Monthly Archives: March 2017

DISENCHANTED! Review

DISENCHANTED! presented The Carnegie through April 9. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

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Blair Godshall as Sleeping Beauty, Sara Kenny as Snow White & Allison Evans as Cinderella. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography

Closing out their theater season, The Carnegie offers a big and bawdy cabaret show featuring some of your favorite princesses from the House of Mouse.

The show is well-cast. All the performers have lovely singing voices, a Disney trademark, in addition to strong comic timing that make the bits work.

Leading the ladies, whether they want her to or not, is Sara Kenny as Snow White. Kenny has always been a comedy gem, but this role gives her comic chops a bit more bite and the result is extremely funny.

As Cinderella, Allison Evans is great fun as that too perfect, too perky friend. Blair Godshall is a treat as the physically awkward, slightly-narcoleptic Sleeping Beauty. Brittany Hayes has some great vocal chops; it’s just a shame that her Princess Who Kissed the Frog doesn’t hit the stage until Act II.

Mikayla Renfrow shows great versatility as Mulan, Pocahontas and Jasmine. I would have enjoyed seeing more physicality in the three characters to help define them individually.

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Gabriella Francis as the Little Mermaid. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography

Gabriella Francis is hilarious as a trapped Belle and a wrong-side-of-the-tracks Little Mermaid. The Rapunzel number, “Not V’One Red Cent,” didn’t quite gel for me. This might be the one number where the choreography didn’t quite fit. Based on Rapunzel’s costume, maybe something more “Blond Ambition” or “Chicago”-esque. 🙂

During several songs, comic bits interrupt the musical numbers. The issue I saw was that the energy level from the song drops during the comedy, so when the cast returns to the finish out the number it ends a bit flat comparatively.

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Sara Kenny as Snow White, Brittany Hayes as the Princess Who Kiss the Frog, Allison Evans as Cinderella, Gabriella Francis as the Little Mermaid & Mikayla Renfrow as Hua Mulan. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography

For the most part, I really enjoyed the costumes for the production, designed by Cheyenne Hamberg. Favorites include Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and Princess Badroulbador (aka Jasmine). I always loved Cinderella’s replacement footwear. The only costume that seems to miss its target is the one designed for the Princess Who Kissed the Frog.

Unfortunately sound issues continue to trouble productions at The Carnegie. Volume and balance was great, but the problem usually reared its head during the group numbers. As my guest for the performance said, “I can hear them; I just can’t understand them.” I wish I had some insight to help address this issue.

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Allison Evans as Cinderella, Sara Kenny as Snow White & Blair Godshall as Sleeping Beauty. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography

The set design by Tyler Gabbard is resplendent in purple and pink and just screams Disney. The stage curtain, lighted proscenium, footlights, and crown over the stage well defined the space and showed great attention to detail.

Overall, a funny and entertaining night out for adults. Find out what happens when princesses stop being polite – and start getting real…

My rating: 4.5 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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A RAISIN IN THE SUN Review

A RAISIN IN THE SUN presented by Cincinnati Shakespeare Company through April 15. Click here for more information on the production. I attended the opening night performance.

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Burgess Byrd as Lena Younger. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s dedication to bringing theater Classics to the stage reaches new heights with their amazing production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN.

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Geoffrey Warren Barnes as Walter Younger and Torie Wiggins as Ruth Younger. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Guest director Christopher V. Edwards has a clear vision for the production and easily pulls the audience into the completely believable world he has created. I really can’t remember anything that pulled me out of the moment. Although the three acts clock in at two and a half hours, I never found the pace lagging.

As family matriarch Lena Younger, Burgess Byrd shines. Her character is equal parts strong-willed and God-fearing, who doesn’t suffer fools lightly, especially within her own family. Byrd is easily likable and completely believable in a role beyond her years. Her joys and sorrows touch the audience.

Geoffrey Warren Barnes II is appropriately, borderline-unlikable as Lena’s son, Walter Lee. Unhappy with his lot in life, he pins his hopes that a looming family windfall will open the door to his search for success. Walter Lee’s jealousy, rise, fall, and redemption are handled extremely well by the actor.

The old saying that men tend to marry a woman like their mother rings true with Torie Wiggins in the role of Ruth Younger, Walter Lee’s wife. Many of the qualities of Lena are mirrored in her character. I very much enjoyed how Torrie maintained an active presence in every scene.

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Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Joseph Asagai and Renika Williams as Beneatha Younger. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Renika Williams is a force of nature as Benetha Younger (Lena’s daughter). She brings a maturity beyond her years and a great sense of self to the character.

The solid ensemble is rounded out with Shadow Avili as Travis Younger (Ruth and Walter Lee’s son), Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Joseph Asagai (the Nigerian student in love with Benetha), Jeremy Dubin as Karl Lindner (the Clybourne Park Improvement Association representative), Sylvester Little, Jr. as Bobo (Walter Lee’s business partner), George Murchison as Crystian Wiltshire (a wealthy suitor of Benetha’s) and Shanessa Sweeney in a hilarious turn as the Younger’s busy-body neighbor, Mrs. Johnson.

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Burgess Byrd as Lena Younger, Torie Wiggins as Ruth Younger, and Shanessa Sweeney as Mrs. Johnson. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

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Burgess Byrd as Lena Younger and Shadow Avili’ as Travis Younger. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

The set, properties, and costumes convincingly defined the period. Congratulations to scenic designer Shannon Moore, costume designer Amanda McGee, lighting designer Justen N. Locke, sound designer Douglas J. Borntrager, property master Sara Sharos and their supporting teams.

Many times, reviewers speak of how an older script (this one debuted on Broadway in 1959) remains relevant today. Sadly, almost 60 years later, A RAISIN IN THE SUN speaks to how little progress has been made on many of the social issues explored in this drama.

