Friday, August 28, 2015

"OR,"@DOBAMA THEATRE


September 4 through October 4, 2015
216-932-3396 


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.

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.

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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

IN A FOREST, DARK AND DEEP@NONE TOO FRAGILE


August 28 through September 12, 2015
or 330-671-4563 

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.

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.

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

FARRAGUT NORTH@ENSEMBLE THEATRE


August 27 through September 6, 2015
or 216-321-2930

Bob Abelman

With a candidate debate in Cleveland’s rear view mirror and a party convention on the horizon, the timing for a play about the power behind the power of modern-day politics is perfect.  But in its production of Beau Willimon’s “Farragut North,” Ensemble Theatre is stuck in political spin cycle. 

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

Roy Berko


FARRAGUT NORTH is a well written script that gives the electorate an often uncomfortable view of the reality of those who plan and plot election campaigns.  Willimon’s writing gets a good production at Ensemble that is well worth seeing.

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
This taut and fast pace political thriller is one of those works that reveals what one has suspected all along that politics is a dirty game.  With that said, it makes for an intriguing evening of theater that demands that you return from intermission to see how the different fates play out.
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.

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

Monday, August 17, 2015

MARY POPPINS@MERCURY SUMMER THEATRE


August 7 through 22, 2015
or 216-771-5862

Bob Abelman

The film "Mary Poppins" boasts of Academy Award-winning music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman, a story bolstered by Academy Award-winning Disney animation and film editing, and cast members who have cement footprints embedded in the walkway of Hollywood Blvd.  In order to bring the film to life on stage, Walt Disney Theatrical spent $18 million on elaborate special effects developed by Las Vegas illusionists and Disney theme park specialists.  Local theaters attempting to stage “Mary Poppins” acquire the score and script but, with their limited budgets, are left to fend for themselves when it comes to finding their own form of magic. Which the Mercury Theatre Company does in its current production.  

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


TEAR IT OFF@CONVERGENCE-CONTINUUM


August 14 through September 5, 2015
or 216-687-0074

Bob Abelman

A play within a play -- where a story being told closely parallels the lives of the characters themselves -- is a literary device nearly as old as literature itself.   Shakespeare used it in “Hamlet,” but while the Bard's intention is to provoke Hamlet's murderous uncle so as to “catch the conscience of the king," Mike Geither has significantly less lofty reasons in mind in “Tear It Off.”  He’s going for laughs.  And getting them.

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

Roy Berko

TEAR IT OFF is no great theatrical script, but the premise and the way it is developed makes for a fun evening of theatre, resulting in a get-away from the “real world,” where goings-on are a little less formulaic. 

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

Mark Horning

Sometimes one should go to the theatre just for a light laugh and Tear It Off certainly fills the bill.  You will find yourself in a continuous state of chuckles as this romantic farce is revealed.

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


Friday, August 7, 2015

OUR TOWN@BLANK CANVAS


August 14 to 29, 2015

440-941-0458 


Bob Abelman

Blank Canvas Theatre’s staging of ‘Our Town’ is a bit too much of a blank canvas.  It embraces a less-is-more approach to an already simple work that renders it less poignant than it ought to be.

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

Roy Berko

If you haven’t seen the classic OUR TOWN before, or have seen it, but need a good shot of appreciation for life, go see the Blank Canvas production.  Director Patrick Ciamacco sets it out before you, plain and simple, doing nothing to get in the way of Wilder’s intent and purpose.  Nice job! 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


True theater allows room for the audience to use their imagination without spelling out each and every detail.  Blank Canvas manages to bring the basic spirit of Wilder’s masterpiece to life without a lot of histrionics that would otherwise get in the way of the message.  This is a work that you go to study rather than see and well worth the effort.

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

Andrea Simakis

If Thornton Wilder were still kicking up his heels on our hot little third rock from the sun, i'm thinking he's appreicate the purity of the Blank Canvas Theatre production of "Our Town."

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


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

HAIRSPRAY@PORTHOUSE THEATRE


July 30 to August 16, 2015
 or 330-929-4416 or 330-672-3884

Bob Abelman

Porthouse’s ‘Hairspray’ offers a slightly dented ‘do.    

