Tag Archives: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

“Girl Singer Comes Home in Playhouse’s Production of TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL Nov. 15-Dec. 28

“GIRL SINGER” COMES HOME IN CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK’S PRODUCTION OF
TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL,
 NOV. 15 – DEC. 28, 2014

PIP_Tenderly(CINCINNATI) – No matter where in the world her voice and fortunes took her, Rosemary Clooney always came home. And that’s the case yet again with TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL, which debuts Nov. 15 through Dec. 28 in the Playhouse’s intimate Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre.

For Artistic Director Blake Robison, who is directing TENDERLY, bringing Rosemary “home” to the Tristate is particularly significant. “Everyone I’ve met in Cincinnati feels a special kinship with the Clooney family,” he says. “Rosemary is a local treasure. She’s one of us.”

TENDERLY’S hometown roots extend to its co-authors as well. Written by Cincinnati playwrights Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman, TENDERLY was first featured at the New Works Festival 2010 at the Human Race Theatre in Dayton, Ohio. It had its stage premiere in a Broadway Series production at Dayton’s Victoria Theatre in 2012. The Playhouse version is new, explains Robison: “Mark and Janet have expanded the piece to two acts. There are more classic songs and more scenes from her life.”

Those songs, 17 in all, include her signature hits “White Christmas,” “Tenderly” and “Come On-A My House” (the latter of which she almost refused to record — and which, ironically, rocketed her to fame).

Rosemary Clooney was born in Maysville, Kentucky, shortly before the Depression. She began her singing career at age 16 with her younger sister Betty on WLW radio in 1945, which then became a launching pad for the sister act to tour the country with the Tony Pastor Band. At 21, Rosemary went solo, and soon a star was born.

Her voice also brought her to movie fame — she appeared in a handful of films, including the iconic holiday classic White Christmas. In the midst of her burgeoning career, she married veteran theatre and film actor José Ferrer in 1953 and gave birth to their five children between 1955 and 1960. The decade that followed brought a divorce from her stormy marriage, an increasing dependency on drugs that helped to fuel an emotional breakdown and a decline in her career.

But that was far from the final chapter. In succeeding years, Rosemary reinvented herself with therapy, the renewal of an old love affair and a new focus on a jazz and American songbook repertoire that resonated to the end of her life.

“Rosemary’s story is remarkable and inspirational,” Robison says of Clooney, who “saw herself as a ‘girl singer.’ This production captures the ups and downs of her career in an honest, celebratory manner. It has an incredible song list of her greatest hits, and the scenes are packed with stories of her home life, family, her time in Cincinnati and her life in Hollywood. I’ve been inspired by the depth of her talent, the longevity of her career and her personal resilience.”

Susan Haefner, whose Broadway credits include State Fair, Thoroughly Modern Millie and 42nd Street, makes her Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park debut as Rosemary Clooney. Michael Marotta, who was seen in last season’s Playhouse production of Cabaret as Herr Schultz, portrays The Doctor. The creative team for TENDERLY includes music director Scot Woolley, set designer Bill Clarke, costume designer Bill Black, lighting designer Phil Monat, sound designer Jeremy J. Lee and choreographer Dee Anne Bryll. Jenifer Morrow is the production stage manager, and Becky Merold is the stage manager.

TENDERLY is sponsored by Clark, Schaefer, Hackett & Co. and Moe and Jack Rouse. The Geiler Company is the design sponsor, and the Morse and Betty Johnson Family is the Rosemary Clooney artist sponsor. This production honors the support of Lee Meyer.

Ticket prices for TENDERLY start at $30. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $30 each. The show is recommended for adults and teenage audiences.

New for the 2014-15 season is Sunday College Night, with tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances (not including A Christmas Carol) priced at just $10 with a valid student ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances.

Previews for TENDERLY are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 15; 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 18; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 19. The official opening night is Thursday, Nov. 20, 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.

Additionally, 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, Nov. 23; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 10; and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 18.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

Tickets to TENDERLY 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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TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL Runs Nov. 15-Dec. 28

PIP_TenderlyTENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL
Presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Nov. 15-Dec. 28
Eden Park

Directed by Blake Robison
Music directed by Scot Woolley
Choreographed by Dee Anne Bryll

Cast: Susan Haefner as Rosemary Clooney & Michael Marotta as The Doctor

America’s favorite girl singer comes home in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography. Rosemary Clooney’s journey starts with her Cincinnati childhood and rise to Hollywood stardom and continues beyond battles with depression to a triumphant comeback. Through it all she topped the charts for nearly five decades with signature songs. Tenderly offers a remarkably personal and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend. Appropriate for adults and teenage audiences.

