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.

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

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

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.

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

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, July 28, 2019

TUCK EVERLASTING @ FRENCH CREEK THEATRE



Through August 4, 2019
(440) 949-5200

Bob Abelman

French Creek Theatre’s production proves that a good story told with a lot of heart can relate to audiences of all ages and withstand the test of time.

To see a full review of this show, by guest critic Gwen Kochur, go to: www.clevelandjewishnews.com/news/culture/theater/

Laura Kennelly

BOTTOM LINE: It’s always fun to see a well-directed, well-played professional theatre production: this is one. It’s suitable for all ages and the bleacher-style seats mean everyone can see everything. The show also may make you thankful that you cannot freeze your age and live forever.

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

Friday, July 26, 2019

THE MUSIC MAN @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE



Through  August 11, 2019
(330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman

Is there a better time than now to escape to Meredith Willson’s musical comedy safe-haven of River City, Iowa in 1912?  And is there a better place to do it than at the Porthouse amphitheater, summer home of the Equity actor-enhanced productions of Kent State University’s musical theater program?

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

“The Music Man” is a staple of the American musical theatre genre.  It makes for a wonderful summer escape.  The Porthouse production is not without its flaws, but all in all, the end result is a pleasurable experience.


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

Mark Horning


Gather the family for an old fashion picnic on the spacious grounds surrounding Porthouse Theatre followed by a nostalgic journey to simpler times. You will leave the performance humming one of the many grand tunes in this nearly perfect show.

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

Sunday, July 14, 2019

MATILDA @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS



Through August 11, 2019
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman


Although I adore Roald Dahl’s darkly satirical children’s book, “Matilda,” I am not a fan of Dennis Kelly’s musical adaptation.  And yet there is much to love about the Beck Center for the Arts’ production of it.

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

“Matilda The Musical” is the kind of show that many will like, especially kids who have read the book.  Wonderful performances by the kids in the cast and creative choreography make the show a pleasant sit, in spite of not being able to understand much of the dialogue due to the poor sound system and English accents.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

Everything’s colorfully off-kilter in Roald Dahl’s wacky worlds, from “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” to “Matilda,” whose musical version is bursting with subversive fun at Beck Center for the Arts. Under Scott Spence’s direction, the cast thoroughly embraces both the cartoonish and the dark humor in this fantastical tale of a gifted little girl who discovers she has the power of telekinesis.

To see a full review of this show, see https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.

Mark Horning


With it being summer and the kids out of school this could be an opportunity to expose the little ones to live musical theater. As long as you are not a stickler for being able to hear and understand each and every word you will be fine.

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

THE TOXIC AVENGER @ BLANK CANVAS



Though July 27, 2019
(440) 941-0458

Roy Berko


“The Toxic Avenger” isn’t great theater, but it is lots of fun for those inclined to enjoy the bizarre and are willing to laugh at the slapstick shticks that make this production a wonderful summer escape. 


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

Mark Horning

Sometimes theater lets its hair down and does it just for giggles. The Toxic Avenger is pure farce with some witty songs that reflects on environmental issues but does it very tongue in cheek. It will “Kick Your Ass.”

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


TOM AT THE FARM @ CONVERGENCE CONTINUUM


Through August 3, 2019
(216) 687-0074

Roy Berko

“Tom at the Farm” fulfills the theatre’s mission of “expanding human imagination and extends the conventional boundaries of language, structure, space and performance.”  This is the kind of play with sexual overtones and the bizarre that turns on the typical con-con loyalist.  Overall, in spite of strong production, the play leaves us wanting since we don’t develop strong feelings of connection with any of the characters and the contrived nature of the plot.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

THE TOURING PRODUCTION OF COME FROM AWAY @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through July 28, 2019
(216) 241-6000


Bob Abelman

“Come From Away” whispers while so many other productions shout.

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

Roy Berko

Come From Away” is a special musical that creatively tells a heart-wrenching story of compassion, caring and a display of the best of humanity with humor and pathos.  It makes for one of those special moments in the theater.  The touring production is beyond excellent and is an absolutely must see!!  

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

The story of “Come From Away” is one of such life-affirming kindness and caring, it’s a balm to behold on stage in these times of political ugliness. The North American tour of this beautiful musical, which tells the true stories of 7,000 passengers grounded in Gander, Newfoundland, following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States, played to a jubilant standing ovation Wednesday night at the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square.

