Thursday, December 7, 2017

ON YOUR FEET @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through December 23, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Charisma and conga, not story or storytelling, carry touring "On Your Feet!"

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

Roy Berko


The Cuban-American success story is everything that Trump and his alt-right cronies say doesn’t and shouldn’t happen.  Long live immigrants and their success stories!  “On Your Feet is a joyous must see journey, with an infectious musical beat!  I dare you not to be standing, clapping and singing during the curtain call.

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

Howard Gollop


"'On Your Feet!” the new Broadway musical based on the life and music of Emilio and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, wins points right off the bat for taking in a cold Cleveland audience in December and dropping a giant satin-like stage curtain to reveal the hot world of the Cuban and Miami music scene — palm trees and all.

All would be for naught, of course, if the cast were anything less than dynamic triple-threat dancers, singers and actors, and this touring company comes through. Christie Prades, who has the additional task of portraying the famed star Gloria Estefan, creates a deeply dimensional character that carries the show even through some ballad-laden down time in the second act. "



Mark Horning


Even if you are not familiar with Latin music you will find yourself falling in love with this show. The simple yet functional sets, wonderful costumes, upbeat music inter-spaced with heartfelt ballads, dazzling lighting and sound makes this a must see show. You will find yourself dancing out of the theater after the amazing mini-concert after the curtain calls.   

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

Gloria and Emile Estephone's journey is extraordinary, a Broadway-worthy epic of setbacks and sensational victories with an irresistible beat. At heart, it's a love story about two kids in search of the American dream who found each other along the way.

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

THE LITTLE MERMAID @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS


Through December 31, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Roy Berko

I wish I could rave about this go-around of The Little Mermaid as I did last year, but I cant.  This production is acceptable, but with all that talent on stage there needs to be an infusion of joy and enthusiasm to make it reach the high levels of which it is capable.

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

URINETOWN THE MUSICAL @ BLANK CANVAS



Through December 16, 2017
(440) 941-0458

Bob Abelman

Blank Canvas Theatre’s ‘Urinetown’ flush with talent, determination.

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

Roy Berko

 Urinetown:  The Musical is flushed with success and audiences will enjoy themselves, while gaining some insight into political and economic corruption.  Get tickets early as the Blank Canvas theatre is small and this show should be a big box office success!
 
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

Under the direction of Patrick Ciamacco, who also quadruples as set/lighting/sound designer, the 19-person cast conveys the problem of peeing-for-a-price with gusto.

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 LOUSH SISTERS GET HARD FOR THE HOLIDAYS @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE


Through December 17, 2017
(216) 631-2727

Roy Berko


The Loush Sisters encourage the audience to “celebrate the love for friends and family, to sit back, relax and have an adult beverage and enjoy the crazy ride.”  Don’t go to this holiday show expecting great theater or a religious experience.  Go, enjoy the uninhibited rantings of two boozed-up broads who are having a hell of good time.  The drunker you are, the better you’ll appreciate what’s going on.  (Be sure to book the Uber in advance.)

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

Mark Horning


Like a biennial plague of Christmas locust the Loush Sisters once again appear in Cleveland to wreck havoc on our Christmas traditions and sensibilities (this is not a bad thing). The entire ensemble are entirely into their characters and are having as much fun as the audience.

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

Andrea Simakis

You don't go to see the Loushes - "that's loose and lush, but fancy" - so much as to experience them. Teeter alongside them, so to speak, martini glass clutched in one manicured talon, whooping and hollering as they regale you with song and boozy repartee, this year as part of the Nakatomi Christmas show.

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

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS @ DOBAMA THEATER



Through December 30, 2017
(216) 932-3396

Bob Abelman

As a holiday show, “The Baker Street Irregulars” is certainly irregular but it is a most welcome alternative to the numbingly familiar and obligatorily festive theater offerings found elsewhere this time of year.

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

Roy Berko

Sherlock Holmes:  The Baker Street Irregulars gets a good staging at Dobama that will be of interest for parents and grandparents looking for a theatrical experience for their tweens and younger teens during this season.  It is a nice option for the much-done holidays shows that are staged again and again.  It is not great theater, but it could make for an entertaining evening of entertainment.

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

Mark Horning

This is a melodramatic mystery that the family will love. It has all the elements of good guys, little kids acting far beyond their years in solving crimes, mistaken identities, danger, teenage love, bad guys and a few plot twists to keep it interesting. 

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

Christine Howey


In short, this Sherlock is a sure lock for kids and their parents.  For everyone else, deductive reasoning might suggest a different entertainment choice.

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 LITTLE PRINCE @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE


Through December 17, 2017
(216) 321-2930


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

CAMELOT @ OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL


Through December 17, 2017
(330) 673-8761


Bob Abelman

OSF’s ‘Camelot’ offers too few brief shining moments.