Overall a near-perfect, emotionally-satisfying production of this wonderful, seldom-staged production. I highly recommend that you take advantage of this rare opportunity.

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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DOLLHOUSE Runs April 28-May 14

MPI_Dollhouse logoDOLLHOUSE
Mariemont Players Inc.
April 28-May 14
Walton Creek Theatre

Directed by Dan Maloney

Cast: Katey Blood as Nora, Gary Glass as Evan, Laura Berkemeier as Christine, Kenny Tessel as Dr. Damien Rank, Collin Wenzell as Neil Fitzpatrick, Elizabeth L. Tayor as Julianna, Rowan Kroger as Emma & Austin Vaughan as Bob

Set in suburban Connecticut, Nora and her husband Evan are living in blissful idealism until an “old business” partner reappears in Nora’s life. The tension then mounts as Nora struggles to find what lies ahead in an uncertain future.

  • Fri-Sat, April 28-29 at 8pm
  • Sun, April 30 at 2pm
  • Thu, May 4 at 7:30pm
  • Fri-Sat, May 5-6 at 8pm
  • Sun, May 7 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Thu, May 11 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, May 12 at 8pm
  • Sat, May 13 at 3pm & 8pm
  • Sun, May 14 at 2pm

Official page |

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2017-2018 Season Announced by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

ETC_new_logo_bannerTHE RANDOM WORLD
By Steven Dietz
Regional Premiere
Oct. 10-Nov. 4, 2017

We want to believe that serendipity brings us together, but is that just a myth? Mining the comedy of missed connections, THIS RANDOM WORLD asks the serious question of how often we travel parallel paths through the world without noticing. From an ailing woman who plans one final trip, to her daughter planning one great escape and her son falling prey to a prank gone wrong, this funny, intimate, and heartbreaking play explores the lives that may be happening just out of reach of our own. – Dramatists Play Service

THE DANCING PRINCESSES
By Joseph McDonough & David Kisor
World Premiere
Nov. 29-Dec. 30, 2017

From the creators of last season’s runaway hit Cinderella: After Ever After comes a whimsical adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a kingdom where an enchanting mystery is afoot! Wanting the best for his daughters, an overprotective king locks the castle doors each night. Yet, each morning, the princesses’ shoes have been curiously worn to tatters. Keen to cobble together the mystery of the frayed footwear, the King resorts to drastic measures of royal proportions.

THE HUMANS
By Stephen Karam
Regional Premiere
Jan. 23-Feb. 17, 2018

At Thanksgiving, the Blake family gathers at the run-down Manhattan apartment in Chinatown of Brigid Blake and her boyfriend Richard. Brigid’s parents, Erik Blake and Deirdre Blake, arrive from their home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, to have dinner with Brigid, Richard and Aimee, their other adult daughter. Brigid is a musician and Aimee is a lawyer, living in Philadelphia. Aimee has recently broken up with her girlfriend and has developed an intestinal ailment. Also present is Erik’s mother Fiona “Momo”, who has Alzheimer’s Disease. The parents are unhappy that their daughters have left home and have abandoned their religion. The family members must deal with “aging, illness, and a changing economy” –Wikipedia

RED VELVET 
By Lolita Chakrabarti
Regional Premiere
March 6-31, 2018

Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, 1833. Edmund Kean, the greatest actor of his generation, has collapsed on stage whilst playing Othello. A young black American actor has been asked to take over the role. But as the public riot in the streets over the abolition of slavery, how will the cast, critics and audience react to the revolution taking place in the theatre? –Samuel French

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH 
By John Cameron Mitchell & Stephen Trask
June 5-30, 2018

Hedwig and the Angry Inch tells the tale of how a “slip of a girlyboy” from communist East Berlin, Hanschel, becomes the “internationally ignored song stylist” known as Hedwig after a botched sex change operation. The show daringly breaks the fourth wall, as Hedwig directly tells the audience of her past tribulations and heartbreak in the form of an extended monologue paired with rock songs. With a little help from her band and her back-up singer Yitzhak, Hedwig examines her quest for her other half, for love, and ultimately for her identity. Featuring a groundbreaking rock musical score by Stephen Trask, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is hilarious, harrowing, and essentially uplifting for anyone who’s ever felt different.

Read more: http://stageagent.com/shows/musical/1855/hedwig-and-the-angry-inch#ixzz4cvGry3su -Stage Agent

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ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE Runs April 28-May 20

TDW_Always Patsy Cline logoALWAYS…PATSY CLINE
The Drama Workshop
April 28-May 20
Glenmore Playhouse [Cheviot]

Directed by Robert Weidle
Musical direction by Linda Abbott
Produced by Gretchen Gantner

Cast: Cynthia Mottel as Patsy Cline & Jennifer Keith as Louise

ALWAYS…PATSY CLINE is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer, but a touching, humorous, and insightful tale about an unlikely friendship between the star and her biggest fan. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s relationship with a devotee from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the singer in a Texas honky-tonk in l961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her untimely death. The musical play, complete with down-home country humor, genuine emotion, and even some audience participation, includes dozens of Patsy’s unforgettable hits such as “Crazy,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Sweet Dreams,” and “Walking After Midnight.” Don’t miss this captivating gem of a show, which has received glowing praise from audiences across America.

  • Fri-Sat, April 28-29 at 8pm
  • Sun, April 30 at 2pm
  • Fri-Sat, May 5-6 at 8pm
  • Sun, May 7 at 2pm
  • Fri-Sat, May 12-13 at 8pm
  • Sun, May 14 at 2pm
  • Fri-Sat, May 19-20 at 8pm

Official page |

 

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