Friday, March 24, 2017

HARMS WAY @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM



Through April 15, 2017
(216) 687-0074

Bob Abelman
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Harm’s Way” looks at the underbelly of humanity, people who engender no positive emotional connection for many, in a frame work that follows Wellman’s abstract writing style.  If that’s your thing, then you’ll appreciate the happenings. 

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

A SKULL IN CONNEMARA @ NONE TOO FRAGILE



Through April 1, 2017
(330) 671-4563

Bob Abelman
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


Partake in the free shot of Jamison, which is the hallmark of the pre-show ritual at none-too-fragile, sit back, and allow yourself to be immersed in an Irish black comedy, complete with skull battering, blunt language and a wee bit of fun.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.


Mark Horning
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

OCCUPATION DAD @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE


March 17-April 2, 2017
Tickets:  216-321-2930
or http://www.ensemble-theatre.com

Roy Berko

“Occupation Dad” has many laughs, is often thought provoking and gets a nice production.  This is not a great script but offers a nice escapist evening of theater. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Monday, March 20, 2017

THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME@PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through April 9, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Touring ‘The Curious Incident’ astounds more than it engages.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


The script and visual technical aspects of “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is outstanding on every level.  Unfortunately, on opening night, the touring production did not take the play to the heights that it deserves.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop

In a national touring production of a non-musical play (quite a rarity), “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” seemed to have grabbed Tuesday’s opening-night audience by the throats and never let go.  And it’s not just because of the behemoth title.  Yes, we discover the answer to the mystery of the dog, but the bigger mystery of autism — and how it is experienced — is what makes this stage thriller so riveting.

Mark Horning

This is a coming of age story about a sheltered young man attempting to strike out on his own. In spite of his handicaps he utilizes the talents that he has been blessed with in order to function in the real world. Combining lights, sound and choreography with exceptional acting it paints a clearer picture of the lives of these least understood members of society while leaving lots of room for post show discussion.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly


Gross: As we enter the Connor Palace theatre and look to the stage what greets our eyes? A dead dog impaled by a pitchfork. And that dog and its discovery triggers all subsequent action in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's blog at artstillmatters.com
To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's posts at Cool Cleveland.

David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis

In the moving mind blower that is "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" we literally climb into the head of Christopher Boone, a Swindon, England, teen. . . . Good art teaches us to see the world how other see it.  Great art helps us feel what it's like to walk in another's skin, connecting us to each other and reminding of our shared humanity, a vast and beautiful ocean.  It's a fitting metaphor, though no doubt one to which Christopher would object.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

OUTSIDE MULLINGAR @ CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE



Through April 9, 2017

(440) 331-0403

https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=cplay

WORTH NOTING: 
In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved list, members of the Circle who attend a community or educational theater production that is perceived as of high quality will have the option of listing that production on the CCC blogsite.  This review falls into that category.


Mark Horning

While clearly a romanticized look at traditional Irish rural life, Outside Mullingar has enough truth to balance it out. With an outstanding cast who blend well you quickly find yourself falling in love with the characters and their stories. With most Clague Playhouse productions selling out you would be wise to get your tickets quickly in order to enjoy this well produced gem of a play.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

MAMMA MIA! @ Connor Palace



March 14-19, 2017
Tickets:  216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org


Roy Berko

“Honey, Honey,” “The Name of the Game,” is “The Winner Takes All” when you go to see what may well be the final tour of “Mamma Mia!.” Yeah, be a “Dancing Queen,” “Take A Chance on Me” and be a “Winner [who] Takes It All.” 

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

FLOYD COLLINS @ Blank Canvas Theatrre



March 10-25, 2017
tickets:  blankcanvastheatre.com or 440-941-0458

Bob Abelman

Blank Canvas’ ‘Floyd Collins’ is stuck between a rock and a hard place.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“Floyd Collins” is an unusual musical that receives rare productions.  It gets a very proficient staging at Blank Canvas and is very well worth seeing due to strong musical performances and a nice interpretation of the melodramatic story.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.