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

While a bit of a drive from Cleveland it is none the less well worth the trip to see this wonderful production of Lerner and Loewe’s magical <I>Camelot</I>. Great singing, great acting, exciting sword fights, romance, intrigue, pathos and comedy makes this a delightful evening at the theater. Fill the seats for this one!

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.

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.

THE CHASTE GENIUS AND HIS DEATHRAY GUN @ COVERGENCE-CONTINUUM



Through December 16, 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
 
Though its more history lecture than theatrical production, The Chaste Genius and his Death Ray Gun,teaches an important lesson about the need for eccentric, out of the box thinkers, who need encouragement and the financial means to create theories, inventions and formulas that can have the capacity to change the world.  Its worth the long, sometimes lifeless sit, to gain that understanding.


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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

THE HAIRY APE @ ENSEMBLE THEATER



Through December 10, 2017
(216) 321-2930

Bob Abelman


Ensemble Theatre’s ‘The Hairy Ape’ powerful but not poetic.

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

Roy Berko

Ensemble is to be praised for continuing to present classic theater to its audience.  Whether The Hairy Ape was the best of the ONeill play to select is questionable.  For anyone who likes to be exposed to works by noted writers, and those who like to probe into the intellectual nature of the arts, the play may be of interest. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Andrea Simakis


"The Hairy Ape," the playwright's brutal, expressionist meditation on the gulf between the haves and the have-nots (a timely little drama, what with the tax-cut kerfuffle), is a nimbler beast, clocking in at just under 90 minutes.

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

Monday, November 13, 2017

CHRISTMAS AT THE WILEY DINER @ CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE



Through December 10, 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.

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


While Christmas tales abound this time of year, "Christmas at the Wiley Diner" is a gentle notch above the rest. It is a story of friendship, tradition, home and hearth that is told in a non-jarring way. This is a wonderful play to share with the entire family.

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 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.

Friday, November 10, 2017

WICKED @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through December 3, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


There’s no place like home.  And the touring production of “Wicked” has apparently found one in Cleveland. 

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

Roy Berko


Put on your tiara, bring your wand, and join the masses who will enjoy “Wicked.”  Whether it is your introduction to this delightful and well-performed musical, or your umpteenth time, you will absolutely enjoy this must see production.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


With great acting, wondrous singing, delightful costuming and set design this show moves much faster than its two and a half hour plus run time. You will find your eyes continuously scanning the stage as action takes place in all corners of the frame. This is a perfect example of what great Broadway can be and will probably be a sellout for its entire run. Buy your ticket right now!

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

Howard Gollup

Continuing a month-long run on Playhouse Square, the 14-year-old “Wicked” has maintained all of its visual and vocal power in re-creating a unique vision of a bizarre, magical world — thanks to ornate, mechanical sets by Eugene Lee, impossibly intricate costumes by Susan Hilferty (an inspiring hybrid of Victorian and 1940s fashion) and lighting by Kenneth Posner. It’s unlike anything MGM had Dorothy sing and dance through in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Laura Kennelly

Magic still sparkles in Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of OZ. This brilliant production once again has returned to Playhouse Square (possibly for the fifth time), but then consider, this Tony-Award winner has been on Broadway since 2003 (and it’s still playing there). The time-tested winning concoction, created by Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics), Winnie Holzman (book), and Joe Mantello (director) enchants, amuses, and entertains. The touring version, thanks to its all-round excellent cast, good small orchestra plus adept mechanics, offers Cleveland a dashing Broadway-quality production.


To see a full review read Laura Kennelly's review here or at CoolCleveland.com

Andrea Simakis


The national tour of "Wicked" is modern-day Broadway perfection, from the set to the songs and the cast.

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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

THE LAKE EFFECT @ KARAMU THEATRE



Through November 26, 2017
(216) 795-7070  

Bob Abelman

Karamu’s ‘The Lake Effect’ more bluster than blizzard.

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

Roy Berko


“The Lake Effect,” written by Cleveland Heights’ award winning playwright Rajiv Joseph, is a thought-provoking script which uses Cleveland area references to develop its theme.  It gets a creditable production at Karamu.

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

Mark Horning


While a bit of the acting is heavily weighted and relies more on loud demonstratives, the core of the writing still makes for an intriguing evening of entertainment. Sometimes it takes a perfect stranger to be the holder of deep family secrets. 

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

Andrea Simakis


Our eagerness to solve the mystery is dampened by the wooden, self-conscious performances of Suleiman and El Dabh, who never relax into their parts. (The cramped stage, erected in Karamu's Concert Hall, a less than ideal venue for fully staged works while the Jelliffe Theatre is refurbished, doesn't help.) They could take a lesson from Little, a natural always at ease in whatever skin he's in.  In one scene, he stands alone in a pool of light, gazing into a whirl of falling snow, seeking a bit of otherworldly advice, and it's then that we realize the full, poignant potential of Joseph's piece - and the limitations of this Ohio premiere.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

THE ART OF LONGING @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE


Through November 2, 2017
(216) 631-2727


Mark Horning


While one must admire Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission of bringing forth finished works of local playwrights writing about local subjects, this work falls so far off from reality as to be disturbing to the casual viewer and possibly even veteran attendees. Sometimes too much is just that.

