SUPERMAN presented by The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati through Oct. 14. Click here for a synopsis and more information on the production. I attended the opening Sunday matinee performance.
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati kicks off its 2018-19 season with a children’s adaption of the musical, IT’S A BIRD…IT’S A PLANE…IT’S SUPERMAN. This was too much for this theater-lovin’ comic book nerd to pass up.
Evan Koons is pitch perfect in the dual roles of Clark Kent and Superman. As Kent, Koons seems to be channeling his inner Christopher Reeve in appearance and mild-mannered-ness. As Superman, Koons’ depiction embodies “the big blue boy scout” of the 1950s comics. Kyle Krichbaum plays scientist Dr. Sedgwick with evil laugh, hand-wringing abandon. As heavy Max Mencken and his poor put-upon secretary Sydney (Spenser Smith & Kristi Rose Mills) this pair gives Lex Luthor and Eve Teschmacher a comic run for their money. The remaining cast and ensemble help bring the colorful world to life and I really enjoyed the mischievous fun of the henchmen.
Speaking of bringing the colorful world to life, it was great seeing NKU grad Samantha Reno’s excellent scenic design work once again on a Cincinnati stage. Her colorful, art deco inspired, forced perspective sets and backdrops were near-perfect homages to the comics. How the phone booth was tricked out was also very clever. The only element out of place for me was the Daily Planet logo on the building’s interior. Traditionally the newspaper’s logo features a globe, which was used in the in-show movie and on all the hand-held newspapers. (Did I mention I was a comic book lovin’ nerd?). Also bright and primary color-ful were the costumes designed by Jeff Shearer. From the purple-stripped henchmen to the ladies’ period ensembles, there was plenty to take in. Traditionally in the comics, green and purple are paired in villians’ costumes, so it would have been fun to see that reflected in Dr. Sedgwick’s look as well.
The choreography worked well for the production. I thought the synchronized typists was a cute idea and nothing beats a good old-fashion tap number. The big fight scene could have used a bit more variety, perhaps showcasing some of Superman’s other powers for laughs (i.e. super-breath, invulnerability, and using his super-strength to tie the bad guys up by bending metal around them).
Overall, a big colorful comic book brought to life on stage, celebrating a simpler time of truth, justice, and the American way that will appeal to fans of all ages.
My rating: 4.5 out of 5.
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