Friday, March 3, 2017

HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through March 26, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


It has taken 20 years for Paula Vogel’s 1997 Pulitzer Prize-winning “How I Learned to Drive” to appear on the Cleveland Play House stage.  But as we learn from the predatory pedophile at the center of her disturbing story,  patience has its rewards.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


“How I Learned to Drive,” in spite of its excellent staging, is not an easy play to watch.  It is haunting, dark, and the topic is not something to which everyone can relate.  But it deals with a realistic subject that is more prevalent in our society than is often recognized and if you’re willing to open yourself up to the emotional upheaval that the story may induce, this is a play well-worth seeing.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


This winner of the 1998 Pulitzer Prize for Drama takes a hard look at a near epidemic world problem using drama rather than visual simulation to tell a realistic story of unchecked lust. The courageous theater goers who witness this 80 minute one act play may have to deal with their emotions afterward but regardless they will end up more informed than before. Disturbing, touching, realistic and heartfelt all at the same time and a challenge for the senses.  

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Howard Gollop

There are a few more bumps from uneven cast members. Perhaps they could have used more help from director Laura Kepley to hone the nuances of their multiple, briefly appearing characters.
Fortunately, occasional soft performances do not undermine the power of Vogel’s drama and this production.

 

Christine Howey

There are many kinds of sexual abuse of minors. But when the abuse is doled out by a person whom you have grown close to and loved, the pain is beyond imagining. And this play comes as close as you can to that conflicted state without lapsing into easy regret and facile recrimination.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly

It’s a great ride through risky territory. Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to Drive looks honestly at family, sexual desire, puberty and pedophilia, and yet — magically — avoids being a mere lecture about the evils thereof. 

To see a full review of this show see Cool Cleveland or read Laura Kennelly's blog at ArtStillMatters

Andrea Simakis

We can rejoice that "How I Learned to Drive" feels as fresha nd fearless as it did two decades ago...and mourn for the same reason.  "Fresh and Fearless"

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

A GREAT WILDERNESS @ THE BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS



Through April 9, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman

Two hours of angst, with intermission. 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


A Great Wilderness” is a thought-provoking script that gets an excellent production.  Don’t be surprised if you find yourself involved in a lengthy discussion regarding the meaning of the play’s conclusion and have lots of self-thoughts about the play and its implications.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


No matter what your views concerning the subject matter, this is a thinking person’s play that will open up dialogue for the trip home and for days after. It is a controversial subject with religious overtones that brings a lot of emotion to the surface. Share it with someone you trust and be prepared to discuss the work (especially the ending) at length.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey


These adult characters are playing tennis without an opponent. They all essentially agree with each other regarding the benefits of curing gay men and, as they keep lobbing or slamming their arguments over the net, there is no one on the other side to return serve.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene


THE FLICK @ DOBAMA THEATRE



Through March 26, 2017
(216) 932-3396

Bob Abelman

Annie Baker's long, leisurely and 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning ode to small, solitary lives is given the glorious treatment it deserves and we have come to expect from the Dobama Theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


The Flick is a masterfully written, performed and produced play.  It is dramatic theater at its finest.  With that said, there are some who go to the theater for action or slapstick comedy or intrigue.  This script isn’t for them.  But, for those who want to be drawn in by sheer spoken words and fine acting…this is an absolute MUST SEE!  

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


This is one of those Slice of Life dramas that make live theater so intriguing. No blood is spilled, no fights break out and the excitement level is kept pretty low key. The most dramatic moments happen between the scenes when famous movie themes are blasted (including the earth shaking THX intro). Yet we find ourselves drawn into the lives of these individuals hoping for the best in their lives.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey


In this quietly wonderful piece by Annie Baker, we encounter three movie theater employees in the Boston area who are measuring out their lives with brooms and dustpans.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Andrea Simakis

You don't have to be a movie buff to love "The Flick" Annie Baker's 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning play, unspooling like the best indie film your seen in years, at Dobama Theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Monday, February 20, 2017