  • In preview Sat, Nov. 15 at 8pm & Sun, Nov. 15 at 7pm
  • In preview Tue-Wed, Nov. 18-19 at 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Nov. 20-21 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 22 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 23 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue, Nov. 25 at 7:30pm
  • Wed, Nov. 26 at 1pm & 7:30pm
  • Fri, Nov. 28 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 29 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 30 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue, Dec. 2 at 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Dec. 4-5 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 6 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 7 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue, Dec. 9 at 7:30pm
  • Wed, Dec. 10 at 1pm & 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Dec. 11-12 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 13 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 14 at 2pm
  • Tue-Wed, Dec. 16-17 at 7:30pm
  • Thu-Fri, Dec. 18-19 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 20 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 21 at 2pm
  • Mon, Dec. 22 at 7:30pm
  • Tue, Dec. 23 at 2pm & 7:30pm
  • Fri, Dec. 26 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 27 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 28 at 2pm & 7pm

Official page |

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Playhouse Serves Up Delectable SPAGHETTI for LCT 4-Star Recommendation

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

“I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” is based on Giulia Melucci’s popular memoir of food and dating. For Giulia, a new date is the perfect opportunity to show off her Italian home cooking. While preparing a three-course dinner from scratch, she recounts stories of good food and bad boyfriends. Her superior tasting cuisine far surpasses her inferior taste in men in this mouth-watering new comedy.

Panelists enjoyed the show immensely: “This delectably hilarious one-woman show is as delicious as the traditional Italian meal being prepared on stage…. a great way to kick off the Shelterhouse Season.” They praised actress Antoinette LaVecchia’s fun and animated portrayal: “Her seamless performance appeared effortless as she wove together fast-paced dialogue, food preparation, and an engaging rapport with each of us in the audience for two hours. Once in her kitchen, none of us wanted to leave!” Director Rob Ruggiero was also singled out for his work, as well as set designer John Coyne for his creation of “a gourmet chef’s kitchen, complete with every tool and ingredient a cook needs. No detail was left unattended”.

Playhouse’s “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” runs through November 2nd. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.cincyplay.com.

The League of Cincinnati Theatres was founded in 1999 to promote, nurture and celebrate Cincinnati’s theatre community. LCT provides its member companies and individual members with education, resources and services to enhance the quality and exposure of the theatre community in Cincinnati and increase community awareness, attendance and involvement. More information about the League can be found at www.leagueofcincytheatres.com.

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I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI Review (GYTN)

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.

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI presented by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Nov. 2. Click here for more information on the production.

GYTN = Get You Tickets Now. Playhouse has a hit on its hands and tickets will quickly disappear as the word gets out.

Antoinette LaVecchia is amazing as Giulia in this hilarious one-woman show. She is so believable and genuine in the role, that it’s easy to forget you are watching a play. Opening night, LeVecchia had the audience eating out of her hand, if you’ll pardon the pun. Even with seating on three sides of the stage, she deftly manages to make the entire audience feel included in this mostly one-sided conversation. A few unscripted moments were smartly handled by the actress without missing a beat.

If names like Abe Vigoda, Charles Nelson Riley and Nadia Comaneci, leave you shrugging your shoulders, a few of the pop culture references may be “before your time,” but they are only a small fraction of the laughs in the show.

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Antoinette LaVecchia as Giulia. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Director Rob Ruggiero deserves equal credit for the quality of the production. The whole experience is so natural it would be easy to overlook his excellent work. Also kudos to set designer John Coyne for bringing a working kitchen to the stage.

One very small quibble. I understand the practicality of having her “guests” at four small tables for two, but if they were really visiting her home, they would all be together at one big table.

I LOVED, I LOST, I MADE SPAGHETTI is an instant personal favorite and a production I’ll remember with a smile for a long time to come. Definitely not to be missed.

My rating: 5 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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PIP Introduces 71st New Play with World Premiere of SAFE HOUSE

CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE INTRODUCES 71ST NEW PLAY WITH THE WORLD PREMIERE OF SAFE HOUSE, OCT. 18-NOV. 15, 2014

PIP_Safe House(CINCINNATI) – The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has a long, distinguished tradition of introducing new plays to Cincinnati. SAFE HOUSE, Keith Josef Adkins’ moving and surprising drama exploring a little-known chapter in our region’s history, is the 71st world premiere production at the Playhouse. It will continue the Robert S. Marx Theatre season Oct. 18 through Nov. 15. Adkins is a Cincinnati native who grew up in Woodlawn and attended both Princeton High School and Wright State University. Inspired by his Kentucky ancestors, free people of color, SAFE HOUSE is set in Northern Kentucky in 1843 — nearly two decades before the start of the Civil War. It’s not a story about slavery, but rather an exploration of the fascinating journey of a free family of color and the searing tensions that arise when two brothers have conflicting dreams about securing their futures.

