Monthly Archives: September 2011

BETTER LIVING runs Oct. 26-30

BETTER LIVING
Presented by Miami University
Oct. 26-30
Oxford

Acclaimed Canadian playwright George F. Walker portrays a blue-collar family living in the East End of Toronto. Their home renovations, séances, and attempts to piece together their fragmented family unit are all turned upside down when their long estranged, survivalist father returns home.

  • Wed-Fri, Oct. 26-28 at 8pm
  • Sat, Oct. 29 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 30 at 2pm

Official page | Online ticketing |

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ABIE’S IRISH ROSE runs Oct. 14-23

ABIE’S IRISH ROSE
Presented by Dayton Playhouse
Oct. 14-23
Dayton

Abe “Abie” Levy, brings home as his bride Rosemary Murphy, whom he met in France during the war. To appease his father, Abie introduces Rosemary as “Rosie Murphyski”. Papa Levy is fooled until Rosie’s father, Patrick Murphy, arrives. A comic war erupts. Abie and Rose, having been married by a Methodist minister, are married again by a rabbi to please Papa, and a third time by a Catholic priest to satisfy the Irish contingent. Will the birth of twins bring peace to the family or add to the insanity?

  • Fri-Sat, Oct. 14-15 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 16 at 2pm
  • Fri-Sat, Oct. 21-22 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 23 at 2pm

Official page with cast list | Online ticketing |

 

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Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST Review

Emily Behny as Belle. Photo by Joan Marcus.

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.

Disney’s BEAUTY AND THE BEAST presented by Broadway in Cincinnati through Oct. 9. You can read the show description here.

Theater fan[atics] may be familiar with FORBIDDEN BROADWAY, “a cabaret revue sharply spoofing show tunes, characters and plots of contemporary and current Broadway musicals.” FORBIDDEN BROADWAY: 2001 A SPOOF ODYSSEY included the number, “Beauty’s Been Decreased,” a song lamenting the downsizing of the musical on Broadway. As goes Broadway, so does NETwork’s current touring production.

First what works. The show would totally fall apart without a strong Belle. Thankfully, Emily Behny has the talent to handle the role. Fun and appropriately over-the-top comic performances are turned in by Logan Denninghoff as Gaston and Andrew Kruep as an acrobatic Lefou. Julia Louise Hosack also gives a strong vocal performance as Mrs. Potts. However, the Beast’s solo and a personal favorite, “If I Can’t Love Her,” received a Henry Higgins-esque talk/sing rendition. A style that I never enjoy on stage.

Photo by Joan Marcus.

Unfortunately the energy level of Belle, Gaston and Lefou is not matched by the enchanted inhabitants of the castle. Because they are heavily-costumed, the characters of Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts and Madame de la Grande Bouche need to work harder to bring spark and personality to these animated, inanimate objects.

What doesn’t work for this production is the quality of the costumes and set.

The weakest costumes for the named characters include French maid Babette, who looks like, well, a French maid even when under the enchantment. Madame de la Grande Bouche is transformed into a wardrobe in name only. Also troubling are some strangely placed buttons on the front of the Beast’s pants.

Hugo, Laverne and Victor from Disney's animated film, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME.

As for the set, the pieces for the town work well and feel true to the movie. Conversely, the castle pieces come off as flimsy and cheap. Platforms that sag under the actor’s weight. Spiral railings that appear  to be made out of plastic tubing. When a high-backed chair was manually set on stage for the ballroom meal, the back of the chair, literally, swayed back and forth several times. The set changes within the castle are handled by cast members dressed as gargoyles. I understand the reasoning behind this, but it didn’t really work for me. Perhaps the costume designer got their films mixed up.

The shortcomings collide in the musical number, “Be Our Guest.” The 16 or so-person ensemble works hard but the number feels flat. There is ALOT of gold fabric on stage. The knives, the salt/pepper shakers, and (I think they were) napkins, all gold. What wasn’t gold? The plates were made of white fabric stretched over a circular frame held aloft by the female ensemble. Which worked until they were folded (???) around their shoulders in the choreography. The number also included the only appearance of the pink “carpet” (why?), although the word “welcome” on the costume would indicate it was a pink door mat, to do some tumbling during the dance break.

Also disappointing was the final battle in the castle. The comedic side of the fight, between the mob and the enchanted items, was totally cut. Instead it goes immediately into the confrontation between Gaston and the Beast, which seemed a tad bit too long and violent.

Bottom line. For young or inexperienced theater-goers, this production of BEAUTY AND THE BEAST will be satisfying. If you have seen previous productions, or if you expect the spectacle of THE LION KING, you will probably be disappointed.

Click here for a complete list of showtimes.

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THE SISTERS ROSENWEIG runs Oct. 13-23

THE SISTERS ROSENWEIG
Presented by Stagecrafters
Oct. 13-23
Sharonville

This comedy focuses on the lives of 3 Jewish-American women reuniting to celebrate Sara’s 54th birthday. She is a successful international banker with several divorces in her past. Sara lives in London with her 17 year-old daughter, Tess. Middle sister, Gorgeous, Loving housewife and mother, has her own radio call-in advice show and hopes to make the leap to TV. Pfeni, the youngest, has spent her life journeying around the world writing travel books. Over several days at Sara’s townhouse, each sister is forced to face her life and how they define themselves.

Directed by Julie Jordan
Produced by Vicki Rafferty

Cast: JV Katz, Sam Lowe, Renee Maria, Kevin Noll, Greg Schlairet, Bridgid Dunn Slivken, Alyssa Thompson & Timmy Tzeiranakis

  • Thu, Sat, Oct. 13 & 15 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 16 at 3pm
  • Sat, Oct. 22 at 8pm
  • Sun, Oct. 23 at 3pm

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Ten Most Viewed Blog Entries, Sept. 19-25

  1. Anthony Marble as Alan Raleigh and Triney Sandoval as Michael Novak. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

    NEXT TO NORMAL Review

  2. GOD OF CARNAGE review
  3. Five Broadway Stars are Giving Away the Chance to Sing on Stage
  4. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Presents the Supernatural Tragedy MACBETH
  5. A FEW GOOD MEN runs Sept. 28-Oct. 1
  6. THE CRUCIBLE runs Oct. 21-30
    DEATH OF A SALESMAN runs Sept. 22-Oct. 2
  7. DEBBIE DOES DALLAS THE MUSICAL runs Oct. 7-22
  8. DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE runs Oct. 19-23
  9. EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL runs Oct. 21-30
    LITTLE WOMEN THE MUSICAL runs Sept. 29-Oct. 9
  10. WE-HAUL runs Sept. 22-24
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  2. mike schwitter
  3. god of carnage cincinnati review
  4. next to normal jessica hendy
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  8. mia gentile next to normal, review
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