BARBEQUE @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE



Through March 11, 2017
(216) 631-2727

Bob Abelman

Although this CPT production under Beth Woods’ direction has some difficulty reconciling the inconsistent stylings of the two acts, "Barbecue" is nonetheless a savory and satisfying offering.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


Barbecue is the type of script that some will love, others abhor.  It is farce, which means broad, overplayed written and portrayed characters, which again, will turn some on, others off.  I found the evening funny, thought provoking, creative and effective, while recognizing its use of writing gimmicks and overly broad characterizations.  It’s worth the time to see this show!!!
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


Consider Barbeque as a litmus test for the liberally minded. It is at the same time funny, shocking and revealing but with a farcical ring to it. While presented in a serious vein you cannot help but notice the tongue in cheek manner in which the story is carried through. It is CPT at its best.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Christine Howey

Even with an ending that feels too pat and self-congratulatory, this is a show that will keep you laughing, intellectually involved (eventually), shocked and guessing.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Andrea Simakis

"Barbecue" is designed to make you think and laugh out loud while you're doing it. The play never preaches but pulls no punches either, as it challenges our assumptions and unearths our prejudices, often hidden just below our friendly surfaces.  So buy yourself a ticket and get ready to get grilled.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

WAIT UNTIL DARK @ GREAT LAKES THEATER



Through March 12, 2017
(216) 664-6064

Bob Abelman

After its GLT run, the show will be moving to production partner Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s outdoor facility in May. Considering how late the sun sets there at that time of year, actually waiting until dark will be more of a stage direction than a title. And it just may provide the added suspense this play so sorely needs.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


Wait Until Dark continues the GLT tradition of producing a mystery as part of its season offerings.  Those who love murder mysteries may well be enthused, but both script and production do not reach the level of effectiveness of previous shows of this genre.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


Think of this dated play as a glass of fine champagne that has been left out too long. It tastes the same but has lost all of its fizz. In spite of the best efforts of everyone involved they simply cannot return the original effervescent of when it was fresh and new.  

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

In this misbegotten production at Great Lakes Theater, there are virtually no thrills and a remarkable absence of chills. 

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly

Feeling helpless? Imagine the plight of Susy Hendrix, blind and trapped in a room with a murderous drug dealer. That’s just one plot turn in Wait Until Dark, an engaging thriller staged by Great Lakes Theater at PlayhouseSquare’s Hanna Theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's review in Cool Cleveland


David Ritchey

Wait Until Dark has script problems that make it a strange choice for Great Lakes Theater. Even the movie, with the talented Audrey Hepburn, doesn't hold up well 50+ years later.

To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis

The problems plaguing the Great Lakes Theater production of "Wait Until Dark" are baked into teh script that seems, well, blind to its own ridiculousness.

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.


Wednesday, February 8, 2017

BRING IT ON: THE MUSICAL @ THE BECK CENTER



February 10 through 26, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman

Beck’s ‘Bring It On’ offers cheer-face and style over substance.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


Bring It On: The Musical is not a great script, but with a talented cast, high energy dancing, creative choreography, compelling gymnastics, and a dynamic musical score, Beck appears to have another cash cow on its hands as large audiences should fill up the theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

The musical 'Bring It On' smartly manages to poke tongue-and-cheek fun at the cheerleading world while at the same time celebrating the spirit of competition and friendship.

To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.


Mark Horning

For fans of The Beck Center and BWU’s Musical Arts Program this production of Bring It On- The Musical will continue to fill the theater with sell-out crowds due mainly to the performance level of the cast and crew and in spite of the weak script and non-memorable music. Get your ticket early to avoid missing this well performed show.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey


Your interest in cheerleading competitions may be minimal, or nonexistent, but this effusive production will have you standing and applauding at the final curtain.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Laura Kennelly

Wow, was I wrong! (That happens once in awhile, hahaha.) Bring it On the Musical, a rock/hip hop show now playing in regional premiere at the Beck Center, turned out to be quite surprising. I had assumed I’d see a fluffy musical based on a film about high school cheerleading competitions — a great subject to showcase dance, but not one too intellectually or emotionally “deep.”

