Monthly Archives: January 2017



Gina Milo as Audrey, David Meyers as Mr. Mushnik & Nick Cearley as Seymour. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS presented Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Feb. 19. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

It was my love of the movie LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS that led me to become involved in our local theater scene about 25 years ago. Without Seymour, Audrey, and the gang, you would not be reading this review. 🙂 This is the first regional production I have attended and I’m happy to say that the Playhouse’s production does the show, (as well as and my fond memories of it) justice.

If you are a fan of the movie but have never seen the stage version, you will experience a completely different ending sans “Mean Green Mother From Outer Space,” as well as several songs that were not included in the movie.


Johari Nandi as Chiffon, Ebony Blake as Ronnette, Alexis Tidwell as Crystal & Nick Cearley as Seymour. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The cast is extremely talented and does a wonderful job of making the roles their own. Nick Cearley is endearing as hapless Seymour who flinches from every harsh word. Gina Milo is easy to love as Audrey and offers an emotionally touching “Somewhere That’s Green.” Jamison Stern is hilarious as Orin and brings a quirkiness to the dentist and his various other roles that is fun to watch. The Urchins (Johari Nandi as Chiffon, Alexis Tidwell as Crystal & Ebony Blake as Ronnette) nail the harmonies and dance moves that make the roles so much fun to watch. Rounding out the ensemble is Chaz Rose as the voice of Audrey II & Stephen Kriz Gardner as the puppeteer/manipulator. The two give the ever-growing plant great presence and personality, however it was noticeable several times that Audrey II wasn’t hitting all the syllables in the dialogue and lyrics.

Playhouse’s Marx Theatre can make the staging of a musical rather challenging. Michael Schweikardt’s set design is extremely successful in the space. There are many great touches throughout and I thought the shop’s renovation was one of the most dramatic I’ve ever seen. The various transformations and quick costume changes were handled excellently by the stage management team. The production also boasts one of the most successful executions of the final number.


Jamison Stern as Orin & Nick Cearley as Seymour. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The musicians, conducted by Stephen Goers and located underneath the stage, rocked out the score. I found the music and vocal balance to be great and I was able to hear every line and lyric.

Opening night, the younger audience members around me seemed to enjoy the show -although the lines “tough titties” and “no shit, Sherlock” did elicit a bit of a shocked reaction from them.

Overall, LITTLE SHOP is a grade A, sci-Fi, B movie, musical comedy that is laugh out loud funny and a rocking good time.

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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SOMETHING ROTTEN! Runs Feb. 21-March 5


Cast of the SOMETHING ROTTEN! National Tour featuring Adam Pascal. © Jeremy Daniel

Broadway in Cincinnati
Feb. 21-March 5
Aronoff Center [Downtown]

Direct from Broadway, SOMETHING ROTTEN! is a “big, fat hit!” (New York Post). Set in the ‘90s – the 1590s – this hilarious smash tells the story of Nick and Nigel Bottom (Tony nominee Rob McClure and Broadway’s Josh Grisetti), two brothers who are desperate to write their own hit play while the “rock star” Shakespeare (Tony nominee Adam Pascal) keeps getting all the hits. When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing and acting at the same time, Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first MUSICAL!

  • Tue-Thu, Feb. 21-23 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Feb. 24 at 8pm
  • Sat, Feb. 25 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Feb. 26 at 1pm & 6:30pm
  • Tue-Wed, Feb. 28-March 1 at 7:30pm
  • Thu, March 2 at 1pm & 7:30pm
  • Fri, March 3 at 8pm
  • Sat, March 4 at 2pm & 8pm
  • Sun, March 5 at 1pm

Official page |

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TALLEY’S FOLLY Runs Feb. 18-26

oxact_talleys-folly-logoTALLEY’S FOLLY
Oxford Area Community Theatre
Feb. 18-26
Oxford Community Arts Center

Cast: Matt Benzing as Matt Friedman & Heidi Bortel as Sally Talley

Winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award as best play of the season, Talley’s Folly is the story of one night in the lives of two unlikely sweethearts, Matt Friedman and Sally Talley. The play takes place in a dilapidated boathouse on the Talley farm in Missouri on the Fourth of July, 1944. Matt gradually awakens Sally to the possibilities of a life together until, in the final, touching moments of the play, it is clear that they are two kindred spirits who have truly found each other—two “lame ducks” who, in their union, will find a wholeness rare in human relationships.

