Monthly Archives: September 2011

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Opens Shelterhouse Season with Shakespeare’s AS YOU LIKE IT, October 1-November 6

(CINCINNATI) – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will open its Thompson Shelterhouse season with William Shakespeare’s glorious romantic comedy, AS YOU LIKE IT The show begins public previews on October 1 and continues through November 6.

The extraordinary Rosalind flees to the Forest of Arden when banished from court by her villainous uncle. Disguised as a boy, Rosalind finds herself instructing the man she loves on how to woo a woman – her! Mistaken identities and misguided affections untangle to reveal life, love, joy and the truth that, ultimately, “all the world’s a stage.”

AS YOU LIKE IT marks Producing Artistic Director Edward Stern’s final production as a director at the Playhouse; he is working in collaboration with Associate Artistic Director Michael Evan Haney.

According to Stern, “I so much wanted to finish directing at the Playhouse with a Shakespeare play because of all the challenges involved. More importantly, I wanted to end my directing at the Playhouse with a show dedicated to love and life. I don’t know a better play than AS YOU LIKE IT to accomplish that.”

“I respect Ed so much as a director and producer,” said Michael Evan Haney on working with Stern. “Working with him on AS YOU LIKE IT is a true delight for me. I love hearing Ed’s insights into the play and his vision of the production. We are having a great time batting ideas about. I believe one of the primary jobs of a director is to create a work environment that enables the best work to be accomplished by all involved. Ed does this and he always makes the rehearsal process a fun experience.”

Other members of the production team include Joseph P. Tilford (set designer), Susan Tsu (costume designer), Thomas C. Hase (lighting designer), Douglas Lowry/Michael Murnoch (composers), Philip Thompson (voice and text consultant) and Drew Fracher (fight director). The stage manager is Andrea L. Shell.

The cast for AS YOU LIKE IT includes several returning actors, including Sarah Dandridge (Othello, Travels of Angelica) as Rosalind, Joneal Joplin (A Christmas Carol, Witness for the Prosecution, The Fantasticks, among others) as Adam and Sir Oliver Martext, Michael Gabriel Goodfriend (Sleuth) as Oliver, Brendan Averett (Of Mice and Men) as Charles and Corin, Christopher McHale (Art, Much Ado About Nothing, among others) as Duke Senior and Chris Hietikko (Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Dracula, The Mousetrap) as Duke Frederick.

Making their Playhouse debuts are Alvin Keith as Orlando, David Graham Jones as Touchstone, Francesca Choy-Kee as Celia, Bob Braswell as Le Beau and Silvius, Rebeca Miller as Phoebe, Matt D’Amico as Jaques and Michael Murnoch as Amiens. Members of the Playhouse 2011-2012 Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company will also make their debuts: Aram Monisoff as Dennis and William, Carlos Saldaña as a lord and Jaques De Boys; Katherine Leigh as Audrey; and Ben Sullivan as a lord.

Prices for AS YOU LIKE IT start at $25; they vary depending on seat location, performance day and are subject to change.

Tickets are just $25 for the preview performances at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 1; 7 p.m. Sunday, October 2; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 4; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 5. The official opening night is Thursday, October 6 at 8 p.m.

The Playhouse is offering a ticket deal to introduce teenagers to the timeless wit and wisdom of Shakespeare. With the purchase of a regular price or subscription ticket to As You Like It, theatregoers may bring a teenager for just $12 (limit two; not valid with other discounts or on Center Section or Previews; offer subject to change). Contact the box office at 513/421-3888 to purchase tickets or more information.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sundays.

Tickets to AS YOU LIKE IT 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 Call 513/345-2248 for TDD accessibility.

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

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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TROUBLE IN MIND runs Oct. 27-Nov. 6

Presented by Northern Kentucky University
Oct. 27-Nov. 6
Highland Heights

Reviews: Enquirer | CityBeat | BTC |

A powerfully incendiary satiric play based on the conflict of not compromising one’s artistic integrity. Trouble in Mind follows the journey of a mixed-raced cast in 1955 as they embark upon rehearsals for a racially charged play. This tightly wrapped work is a manic roller coaster of suppressed emotions on the edge of free-fall. Childress, who became the first female winner of the Obie Award, pokes knowing fun at actors’ complaints, directors’ frustration and even with the well-meaning efforts of theater professionals to overcome their racial feelings.

Directed by Mark Hardy

  • Thu-Sat, Oct. 27-29 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 30 at 3pm
  • Tue-Sat, Nov. 1-5 at 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 6 at 3pm

Official page |

Articles: Cincinnati Enquirer |

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HAIRSPRAY runs Oct. 27-Nov. 13

Presented by Wright State University
Oct. 27-Nov. 13

Reviews: Dayton Most Metro |

In 1962 Baltimore, Maryland, plump teenager Tracy Turnblad’s dream is to dance on The Corny Collins Show, a local TV dance program based on the real-life Buddy Deane Show.[1] When Tracy wins a role on the show, she becomes a celebrity overnight. She then launches a campaign to integrate the show. Hairspray is a social commentary on the injustices of parts of American society in the 1960s. -Wikipedia

  • Thu, Oct. 27 at 7pm
  • Fri-Sat, Oct. 28-29 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 30 at 2pm
  • Wed-Thu, Nov. 2-3 at 7pm
  • Fri, Nov. 4 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 5 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 6 at 2pm
  • Fri, Nov. 11 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 12 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 13 at 2pm

Official page |

Articles: Dayton Daily News |

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BURN THIS review

Nathan Neorr as Pale & Gina Cerimele-Mechley as Anna. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Links to all reviews can be found on the BTC REVIEWS page. Blog postings, links and more are available on my FaceBook fan page. You can receive updates on Twitter from @BTCincyRob.