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's review at Cool Cleveland

Andrea Simakis

The production only really comes alive when we leave the sanitized environs of Campbell's old school and hear Miranda's thrilling voice in the thumping rhythms and clever, loquacious lyrics echoing through the halls of Jackson High.  Choreographer Martin Cespedes gives us the pelvic-centered, bum-shuddering moves you'd expect, but also taps a sinuous street dancer's grace, particularly in "Do Your Own Thing."


To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

REPAIRING A NATION @ KARAMU THEATRE



February 9 through 26, 2017
(216) 795-7070  


Mark Horning
Strong personalities clash as this no-holds-barred battle of the wits and lips unfolds before the audience. No need to mike the actors as this cast carries their voices clear to the back of the theater. While sporting an intricate plot it is an entertaining work that combines American history with a dysfunctional family.    
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

Under the direction of Margaret Ford-Taylor, the cast works hard for almost three hours to loom Salter’s threads of memory into a powerful whole. And while it doesn’t entirely succeed, the play is often compelling and instructive.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

THE WIZ @ NEAR WEST THEATRE (YOUTH CAST 9-15)



February 10 through 19, 2017
(216) 961-6391
Or http://www.nearwesttheatre.org/pages/tickets

WORTH NOTING: 
In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved list, members of the Circle who attend a community or educational theater production that is perceived as of high quality will have the option of listing that production on the CCC blogsite.  This review falls into that category.

Mark Horning

As in all Near West Theater productions, The Wiz is a family friendly theater outing that the entire clan will enjoy. You will marvel at the youth of the actors on stage and the powerful beyond-their-years performance that they give. This is a great “first time” show to see as well as an inspiration to younger family members as to what can be achieved with hard work and plenty of rehearsal.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

I CALL MY BROTHERS @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE



February 9 through March 4, 2017
(216) 631-2727

Bob Abelman

CPT’s ‘I Call My Brothers’ offers a poignant portrait of next to normal.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.

Roy Berko


The intention of I Call My Brothers is well justified.  Unfortunately, the script and the production do not totally accomplish the author’s goal.
  
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


While the central theme of the work carries great potential, none of the sequences play out to a logical conclusion. It is just a bunch of brand new shiny metal strung up for all see but there is a disconnect with the audience as fantasy mixes with reality and a healthy dose of incomprehensible shouted Hip-Hop slam poetry thrown in for good measure. Not everyone’s cup of tea...this one.   
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

This script, as translated by Rachel Willson-Broyles, shifts back and forth from Amor's frightened journey through the city to his internal thoughts and memories and eventually some dream sequences. It is loaded with powerful stuff, but there is so much disconnection inherent in the staging that the play never lands the knockout blow it seems to desire.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

THE KING AND I @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through February 26, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

The remarkable success of the touring ‘The King and I’ is no puzzlement.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here.


Kerry Clawson

The national tour of Lincoln Center Theater’s "The King and I" is a breathtakingly gorgeous production that appeals to our most romantic natures.  The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, which sailed into Playhouse Square this week, presents an iconic culture clash between two of the most famously strong-willed characters in musical theater history: Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam.

To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review here.

Howard Gollop

This “King and I” is hardly a style-over-substance endeavor. Director Bartlett Sher gracefully goes for introspection, not outward theatrics. He culls profundity and even timeliness from what has been dismissed by other directors as a creaky standard-issue musical book.

Mark Horning

This is THE ONE! The single show that you need to put on your must see winter list. With its sparkling grandeur, fabulous costuming, exquisite lighting, delightful dance sequences and crystal clear singing it is the must see show of this season’s Key Bank Broadway Series. 

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Christine Howey

In short, The King and I has all the Broadway zazz you’re looking for, while giving us another perspective on what’s happening in our world today. Hard to ask for anything more.

To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene


Andrea Simakis

[Director] Bartlett Sher's "The King and I" not only honors the Rodgers and Hammerstain golden age classic--with a muscular pit orchestra giving a rousing performance of its lush, memorable score--but offers us a fresh, 21-st century face."

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.