Thursday, July 19, 2018

THE NATIONAL TOUR OF HAMILTON @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through August 26, 2018
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Yes it is, and yes it does!

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko


“Hamilton” is a special theatrical event and experience.  The script is riveting, the music involving, the choreography creative, the production superb.  The touring production is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to participate in one of those special once-in-a-lifetime experiences.  This is one show that definitely deserves its standing ovation.  Bravo!

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

Kerry Clawson

Seeing "Hamilton" play out live onstage is an exhilarating experience that far exceeds all expectations I had imagined after listening to the Broadway cast recording and reading about the show for years.

That’s because Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about founding father Alexander Hamilton is a one-of-a-kind work of art. The second national tour, now at Playhouse Square’s State Theatre, is a high-octane production with the most propulsive momentum I’ve ever seen in a musical.
.

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

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

Mark Horning

After all the hype does the National Touring Company Production of Hamilton live up to its promises? Well, yes and no. The show is your typical over the top Broadway extravaganza with bigger than life figures, exquisite dance numbers, a great hulking set and colorful period wigs and costumes. The weak link is the sound system that denies audience members a clear exposure to the rapid fire lyrics and subtle nuances of the various songs. It is a great show that could be better.


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

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.

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, July 4, 2018

ROMEO AND JULIET @ OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL



Through July 15, 2018
(330) 673-8761


Kerry Clawson

OSF’s comedic approach for the first half of the production is achieved chiefly through actor Ryan Zarecki as Mercutio, who is relentlessly teasing and bawdy with his wildly funny, over-the-top mockery of his friend Romeo. 

Zarecki creates the most energetic jokester I’ve ever seen in a Mercutio, aided by his abundant physical comedy. He amps up the comedy in his highly memorable characterization by picking Romeo up and spinning around with his friend on his shoulders, and even plants a mocking kiss on the angry Tybalt while dueling him.

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

NEXT TO NORMAL @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE



Through July 21, 2018
(330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman


Porthouse’s marvelous ‘Next to Normal’ is everything but entertaining.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

“Next to Normal” is one of the great scripts in the lexicon of American Musical theater.  It gets a superb staging at Porthouse.  The direction, performances and technical aspects are all right on target.  This is a must see production that should not be missed! 

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

Mark Horning


Looking at the scant description of the show might make some think twice about attending. This would be a mistake. The music (with a superb six piece orchestra) and the excellent cast make this must see theater. Kudos goes out to Porthouse for the courage to stage this extraordinary performance that addresses the subject of modern mental health and its various treatments. 

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


ROMEO AND JULIET @ OBERLIN SUMMER THEATRE FESTIVL



Through August 4, 2018
(440) 775-8169 
Or http://www.oberlinsummertheaterfestival.com/get-tickets/

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 Review here.

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

AND ALL THE DEAD LIE DOWN @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM



Through July 28, 2018
(216) 687-0074

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

Roy Berko


If you’d like to see a play in the process of development, then “And All the Dead Lie Down,” could be your thing.  It is not a well-crafted script, but the directing and acting are excellent.


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

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

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

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.

GYPSY @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS


Through August 12, 2018
(216) 521-2540


Bob Abelman


Beck’s imbalanced ‘Gypsy’ entertains but does not enthrall.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here: www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

Gypsy” is one of the classic scripts in the lexicon of American Musical Theater.  It gets an acceptable, but definitely not a great staging at Beck.  The show’s highlight was the choreography.  The production will entertain some people, but could have been so much more.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning

While not up to their usual high standards, the Beck Center’s production of Gypsy is still worth the price of the ticket due to the choreography and orchestration. Many will love the show while others will wish for what might have been.

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

Laura Kennelly

Gypsy’s Mama Rose stamps motherhood as a fearsome creation. The Beck Center production, directed by Scott Spence, simultaneously exposes showbiz’s dark side and delights in its glories — namely story, music and dance. It’s an engaging and touching musical.

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

Andrea Simakis

Beck's 'Gypsy' doesn't completely bare its soul.

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

Sunday, June 24, 2018

ON THE GRILL @ Dobama


June 21-July 8, 2018
216-932-3396 or http://dobama.org
Roy Berko


“On the Grill” takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster. It is a superb script which gets a superb performance.  This eye-opening delving into Israel, its joys, fears and projections into the future of the Jewish homeland, is an evening of theatre not to be missed.  It can only be hoped that the show will be presented in other venues, including a New York production.  This is theater at its finest! 

