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Update on Unified Auditions 2015

The League of Cincinnati Theatres will not be hosting a Unified Audition in 2015. Each of our professional member theatres holds auditions at various points during the year. We strongly encourage interested actors to contact individual companies for which they may be interested in auditioning; links are provided under the “Membership Information” tab above. For actors new to town, or curious about the theatres that might be a good fit for them, you’re invited to contact LCT President Joshua Steele at joshuaTsteele@gmail.com.

New Changes to the LCT Paneling/Review Process!

For the winter/spring season this year, LCT is excited to announce a new format for reviews. Instead of a formal rating system, we will be posting a full review from one of our panelists on our review page here. We are hoping this approach will give theatre goers more robust insight into the productions and help them choose the shows they really want to watch. We anticipate even more exciting changes in our review process and awards for the next season, so stay posted!

Know Theatre’s “A Handmaid’s Tale” is Relevant and Thought-Provoking

Submitted by LCT Panelist

Corinne Mohlenhoff in "A Handmaid's Tale"

Corinne Mohlenhoff in “A Handmaid’s Tale”

If I’m being honest, I was skeptical walking into the Know Theatre‘s production of The Handmaid’s Tale. Margaret Atwood has long been my favorite author, and I spent a full semester of English studying this book in particular. While I was excited to see it come to life, I was scared it would have the same book-to-movie effect where details and even plot lines were cut for the sake of time or budget. Brian Isaac Phillips, however, did not disappoint. Directing his wife, Corinne Mohlenhoff, as the handmaid Offred, I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting Atwood’s work through the script adaptation by Joe Stollenwerk. Set in the not-so-distant dystopian conservative future, women are categorized based on their fertility, serving as “handmaids” for wealthy couples that can’t conceive. Offred narrates between her position in the Commander (Fred’s) house and her memories from “the time before,” which sounds like it could be as close as 30 years away.

The set, designed by Andrew J Hungerford, grew on me more and more as the two acts unfolded. The disintegrating walls, burnt wood floor and high windows combined a dystopian underground bunker with a prison cell, only letting in sunlight where you couldn’t reach it. As the show doesn’t aim to be highly “spectacle,” with one set, one costume and one actor, I enjoyed being able to interpret the set as a metaphor as well.

Also deserving mention were the light and sound design, by Hungerford and Doug Borntrager, respectively. The combination of natural stage lighting and overhead fluorescents transported us to either an old school gym, a quiet bedroom or (twice) the doorway to the unknown. Borntrager’s sound design also seemed effortlessly realistic, as I turned around more than once to see which audience member was talking while Offred described a conversation. Even the simplest suggestions of sound in the script were brought to life and pulled the audience closer into the story.

The nature of the show is, as Offred repeats, “a reconstruction.” It is not live action or a distant memory, but a retelling, full of minor modifications and inner dialogue. That being said, I enjoyed Mohlenhoff’s reconstruction of Offred, but felt there could have been more distinction between her actions and her role as a narrator– that is, defining her self between present, past and “the time before.”

While I heard remarks about the length and wordiness of the narration, what else would you expect from a one-woman novel? Again, I am extremely partial to the story, and found it even more relevant today than I did at first reading, but I would recommend this show to most modern & mature audiences, as it can make the dystopian future seem startlingly close.

Covedale’s Irreverent “Greater Tuna” Provides Oceans of Laughs

Submitted by LCT Panelist

CovedaleGreaterTunaImageTwo hardworking actors playing 21 zany characters are the comedic centerpiece of Greater Tuna. Justin Smith and Matt Wilson earn the audience’s laughter and ovations in the production now playing at the Covedale Center for the Performing Arts.

The setting is Tuna, the third-smallest town in Texas, and a place where “the Lions Club is too liberal and Patsy Cline never dies.” The glue of the town is the local radio station, where no piece of news or gossip is too unimportant to be broadcast, and where everyone with an opinion is invited to call in.

And in this satire, everyone has a politically incorrect opinion. The Smut Snatchers group wants to remove books from the high school library, specifically “Roots,” because “it doesn’t properly present the other side of slavery,” and “Romeo and Juliet,” because “it just shows teenagers having sex.”

A Ku Klux Klan member makes a conspiracy case against Agent Orange when he notes that he hired several Vietnam vets; only four of them died and none turned orange. The owner of a used weapons shop advertises that all her products are “guaranteed to kill.”

And there is the elderly woman who routinely poisons dogs who come into her yard. This time, she accidentally poisons her husband’s valuable bird dog, then runs over it with the car to hide her crime.

This is Greater Tuna – consistently in bad taste, always offensive. But it can be funny. Director Bob Brunner makes that case in his program notes: “Greater Tuna is irreverent and wrong on so many levels. Prepare to laugh.”

