Thursday, November 7, 2019

TOURING PRODUCTION OF THE BANDS VISIT @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through November 24, 2019
(216) 241-6000

Roy Berko

“The Band’s Visit” is a slice of life, character-centered show, woven together with spoken and sung words and music, that is filled with caring humanism.  

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

Considering "The Band's Visit" is basically about a relatively irrelevant burg in Israel, of all places, where nothing ever happens, one may wonder if it could possibly be the kind of Broadway musical that won a Tony Award for best musical in 2018. Yes it is.

Through interwoven vignettes of deceptive insignificance, the cast compels the audience to savor the complexities and simplicities of human life. What the Broadway incarnation of "The Band's Visit" may lack the original film's cinematic verisimilitude, it more than compensates with a richly hued soul-revealling score. David Yazbek's songs evoke longing, waiting (actually the name of a song), epic romance and intimate small-town life.

Mark Horning


Every so often a show comes along bringing its own special magic to the stage. This is such a show. Lasting only 100 minutes with no intermission it is probably the best theater time you can experience. Bring someone you love to share in the magic.

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

Laura Kennelly

BOTTOM LINE: Tonic for the mind and soul. Watching it is like watching a tale from the Thousand and One Nights come to life. Moonlight, romance, music, and longing combine to weave a subtle musical magic in only 90 minutes.

To see a full review of this show see or read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

‘The Band’s Visit’ at Playhouse Square is a joyous musical celebration of life’s big questions at the scale of the human heart.

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

Monday, October 28, 2019

RASHEEDA SPEAKING @ KARAMU THEATER



Through November 24, 2019
(216) 795-7070


Mark Horning


If you have ever had the nagging feeling that someone is after your job, you are probably right and this play proves it in a masterful manner. It is theatrical dynamite in an easy to understand small package. Workers of the World Unite...and see this play.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

PENELOPIAS @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE



Through November 10, 2019
 (216) 321-2930


Roy Berko


“The Penelopiad” is a well-directed and performed play which exposes the audience to the lost art of Greek theater production while telling a contemporary tale of women caught in a man’s world.  It will be of interest to true theater-goers who appreciate quality theatrics.

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

Mark Horning


Without a doubt, this is one of the finest productions to hit Cleveland in quite some time. Although the Greek names remain intact, the contemporary writing style makes this epic work easy to follow. You will find yourself swept along for a wild ride. If you are serious about theater you should seriously consider seeing this wonderful show.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's Review here.

WAKEY WAKEY @ DOBAMA THEATRE



Through November 10, 2019
(216) 932-3396


Roy Berko

Will Eno’s “Wakey, Wakey” is a heartfelt look at the end of life which invites the audience to be psychologically present while the emotional tale masterfully plays itself out.  Justifiably, there is no curtain call.  Who applauds a eulogy?

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

Mark Horning

This powerfully concentrated work is bound to elicit a cornucopia of reactions from each show’s collection of audience members. Some will understand while others will leave with “WTF?” on their lips and still others will think that they have gone through a drug free acid trip. No matter what the response, everyone who sees this show will be changed in some way. This is the distilled essence of good theater.

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


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.

HOMOS, OR EVERYONE IN AMERICA @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM



Through November 9, 2019
(216) 687-0074


Roy Berko


“Homos, or Everyone in America” gets a good production at con-con.  While some of the stereotypes could have been pulled back by the author, there is enough empathy developed to hold the audience’s attention.

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

Howard Gollop

Rarely does a local company master the nuanced intimacy of an astoundingly compelling drama like “Homos, Or  Everyone in America.” Rarely does a local company master the nuanced intimacy of a theater such as The Luminous, home to one of the best companies in Northeast Ohio — convergence-continuum. Do not miss this in its final weekend.

