Tag Archives: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

Stage Notes for Dec. 20

(Clockwise from left) Justin McCombs, Miranda McGee, Billy Chace and Sara Clark in CSC’s annual production. Photo by Rich Sofranko.

(Clockwise from left) Justin McCombs, Miranda McGee, Billy Chace and Sara Clark in CSC’s annual production. Photo by Rich Sofranko.

A potpourri of arts news items from local and national sources.

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RING OF FIRE: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH Runs Jan. 17-Feb. 15

PIP_Ring of Fire logoRING OF FIRE: THE MUSIC OF JOHNNY CASH
Presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Jan. 17-Feb. 15
Eden Park

Directed by Jason Edwards

The songs tell the story in this tribute to a singer who broke barriers and left an unmatched legacy with roots in folk, gospel, rock and country. Directed by and featuring Jason Edwards, who starred in the show on Broadway, this musical celebration of the Man in Black spotlights nearly 35 classic songs, including “I Walk the Line,” “Jackson,” “A Boy Named Sue” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” A rousing portrait of home and family, love and loss, faith and redemption, RING OF FIRE lifts your heart and stirs your soul. Advisory: RING OF FIRE is appropriate for adults and teenage audiences. Cash’s own song lyrics tell the story, so there are mentions of his hard living years and of the plight of the prisoners he championed, but also stories of faith, love and redemption. Please contact the Box Office if you have questions or require additional information.

  • In preview Sat, Jan. 17 at 8pm & Sun,Jan. 18 at 2pm. $30 seats available.
  • In preview Tue-Wed, Jan. 20-21 at 7:30pm. $30 seats available.
  • Thu-Fri, Jan. 22-23 at 8pm
  • Sat, Jan. 24 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Jan 25 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Wed, Jan. 27-28 at 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Jan. 29-30 at 8pm
  • Sat, Jan. 31 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Feb. 1 at 2pm
  • Tue-Wed, Feb. 3-4 at 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Feb. 5-6 at 8pm
  • Sat. Feb. 7 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Feb. 8 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue, Feb. 10 at 7:30pm
  • Wed, Feb. 11 at 1pm
  • Thu-Fri, Feb. 12-13 at 8pm
  • Sat, Feb. 14 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Feb. 15 at 7pm

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Cincinnati Playhouse Adds Eric Ting as Fourth Associate Artist for 2015-2016 Season

Eric Ting.

Eric Ting.

(CINCINNATI) — Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Artistic Director Blake Robison announced today that Obie Award-winning director Eric Ting will be added next season to the theatre’s Associate Artists program, which was launched by Robison in 2013 for his second season at the Playhouse. Ting will join current associate artists Timothy Douglas, Michael Evan Haney and KJ Sanchez, who have served the Playhouse in that capacity for the past two years.

Robison has extended the Associate Artist program beyond its initial two-year mandate so that each of these artists will have an ongoing relationship with the theatre and community. “The Associate Artists program is an inclusive, forward-looking model that has generated a lot of excitement,” Robison said. “They form the backbone of our directing corps and bring diverse backgrounds, experiences and viewpoints to the Playhouse. “I’m thrilled to welcome Eric to the Cincinnati Playhouse family,” Robison continued. “As our fourth associate artist, he will direct plays, participate in season planning, join us in community outreach and bring his own network of connections to benefit the Playhouse.

“I’ve known Eric for nearly 15 years, when he began his career as a theatre student at the University of Tennessee. Since then, he has created an impressive body of work as one of the country’s most gifted young directors. He’s in touch with a new generation of American playwrights, and he brings a fresh perspective to the classics. He’s distinguished himself off-Broadway with an Obie Award. And his time at Long Wharf Theatre has given him experience in an institutional theatre.”

“I’m incredibly honored to be named a Cincinnati Playhouse associate artist,” Ting said. “I’ve long admired Blake’s work as an artistic leader and have been following the storied work of the Playhouse ever since my sister’s family settled in nearby Montgomery. The Associate Artists program combines two of the things I hold most dear in life: art-making and community building. There’s no more human art than the theatre, no art better suited to connecting us. And the Playhouse is a true testament to that.”

