Friday, June 24, 2016

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES @ OBERLIN SUMMER THEATRE FESTIVAL



June 24 through July 31, 2016
(440) 775-8169 
Or http://www.oberlinsummertheaterfestival.com/get-tickets/

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

Roy Berko
No review yet.
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
No review yet.

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

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.

Art Thomas
No review yet.
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

PHANTOM OF THE OPERA @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


June 15 through July 10. 2016
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

In 1992, they said that the Tony Award-winning “The Phantom of the Opera” could not be financially and theatrically successful outside of New York City and London’s West End. 

A production this large and cumbersome would not draw audiences and earn a profit on tour if it skimped on its expensive production values and it could not earn a profit if it did not skimp on its expensive production values.

Wrong.

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

Roy Berko

Phantom of the Opera newbies will undoubtedly be wowed by the reconfigured production.  Those who have seen the Broadway, or one of the early touring company editions, may be less impressed. 

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

Mark Horning

This is the ONE…the bucket list…the “we have been waiting years to take the kids to see”…the I cannot believe it is finally back here in Cleveland…absolutely must see at all costs performance that you and your family will talk about for years and years.  It is beyond theater…it is a total experience unlike anything you have ever witnessed (unless of course you already saw it in London, Toronto, Cleveland or New York City).  Some tickets still exist, but you will need to hurry.

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


KING RICHARD THE SECOND @ CLEVELAND SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL



June 17 through July 3, 2016
(216) 338-9015


Roy Berko
No review yet.
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
No review yet.

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

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.

Art Thomas
No review yet.
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

SISTER ACT @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE


June 16 through July 2, 2016
(330) 929-4416 or (330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman

Porthouse performs minor miracle with "Sister Act." 

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

Roy Berko


Sister Act is a perfect slice of summer entertainment placed in a lovely get-away setting!  Director Eric van Baars has put together a smooth running production which gets all the necessary laughs, develops the story line as well as one can with something as fluffy as he has been given, and paces the show so that it moves smoothly along.  See it!

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


Thursday, June 9, 2016

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY



June 10 through 25, 2016
(216) 771-5862
Or http://mercurytheatrecompany.org/

Bob Abelman

Mercury’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ is entertaining but not engaging.

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


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

TOP GIRLS @ MAMAI THEATRE COMPANY



June 2 through 19, 2016
or (216) 382-5146​

Bob Abelman

Feminism is a dish served hot in MamaĆ­’s ‘Top Girls.’

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

Mark Horning

While the basic themes of feminist sacrifice and suffering are made clear (even today women struggle to break barriers), the convoluted story line makes it hard to comprehend exactly what the ultimate point of the production really is.  While expertly acted one leaves the room in a state of confusion that even a study of the various synopsis does not clarify.  See this work for the acting not the story. 

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


Sunday, June 5, 2016

LINES IN THE DUST @ Cleveland Public Theatre



June 2-18, 2016
216-631-2727 or go to www.cptonline.org

Bob Abelman

Cleveland Public Theatre carves out a powerful ‘Line in the Dust.’ 

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

Mark Horning

Every so often, theater does what it was intended to do…enlighten and entertain.  This show could be the spark that ignites an educational revolution in our country and even the world.  See this show, then ask yourself what is broken in our educational system and what you can do about it.

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

Roy Berko


If you only see one play this year, it should be Lines in the Dust.  Because of its well-crafted writing that clearly develops Nikkole Salter’s fervent thoughts and feelings about Apartheid Schools and the people who make them happen, the play is often excruciating to watch.  The truth is painful!  The frustration of a problem with no seeming solution, and the possibility of a country operating on a Nationalistic philosophy, become truly scary!   As said, if you only see one play this year, it should be Lines in the Dust.

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

Saturday, June 4, 2016

TO THE ORCHARD @ PLAYWRIGHTS LOCAL 4181

Through June 12, 2016
(216) 302-8850
Or http://playwrightslocal.org/

Bob Abelman

Engaging ‘To the Orchard’ pits tradition against desire in its world-premiere production.

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

Roy Berko

Playwrights Local 4181 should be lauded for filling a void in the Cleveland theatre world.  Their goal of producing locally written and developed scripts is admirable.  Their initial production, To the Orchard, was a valiant try.  Though the final outcome left much to be desired, every new undertaking has to have a place from which to grow.  The organization has laid its foundation and it should be encouraged to showcase what hopefully will be a successful and fruitful future.