To see a full review of this show, see https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.

Howard Gollop

But the show is a lot smarter than at first perceived. The dramatic device of having cast members narrate a mosaic of vignettes as they pop in and out of colorful, emblematic and sometimes token roles is usually a hoary anti-dramatic device that could prove clunky, but here it works well, thanks to the precise direction of Christopher Ashley.

Mark Horning


If you are one of the many who wonder exactly where this country and the world is headed this is a must see show. The contrast of tragedy, drama and comedy are carefully blended with a story of unabashed charity as an example of what great people are capable of. It is a lesson we all need to relearn. Come for a performance that will have you laughing and crying at the same time.

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

Laura Kennelly


BOTTOM LINE: Come From Away may even be perfect for skeptics who say they hate musicals because they judge them fake or too sentimental or too satirical or whatever. It’s none of those things. An unlikely subject for a musical? Probably, and yet, it’s a perfect mix of story and song that doesn’t wallow in tragedy or negative emotion. If you only go to one show this year, let it be this one.

To see a full review of this show see CoolCleveland.com or read Laura's blog at artstillmatters.com

 Andrea Simakis

'Come from Away'--powerful story of 9/11 that shows that life is comic and tragic all at once--resonates today.

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

Sunday, July 7, 2019

CHAPLIN @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY



Through July 21, 2019
(216) 771-5862

Bob Abelman

Mercury salvages a saccharine ‘Chaplin.’

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

Saturday, July 6, 2019

TINTYPES @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE



Through July 20, 2019
(330) 672-3884


Roy Berko


“Tintypes” is a musical revue which reminds of the desires, values and worth of immigrants.  It reinforces the idea of why the less fortunate of the world are willing to risk their very lives in their desire to live the American dream. In its own way, it highlights the present battle over immigration. 
 

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

 Kerry Clawson

“Tintypes” is a fast-paced, peppy musical revue at Porthouse Theatre. It celebrates the rapid change that took place in America between the 1870s and 1920. ... This musical attempts to cover a lot of historical territory, including the rapid industrialization, factory workers’ plight, politics and entertainment of the era. But there’s no story with a solid through line to bring us through that time period, so audiences experience snapshots of that history almost solely through music.

To see a full review of this show, see https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.
 
Mark Horning


While the July 4th holiday brings out a plethora of patriotic concerts and shows, Tintypes manages to strike a nice balance of contemporary and rousing martial music making for an extremely fine evening of family entertainment. Bring a picnic dinner to enjoy at the spacious grounds surrounding the theater and prepare to go home feeling good.

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

Friday, June 28, 2019

33 1/3 @ Dobama



Through July 14, 2019
216-932-3396
 or http://www.dobama.org/

                                                              

Bob Abelman

In Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy of manners “Private Lives,” music plays a crucial role when the brilliant dialogue cannot carry all the emotional weight of the storytelling.  So much so that one of the characters casually remarks: “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”

This sentiment drives Jay Turvey and Paul Sportelli’s new musical “33 1/3,” which re-imagines the jukebox musical so that pop music becomes the subject matter and not the accompanying score.  And it does so with endearing sentimentality, a subtle sense of humor, and a remarkable delicacy that draws the audience into its nostalgic world and keeps us there in a gentle embrace.

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

“33 1/3,” in its world premiere at Dobama, is a work in progress.  It will be interesting to see what, if any changes the authors make as the piece moves forward.  You might want to see it here, so you can say “I saw it in its infancy.” 

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

Mark Horning

All shows during their evolution have needed shortening, the inserting of a block buster song as well as a song to illustrate the main character’s desires. This is what this show could use. While this staging is “nice” it needs more biting comedy, a stronger story and a hit song or two all in a shortened time frame. 

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

Monday, June 17, 2019

RAGTIME THE MUSICAL @ Cain Park



June 13-30, 2019
216-371-3000 

or http://cainpark.com

Bob Abelman

Cain Park’s exquisitely pared down ‘Ragtime’ finds the core humanity that drives this musical.

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

“Ragtime” tells an important tale that needs to be seen and heard.   Except for an over-enthusiastic orchestra and some audio balance problems, this production does the script justice.  It’s well worth the sit!

