LCT Continuing “Stage Insights”

This season, LCT continues its program "Stage Insights". In place of our usual reviewing process, Stage Insights provides more in-depth, personal reviews from a select number of our contributors dedicated to each of the theatres they are reviewing. In addition, they will be providing exciting Sneak Peaks of upcoming productions. Look for our Sneak Peaks on the front page of our website and our weekly reviews on the Review Page.

Know Theatre Heads into Winter with “Darkest Night”

Check out this Sneak Peek of Know Theatre‘s Darkest Night at the Gnarly Stump filmed by our contributor, Allyson West. Darkest Night is playing now through December 17th and tickets can be obtained at www.knowtheatre.com.

NKU’s Freshmen Make Hay with “Animal Farm”

Check out Spenser Smith’s video Sneak Peek of Animal Farm, NKU‘s annual Freshman production. Performances are Friday and Saturday 8 PM and Sunday 3 PM this weekend only (November 18-20th) at NKU‘s Stauss Theatre. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for students and may only be obtained by calling the box office (859-572-5464, open Friday afternoon) or at the door (be aware Saturday evening may be sold out).

Head to Your Phone Now for Tickets to Falcon’s “Dial M For Murder”

Sneak Peek by Laurel Hume of Dial M For Murder: Falcon Theatre

Falcon Theatre’s new production – the British murder mystery Dial M for Murder – is probably best known to most of us as the 1954 Alfred Hitchcock movie.

Director Ben Raanan appreciates that.

“We are approaching the play with the knowledge that the audience has seen the movie. There is the nostalgia factor,” Raanan said.

For example, the movie, but not the play, opens with a passionate embrace.

“It was important for me to keep that,” Raanan said. “The audience can say ‘I know what this is going to be.’ If you liked the movie, you’ll hear your favorite, iconic lines.”

In Dial M for Murder, tennis pro Tony Wendice has a seemingly foolproof plan for the murder of his wealthy wife, Margot. He wants her money, but there is also a revenge motive: she’s had an affair with American Max Halliday.

The murder plan is, of course, not foolproof. Scotland Yard gets involved, in the character of Inspector Hubbard.

There are a lot of twists and turns in the plot-heavy mystery.

“The fun of the show is that the audience is in on everything, but still has to wonder if he is going to get away with it,” Raanan said.

Dial M for Murder is by English playwright Frederick Knott, who also wrote the equally popular Wait Until Dark.

The play opened in London in June 1952 and on Broadway later the same year. The movie, with screenplay by Knott, was released in May 1954, just three months after the Broadway production closed.

So, 64 years later, does the show still have appeal?

“The approach to the late-‘40s text for a modern audience is keeping it active,” Raanan believes, explaining that three-page monologues were acceptable to audiences accustomed to listening to radio dramas. “That’s when theater was more auditory. Now we need to energize the stories.”

The production, set in its original 1950s era, also will be energized by the intimate space of Falcon’s stage and by stylish costumes that reflect the period and class of the characters. Annie Grove plays Margot, Phineas Clark is her husband and Carter Bratton her lover. Derek Snow appears as Inspector Hubbard and Mike Hall as Lesgate.

Raanan’s full-time job is Director of Education and Outreach for Ensemble Theatre. His work takes him into schools with no theater program, and his specialty is working with students with disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy. Raanan uses the Hunter Heartbeat Method to teach social skills and communication through Shakespeare.

Raanan has directed eight full productions since arriving in Cincinnati in 2013 for a yearlong directing internship at Ensemble. Most of the shows were Ensemble’s apprentice company year-end productions. But last December, he directed Mockingbird as part of Falcon’s Fourth Wall Production series. The play is told from the point of view of an 11-year-old autistic girl.

Ted Weil, artistic director of Falcon Theatre, approached Raanan about directing Dial M for Muder.

“I have spent the past four years directing serious drama with socially conscious issues – that is my area,” Raanan said. “But it is fun to direct something meant to be a fun, escape evening at the theatre.”

Dial M for Murder opens Nov. 4, then runs weekends through Nov. 19 at Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport. Tickets are available at 513-479-6783 or at http://falcontheater.net.

Romance is Never Out of Fashion in Carnegie’s “Love, Loss, and What I Wore”

Sneak Peek by Doug Iden of Love, Loss, and What I Wore: Carnegie Theatre

carnegieloveloss

Need some fashion tips?  Is that black dress properly accessorized?  Does that red hat remind you of some momentous event?  To get some witty and possibly bittersweet answers, see Love, Loss and What I Wore opening at The Carnegie theater on November 5 and running through November 20.

Adapted from an Ilene Beckerman novel by the sister team of Nora and Delia Ephron, the play tells the story of many different women who reminisce about their lives through the mirror of the clothes they wore. Nora Ephron is best known for writing the screenplays for romantic comedies including When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle and continues that legacy with this play.

Five actresses including Marypat Carletti, Mel Hatch, Nabachwa Ssensalo, Tess Talbot and Sarach Zaffiro use voice inflections, postures and costumes to portray 28 different women of all ages and stations in life.  This creates real challenges for the actors and director Abby Rowold so the audience can differentiate between the characters. One highlight is the scene called “I hate my purse”.

