. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening performance.

There is much to like about VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE, the closing production of the Marx season. As you enter the theater, you are greeted by Paul Shortt’s gorgeous set design. The lighting, designed James Sales, compliments the set with its abundance of “natural light” and shadow.

Estranged sisters Masha (Elizabeth Hess) & Sonia (Suzanne Grodner) simultaneously bemoan their lots in life. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Estranged sisters Masha (Elizabeth Hess) & Sonia (Suzanne Grodner) simultaneously bemoan their lots in life. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Christopher Durang’s script is funny and smartly-written. There are plenty of laugh-out-loud moments over the two 70-minute acts. Playhouse’s production boasts a solid ensemble. Suzanne Grodner is a stand-out as poor, put-upon Sonia. She was hysterical as her costume-party character [vague to prevent spoilers -Rob]. Based on the audience’s and my reaction to the second act phone call, Grodner certainly had us rooting for Sonia’s happiness. Vanya’s (John Feltch) act two rant was another favorite moment in the show.

Cassandra (Shinnerrie Jackson, center) spews a torrent of zany prophecies upon the rest of the cast. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Cassandra (Shinnerrie Jackson, center) spews a torrent of zany prophecies upon the rest of the cast. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Opening night, the show felt a bit uneven in pacing and characterization. There were moments when I felt the roles were portrayed more caricature than character. Don’t get me wrong, there were some nice, emotional moments between the characters, I would just like to see that energy carry throughout the entire show. I’m sure a few more performances, under their belt, will help.

Overall, a great way to end the 2014-2015 season in the Marx Theater.

My rating: 4.25 out of 5

I would enjoy hearing what you think about the show or my review. All I ask is that you express your opinion without attacking someone else’s opinion. You can post your comments below.

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Playhouse to Audition Children June 13 & 14 FOR 2015-2016 Productions, Including A CHRISTMAS CAROL

CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK TO AUDITION CHILDREN JUNE 13 AND 14 FOR 2015-16 PRODUCTIONS, INCLUDING A CHRISTMAS CAROL

PIP_logo(CINCINNATI) – The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will hold auditions on Saturday, June 13, and Sunday, June 14, for children interested in performing in several of the theatre’s 2015-16 productions, including the annual holiday favorite A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by U.S. Bank. Children also will be screened from among the applicants for roles in additional shows, including MAD RIVER RISING and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD.

For the 25th anniversary production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, nine area children will be cast to fill speaking and non-speaking parts. Roles are available for boys and girls 8 to 13 years old. Additionally, the part of Tiny Tim requires a boy 6 to 8 years of age. Those cast in previous productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL will need to email their information again to be considered for this year’s show. To be eligible, children must not turn 14 before Dec. 30, 2015.

Children should email a resume of any experience to the Playhouse, along with a photograph (a good quality school or family photo is acceptable). The resume and photo must be emailed again even if they have been sent in the past. The resume must include exact birth date and height, as well as an email address and telephone number. At the audition, children will be asked to share a one-minute monologue, story or poem and to demonstrate a British accent.

Interested children must be available for all rehearsals of these productions, most of which are scheduled around school hours. Children must also be available for all performances of the shows, which are scheduled Tuesdays through Sundays and include some weekday student and public matinees. Performance dates are available on the Playhouse website at www.cincyplay.com.

Photographs and resumes should be emailed to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park to michael.haney@cincyplay.com. The deadline for consideration is May 29. Those selected to audition will be contacted by telephone to schedule specific times. All auditions will be held at the Playhouse, located in Eden Park at the edge of Mt. Adams.

The Playhouse is supported, in part, by the generosity of the tens of thousands of individuals and businesses that give to ArtsWave.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Honors a Cincinnati Legend with Free Evening CELEBRATING KING RECORDS

CFF_Cincinnati King(CINCINNATI) – The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will salute the legacy of Cincinnati’s own King Records with a one-of-a-kind celebration in Over-the-Rhine’s Washington Park on Sunday, May 31. CELEBRATING KING RECORDS will feature an evening of food, music and memories, capped with an exciting staged concert reading of KJ Sanchez’s play CINCINNATI KING. The event launches the OTR Performs series and is also included as part of this year’s Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

Sanchez has described CINCINNATI KING as a “theatrical album” about the history of Cincinnati music, racial equality and the legendary rhythm and blues label.

CELEBRATING KING RECORDS festivities will begin at 5 p.m. with music and theatre activities for children and the chance to explore memorabilia from King Studios. Legendary King Records studio drummer Philip Paul and his quartet will kick off the evening’s entertainment at 5:30 p.m. with a performance of the label’s greatest hits and behind-the-scenes stories. The staged concert reading of CINCINNATI KING will be presented at 7 p.m. Throughout the evening, food trucks and beverage sales will be available in the park.

Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison commissioned KJ Sanchez, one of the theatre’s associate artists, to create the play. Sanchez is the founder and CEO of American Records, a company devoted to making theatre that chronicles our time. The CINCINNATI KING project was designed to collect and share stories that preserve a unique part of Cincinnati’s history, foster understanding and ignite dialogue.