Easier to admire is Covedale’s production of Greater Tuna. Actors Smith and Wilson move seamlessly among their characters – men, women, teenagers to senior citizens, each with a costume and wig change. Kudos to costume designer Caren Young and her team of quick-change artists: Betsy Brunner Kline, Natasha Boeckmann and Melanie Hall.

Smith and Wilson make each character (caricature, actually) distinct by voice and movement. A highlight is when they draw the audience into the scene, as a stand-in for a church congregation.

Also to be admired is the set, designed by Brett Bowling. The huge barn façade is decorated with old metal signs for Esso and beer, including one that reads “Hippies use back door,” and flanked by an old-time TV antenna and an oil derrick. Cleverly, the hayloft door opens and becomes the radio station studio.

Greater Tuna runs through Feb. 15. Call 513-241-6550 for ticket information.

LCT: “Plaid Tidings” is a 4-Star Show

CovedalePlaidTidingsImageThe League of Cincinnati Theatre (LCT) announces the Covedale Theatre’s Plaid Tidings” is a 4-Star Show. Special recognition goes to Steve Goers for Musical Direction and Direction of a Musical, as well as the whole ensemble.

After an unfortunate accident, a singing group returns to earth. Their angelic mission: bring a little heavenly ‘harmony’ to an apathetic world at Christmas. The cast includes Tyler Huckstep (Jinx), Charlie Meredith (Sparky), John Battagliese (Francis), and Thomas Knapp (Smudge), all juniors and seniors at CCM.

A panelist notes that “from the very beginning, the quartet engaged the audience and maintained this rapport and participation throughout the show.” Another states “it was the beautiful harmony and comic timing that really stands out.” A final panelist encourages the audience with “Plaid Tidings is a Christmas revue like the old time TV shows and one you’ll remember for seasons to come…and you don’t need to have a cardigan sweater to enjoy the fun!”

Contact www.cincinnatilandmarkproductions.com for tickets to “Plaid Tidings.”

League of Cincinnati Theatre panelists evaluate productions on a 5 star scale and recommend shows at either a 4 star or 5 star level. Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.

The Ensemble Theatre’s “Sleeping Beauty” Earns 4 Star LCT Rating

ETCBeautyImagePanelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized Ensemble Theatre’s production of Sleeping Beauty, ETC’s contemporary musical twist on a beloved fairy tale, with a 4 Star Rating.

Panelists described Sleeping Beauty as “a lively, whimsical, energetic show with a lot of humor which can be appreciated by both children and adults…Ensemble’s musicals are a holiday tradition”. They praised the entire cast and director D. Lynn Meyers for “maintaining sanity throughout the chaos”> They also singled out Reba Senske’s “flamboyant” costumes which “brought the magic straight off of the pages of a fairy tale book.”

Sleeping Beauty continues through January 4th. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.ensemblecincinnati.org.

League of Cincinnati Theatre panelists evaluate productions on a 5 star scale and recommend shows at either a 4 star or 5 star level. Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.

Know Theatre’s “Bureau of Missing Persons” Earns 4 Star LCT Rating

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) have recognized Know Theatre’s Bureau of Missing Persons with a 4 Star rating.

In The Bureau of Missing Persons, a blue scarf.
a piece of chalk. and a pocketful of leaves are clues that lead Angela on a quest from her New York apartment to a cave in Moscow in search of someone missing. Inspired by the magical realism of Jorge Luis Borges, Bureau of Missing Persons explores what it takes to come back to life when you’ve been smothered by grief.

Panelists found the play “an unusual, fanciful story…captivating and filled with charm, quirks and surprises…a must-see production.”

Bureau of Missing Persons continues December 20th. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.knowtheatre.com.

League of Cincinnati Theatre panelists evaluate productions on a 5 star scale and recommend shows at either a 4 star or 5 star level. Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT gala in the spring.

NKU’s “Failure: A Love Story” Earns 4-stars from LCT

Panelists for the League of Cincinnati Theatres (LCT) announce that “Failure: A Love Story” has earned 4-Stars and recognize the director, Corrie Danieley.   Produced by Northern Kentucky University Department of Theatre and Dance, panelists state it is “Hands down one of the best main stage shows I have ever seen at NKU. It has everything.”  Another added “an enchanting, energetic, somewhat whimsical story.”

“Themes of death/ love/ passage of time are all universal truths and presented with sincerity for the form and style that Danieley created so beautifully, ” states another panelist.

Set in 1928 and written by Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins, “Failure: A Love Story” is a magical, musical fable that traces the triumphs and defeats of the Fail sisters’ lives, lived out in the rickety two-story building by the Chicago River that was the family home and clock shop.

“Failure: A Love Story” continues through December 7.  Tickets can be purchased at http://artscience.NKU.edu/departments/theatre/season/mainstage2.html

Nominations for LCT awards will be determined and announced at the end of the season and winners awarded at the annual LCT party in the summer.