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


THE TOXIC AVENGERS @ Alma Theatre, Cain Park



June 2-26, 2016
216-371-3000 or www.cainpark.com

Bob Abelman

“The Toxic Avenger” -- the  love-child of “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” --  goes from intoxicating to punch-drunk. 

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

Roy Berko


Under Nathan Motta’s creative direction, and a cast of talented and uninhibited performers, THE TOXIC AVENGER is a total hoot!  If you are in the mood for an evening of extended farce and ridiculousness, this is a must see. 

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


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

HEATHERS THE MUSICAL@ Beck Center for the Arts


May 27-July 2, 2106
216-521-2540 or http://www.beckcenter.org

Bob Abelman

With its brilliant, regional premiere production of “Heathers: The Musical,” the Studio Theater in the rear of the Beck Center for the Arts has most assuredly established itself as the go-to performance space for dark, delightfully deranged musicals.  Audiences should forever expect irony, an adrenaline rush and a splash zone when entering the intimate performance space.  And be thoroughly entertained by the time they leave.  

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

Roy Berko


Heathers the musical continues the Beck trend of staging dynamic, small, cult appealing shows (e.g., Evil Dead, Reefer Madness, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson) in its Studio Theatre.  With dynamic choreography, a well-played rock-infused-with-ballads score, and enough blood, gore and simulated sex to grab and hold an audience, Heathers should be awarded with a sold out run! 


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

Mark Horning


For those who love a little titillation in their theater excursions, The Beck Center’s “Heathers: The Musical” nicely balances the sex, mayhem and murder with comedy and sprightly musical numbers for a surprisingly enjoyable evening.

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

Art Thomas

The Beck Center continues to reflect the current trends in musical theater with this production of "Heathers". Outrageous is a word that comes to mind to describe the obsessions of teenagers that can drive them to murder. This critic chuckled often enough to feel guilty at this brash show. Director, choreographer and designer have brought their "A" game to the production.

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Monday, May 23, 2016

WILD PARTY @ Blank Canvas



May 20-June 4, 2016
440-941-0458 or www.blankcanvastheatre.com

Bob Abelman

Voices soar but staging stalls in Blank Canvas’ "The Wild Party"

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

Roy Berko


If watching decadence is your thing, you’ll probably be turned on by THE WILD PARTY.  If you prefer being in the presence of characters who have redeeming values so you can feel empathy, this is not going to be your show.  The cast, though some give surface level performances, generally display good singing voices and put out full effort.

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


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

STEEL MAGNOLIAS @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



May 21 through August 21, 2016
216-241-6000

Bob Abelman

Southern comfort comedy ‘Steel Magnolias’ historic and hysterical

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

Roy Berko

There was some complaining when it was announced that one of the offerings of the Key Bank Broadway series was going to be a local staging of a script that has been done by many community theatres. After seeing the CPH/PHSq production there should be little upset.  Steel Magnolias is a must see production that tells a life story with comedy and pathos!  Bravo!
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning
As satisfying as a Southern home cook meal this sharply written gem of a play with its rapier wit has been pared down to the basic emotions of joy, love, friendship, fear and anguish as performed by a wonderful cast of relatable characters.  Bring the family for a dose of Southern fried humor.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Kerry Clawson

We find ourselves laughing through the tears as we spend a couple of hours with six southern spitfires in the beloved comedy-drama "Steel Magnolias" at Cleveland Play House.
This warm, poignant all-female play, directed by Cleveland Play House’s Laura Kepley, is a first-time co-production between CPH and Playhouse Square. CPH’s joint production with Playhouse Square, which is in an extended run into August, is beautifully directed and performed.

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

Andrea Simakis

Southern charm, delivered by women on stage and off. 

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


THREE TALL WOMEN @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM


May 20 through June 11, 2016
(216) 687-0074

Roy Berko


For those who like the writing of Edward Albee, Theatre of the Absurd, and existentialism, this is an opportunity to experience one of his three Pulitzer Prize winning scripts.   They should be aware that the convergence continuum production of THREE TALL WOMEN is an acceptable, but not an exceptional staging of the work.