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

Roy Berko

Director Terri Kent pulled out all the stops, added tons of shticks and gimmicks, has a rocking band, creative and well performed choreography, and a focused cast, which  resulted in a wonderful, “this you must see” theatrical experience.  
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

The underdog in all of us will love the musical 'Hairspray,' the subversive musical comedy that satirizes the ignorance of both lookism and racism, all presented in a bubblegum package.
The larger-than-life show, now playing at Porthouse Theatre, has a lot to like with its ever-idealistic heroine Tracy (the likable Katey Sheehan), some excellent comedic actors and a spirited young ensemble.

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

Mark Horning

As with all Porthouse productions, Hairspray is a delightful musical outing that combines picnicking on the green (or in one of the pavilions) with excellent Broadway musical performances.  It is a wonderful social experience that will enhance the lives of everyone in the family.  Kudos to Porthouse for the phone call and e-mail warning of the sold out Tim McGraw concert at Blossom Music Center on opening night with encouragement to plan for an early arrival.  Through this effort the show was able to start on time to a packed house.

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


KING HENRY@OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL


July 30 to August 16, 2015

http://ohioshakespeare.com 
or 330-673-8761

Kerry Clawson

Actor Andrew Cruse returns to the Ohio Shakespeare Festival as the famous royal we all know as Hal, but he’s all grown up now in 'King Henry V.'  The charismatic Equity actor, who portrayed Prince Hal in his wild youth last summer in 'King Henry IV, part one,' now returns as the responsible, religious, honorable King Henry V.

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


Friday, July 24, 2015

CINDERELLA @ PlayhouseSquare

July 21-August 2, 2015
216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org

Bob Abelman

The slipper fits for this touring, storybook telling of "Cinderella"   

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

Howard Gollop

To be sure, the touring production at the Palace Theater reflects all the opulence and magic that puthe new Broadway “redo” of “Cinderella” at the top of  box office grosses.  So why must this version of “Cinderella” sweat so hard to be more?  Something seems amiss right from the beginning when Cinderella and the Prince separately roam the Medieval forest singing “Me, Who Am I,” a song cut from one of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s rare flops “Me and Juliet.”  It’s one of those eye-rolling moments when we realize that Cinderella and her Prince are not allowed to be, as one of the hilariously rotund stepsisters musically quipped, “Merely Lovely.”


Mark Horning

This lavish production of Cinderella is, in a word, magical!  With wonderful music and lyrics by Rodgers and Hammerstein and an experienced cast of singers, dancers and actors.  Take the entire family to share this phenomenal production.  It is the Broadway musical at its best.

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

Andrea Simakis

The charmer of a production with a clever, updated book by Douglas Carter Beane ("The Little Dog Laughed") blows the dust off the original 1957 television version, thanks to a blast of snarky humor and "Ella," a new-century princess who can have her prince and change the world, too. (Or at least convince her boyfriend to order elections in the kingdom for the first time, like the Arab Spring as told by the Brothers Grimm.)

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


Saturday, July 18, 2015

CAMELOT@MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY


July 10 to 25, 2015
or 216-771-5862

Bob Abelman

This production is a labor of love that respects the original work but hopes that a dramatic simplification in its staging will strip away the thick and cloudy veneer that has built up over generations of veneration. It does, but missing and sorely missed is the elegance that once defined the brief shining moment that was known as "Camelot.” 

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


Christine Howey

The Mercury troupe under the direction of Pierre-Jacques Brault manages to wrestle it to a draw while finding bits and pieces of the magic that has enthralled many audience members for decades.

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


Friday, July 10, 2015

A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE@MAMAI THEATRE COMPANY


July 16 to August 2, 2015
or (216) 382-5146​

Bob Abelman

Mamai’sStreetcar’ is stellar despite understated STELLAAAA!!!

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


Mark Horning


Think of Mamaí Theatre Company’s rendition of A Streetcar Named Desire as a potentially great New Orleans dish with just a tad too much spice and some unnecessarily added ingredients that could have been left out.  While not a bad meal per say it leaves the person partaking in the feast feeling less than satisfied.     

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


Andrea Simakis

Mamai's "Streetcar" is a joy, that rare staging of a classic piece of theater t hat doesn't cause you to years for a better production.  This is that production.

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


Monday, July 6, 2015

AMERICAN IDIOT@BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS



July 10 to August 16, 2015
216-521-2540 or http://www.beckcenter.org


Bob Abelman

Beck’s ‘American Idiot’ welcomes a new kind of tension.