PIPELINE @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through November 3, 2019
(216) 241-6000




Roy Berko

“Pipeline” is a powerful and intelligent new play which lays a smorgasbord of issues facing black young men, African American families, and the societal responsibility of working toward confronting the long smoldering problems concerning the education of people of color and the consequences of the system as now conceived.  The CPH production is well-worth seeing.  Expect to participate in a long conversation about the play on the ride home.

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

Mark Horning


This intermission free ninety minutes flies by as we are witnesses to the turmoil brought on by spousal betrayal and the resulting problems in its wake with a story ripped right off the headlines that brings us face to face with a growing problem in our society.

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


Laura Kennelly

Despite a good effort by the talented Cleveland Play House team, it’s not enough to smooth over distracting dramatic elements inherent in the play itself. Pipeline tries to cover too many important social topics — public and private education, divorce, single parents, social reform — all at once. It takes a village to make a mess? I don’t think that’s what the playwright had in mind, but that seems to be what she shows us. Morisseau, a MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant awardee for 2018, offers 90 minutes of pain about marriage, schools, responsibility and assumptions.

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

Andrea Simakis

Pipeline” is Morisseau’s argument that we can all do better: Parents. Teachers. Students. Administrators. Government. The Village. Her best idea? Ask him what he needs — then really listen to what he says.

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

EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL @ BLANK CANVAS



Through November 2, 2019
(440) 941-0458


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


Saturday, October 12, 2019

RASTUS AND HATTIE @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE



Through October 26, 2019
(216) 631-2727


Mark Horning


If we truly are the culmination of past generational experiences, will erasing these deeply rooted horrors help us or hinder us? If given the choice would you allow yourself to be genetically altered in order to assure that future generations would be baggage free? These questions and more are to be up for consideration. See this show for the “think factor.”

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



Andrea Simakis

In the simplest terms, it’s one of the best plays about race I can remember, and one of the funniest too. It’s also wrenching and heartbreaking, a bracingly original look at America’s original sin of slavery through the lens of history, science fiction and satire, a mashup of genres that shouldn’t work but does.

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


Friday, October 11, 2019

THE TOURING PRODUCTION OF SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL @ THE CONNOR PALACE



Through October 27, 2019
(216) 241-6000





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

Howard Gollop

The book, credited to no less than three playwrights -- Colman Domingo, Robert Cary and Des McAnuff -- plays like a movie trailer for a full-fledged biography that never gets released. In layered flashbacks, scenes are truncated to the point of merely being hinted at, amounting to little more than introductions to Summer's songs. 

Mark Horning


For those of us who came of age during the time of multi tiered dance clubs, disco music and garish dress this show is a delightful blast from the past (emphasis on the blast). You will find yourself dancing to the beat in your seats. Its party time!

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


Laura Kennelly

BOTTOM LINE: It’s light as a feather (despite lip service to women’s rights and equal pay) compared to biographical musicals such as Funny Girl or Gypsy that make us care about their subject. However those who really enjoyed Jersey Boys or Motown may find themselves loving it and dancing. (BTW: There’s a party next door to the theater after every show.)

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

Andrea Simakis

In the end, “Summer” is a lot like that mirrored disco ball: cold and dazzling, with a Styrofoam core.

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

Saturday, October 5, 2019

THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING @ THE BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS



Through November 3, 2019
(216) 521-2540


Roy Berko


Unfortunately, the staging and performance quality of “The Member of the Wedding” was not what it should have been. 

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


Mark Horning



This is one of those “onion” plays that when the various layers are peeled away they reveal a fascinating slice of history. While primarily concerning a young woman’s awakening it also hints at the first stirrings of the civil rights movement. Well worth the investment of time to see this fascinating show.

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


Laura Kennelly

Carson McCullers’ The Member of the Wedding, now at the Beck Center, builds slowly, scene by scene, to give a true and tender glimpse of lives intersecting in a small southern town. Director Eric Schmiedl and an excellent cast make everything they do to bring us into their world seem simple and easy (it is not) as we slip into August 1945 and a welcome post-war era.