  • Sat, Feb. 18 at 7:30pm
  • Sun, Feb. 19 at 2pm
  • Fri-Sat, Feb. 24-25 at 7:30pm
  • Sun, Feb. 26 at 2pm

Official page |

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Auditions for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF at Bart’s Bards

BB_logoBart’s Bards to hold auditions for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Director Richard Lee Waldeck
Choreographer Maddy Fessler

March 12 from 1-4:30pm
March 13 from 6:30-8:30pm

John Paul II Catholic School, 9375 Winton Rd., Cincinnati, OH, 45231

Who needs to audition?

  • For those interested in an ensemble role only, and who have been in a Bart’s Bards production within the past three years, auditions are not required. However, we still need all registration paperwork completed and submitted to be a part of the show. Please either drop off your completed forms at the school during auditions or send them via e-mail to Barry Reynolds ( by 9:00pm March 13.
  • For those interested in a speaking part or anyone who has not been involved in a Bart’s Bards production within the past three years, auditions are required.
    Audition time slots for FIDDLER ON THE ROOF are being scheduled via signup genius. Please visit the following webpage to signup for your audition time:

Audition requirements:

  • Sing 16-32 bars of a song from any Broadway production of your choosing
  • Possibly read from the script if you are auditioning for a named role (assigned in the audition room by the Director)
  • Learn and perform a small dance sequence taught at the audition by the choreographer
  • An audition accompanist will be provided for those who bring sheet music to the audition
  • Audition and membership forms can be found at our website –

Performance dates are June 22-25.

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ROCKTOPIA: A Classical (R)evolution | Sun., April 1 | Aronoff Center



Saturday, April 1, 2017 – 8:00 PM

Aronoff Center – Procter & Gamble Hall 


Music from Mozart to U2, Beethoven to Pink Floyd, This Live Concert Is a
Powerful Fusion of Classical Music, Opera and Classic Rock   

Now a PBS-TV Special Filmed Live at the Hungarian State Opera House in Budapest

CINCINNATI, OH  –RTT is thrilled to announce the cast of the inaugural live concert tour ROCKTOPIA: A Classical (R)evolution.   ROCKTOPIA Co-Creators, vocalist and recording artist Rob Evan, a member of the multi-platinum-selling rock band, Trans- Siberian Orchestra; and Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, a national leader in the area of symphonic rock and world music fusion have collaborated to bring together a world class cast of vocalists and musicians. ROCKTOPIA LIVE will debut at the Aronoff Center’s Procter & Gamble Hall for one night only on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 8:00 PM.

Tickets are on sale now at, (513) 621-ARTS [2787], and the Aronoff Center Ticket Office.

This groundbreaking live concert performance celebrating the combination of classical music and opera with classic rock features world-class vocalists and top rock musicians including renowned vocalists Rob Evan, Chloe Lowery, Kimberly Nichole, Tony Vincent, Ximena Borges and esteemed musicians Tony Bruno, Alex Alexander, Mat Fieldes and Henry Aronson. 

Accomplished actor, singer and producer Rob Evan’s 20 years in the entertainment profession includes seven leading roles on Broadway and performances at Presidential Inaugural Galas, World Series Celebrations, the Millennium World Forum and Monday Night Football.  A member of the multi-platinum-selling rock band, Trans- Siberian Orchestra, Rob has opened and performed with Sir Elton John, REM, Joe Walsh, Usher and Michael Crawford among others.  As co- creator of ROCKTOPIA he will be on stage with vocalist Chloe Lowery another member of Trans-Siberian Orchestra and featured on Yanni’s 2013, 2014 and 2016 releases: Truth of Touch, Inspirato, and Sensuous Chill.  Tony Vincent Broadway star of Rent who also originated the role of St. Jimmy in Green Day’s American Idiot and competed on NBC’s The VOICE on Team Ce-Lo joins Kimberly Nichole, another VOICE veteran as a winning finalist in Season 8. She has been described as an “Avant-Rock n Roll” song stylist and songwriter by VOGUE, Seventeen Magazine and MTV UK.  Classically trained Opera star Ximena Borges has traveled the world from the Lyon Conservatory in France to the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Germany to study under the tutelage of Opera’s most legendary teachers including Bill Schuman, Mariena Malas and more.   ROCKTOPIA musicians include lead guitarist Tony Bruno, guitarist for such musical giants as Enrique Iglesias, Rihanna, E K’naan, Karmin, Delta Goodrem and many others. Multi genre drummer and percussionist Alex Alexander who has recorded with an eclectic mix of performers Eminem, Chaka Kahn and Bruce Springsteen.  Grammy Nominated Bassist Mat Fieldes and Musical Director, Pianist Henry Aronson, one of the most in demand music directors in the Broadway theater and conductor of The Who’s Tommy and the Broadway run of Rock of Ages make up the ROCKTOPIA musicians roster.