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

Roy Berko


Devotees of Green Day should be turned on by Beck’s “American Idiot.”  It is a loud, brash musical which attempts to tell the tale of youthful disgust with modern day America.   The cast puts out full energy, the choreography is well designed and executed.   But, the thin one dimensional script, nearly impossible to understand lyrics, and redundant overly amplified music, will make this a less than a stellar theatrical experience for many.

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


Mark Horning

For those having seen the touring Broadway show at the Connor Palace you will note that the same rocket high energy levels and high production standards is found with the Beck Center production.  It is rock music and choreography as it should be presented…loud and boisterous and unabashed.  Take your teen to see this one and talk it over afterwards.

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

Howard Gollup

Someone gets pregnant, someone goes to war, someone goes to the big city — you know the drill. Still, there’s something profoundly winsome and yearning in the loud, thudding music, a quality that has been made even more apparent through Beck Center’s entire near-flawless production. 

Andrea Simakis

You don't fling yourself into the mosh pit of "American Idiot" in search of exquisite character development and sophisticated storytelling – you take this dive to be consumed by Green Day's furious, hard-driving sound. So what if, in the end, it signifies nothing?
"I don't care if you don't care . . ."

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


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

VIOLET@PORTHOUSE THEATRE



July 9 to 25, 2015
http://www.porthousetheatre.com,
330-929-4416 or 330-672-3884 

Bob Abelman

This is a lovely play that is given a tender treatment. 

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

Roy Berko

While “Violet” does not have the components of a classic musical production it is a special evening of theatre resulting from a clear directing concept by Steven C. Anderson, fine instrumental performances, excellent vocalizations by the entire cast, and excellent acting. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Mark Horning

This is the perfect summer theater show for those wishing to see a light and airy musical.  Come early with a picnic dinner and make an entire evening of it.    

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

Christine Howey

This is a thinking person's musical, replete with ideas about the obstacles, superficial and otherwise, that torture us and prevent us from making the connections we need. As a result, Violet earns the rewarding ending it shares with the audience at the end of this bus ride to redemption.

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


Thursday, June 25, 2015

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING @ Ohio Shakespeare Festival

July 2-19, 2015
http://ohioshakespeare.com or 330-673-8761

Bob Abelman

Although I have seen Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” many times before, it was not until this last weekend that I saw it as it was meant to be seen courtesy of the Ohio Shakespeare Festival in Akron.  

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

Kerry Clawson

Giddy physical comedy and a great sense of play dominate Ohio Shakespeare Festival’s production of ''Much Ado About Nothing" at the idyllic outdoor lagoon setting at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

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


Christine Howey


When he’s at his best, director Burgler manages to find the unique performance qualities in each of his actors, enabling him to populate the stage with distinctive people who look like a prized collection of Royal Doulton character mugs come to life.

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


THE RECKLESS RUTHLESS BRUTAL CHARGE OF IT, OR THE TRAIN PLAY @ convergence-continuum

convergence-continuum
June 26-July 18, 2015

Bob Abelman


Con-con’s apocalyptic comedy ‘The Train Play’ lacks a third rail.

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

Roy Berko

 
“The Reckless Ruthless Brutal Charge Of It, Or The Train Play,” should appeal to con-con audiences who attend in their search for off-beat theater.  If you are looking for a play with a message, it should be easy to use your imagination and conjure up a lesson to be learned from the abstractions and pseudo-philosophical pontifications which flow from the mouths of the actors.   
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning

With Convergence-continuum’s carefully built following, this production will excite and edify.  For those coming off the street it will be a jarring experience.  Think of this as The Orient Express on acid.  Those with a transcendental leaning will dig it.  Om!

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

Christine Howey

There are laughs at times, but this is a train that one should board with some caution. Hell, it almost makes one long for Starlight Express, in which the toy train cars come to life and roll around on skates. 

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

Andrea Simakis

As diverting as its metaphysical musings are, "The Train Play" doesn't really go anywhere."

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

Art Thomas

There are some surprising, some humorous, and a lot of so-so moments in "The Train Play." The cast portray the eccentric characters with enthusiasm and Clyde Simon's direction is pointed and illuminating. There may not be quite enough to illuminate in the thin script.
 
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Ghost @ Mercury Theatre Company

Through June 27, 2015
Notre Dame College, 1857 S. Green Road, South Euclid, 216-771-5862
Bob Abelman

Mercury’s ‘Ghost: The Musical’ lacks more than its mortal coil.