To read the full review go to CoolCleveland.com or Laura's blog at artstillmatters.com.


JULIUS CAESAR @ GREAT LAKES THEATER



Through November 3, 2019
(216) 241-6000


Roy Berko

The production is riveting.  Fast paced, lines clearly stated, actions exciting, and acting well-textured.  This is Shakespeare staging and performance at its finest.  It’s a must see for anyone who enjoys good theater.  Kudos to Sara Bruner and her fine cast and technical staff!  
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Howard Gollop

After all, the concept of cross-dressing -- females playing males and vice versa -- is as old as Shakespeare itself. So when cross-gender casting is done well, as in this case, the work looks as new and fresh as ever.

Mark Horning


You have not really experienced live theater until you have witnessed one of Shakespeare’s greatest works done exceptionally well by a most professional of theater groups. Have no fear of being able to decipher the Middle English tongue. This production is done in the most easily understood manner. This is great theater and should not be missed.

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


Laura Kennelly

Sarah Bruner, director of Julius Caesar now at Great Lakes Theater, brings grim reality (and a bit of modernity) to Shakespeare’s classic tale about politics, changing rulers, and trusting sycophants.

To see a full review of this show see Julius Caesar or read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

In Bruner’s “Julius Caesar,” a woman in power is normalized; it’s factual, not freakish. That’s as much a tribute to Bruner’s direction as it is to Healey’s majestic performance. Her voice is commanding. She strides with purpose. She fills space with her presence, at ease with being the sun around which everything revolves.

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

Sunday, September 29, 2019

THE MUSIC MAN @ GREAT LAKES THEATER



Through November 10, 2019
(216) 241-6000


Roy Berko


“The Music Man” is an apple pie, All American, feel good musical which gets a fresh, dynamic and engaging production at GLT under the creative direction of Victoria Bussert.

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

Howard Gollop

As is the case with all Great Lakes Theater productions, this "Music Man" is shared with the co-producing Idaho Shakespeare Festival, where all performances are staged in an undoubtably cavernous outdoor amphitheater.  That may be why this otherwise ernest production at the comparatively intimate Hanna Theatre (with the orchestra hidden under a stage that extends into the audience) comes across as way too broad -- and even strident at times. It's a big brass band of a show marching through a living room, and it's a missed opportunity to mine a bit of nuance in a high-school/community theater warhorse.

Mark Horning


Nothing beats a well conceived and executed live performance of this classic Broadway musical and Great Lakes Theater does an extraordinary job. The casting is perfect, the music stirring and the acting superb. Come witness Broadway magic in the intimate Hanna Theatre.

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

Laura Kennelly


How many ways to say “wonderful?” Meredith Willson’s beloved classic, "The Music Man," now at Playhouse Square’s Hanna Theatre inspires a search for fresh adjectives to describe this lively look at small town life in 1912. Director Victoria Bussert and her cohorts make every minute engaging, from overture to triumphant finale.
The Music Man won Best Musical at the 1957 Tony Awards. In the right hands (and this Great Lakes production is), it’s still easy to see why: terrific score, romantic storyline, and engaging, loveable characters (even the villains turn loveable despite their villainy). It’s just fun to imagine living in 1912 River City, Iowa (at least in the Disneyfied version of Willson’s River City we see here).

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

Saturday, September 28, 2019

PARADISE BLUE @ KARAMU THEATRE


Through October 20, 2019
(216) 795-7070


Roy Berko

Paradise Blue” gets a solid, high quality, thought-inducing, drama and laugh-inducing production.  It’s Karamu at its best!

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

Mark Horning

This is one of those complete shows that offers more entertainment for the buck than any other in recent memory. It is uproariously funny, sexy, dangerous, poignant and just downright entertaining. The bit over two hours of stage time flies by which is proof of a great show and oh that surprise ending. See this show...Damn! 

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


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.