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

Andrea Simakis

Everything about her [Dorothy Silver] exquisitely realized performance provides us with a connection to a people and a place the play struggles to create for much of its 100-minute run.  Silver takes us inside that world in moments. What a gift she is to this production--and to Cleveland theater.

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

Friday, June 22, 2018

LITTLE @ OBERLIN SUMMER THEATRE FESTIVAL


Through August 5, 2018
(440) 775-8169 
Or http://www.oberlinsummertheaterfestival.com/get-tickets/

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 Review here.

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

LETTERS FROM ZORA and Karamu Homecoming

June 14-24, 2018
216-795-7077

Roy Berko


Karamu enters mid-2018 with a bright future.  Considering that only a few years ago it was rumored that the nationally important African American institution was on death’s doorstep, this is an amazing success story.  Their recent Homecoming celebration is a welcome sign that there is much to come from “the joyful gathering place.” 

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


Friday, June 15, 2018

MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL @ CAIN PARK


Through July 10, 2018
(216) 371-3000
Or www.cainpark.com
Roy Berko



“Memphis,” Cain Park style, is a total delight.  It’s a must see for anyone who likes well sung and preformed rock music, is interested in a well-conceived juke box musical and wants to relax in the Alma Theatre’s “in nature” setting.  HOCKADOO!


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

Christine Howey

Yes, eventually the familiarity of the story wears thin, particularly in the final moment of reconciliation between Huey and Felicia. But never mind, the performances are king in this show, and those are spectacular.

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

I love it when shows remind us that the “Olden Days” were lively--even way back in the 1950s. Memphis (The Musical), winner of four 2010 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) rocked (well, of course) the packed Alma Theatre last Friday at Cain Park. (It probably didn’t hurt the summer celebration mood that it was also Wine Tasting Night there, but I digress ….). Bottom Line: Music can be a wonderful and powerful meeting place. This Cain Park show tunefully celebrates this idea.
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 review at CoolCleveland.com


ANYTHING GOES @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE



Through June 30, 2018
(330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman


Porthouse’s ‘Anything Goes’ is déjà vu all over again.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here: www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko
 
“Anything Goes” is a perfect summertime escapist farcical musical that will please audiences.  Sandra Emerick delights. She is supported by an enthusiastic cast of Equity actors and college students who are enmeshed in outright escapist fun, dynamic songs and creative choreography.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

It’s all aboard the SS Fun as Porthouse Theatre kicks off its milestone 50th anniversary season with the comical shipboard romp "Anything Goes."  Leading this Cole Porter classic are Sandra Emerick and Christopher Seiler with their peppy, nutty and thoroughly entertaining characterizations as Reno Sweeney — the brassy lounge singer with a heart of gold — and Moonface Martin, a gangster in preacher’s disguise.

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

Mark Horning

Sometimes you go to the theater simply to have a good time. You will find yourself tapping your feet and humming along with well known standards as the Porthouse Theatre production of “Anything Goes” dances on a summer breeze.

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



Tuesday, June 12, 2018

HEDWIG AND THE ANGRY INCH @ BLANK CANVAS THEATRE



Through June 23, 2018
(440) 941-0458


Mark Horning


Boys will be girls and girls will be boys in this crazy mixed up search of a human trying to find their “other self” as Hansel/Hedwick travels the seamy world of dive bars and forlorn coffee shops. Hard driving rock and roll combined with a tantalizing story line makes this an exciting evening of raw theater.

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

Christine Howey

While Devon Turchan who plays Hedwig is supremely talented and director Alison Garrigan is a master of staging various kinds of theatricals, this production never finds its groove. 

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

Saturday, June 9, 2018

HERSHEY FELDER AS IRVING BERLIN @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through June 24, 2018
(216) 241-6000

Mark Horning


It is an evening of musical enchantment that all members of the family should witness. Wonderful stories of a master composer and lyricist are expertly told with tenderness and warmth. An evening such as this will leave you much more the wiser and pleasantly fulfilled.

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

Christine Howey

The potentially interesting moments go by in a flash, and the result is a profile of Berlin that is a mile wide and an inch deep. That said, Felder is a talented and determined performer and he creates a tuneful, diverting show. 