Ting’s recent directing credits include the world premiere The World of Extreme Happiness by Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig, which debuted at Goodman Theatre and opens in February at Manhattan Theatre Club; A Great Wilderness by Sam Hunter at Williamstown Theatre Festival; the world premiere of Rising Son by Dick Lee at Singapore Repertory Theatre; Jackie Sibblies Drury’s We Are Proud to Present A Presentation on the Herero of Namibia, Formerly South-West Africa from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915, a world premiere at Soho Rep and Victory Gardens Theater for which he received the Obie Award for direction; the world premiere of Miriam by Nora Chipaumire at BAM Next Wave; and Warrior Class by Ken Lin at Alliance Theatre. Upcoming projects include Brownsville Song: B-Side for Tray by Kimber Lee at Long Wharf and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ Appropriate at the Mark Taper Forum.

As Long Wharf’s associate artistic director, Ting has directed the world premieres of Laura Jacqmin’s January Joiner, Aditi Brennan Kapil’s Agnes Under the Big Top and Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea, which he also co-adapted. He has directed workshops and readings for the Lark Play Development Center, Vineyard Theatre, Yale Repertory Theatre, the Public Theater, Hartford Stage, Prelude, Victory Gardens Theater, Goodman Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Bay Area Playwrights, ACT (San Francisco) and the Vineyard Arts Project.

Ting’s personal awards and grants include a Theatre Communications Group New Generations Future Leaders fellowship and a Jerome and Roslyn Milstein Meyer Career Development Prize. A founding member of the artists’ collective INTELLIGENT BEASTS, his work has been presented internationally, including France, Canada, Romania, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Bali.

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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A CHRISTMAS CAROL 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.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer) celebrates his renewed holiday spirit . Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer) celebrates his renewed holiday spirit . Photo by Sandy Underwood.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Dec. 28. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

Now in it’s 24th season, Playhouse’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL continues to entertain audiences of all ages (well ages 6 and up :).)

: The Ghost of Christmas Past (Dale Hodges, left) and Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, right) look on as Boy Scrooge (Ethan Verderber) is summoned home by his sister Fan (Kinley Brooke Shoemaker). Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The Ghost of Christmas Past (Dale Hodges, left) and Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, right) look on as Boy Scrooge (Ethan Verderber) is summoned home by his sister Fan (Kinley Brooke Shoemaker). Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The great sets and costumes, broad humor and a healthy dose of theatre magic are only responsible for part of the success. Each holiday season, director Michael Evan Haney brings together a talented 29-person cast of new faces, local children and a who’s who of our city’s favorite actors, many of whom have become traditions themselves.

The ghost of Jacob Marley (Gregory Procaccino) appears to a terrified yet skeptical Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer) . Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The ghost of Jacob Marley (Gregory Procaccino) appears to a terrified yet skeptical Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer) . Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Bruce Cromer leads the cast as the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge. This is his tenth year in that role, and previous to that, he played Bob Cratchit for eight. Cromer is excellent in the role and his gradual, touching and comedic transformation throughout the show is a joy to watch.

Gregory Procaccino has the distinction of performing in all 24 performances of CAROL. This year, Procaccino continues to terrorize Scrooge as the ghost of Jacob Marley.

Having performed in 22 of the 24 productions of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Dale Hodges returns as the sprite-ly Ghost of Christmas Past.

Making his ninth appearance, Stephen Skiles is first seen as Mr. Sosser.

Young Scrooge (Jared Joplin, right) courts Belle (Joy Farmer-Clary, left) as Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, second from left) and other cast members witness this scene from Ebenezer’s past. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Young Scrooge (Jared Joplin, right) courts Belle (Joy Farmer-Clary, left) as Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, second from left) and other cast members witness this scene from Ebenezer’s past. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Nick Rose returns for a fifth time,beginning as Mr. Cupp.

Jared Joplin returns for a second time in the role of Young and Mature Ebenezer Scrooge. When both Scrooges stand side by side on stage it’s easy to believe they are the same person at different ages. Joplin’s first performance in this role was in 2004, where he played opposite his real-life father, Joneal Joplin, in the elder’s final year as Ebenezer Scrooge.

The cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL gathers for holiday revels with Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

The cast of A CHRISTMAS CAROL gathers for holiday revels with Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Cincinnati-native Ryan Wesley Gilreath returns, for his second year, to the production that inspired him, 21 years ago, to pursue acting. This year he performs as Bob Cratchit.

Kelly Menglekoch, an 11-year resident ensemble member at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, returns this year as Mrs. Cratchit.

Annie Fitzpatrick makes her CAROL debut this year with a great comic turn as Mrs. Fezziwig.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, center) and Tiny Tim (Ty Joseph Shelton) lead the 29-member cast in the finale. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Bruce Cromer, center) and Tiny Tim (Ty Joseph Shelton) lead the 29-member cast in the finale. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Be sure to pay attention, as most of the actors appear as several different characters.

It would take a true Scrooge indeed not to enjoy this fabulous production and annual Christmas present from the Playhouse.

God bless us, every one! indeed.

My rating: 4.50 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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TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL 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.

Susan Haefner, as Rosemary Clooney, sings one of Rosemary’s signature songs. Photo by Gordon DeVinney.

Susan Haefner, as Rosemary Clooney, sings one of Rosemary’s signature songs. Photo by Gordon DeVinney.

TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Jan. 4. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening Friday performance.

Before seeing this show, my knowledge about the late Rosemary Clooney was limited to the fact that she: got her start locally; was in the movie musical, “White Christmas;” is the sister of former, local news-anchor Nick, and aunt of actor George; appeared on the TV show, “E.R.,” and was mother of actor Miguel Ferrer.

The show uses her psychoanalysis therapy sessions, following a nervous breakdown in 1968, to chronicle her life in flashback and song.

Rosemary Clooney (Susan Haefner) recounts a passionate moment in her life to The Doctor (Michael Marotta). Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Rosemary Clooney (Susan Haefner) recounts a passionate moment in her life to The Doctor (Michael Marotta). Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Susan Haefner does an excellent job in the title role, giving Clooney a brassy honesty that rings true. Vocally strong, she does an excellent job of recreating Clooney’s musical performances.

Actor Michael Marotta, who Playhouse audiences may recognize as Herr Schultz in last season’s “Cabaret,” is credited in the program as The Doctor. Marotta also does excellent work. His character’s eight-year relationship with Clooney, as her therapist, grows naturally throughout the show. He also shows great versatility in taking on the roles of family and friends in the flashbacks.

Susan Haefner as Rosemary Clooney & Michael Marotta as The Doctor. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Susan Haefner as Rosemary Clooney & Michael Marotta as The Doctor. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Together, favorites moments include their duets with Moratta portraying sister Betty and long-time friend Bing Crosby. Their final scene together, as former-therapist and ex-patient, is a great emotional ending for the characters.

As jukebox musicals go, this one by Janet Yates Vogt and Cincinnati-native Mark Friedman, is definitely on the more successful side, in integrating the artist’s musical catalog, with an interesting book. Since my knowledge of The Kennedys begins with Jack and Bobby, I was a little lost with the reference to  “Ethel” when Bobby’s assassination was discussed.  I was also unclear if there were consequences of Clooney violating her “morality clause” when she began her affair with Ferrer.

Rosemary Clooney (Susan Haefner) and The Doctor (Michael Marotta) dance together. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Rosemary Clooney (Susan Haefner) and The Doctor (Michael Marotta) dance together. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Director Blake Robison does an excellent job of blocking the show in the intimate, thrust space. The show is well-paced and he brings solid performances out of his actors. Also excellent is music director Scot Woolley insetting the tone for the vocal performances. He is very fun to watch as the leads the on stage trio, giving some of the musical numbers a night club feel. (I’m assuming it was a trio, from my seat I could only see Scot and the musicians are not credited in the program.) Dee Anne Bryll’s choreography is fun to watch and does a great job of capturing the era.

On the technical side, the excellent work by Set Designer Bill Clarke, Costume Designer Bill Black, Lighting Designer Phil Monat and Sound Designer Jeremy J. Lee, bring the whole show together.

TENDERLY is extremely well-done and a great trip down memory-lane for Rosemary Clooney fans, and for me an interesting and entertaining look into an icon’s career.

My rating: 4.75 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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