Shoemaker Addison Pedigrew, the elder of the two, is ambitious and controlling. Younger brother Frank is free-spirited, and more resentful of the many restrictions the family has faced since they were caught trying to help a slave escape. Of course “freedom,” even without the additional limitations, is a relative term for blacks in the antebellum South. Across the country, they are considered second-class citizens, discouraged or outright prohibited from owning or renting land, voting or holding office. In Kentucky, free blacks faced limited mobility, lacked the right to privacy and could be sold into servitude for defaulting on their taxes or failing to pay fines. They lived in constant fear of kidnapping, and were required to carry papers with them at all times to verify their freedom.

While SAFE HOUSE paints a vivid historical picture, it simultaneously portrays an intimate story of siblings, and the family tensions in the play feel universal and very modern.

“I’ve always been fascinated by favoritism and rivalry within families,” Adkins says. “My maternal grandfather and his brother were always at odds. They were both considered good-looking and extremely intelligent, but they feuded constantly over money, life choices and only the stars know what else. “I’ve also been fascinated by racial and social loyalty among African-Americans. I grew up in a family that encouraged individuality within a black community that thrived on communal survival and identity. If one’s personal survival was threatened by a group’s demand or someone else’s handicap then one was encouraged to break free from those demands. I figured if my family was complicated now, they had to be complicated in the 19th century.”

Playhouse Associate Artist Timothy Douglas will direct SAFE HOUSE. “This well-made play has everything my director sensibilities could ever desire, and I’m beyond inspired and gratified by the demands it is making of me,” Douglas says.

SAFE HOUSE originally was commissioned by Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and was the first play featured in the New Professional Theatre’s Writers Festival. Adkins is a playwright, screenwriter and artistic director of The New Black Fest. His plays include The Last Saint on Sugar Hill, The People Before the Park, Sugar and Needles, Sweet Home, The Bug Pods, The Final Daze and Pitbulls, which will premiere this fall at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater off-Broadway.

The cast for SAFE HOUSE features LeRoy McClain as Addison, Shane Taylor as Frank, Stephanie Berry as Dorcas, Wilbur Edwin Henry (Clybourne Park) as Bracken, Deonna Bouye (Clybourne Park) as Clarissa and Shannon Dorsey (The Trip to Bountiful) as Roxie. In addition to Douglas, the creative team for SAFE HOUSE includes set designer Tony Cisek, costume designer Kara Harmon, lighting designer Michael Gilliam, sound designer/composer Vincent Olivieri, stage manager Becky Merold, second stage manager Jenifer Morrow and assistant stage manager Suann Pollock.

The Playhouse will partner with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to host a panel discussion at the Freedom Center at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20, to explore the themes raised in SAFE HOUSE. Adkins and Douglas will be joined by community leaders who will discuss the history of African-American entrepreneurship and economic empowerment.

The event also will feature a brief excerpt from the play. The panel, free and open to the public, is included as part of the Playhouse Perspective Series. Support is provided by Roderick and Barbara Barr.

Additionally, the Playhouse has teamed with the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County to display a behind-the-scenes look at SAFE HOUSE in the atrium of its Main Library downtown. The display will feature set and costume renderings, as well as research about free people of color in 19th-century Kentucky. It will be on view beginning in early October as part of the library’s activities recognizing Family History Month (visit www.cincinnatilibrary.org for further information).

SAFE HOUSE is sponsored by Tony Alper. The 2014-15 Robert S. Marx Theatre season is sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation, and Macy’s is the Robert S. Marx Theatre season design sponsor. The season sponsor of new work is The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.

Ticket prices for SAFE HOUSE start at $30. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $30 each. The show is appropriate for adults and older teenage audiences. New for the 2014-15 season is Sunday College Night, with tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances (not including A Christmas Carol) priced at just $10 with a valid student ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Previews are at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18; 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 19; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 22. The official opening night is Thursday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m.; it will be followed by a post-show reception at the Freedom Center. 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 post-show Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with cast members and others associated with the production will be offered at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29; 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9; and 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 13. SAFE HOUSE will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 9.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available. Tickets to SAFE HOUSE 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 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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