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


GOD'S TROMBONES @ KARAMU THEATER



May 20 through June 19, 2016
(216) 795-7070  

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

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

TINTYPES @ ACTORS' SUMMIT



May 19 through June 19, 2016
(330) 374-7568

Bob Abelman

Actors’ Summit’s musical revue is a plague upon our houses. 

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

Kerry Clawson

Actors’ Summit’s Tintypes contains some faltering singing, which is unfortunate for a musical revue that’s about 99 percent song. Bottom line is that the opening night for Tintypes sounded like it needed more rehearsal time. Singing issues did not rest with Mark Seven alone: Nearly all of the vocalists in this quintet had their pitchy moments, except for Holly Reimer.

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


Thursday, May 12, 2016

THE FANTASTICKS @ GREAT LAKES THEATER



May 13 through 29, 2016
216-664-6064


Bob Abelman

The Fantasticks’ delicate theatricality captured in GLT production.

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

Roy Berko


THE FANTASTICKS is a charming show with a fine score which has a meaningful message.  It is a script which looks easy to direct and stage, but its depth is deceiving.  The Great Lakes Theater’s production should be well received by audiences.

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

Mark Horning

While one of the most oft staged and seen shows, this Great Lakes Theater production is a sheer delight of great singing, dancing, comedy, romance and heart.  This is the feel good show you’ll want to take everyone to see…maybe twice.  A truly great production. 
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey


All in all, The Fantasticks is a wonderful play, and any chance to see it is a treat. Even with some glitches.

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

Andrea Simakis

And it is fantastic.

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


Sunday, May 8, 2016

WRESTLING JERUSALEM @ Cleveland Public Theatre

May 6-22, 2016
216-631-2727 or go on line to www.cptonline.org.

Roy Berko


Raymond Bobgan, the Executive Artistic Director of CPT states in his program notes, “Here at CPT, we truly believe art has a role to play in raising consciousness and nurturing compassion, in reckoning with some of the most challenging, personal and complex issues of our time.”  His selection of WRESTLING JERUSALEM, a thought-provoking, well written, compelling and well-performed piece of theater fulfills his beliefs.  This is a must see experience for people, no matter their cultural backgrounds. 

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

Mark Horning


“Wrestling Jerusalem” gives a non-judgmental, balanced yet passionate look at a seemingly impossible situation through the use of frank dialog between a seeker and those living within the conflict.  All who come to see this amazing show will be moved no matter what their attitudes are be they pro, con or indifferent.  Sure to be a sell-out for each performance.   

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

Christine Howey

Most of the segments, however, deal with issues we’ve all heard about, and little new or surprising is uncovered. But if you’ve somehow missed all this turmoil, Wrestling Jerusalem is a dandy way to bring yourself up to date. 

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


Friday, May 6, 2016

SHOW BOAT @ NEAR WEST THEATRE


May 6 through 22, 2016
(216) 961-6391
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
The Near West Theatre’s non-equity production of “Show Boat” is a true community theater achievement that has high production values and is a great value for family entertainment.  Come out and support your neighbors and friends in this surprisingly good performance.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Monday, May 2, 2016

MATILDA @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



May 3 through 11, 10`6
216-241-6000

Bob Abelman

Touring ‘Matilda’ stays true to Dahl’s dark, delightful children’s book. 

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

Roy Berko

The touring production of MATILDA,THE MUSICAL follows the production and staging of the London and Broadway productions.  If only the sound system was better, the kids weren’t screeching in high pitched overly accented British pronunciation, and the orchestra didn’t drown out the speeches of the actors, maybe the results would have been better.  As is, MATILDA, THE MUSICAL, now on tour and housed at the State Theatre, is less than a wonderful theatrical experience.  
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Kerry Clawson
MATILDA THE MUSICAL is a witty, imaginative, wondrous show for all ages, now playing on national tour at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre.
Based on the beloved children’s novel by Roald Dahl, it is a brilliantly conceived, boldly painted fairy tale world whose infectious energy and joy have made it a worldwide phenomenon.
To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review he


Howard Gollop

 "Matilda: The Musical" ... is no sappy Disney show of the Great White Way but an import from the much edgier London West End.   And forget anything like a Leslie ("Willie Wonka") Bricusse score. Songs by Tim Minchin are rooted in a British pop-rock vernacular with a few classical gothic flourishes. His lyrics are sly and witty, like those of cabaret musical satirist -- most likely because he is one.  The biggest surprise is the comedic, singing, dancing and acrobatic talents of the show's true heavy  (in more ways than one) -- David Abeles. He plays the monstrous, allegedly female school principal and former hammer-throwing champion Miss Trunchbull, sporting an outfit  that can only be described as Victorian SS officer schoolmarm.