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


Christine Howey


While the music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, with book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin, are not particularly memorable, the Mercury cast infuses it with enough pizzazz to make it all reasonably enjoyable.

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


Monday, June 15, 2015

GODSPELL @ Cain Park

GODSPELL
Cain Park
June 11-28, 2015
Call 216-371-3000 or go to http://www.cainpark.com/

Bob Abelman

Cain Park’s ‘Godspell’ is a godsend.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's article at News-Herald.com.

Roy Berko

Cain Park’s GODSPELL is a creatively conceived and generally well performed production which will keep the audience rocking and laughing, while imparting the philosophical message of the “Book of Mathew.”  You don’t have to be a believer to be entertained by the high spirited songs and the clever staging.  “We Beseech Thee,”---go, see, enjoy---“You’ll Learn Your Lesson Well!”    

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


Sunday, June 14, 2015

LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC @ Porthouse

LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC
PORTHOUSE THEATRE
June 11-27, 2015
330-672-3884 or go online to www.porthousetheatre.com.

Bob Abelman

“Isn't it bliss? Don't you approve?” asks Desirée in the opening refrain of “Send in the Clowns.”  Absolutely.

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

Roy Berko

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC is a melodramatic story, with memorable music, that gets a nice production.  It would have been aided by stressing the story’s soap-opera aspects to garner the humor built into the script, thus sending in the clowns.  As is, as represented by the opening night assemblage, audiences will enjoy this evening of musical theater on the Blossom grounds. 

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

Kerry Clawson


Under the direction of Sean Morrissey, A Little Night Music’s tale of marital infidelities is handled with a light touch and a tongue-in-cheek humor, thanks to the characters witnessing all the romantic entanglements.

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

Mark Horning
 A Little Night Music is a pleasant evening of music, intrigue and naughtiness with a few laughs thrown in for good measure.  Arrive early and bring a picnic and something cold to drink and enjoy the family friendly atmosphere of outdoor summer theater.  You may find yourself coming back time and again.  
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey
The talented Porthouse cast, under the direction of Sean T. Morrissey, gives this production a glossy texture that serves the material well. This includes an appearance by Terri J. Kent, producing artistic director of Porthouse, in the linchpin role of Desiree Armfeldt.

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


Friday, June 12, 2015

Exact Change @ Playhouse Square


Through June 27, 2015
"The Helen" Lab Theatre, 1407 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000


Roy Berko


Those of us who have followed the development of the staged tale from Richard to Christine, from idea to the compelling piece of theater, have been privileged to watch the piece evolve through the diligence of Chris Howey and Scott Plate.   You now can see the results of many, many hours of extremely hard work, toil that resulted in a compelling, funny, emotionally charged experience that is a must see experience.  Do yourself and Chris a favor by attending one of the remaining performances.  (Since The Helen is a small space, get tickets early as the show should sell out.)

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


Mark Horning


No matter what your opinion is concerning alternative or transgender lifestyles, this show stands on its own as a monumental work.  Due to the intimacy of the theater you feel that Christine is talking directly to you the entire time.  The show has been refined to the point of being nearly pure gold.  You are not asked to agree, but simply to accept.  

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

Triassic Parq, The Musical @ Blank Canvas Theatre

Through June 27, 2015
78th Street Studio, W. 78th Street, 440-941-0458

Roy Berko


As evidenced by the response of the audience present when I saw the production, it’s obvious that director, Pat Ciamacco succeeded in pulling out all the shticks to make this absurdity work.  His targeted audience of young, hip, lovers of off-beat stuff should love TRIASSIC PARQ.  The rest of us will have to try and remember what it was like to be young and naïve about what good story plots with music that backed up, rather than drowned out the singers, and singers who sang lyrics that helped move the plot along, were all about.

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

Christine Howey
If you laugh uncontrollably and repeatedly at dick jokes and chicks wearing strap-ons, this is the show for you. Just understand that the music is often of the nursery rhyme variety, and the lyrics are pretty basic.

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

Mark Horning
This is fast action and hard hitting humor geared for the college and young professional set.  If you enjoy the mad cap comedy of Monty Python and Benny Hill (as well as the naughtiness) you will love this show.  It is loud, raucous and very risqué with some parts being extremely funny.

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