Sunday, September 22, 2019

COPENHAGEN @ Cesear's Forum



September 20-October 26
216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org

Roy Berko

“Copenhagen” continues Cesear’s Forum for doing small cast, high quality, thought provoking plays, that draw in a thinking crowd.  Though a long sit, the play is an idea-expanding experience that is well-worth seeing.

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


Saturday, September 21, 2019

INTO THE BREECHES @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Allen Theate

September 14-October 6, 2019


Roy Berko


Into the Breeches!” is the most fun I’ve had in a theater in a long time.  It’s an absolutely must see, and opens CPH’s season on a very, very high note! Go! Laugh-out-loud!  

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

Howard Gollop

It's hard not to like a simple comedy that pushes all the women/LGBT/race buttons. Brandt further stacks the deck by moving the play from Chicago to Cleveland (and briefly Parma where the frustrated aging prima donna briefly escapes to star in a children's theater production of "Cinderella"). 

Mark Horning


This show while touching on the poignant stories so evident during World War II does so with absolute hilarity. It is laugh out loud screaming funny that will carry you through to the next day and beyond. If you have not had a good belly laugh for awhile here is your chance and that’s no joke.

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


Laura Kennelly

BOTTOM LINE: A genuinely funny play that takes stereotypes and turns them inside out and then back again. Its often satiric “sorry, not sorry” Cleveland vibe, aided by dynamic physical comedy, wins the day. A brilliant blend of literature and history, comedy and tragedy, the Cleveland Play House’s Into the Breeches! should be on everyone’s “must see” list.

For the full review see: Into the Breeches!

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

Andrea Simakis

It's not that women aren't capable of competing and scheming.  It's jut that got about it in more artful ways.  And, in George Brandt's "Into the Breeches," the warm-hearted backstage comedy with a topical bite, that manipulation is for a good cause.

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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

GLENNGARRY GLEN ROSS @ THE BECK CENTER



Through October 6, 2019
(216) 521-2540


Howard Gollop


Pendleton alone merits this production a must-see accolade. But considering all the other ample qualities of Beck's dramatic tragedy "Glengarry Glen Ross," to miss it would be the bigger tragedy by far.
Mark Horning

Shady business deals, foul language, backstabbing, crime and just plain nastiness combine in this excellent production that shows how far men will go to succeed. This classic tale of greed and double dealing is a great morality play to experience. See this for the drama.
  
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's Review here.


Laura Kennelly

Watching the characters con, lie and trick each other in the Beck Center’s Glengarry Glen Ross reminded me of the truth embedded in Shakespeare’s catchy phrase about lust: “an expanse of spirit in a waste of shame.” David Mamet’s Pulitzer Prize-winning (1984) work portrays a toxic blend of lust (for money), vanity and a “mine is bigger than yours” business culture. It offers a perfect illustration of the myriad ways humans can betray each other. Bummer. 

For more go to Glengarry at the Beck
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

"Glengarry"--with its usual cast of seven men--is Brough to vicious, vitriolic life in a production now on stage art Beck Center for the Arts.

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

Saturday, September 14, 2019

BY THE BOG OF CATS @ ENSEMBLE THEATRE



Through September 29, 2019
 (216) 321-2930

Roy Berko


Much in the tradition of Brian Friel and James Joyce, “By the Bog of Cats” is one of those Irish angst plays that shares the customs and folkways of the Emerald Isle.  The Ensemble production is nicely conceived, with a master class in performance skills by Derdriu Ring. 

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

Mark Horning


As the audience was leaving the theater, having witnessed an Irish tragedy of epic proportions many were openly crying. This is powerful writing and acting combined with all the needed technical elements that can bring to the surface such strong emotions. This is raw theater in its most elemental form and should not be missed. Be brave and see this play.  