This electric cast along with local orchestras and choirs will launch a 4-week national tour beginning  March 28 in Portland, Maine continuing to Reading, Pennsylvania March 29; Albany, New York March 30; Greensburg, Pennsylvania March 31; Cincinnati, Ohio April 1; Ft. Wayne, Indiana April 2; Davenport, Iowa April 4; Peoria, Illinois April 5; Kansas City, Missouri April 6; Joliet, Illinois April 7; Columbus, Ohio April 8; E. Lansing, Michigan April 9;  Buffalo, New York April 11, Detroit, Michigan April 12; Cleveland, Ohio April 13; Baltimore, Maryland April 14;  Charlotte, North Carolina April 15; Ft. Lauderdale, Florida April 18; Jacksonville, Florida April 19; Atlanta, Georgia April 20; Melbourne, Florida April 21; Tampa, Florida April 22 and Pensacola, Florida April 23.  Complete tour dates, venues and ticket information can be found on

ROCKTOPIA is an inspiring and uplifting entertainment spectacle that brings a whole new way of enjoying the best of classical music and classic rock to audiences.  ROCKTOPIA delivers one-of-a-kind musical arrangements blending Beethoven with Journey, Strauss with The Who, and more in musical mash-ups that surprise and delight.  Musically arranged by Maestro Randall Craig Fleischer, the concert showcases the works of classical composers as well as rock bands, including the music of Mozart, Journey, Handel, U2, Tchaikovsky, Heart, Beethoven, Styx, Foreigner, Rachmaninoff, Pink Floyd, Copland, The Who and more.  

ROCKTOPIA performances creates an incredible dynamic concert experience sure to blow audiences away as proven in Budapest at the State Hungarian Opera House, now a PBS TV special airing in cities across the United States.

For complete bios, tour and ticket information visit 

View/Download  Video here

View/Download Photos here 

About RTT
ROCKTOPIA is produced and presented by RTT.  The company is headed by William Franzblau, Rob Evan and Maggie Seidel-Law who collectively have been creating, producing and presenting national tours, Broadway shows and concerts worldwide for over 30 years.  William Franzblau has produced such award- winning shows as the Tony Nominated Best Play Say Goodnight Gracie, and the tour of LITTLE HOUSE on the PRAIRIE the Musical starring Melissa Gilbert.  Maggie Seidel-Law has spearheaded multiple tours and live entertainment events associated with PBS including the global phenomenon Celtic Woman.  ROCKTOPIA will be RTT’s first project and will tour through 20+ US cities in the spring of 2017.  Their offices are located in New York, NY and Nashville, TN.

About Rob Evan
Rob Evan is an accomplished actor, singer and producer with 20 years of professional experience in the entertainment industry.  During the span of his diverse career, he has performed in seven leading roles on the New York Stage including the original Broadway cast of Jekyll & Hyde, playing the title roles for three years and over 1,000 performances worldwide. As a vocalist and recording artist, Rob is a member of the multi-platinum-selling rock band, Trans- Siberian Orchestra. He can be heard on TSO’s The Lost Christmas Eve (Certified Double Platinum – Lava/Atlantic) and their latest release, Nightcastle, which debuted at #5 on Billboard’s Top 100 (currently certified Platinum – Atlantic Records). He has played in arenas across the country and the world for up to 20,000 people per show. Rob has toured Europe and the US with TSO as Beethoven in TSO’s Rock Opera, Beethoven’s Last Night. Rob has opened for and performed with Sir Elton John, Trisha Yearwood, Linda Eder, Phil Collins, REM, Bonnie Tyler, John Cougar Mellencamp, Joe Walsh, Usher and Michael Crawford, among others. He was also lead vocalist for Jim Steinman’s The Dream Engine and recently released the debut album for his progressive rock band, Menrva Realm.

About Randall Craig Fleischer
Mr. Fleischer has appeared as a guest conductor with many major orchestras in the United States and internationally including engagements with the Boston Pops, China Philharmonic Hong Kong Philharmonic, Israel Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, Houston Symphony, Philly Pops, Moscow State Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Utah Symphony, San Diego Symphony, Philadelphia Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Festival Cesky Krumlov (Czech Republic) and many others.   “…There was purpose and meaning in the performance, and Fleischer let the lyricism of the music flow in seamless lines.” Deseret News – Salt Lake City, Utah.  As Music Director/Conductor of three symphony orchestras, Youngstown Symphony, Hudson Valley Philharmonic and the Anchorage Symphony, Mr. Fleischer has led each orchestra through a dramatic period of artistic growth, demonstrating his abilities as a proven orchestra builder. This sounds like a different symphony orchestra, and this season should be an exciting experience.“ Arizona Daily Sun 1998. “The HVP’s music director was heartily affirmed by the extended standing ovation.” Times Herald Record.

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