BURN THIS presented by New Edgecliff Theatre through Oct. 15. You can read the show description here.

It’s hard to review a play that isn’t quite where it needs to be on opening night.

Overall I found the show to be emotionally…apathetic. A good part of that was due to the pacing of the show.  I understand that the running time of two hours (with one 15-minute intermission) is an approximation, but I shouldn’t be leaving the theater at 10:20pm when a play begins at 7:30pm. Quicker line pick-ups and fewer pregnant pauses would tighten up the run time.

The other problem is that although I heard strong personalities and emotions in the words of the script, I didn’t always see that incorporated into the performances on stage.

Jason Burgess’ portrayal of Larry, the sassy gay roommate, is consistent throughout the show, if not a little bit stereotypical. But, given the 1987 setting of the play, it works for the most part. Where he stumbles a bit is with his comic timing. Larry has some great, funny lines, that would really shine with the addition of timing beats and vocal variety.

However, and I apologize in advance if this comment comes off as too harsh, but I would like to ask directors to really consider how you portray characters not of your sex or sexual orientation on stage. I don’t understand why Larry would mimic a cat in heat and dry hump a couch, aiming this sexual aggression at the brother of his one-month-dead roommate, whom he just met ten minutes ago. This “side” of Larry comes out of nowhere and never returns, so I strongly question the decision to do it.

John Wilmes as Burton & Gina Cerimele-Mechley as Anna. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Gina Cerimele-Mechley is believable as former dancer turned choreographer Anna. At times I felt that there was alot going on internally with her character that wasn’t outwardly manifested for the audience to see. She would hit emotional point A and emotional point B, but I couldn’t see the journey from one to the other in face, voice or body language.

Nathan Neorr as Pale/Jimmy had the strongest and most consistent character on stage. What I found missing were glimpses of the true man underneath the grief and anger that somehow connects with Anna, Larry, and ultimately the audience.

As for John Wilmes’ Burton, I would like to see the actor make some stronger decisions for the character, especially in his interactions with long-time lover Anna. For all the accomplishments of the character, (comes from money, successful screenwriter, fit and athletic,) he comes off a bit milquetoast.

Nathan Neorr as Pale and Jason Burgess as Larry. Photo by Mikke Schaffner.

I enjoyed the set design by Melissa Bennett. It works well within the available space of the theater. It could use a bit more character as far as distressing and personal touches.

Costumes work for the most part although a few more choices to set the time frame would have been welcome. Speaking of time frame, Larry’s wrestling shoes were not a footwear option in 1987. It did seem like a few costumes repeated and I wasn’t a fan of Larry’s hot pink short-shorts and Les Mis T-shirt the first time I saw them. The long sleeve shirt/sweats combo makes more sense for the time of year anyway.

One small note for the sound design. The cityscape sound effects worked well (and were well executed) but there was the sound of a ringing cell phone that really stood out in the repeating clip.

Since the second act takes place over four scenes that jump time I was watching the information listed in the program. It lists scene one as New Year’s Eve, scene two and New Year’s Day, scene three as [one] month later (February, opening night of the dance show) and scene four as [one] month later (March??) even though Larry states that the dance show is only running four days and the final scene takes place after a performance. It left me a bit confused.

BURN THIS is a very challenging script for the actors and I can see them working very hard. The final push to unify the show has to come from the director and I’m not sensing Tim Waldrip’s influence as strongly as I would like.

Bottom line, this production is a commendable attempt at a very challenging script. I do believe it will be a much stronger show in its final two weekends.

Click here for a complete list of showtimes for BURN THIS.

I would love to hear what you think about the show or my review. You can post your comments below.

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CORAM BOY runs Oct. 26-30

Presented by UC College-Conservatory of Music
Oct. 26-30
University Heights

Reviews:  Enquirer | BTC |

At its heart is the story of two boys from very different backgrounds. Alexander Ashbrook is from a rich household and is a musical prodigy, while Meshak Gardner is the impoverished, mentally-damaged son of a wicked and violent man. Their very different life journeys become inextricably bound-up during their troubled passage into adolescence. Alexander’s search for personal and creative freedom is almost engulfed by the vortex of dirty and dangerous currents horribly familiar to Meshak, and found almost everywhere in this so-called age of enlightenment.

Directed by Richard Hess

Cast list: Bennett Bradley as Mrs. Lynch, Bailie Breault as Isobel Ashbrook, William Brown as Meshak Gardiner, Cameron Jamarr Davis as Doctor Smith, Mack Harden as George Frederick Handel, Claron Hayden as Otis Gardiner, Brynn Langford as Mrs. Hendry, Graydon Long as Sir William Ashbrook, John Patrick Maddock as Thomas Ledbury, Molly Massa as Mrs. Milcote, Clifford Nunley III as Mr. Claymore, Ty Olwin as Alexander Ashbrook, Callie Schuttera as Melissa Milcote, Hope Shangle as Lady Ashbrook, Shaun S. Sutton as Toby, Sarah Vargo as Miss Price & John Garrett Walters as Aaron Dangerfield

  • Wed, Oct, 26 at 8pm (preview)
  • Thu-Fri, Oct. 27-28 at 8pm
  • Sat, Oct. 29 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 30 at 2pm

Official page | FaceBook event |

Enquirer article | WVXU interview | CCM Slideshow |

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