Mondays Are Not-So-Dark in February and March

Traditionally, most theaters are “dark” on Mondays, meaning there are no performances.

This February and March, three companies are giving local theater goers an opportunity to start their week with a little bit of drama (or comedy).

KTC_Series2Bi-weekly performances kick off this coming Monday, February 2nd for SERIALS 2: THE THUNDERDOME at Know Theatre of Cincinnati’s Underground. This past summer, in the first “season” of SERIALS, six new plays by local writers were staged in 15-minute (almost) bi-weekly episodes.

Titles included: FLESH DESCENDING by Chris Wesselman, FETUS AND THE GOD by Ben Dudley, THE LISTENER by Michael Hall, SATURDAY THE 14TH by Elizabeth Martin and Lauren Hynek, THE FUNERAL by Jon Kovach and MARS VS. THE ATOM by Trey Tatum.

The atmosphere is fun and casual with time to hit the bar between episodes. The casts are comprised of many familiar faces that have graced the stages of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, The Carnegie, Know Theatre of Cincinnati, New Edgecliff Theatre and Untethered Theatre Company, just to name a few.

For season two, there is a change to the original format. This time, at each of the five installments, five plays enter, but only three will return for another episode, based on audience voting.

Oh, and in case you missed season one, two of those six original plays are continuing beyond their summer debut.

KTC_Saturday the 14thSATURDAY THE 14TH returns to Know Theatre of Cincinnati on Feb. 7-14 for a limited run, featuring Miranda McGee, Nik Pajic & Chris Wesselman. In this romantic comedy, Mitch (Pajic) and Gail (McGee) are each having the worst Valentine’s Day. Ever. To top it off, they’re both trying to commit suicide by jumping off the very same spot on the very same bridge, and there’s not enough room for the both of them. With no jumping room and nothing left to lose, they team up to cross a few things off their bucket lists before taking the final plunge. Along the way they find adventure, understanding, and maybe even love.

One of my personal favorites this summer, Nik and Miranda have great chemistry together and the script is smart and very funny. I’ll be catching the opening performance on Feb. 7th.

UP_The FuneralAnother favorite, THE FUNERAL, written by Jon Kovach of Unity Productions, has been made into an independent feature film. Luke hides out in his bedroom because he doesn’t care about his great grandmother’s funeral happening in his parent’s living room downstairs. His beautiful cousin, conflicted immediate family, and eclectic friends all visit Luke, each with their own scheme to lure him out of his bedroom. Will Luke venture downstairs, or will his parents follow through with their threat to bring Gammy up?

Look for the trailer to be released on Tuesday, Feb. 3rd. The movie will premiere on Friday, June 12th at Know Theatre of Cincinnati. The film cast includes: Jared Earland, George Alexander, Ian Adams, Annie Kalahurka, Tara Williams, Becca Howell and Patrick Phillips.

For details on all the happenings at Know Theare of Cincinnati, including their excellent currently-running mainstage production of THE HANDMAID’S TALE (my review here), visit http://knowtheatre.com/

QCQTC+Night Larry Kramer logoThe following Monday, Feb. 9th, the Queen City Queer Theatre Collective presents it’s fourth, FREE second-Monday, monthly staged-reading, THE NIGHT LARRY KRAMER KISSED ME. Justin McCombs, company member of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, revisits the one-man show he performed a decade ago in St. Paul.

The play follows one man’s coming of age in AIDS-ravaged New York.  Written in 1993, the play has since been updated in response to recent events in queer news, like the legalization of marriages in several states.

Queen City Queer Theatre Collective is a group of Cincinnati actors, directors, crew, and other artists who are passionate about performing theatre that speaks to the queer experience. Each performance allows audiences a casual and low-budget evening of entertainment, while at the same time presenting politically-forward art meant to explore, challenge, and stimulate discussion.

MISC_Justin McCombs

Justin McCombs.

I have attended all three of their readings to date, THE BEEBO BRINKER CHRONICLES, THE NORMAL HEART and AND BABY MAKES SEVEN. Not only are the chosen plays well-written and accessible to all audiences, director and QCQTC co-founder Lindsey Augusta Mercer elicits strong and emotionally-true performances from her casts. I definitely recommend taking in a production. BTW, did I mention these is a cash bar available as well?

The title of the March 9th performance has yet to be announced. For more information on QCQTC, you can follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/qcqtccincinnati.

CP_August Osage CountyFinally, running Feb. 19-March 14, the Clifton Players and Untethered Theatre Company team up to present the critically-acclaimed, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY.

The Weston sisters return to their Oklahoman homestead once their father Beverly goes missing. In the summer heat they’re forced to examine their own lives, their futures and their relationship with their sharp-tongued mother. Family secrets, generational conflict and repressed truths explode in this portrait of one of the most dysfunctional families the stage has ever seen. Hilarious, taut and truthful.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Dale Hodges as Daisy Wertham & Reggie Willis as Hoke in The Carnegie’s DRIVING MISS DAISY. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The intimate performance space of the Clifton Performance Theatre will be packed with a powerhouse cast under the direction of Buz Davis. Featuring Bob Allen, Carol Brammer, Carter Bratton, Kevin Crowley, Christine Dye, Mindy Heithaus, MaryKate Moran, Nathan Neorr, Leah Strasser, Sarah White & Reggie Willis. Dale Hodges, recently seen in the title role of The Carnegie’s DRIVING MISS DAISY (alongside Reggie Willis as Hoke), plays family matriarch, Violet Weston.

Monday night performances are scheduled for March 2nd and 9th. Due to the size of the venue, this run will sell out. Tickets are on sale now at https://cliftonplayers.wordpress.com/

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