What began as an investigation specifically into the history of King Records quickly took on broader meaning thanks to Syd Nathan’s unique contributions to the music industry and to Cincinnati at large. Nathan founded King Records in 1943 as a country label. King’s sister labels, Queen and Federal, became immensely successful for fulfilling the needs of a different audience and supporting the growing popularity of African-American rhythm and blues artists. Iconic singer James Brown started his career at King Records.

King Records became one of the most successful independent labels of the 1940s and 1950s. Nathan revolutionized the industry by keeping the entire production process in house, recording, mastering, printing, pressing and shipping all of the albums King produced. At the same time, he employed both blacks and whites, who worked side by side, inside and outside of the studio. King Records was one of the first integrated industries in Cincinnati.

Working with a group of Playhouse board and staff members, drama students from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and community volunteers, Sanchez compiled CINCINNATI KING from transcripts of interviews with nearly 50 people from across the Tristate. Additional material was drawn from recordings Nathan himself made, as well as newspaper clippings and books written about King Records.

For more details about Celebrating King Records, visit the Playhouse website at www.cincyplay.com.

The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of the community contributors to the ArtsWave campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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CFF15: CINCINNATI KING

CFF_Cincinnati KingCINCINNATI KING
Presented as part of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival ’15
Washington Park
Over-the-Rhine 

Directed by KJ Sanchez

Actors: Michael Bath, Burgess Byrd, Kevin Crowley, Piper N. Davis, Kenneth Early, Dallas Padoven, Brian Isaac Phillips, Regina Pugh & Curtis D. Shepard
Musicians: Joel Greenberg, Ralph Huntley, Richard Huntley, Aaron Jacobs & Ben Walkenhauer

SPECIAL EVENT. Part of the OTR Performs Series in Washington Park. Celebrating King Records is an evening of music and memories, capped with an exciting staged concert reading of KJ Sanchez’s play CINCINNATI KING, which tells the story of music pioneer Syd Nathan and King Records. The play serves as a theatrical album about the history of Cincinnati music, racial equality and the legendary record label. King Records legend Philip Paul kicks off the evening with a one-of-a-kind performance and behind-the-scenes stories.

  • Sunday, May 31 from 5:30-6:30pm
    Philip Paul Plays King Records’ Greatest Hits.
  • Sunday, May 31 from 7-8:30pm
    Staged Concert Reading of CINCINNATI KING.

Official page | Facebook event |

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Annie Baker’s CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION Brings Playhouse Season to a Close, May 9-June 7, 2015

ANNIE BAKER’S CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION BRINGS CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK’S 2014-15 SEASON TO A CLOSE, MAY 9 – JUNE 7, 2015

PIP_Circle Mirror Transformation logo(CINCINNATI) – Annie Baker’s charmingly comic off-Broadway hit CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION wraps up the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s 2014-15 season May 9 through June 7 in the Playhouse’s Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre. When a random group of small-town strangers come together for a six-week community center acting class, real-life drama results. While Baker’s quirky characters are definitely not Broadway bound, they are transformed in surprising and unexpected ways over the course of the class.

“I believe the characters in CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION are all people we as humans can relate to — they all share this intense experience together that allows them to make progress in their personal lives and they do so with an incredible sense of humor and grace,” says director Wendy C. Goldberg, who previously directed Leveling Up, Doubt and Durango at the Playhouse. “I believe everyone can identify with the loss, love and personal growth in the play whether they have been in a class like this or not.”

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION received its world premiere off-Broadway at Playwrights Horizons in 2009. It was awarded the 2010 Obie Award for Best New American Play, which was shared with Baker’s play The Aliens. Also nominated for a Drama Desk Award, CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION was named one of the top 10 plays of 2009 by The New York Times, Time Out New York and The New Yorker. Baker’s most recent play, The Flick, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2014.

“As a person who has experienced these sorts of acting classes, the idea of gathering a group of talented actors, all of whom have had even more experience with this sort of class than me, is really exciting,” Goldberg adds. “This is a gifted group of people, actors from all regions of the country I have worked with on other productions.”

The CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION cast features Charlotte Booker as Marty, Sam Gregory (Arms and the Man) as Schultz, Mattie Hawkinson as Theresa, Ronete Levenson as Lauren and Andrew May as James. The creative team, in addition to Goldberg, includes set designer Kevin Depinet, costume designer Gordon DeVinney, lighting designer Josh Epstein and sound designer/composer Joshua Horvath. Andrea L. Shell is the stage manager.

CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION is sponsored by Bartlett & Co.

Ticket prices for CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION start at $30. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. The show is appropriate for adult and older teenage audiences.

New for the 2014-15 season is Sunday College Night, with tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances priced at just $10 with a valid student ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. In advance, student tickets are $30.

Previews for CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION are at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 9; 7 p.m. Sunday, May 10; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 12; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 13. The official opening night is Thursday, May 14, at 8 p.m. Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays. Free Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with the cast and others associated with the production will be held after the following performances: 2 p.m. Sunday, May 17; 2 p.m. Sunday, May 24; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 27; and 8 p.m. Thursday, June 4.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available. Tickets to CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility. The 2014-15 Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre Series is presented by the Heidelberg Distributing Company, and Humana is the Thompson Shelterhouse season design sponsor. The season sponsor of new work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation. The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of the community contributors to the ArtsWave campaign.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.

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