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


Sunday, September 8, 2019

THE BOOK OF MORMON (Huntington Bank Series) @ Connor Palace


September 6-15, 2019
216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org

Roy Berko


 If you haven’t seen “The Book of Mormon,” or need a new shot of irreverent satire which skewers anyone and everyone, this is an absolute go see production. If you are a language prude, religious fanatic, or aren’t in the mood for ridiculous delight, too bad, as you are going to miss one hell of a good show!  It’s everything a modern musical that is meant for pure entertainment, with a sip of philosophy, should be! 


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


Saturday, September 7, 2019

STUPID FUCKING BIRD @ Dobama



  September 6-29, 2019
  216-932-3396 


Roy Berko

As a person present at the very start of Dobama, I would say that Donald Bianchi, the theatre’s founder, would approve and be delighted that “his” theatre is still fulfilling “his” dream by producing the wondrous likes of “Stupid Fucking Bird.”  Kudos to the director, technicians and actors for launching this glorious flight.

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

Mark Horning


For those in the legions of theater goers in the Cleveland area who like stark and conflictatory in your face theater this little gem is a must see “Site Specific Performance Event” that will have you attempting to wrestle with inner questions of your own. See it with someone whom you love to argue with for an interesting ride home.

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

Andrea Simakis

After seeing the Dobama Theatre production of "Supid f---ing Bird," Aron Posner's "sort of"adaptation of Anton Chekhov's "The Seagull," it'll be hard to sit through the real McCoy again.  It just won't be as fun.

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

Saturday, August 31, 2019

SHAKESPEARE'S ROMEO AND JULIET @ convergence continuum


August 30-September 21, 2019
216-687-0074 or www.convergence-continuum

Roy Berko


Though the cast puts out full effort, con-con’s “Shakespeare’s R&J” is Bard-light, leaving a lot on the page. 


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



Saturday, August 24, 2019

LOBBY HERO @ BLANK CANVAS



Through September 7, 2019
(440) 941-0458

Roy Berko

“Lobby Hero” is a well-conceived script that gets a superior production at Blank Canvas.

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

Mark Horning


Blank Canvas does a wonderful job when producing musicals in their living room size stage area using ingenious steps and risers combinations. That flat stage area seems bigger but unfortunately the production itself is small. 

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

Sunday, August 18, 2019

WOODY'S ORDER! @ none too fragile


August 16-31, 2019
330-962-5547 or nonetoofragile.com

Roy Berko



None Too Fragile starts off its tenure in its new Akron theatrical home with a must see production!


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


Friday, August 9, 2019

THE NATIONAL TOURING PRODUCTION OF THE LION KING @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through September 1, 2019
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Touring ‘The Lion King’ time-worn but still spectacular.

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


 If you have not seen the stage version of “The Lion King” do it now!  Due to the complicated technical aspects, and exceptional puppets and costumes, no community theatre is going to be able to duplicate the production qualities.  Besides, these are difficult roles to sing, dance and act.  It takes professionals to pull it off.  Go!  Enjoy!  But, maybe leave the young and more sensitive kids at home.


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


Howard Gollop

Fortunately, there are enough theatrical diversions and visual flourishes to render an overall enjoyable evening, not the least of which is the choreography by Garth Fagan. A Joffrey Ballet-style dance of lioness hunters is most striking, although, for some reason, this tour offers a truncated rendition of the show's biggest hit, "Can You Feel the Love Tonight," which originally featured a Cirque du Soleil style interlude.

But nothing tops that opening vista of the African animal kingdom -- an atmospheric triumph of set design by Richard Hudson and lighting design by Donald Holder -- paying homage to the title star of the show. The opening also pays tribute to one of the greatest Broadway talents of contemporary Broadway -- director and puppet master Julie Taymor.

Mark Horning


This is a show that will easily sell out throughout its next performances so get your tickets quickly. It is a totally immersive theater experience that will take your breath away. It has it all: grandeur, spectacle, comedy, tragedy, sound, music, dancing, puppets and great performances. This show is age appropriate for age ten and up but may be too dark and sensory intense for younger children. 

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