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

Fun time for summer evening.  It’s either a history lesson or a stroll down memory lane or both. Personally, it was a pleasure to remember (and even sing along--well, he invited us to at one point) the songs that first made a music theatre junkie out of me. And, by the way, June 24 at 6:30 p.m. there will be an extra show: One of Felder’s Great American Songbook/Sing-along performances where the audience joins in all the 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 review at CoolCleveland.com

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through June 17, 2018
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

As good if not better than the 2016 rendition, “Beautiful” lives up to its name.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here: www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Mark Horning


Just as we play the same record album over and over, Beautiful is the kind of show you will want to see time and time again, especially with this stellar cast. True emotion comes flooding off the stage in waves and it is guaranteed to “put a smile on your face.”

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


Monday, June 4, 2018

SOHO CINDERS @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY


Through June 23, 2018
(216) 771-5862
www.mercurytheatrecompany.org

Bob Abelman

In Mercury Theatre’s “Soho Cinders,” a show that received its world premiere in London’s off-West End in 2012 and has rarely been seen elsewhere since, the Cinderella story has been significantly re-envisioned.  Its infrequent stagings are no doubt due to the nature of its reincarnation as a decidedly naughty modern musical rather than the quality of the work itself, which is arguably some of Stiles and Drewe’s best.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

DISNEY'S MY SON PINOCCHIO @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY



Through June 24, 2018
(216) 771-5862
www.mercurytheatrecompany..org

Bob Abelman

Director Pierre-Jacques Brault is at his best when he finds the essence of a story and simplifies the storytelling to reveal it.  Which is exactly what he does with Mercury Theatre’s current production of “Disney’s My Son Pinocchio.”

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

Christine Howey

Everybody is playing this story pretty straight. And as they say, all lessons and no jokes make this Pinocchio a dull boy.

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

Friday, June 1, 2018

BENT @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS



Through July 1, 2018
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman

This production’s understated quality, while occasionally troublesome, most certainly sets its focus squarely on the inward drama of its key characters without ever losing touch with the brutality of their situation and a lesson that still needs to be taught. 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here: www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Mark Horning


Yes…the Nazis were brutal people. We are very much aware of that, but nowhere is this better portrayed than in the Blitzkrieg production of BENT. This is truly edge of your seat drama with a number of heart stopping events that will take your breath away. This is NOT theater for the faint of heart.

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

Christine Howey

With a couple small exceptions, this production under the direction of Matthew Wright hits exactly the right tone, sliding from a Noel Coward-ish amusing beginning to outright horror. 

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

Laura Kennelly

What would you do to survive? Bent, a 1979 drama by Martin Sherman, ruminates on this question and others in this Beck Center production. The title does not mean it’s a satire of Rent (as I had hoped), but that it touches on social norms and what is considered “straight” and what is considered “bent.”
The tight confines of the Studio Theatre make it hard to avoid the story’s harsh truths. And that is clearly what director Matthew Wright intends.

To see a full review of this show, read Laura Kennelly's review at CoolCleveland.com

Andrea Simakis

Despite [Andew] Gorrell's transfixing turn, 'Bent" buckles under the heaviness of its own subject matter, as though weighted with rocks.

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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

IN THE BLOOD @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM



Through June 9, 2018
(216) 687-0074

Bob Abelman


Suzan-Lori Parks’ play rages acerbically, articulately and without subtlety against a system that grinds women down, and feels as vital and urgent today as when Hawthorne’s novel was first released.  This con-con production captures all this and makes for an intriguing and thought-provoking evening of theater.  

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's posting at
www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Mark Horning

While one would hope that this situation is not a reality anywhere in the world, the truth is there are probably more cases such as these then we would wish to admit. It is a morality play that begs us to face the truth and to begin some dialog that would result in the end of such needless suffering. Not an easy play to watch but one that must be seen.

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


Saturday, May 19, 2018

WHITE GUY ON THE BUS @ NONE TOO FRAGILE


Through May 26, 2018
(330) 671-4563

Mark Horning

One must pay careful attention to the various details and clues as this time scrambled show builds. In this stark examination of modern race relations in America we see two extremes colliding in the center as a man’s quest for revenge and justice forces him to be “The Guy On The Bus.” Gripping…Engaging…Topical…Intense. 