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

Christine Howey

There is a theatrical syncopation that is bubbling under the surface of this play, tied together here and there with bits of songs by Nina Simone and other ancillary music. 

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

Andrea Simakis


Despite some opacity, Langford and director Jimmie Woody have conjured an exciting, bracing piece of theater - a mesmerizing visit to a starlit place that accommodates the sweetest dreams and the darkest nightmares - to create one of the most challenging and original plays of the season.

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A STEADY RAIN @ NONE TOO FRAGILE



Through November 11, 2017
(330) 671-4563

Bob Abelman

none too fragile’s ‘A Steady Rain’ is a washout.

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

Mark Horning

 With all of the recent focus on police brutality (especially against people of color) this work has us asking the question “is it the man or the circumstances which has good cops turning bad” and what if anything can be done about it? This is raw theater that relies on words rather than props to get the message out but the viewing of this show comes with a price as we will carry certain parts of this play for some time to come.     

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


Christine Howey

As the two guys plod dutifully through their respective stories, it becomes apparent that even the lurid details of their histories won’t save this play from itself. 

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

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through November 19, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


Director Laura Kepley finds all the play's dramatic beats and very human moments, and turns what could easily be an historical re-creation or revered testimonial into a resonating piece of theater. 

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

Roy Berko


“The Diary of Anne Frank” is a powerful and important play. Especially in this country, when racist, religious and national attacks are condoned by the country’s leader, it is imperative that the message of “never again” be bannered.  Cleveland Play House has done a great service by staging the message of a young girl who was destroyed by bigots and haters.  This is a must see production! 

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

Mark Horning


As the play develops, we the audience begin to feel the claustrophobic conditions that these eight had to endure for years. Although at times comical, poignant, spiritual and dramatic it never wavers from the theme of fear and repression of innocents. In effect we ourselves become prisoners of the barb wire shrouded theater. An excellent example of true to life theater and a must see show for all.

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

Christine Howey

Setting quibbles aside, The Diary of Anne Frank feels fresher and more relevant now than at any time in recent history.  

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

Laura Kennelly


It’s both painful and important to realize that The Diary of Anne Frank is based on truth, not fiction. Drawn from incidents described in young Anne’s diary, this moving drama by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (adapted by Wendy Kesselman), runs through November 19 at Playhouse Square. Bottom Line: A fine and moving production of what is now a classic.

To see a fulll review go to www.artstillmatters.com
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland

Andrea Simakis

Whatever its flaws, "The Diary of Anne Frank," as this finely crafted, haunting production proves, exists to remind us where unchecked fear and intolerance can lead  That's resson enough to stage it any decade."

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

WAITRESS @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through November 5, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Order up: Touring ‘Waitress’ a blue-plate special with a side of extraordinary.

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

Roy Berko

The quality of the music, the staging, the performances and the story line of “Waitress” assure that it will delight audiences as it traverses the country.  It’s a must see for anyone who loves musical theater at its creative best. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Howard Gollop

It must have been daunting for the producers to open “Waitress” during the same Broadway season as the runaway sensation “Hamilton,” but this modest confection nevertheless proved itself a piping hot hit, still running on Broadway and launching a national tour that began last week in Cleveland.  This production — created and directed completely by women — may be too cerebral to call “easy as pie” but the audience will certainly want to savor it as if it were.

Mark Horning

This is a well told story with tailor made songs that while not memorable will leave you with a pleasing overall effect to ride home with. There is drama, romance, comedy, suspense and pathos all carefully mixed together. It is in short sugar and spice and a perfect recipe for an enjoyable night out at the theater.

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

Christine Howey
As directed by the esteemed Diane Paulus, this show is sweet but never saccharine and it goes down real smooth. If I were Jenna, I’d call it “The ‘You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Sigh with Delight’ Pie.” Yum.

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


Laura Kennelly

This finely-crafted show in the Connor Palace opens the national tour of the Broadway hit that’s still playing in NYC. We may be in Cleveland, but we might as well be in New York as far as cast, sets, and performances go. “Waitress” revels in a slickly presented and sassy mix, blending song, great sets, recipes for imaginary pies, dancing, and sex into a sprightly musical event.

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

Andrea Simakis

'Waitress' serves up a delicious slice of life in all its messy, complicated beauty.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

IN THE CLOSET @ CONVERGENCE-CONTINUUM



Through November 4, 2017
(216) 687-0074

Roy Berko


 “In the Closet” is not a great play, but it is a script that incites a great deal of thought.  It gets a very creditable production at con-con.

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

Christine Howey

If you’re hearing the high-pitched squeal of a metaphor being stretched to its breaking point, you wouldn’t be mistaken. 

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