Mark Horning

For fans of the book, this is a no brainer.  The entire family will love the show.  For those not familiar with the story it is still a well spent evening at the theater.  Tickets may become dear for this particular run.  
    
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.


Christine Howey
When you were growing up, if you ever felt like an alien creature plopped into a foreign land, Matilda the Musical will take you back to that time with plenty of wit and some splashy stage effects. And that's a darn good way to revisit childhood.


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


Saturday, April 30, 2016

JERUSALEM @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE



Through May 21, 2016
216-321-2930

Bob Abelman

Ensemble Theatre’s dark comedy strikes the perfect balance.

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

Roy Berko


JERUSALEM is an award winning play that gets an Ensemble production which tries hard but simply doesn’t reach the performance level the script deserves. Unfortunately, the feeling of “who cares about these people and what happens to them,” permeates.  That’s not what the author intended.

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

Mark Horning

“Jerusalem” is another in a line of socially reflective productions highlighting the downfall of civilization through an overwhelming hedonistic society that is standing toe to toe with the old guard who is there to resist the downward spiral of decadent change.  Depending on your point of view you will either love it or hate it.  No matter what, see it for the excellent performances and fascinating patter and word play. 

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

Christine Howey


While it doesn’t entirely succeed, due to a multiplicity of factors, there are some sparkling moments that are swept along on the sheer bravado of attempting the piece in the first place.

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

Andrea Simakis


With 14 characters (plus a fish and a turtle) and running almost three hours, "Jerusalem" delights in its heft and size.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2016

THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE@NONE TOO FRAGILE



April 22 through May 7, 2016
330-671-4563

Roy Berko


THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE is a first-class Irish play, by a very talented modern “Mick” writer.  The none too fragile production is finely-directed and performed.  This is one of the top area productions of the season and is a definite must see!

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

Kerry Clawson

Irish playwright Martin McDonagh is a master at bringing to life petty power struggles between family members, often over the most mundane issues.  None Too Fragile has embraced his extreme black humor repeatedly in the last several years, currently with the dark comedy THE BEAUTY QUEEN OF LEENANE. The play features fiery Equity actress Derdriu Ring in her None Too Fragile debut as the lonely, plain Maureen Folan, who is in her 40s.

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

Christine Howey

It’s a nearly perfect little, bruised world these four talented actors create, brimming with disappointment, small-minded carping, startling cruelty and shattered dreams. And it’s staged in None Too Fragile’s intimate space, where you can feel every jab and jolt. 

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


Friday, April 22, 2016

MARIE ANTOINETTE @ DOBAMA THEATER



April 22 through May 22, 2016
216-932-3396

Bob Abelman

Dobama’s ‘Marie Antoinette’ promises cake, provides breadcrumbs.

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

Roy Berko


MARIE ANTOINETTE tells the tale of a king and queen who are totally unsuited for their roles and the part they seemingly played in inciting the French Revolution.  The author’s adaptation of the dialogue to include modern language and idioms opens the door to drawing a parallel between that period and today, for those interested in probing beyond the historical story.  The production is well done and makes for good theater.

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

Mark Horning


At the beginning of the show everything is light, funny and rock and roll.  As the play goes on it turns very dark very fast.  While well acted and truthfully reflecting the life and times of two historical figures from an unfortunate time in human history this would not be a show for the delicately minded and especially not for children.  

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

Christine Howey


From the staging angle alone, Dobama’s Marie Antoinette is a blockbuster. But the playwright’s pro forma discussion of weighty issues at the end feels a little too pat and entirely out-of-synch with the rest of the script. 

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

Andrea Simakis


Dobama Theatre's vapid 'Marie Antoinette' is missing style, substance, along with those royal heads.

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