Marypat Carletti, the only actress who plays a single character named Gingy, stated that the themes of the monologue include strength of your convictions, courage and overcoming adversity.   For example, one of the characters overcomes breast cancer and then works to help other women conquer their illnesses.  She thought that the play was witty, small, intimate and touching and hopes that everyone will leave the theater laughing.

Marypat felt that women could easily relate to stories of their everyday lives but there is a universality that should appeal to everyone.  The stories relate to the human condition and not just to women.  This is only the second non-musical which Marypat has done and the only play with an all-female cast which she has found very enjoyable.  She would also like to thank Artistic Director Maggie Perrino, Abby and her castmates for this opportunity.

Originally staged as a benefit reading, the show quickly evolved into a very popular off-Broadway production with monthly rotating casts including Rosie O’Donnell, Kristin Chenoweth, Tyne Daly and Rita Wilson among others.  It is now one of the most popular plays among amateur and professional theaters.  However, the show playing at The Carnegie will be fully staged and not just a reading.

So, put on the pumps and walk over to The Carnegie Theater and enjoy their latest production Love, Loss and What I Wore, playing November 5th-20th.  See the website, www.thecarnegie.com, for ticket information.

NKU Celebrates the “Mother of the Blues” in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”

Check out Spenser Smith’s Sneak Peek interview with Brittany Hayes, starring in NKU‘s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, playing at the NKU Strauss Theatre from October 25th through 30th. Tickets available on the NKU box office website, https://artscience.NKU.edu/departments/theatre/boxoffice.html.

 

 

CCM Puts “A Chorus Line” Front and Center

LCT’s Liz Eichler visits the costume shop of U.C’s College Conservatory of Music to give you a sneak peek of  its latest production, A Chorus Line. Check it out! A Chorus Line  will be presented at University of Cincinnati’s Patricia Corbett Theatre, Oct 20th-30th, and tickets can be obtained at their box office in person,  by phone at 513-556-4183 or online at  http://CCM.uc.edu/boxoffice/mainstage/chorus-line.html.

 

 

Make a Run for the Border at Covedale’s “Foreigner”

Take a look of Allyson West’s Sneak Peek of Covedale‘s upcoming production of The Foreigner, a comedic gem. The Foreigner runs Oct. 20th-Nov. 13th, and tickets can be obtained from the Covedale website,  http://www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com/ccpa/Default.aspx.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Trumpets Its Upcoming “Elephant Man”

Sneak Peek of by Charles Roetting of The Elephant Man: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company

Brent Vimtrup and Giles Davies in "The Elephant Man"

Brent Vimtrup and Giles Davies in “The Elephant Man”

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues its 2016-2017 season with Bernard Pomerance’s Tony Award winning The Elephant Man, directed by CSC Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips. This marks CSC’s final season before bidding farewell to their location on Race Street. As a tribute to the early days of CSC, on-stage audience seating is available.

Set in the late 19th century, the play centers on the life of John Merrick, whose severe physical deformities earned him the nickname “The Elephant Man”. The story follows Merrick (played by Giles Davies) from his early life in a freak show to his time spent in and around a London hospital. With the help of Dr. Frederick Treaves (played by Brent Vimtrup), Merrick is shown pieces of the outside world. Through his various interactions, the notions of decency, beauty, and goodness are all challenged.

The Elephant Man originally opened in 1979 and while the principal character suffers from severe deformities, the role is portrayed using physicality, not prosthetics. The role of Merrick was originated by David Schofield and has famously been played by the likes of David Bowie, Mark Hamill, and recently Bradley Cooper. Merrick now finds a home within the exceptionally talented Giles Davies, whose mastery of movement promises a captivating take on The Elephant Man. Opposite Davies, Brent Vimtrup, who portrays the eager and sometimes morally ambiguous Dr. Treaves, will undoubtedly get to show off his uncanny ability of blending heart and soul with a complicated inner struggle.

The all-star cast also includes Miranda McGee, Geoffrey Warren Barnes II, Billy Chace, Kelly Mengelkoch, Barry Mulholland, Aiden Sims, Crystian Wilshire, Vanessa Sawson, Kyle Brumley, and Brandon Joseph Burton.

Director Brian Isaac Phillips’ vivid imagination and creativity promise a directorial vision that is both authentic and innovative. This will not be a production to miss.

Performances of The Elephant Man are scheduled from October 14-November 5, 2016, Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm.  There is no performance on Sunday October 16.

There is an added performance at 2pm on Saturday November 5. Preview performances are on Wednesday October 12 and Thursday October 13 at 7:30pm and tickets are $25.

The theater currently is located at 719 Race Street, downtown Cincinnati, two blocks west of the Aronoff Center. Single ticket prices range from $22-$38 on Thursdays and Sundays and from $26-$42 on Fridays and Saturdays. Previews are $25. If available, $14 student rush tickets may be purchased one hour before a show with a valid student ID.  This production is a part of this season’s subscription package. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply.  Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups as well as AAA members. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at www.cincyshakes.com.