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


Christine Howey

The issues the playwright raises are powerful ones, especially in today’s world, and Graham is to be commended for being totally honest about the racial divide that exists in America. But his incessant hammering on these issues, while neglecting a more believable character-driven approach, eventually sabotages his own work.

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



Thursday, May 17, 2018

PANTHER DANCER @ PLAYWRIGHTS LOCAL



Through May 26, 2018
(216) 302-8850
Or http://playwrightslocal.org/

Bob Abelman

Not broad enough to be a farce, not risqué enough to be remarkable and occasionally mean for the sake of a laugh, “The Panther Dancer” can’t seem to rise above the sketch comedy mindset that drives it.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or  www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

“The Panther Dancer,” is a well-researched, in-depth telling of the life of Michael Jackson, but needs a strong dose of cutting. Director Jimmie Woody does a nice job of creative staging.

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

Christine Howey

Director Woody employs his substantial skills in staging the piece so that those flaws don’t drag everything down. And he’s partially successful, thanks to some yeoman work by the cast. 

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

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

PASSING STRANGE @ KARAMU


May 10-June 3, 2018
216-795-7077 
or www.karamuhouse.org

Bob Abelman


Audiences will surely marvel at the hard work put in by the performers and director Nathan A Lilly to make "Passing Strange" look so easy.

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

Roy Berko

After an overly long first act, the show shifts into high gear and wraps up with a strong final act.  The Karamu cast is excellent.   
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


During one of the early musical numbers, “Amsterdam” Mary-Francis Miller and Corlesia Smith dressed as Air Amsterdam stewardesses go into the audience passing out boarding passes for a flight to Europe…and what a trip it is! This is one show that will have you totally involved. Bring a friend!

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

Christine Howey

This is the most exciting show on any stage right now, and maybe the most involving one that has appeared in some time. You will be a poorer person if you don’t find a way to see it before it closes on June 3. 

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


Saturday, May 12, 2018

THE ROYALE @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through May 27, 2018
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Cleveland Play House leads with its left with expressionistic, heavyweight drama ‘The Royale.’

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or  www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko


 To fully appreciate “The Royale,” audience members must broaden their view beyond the boxing ring, the story of the fight for the championship and societal prejudice, and delve into the psychological motivations of the great black champion, himself.   “The Royale” is a thought-provoking conflict which many will appreciate, while others will find themselves defeated by some of the script’s abstraction.

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

Mark Horning

At the end of this play you will find yourself wanting to stand up and cheer as well as cry at the same time. This is in your face drama that goes beyond the historical tale and into the nearly overpowering struggles of the African-Americans at the turn of the last century. You will leave the theater a changed person.

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

Howard Gollub


With all that singing, dancing and magic-carpet riding going on in other theaters on Playhouse Square, it’s great to have solid, modern work reminds us how thrilling and entertaining serious theater can be.   Cleveland Play House’s “The Royale” could have been a straight-forward, cleaned-up bio about Jay “The Sport” Jackson, the stage avatar for the real-life Jack Johnson, the first African-American heavyweight boxing champ in the country. But there is nothing straightforward, sentimental or conventional about Marco Ramirez’ award-winning drama. “Rocky” on stage, it isn’t.
 
Christine Howey

The Royale is a play about boxing in the same way that A streetcar Named Desire is about urban public transportation. 

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

Laura Kennelly


The outstanding cast of five, some in multiple roles, fought, negotiated, defied, taunted each other, all the while redefining their place in the world. As Jay Jackson, Preston Butler III (all muscles and six-pack abs) looked and acted every bit the confident champion. Nikkole Salter, as his sister Nina, evoked the thoughtful presence of women who always try to hold things together. Brian D. Coats, as Jackson’s trainer Wynton, offered wry and earnest advice to the boxer. Johnny Ramery, as young Fish, brought bounce to his role as Jackson’s opponent and then sparring partner. Leo Marks primarily played Max, the boxer’s manager, but also effectively, sometimes amusingly, also played all the white guys necessary to the plot.

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

Andrea Simakis

An American tragedy as shrewd and bruising as anything wirtten by Miller, William or O'
Neil.   No split decion here.  "The Royale' is magnificient.

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