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

Laura Kennelly

The swiftly-moving Ragtime: The Musical, now at Cain Park’s Alma Theater, gives a musical snapshot of early 1900s in New York City. Based on E. L. Doctorow’s fine and dramatic novel with the same name, it features book by Terrence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens. The Cain Park production,  directed by Joanna May Cullinan, pays appropriate homage to the classic America-as-melting-pot narrative (at least to the New York City, East Coast  version).

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


Saturday, June 15, 2019

MAN OF LA MANCHA @ Porthouse


Through June 29, 2019

Bob Abelman



Porthouse’s gorgeous ‘Man of La Mancha’ inspires tilting at windmills.


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
 
Terri Kent’s soul of humanness and Martin Céspedes’s creativity and visual perception are stamped all over this captivating production.  It is a “Man of La Mancha” for the 2019s.   It’s a musical drama which has an important story to tell.  GO!  Experience theater at is finest!


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

Kerry Clawson

At Porthouse Theatre, Fabio Polanco expertly takes on one of the most dramatic musical theater roles of all time — Miguel de Cervantes/Don Quixote in a swashbuckling, romantic and bittersweet performance of “Man of La Mancha.” Director Terri Kent’s cast of 21 is thoroughly invested in this world of the old nobleman gone mad who has dubbed himself the errant knight Don Quixote and set out with his squire, Sancho Panza (Timothy Culver).

To see a full review of this show, see https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.


Mark Horning

Any show that can make a weather weary audience forget about the rain outside with a two and a half hour theatrical vacation knows how to do it right. This updated version of a Broadway classic is must see summer theater. Grab a rain coat and make your way to Porthouse Theatre.

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







Friday, June 14, 2019

DEAR EVAN HANSEN @ Connor Palace (Key Bank Broadway Series)


June 11-30, 2019
216-241-6000 
or www.playhousesquare.org

Bob Abelman

The sobbing you hear underscoring the production of “Dear Evan Hansen” – currently on tour and on stage at Playhouse Square after being recognized as the best musical on Broadway in 2017 – is coming from both sides of the proscenium.  It is the sound of actors lost in their astoundingly honest and gut-wrenching depiction of people in pain and the audience’s gut-response to it.

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

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a mesmerizing evening of contemporary musical theatre.  Complete with pop-contemporary music sounds, complete with art songs and narrative story-telling tunes, and a relevant story line, it is one of the finest examples of the new wave of musical dramas.  Don’t go expecting show-stoppers and an escapist plot, this is life as it is being lived, with all its angst and issues.  The touring production is excellent and is an absolutely must see!!  
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

The blockbuster “Dear Evan Hansen” starts out as a sad, intimate musical about crippling social anxiety and isolation but ends up turning into something quite different.  At the helm of this brilliant show, now on national tour at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace, is astounding 21-year-old actor Ben Levi Ross, who is a bundle of raw nerves and emotion as the teenage title character. He makes us love Evan Hansen — nervous tics, lies and all — with his character’s self-deprecating humor and sweet heart.

To see a full review of this show, read Kerry Clawson's review at https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.

Howard Gollop

But this is not some sort of intimate studio production; this is a big Broadway musical. Cue the talents of lighting designer Japhy Weideman and set designer David Korins, who have created the perfect world of smartphone images and piercing illuminations where such a story as this can blossom majestically. Michael Greif’s direction molds the labyrinth of ideas, words, songs and images into graspable cohesion, But back to Levenson’s book — so original and compelling, the audience has no idea by the end of the first act how it could end with an accessible, agreeable conclusion. Yet it does end — more satisfyingly than imagined — and the characters and the audience are all the better for it.

Laura Kennelly

Overheard on the way out of the Connor Palace Theatre: “This show would be great for psychologists.” The show? The long-awaited Dear Evan Hansen. multiple award winner, including a 2017 Tony for  Best Musical.  Directed by Michael Greif, with book by Steven Levenson, score by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the musical explores alienation, family dynamics and chance. Greif, surely a master of unhappiness, offers a sad and serious look at life for several teens and two sets of parents. It should come as no surprise to learn that he also directed Rent and Next to Normal. The characters and the subtext (modern life can be pretty awful, but there’s hope for us all) echo a similar perspective.

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

Andrea Simakis

This isn't a show out to corner a narrow tween/teen market.  "Dear Evan Hansen" is for everyone who has ever felt lost and broken and unloved.  That's part of its irrestible, universal appeal!

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

Monday, June 10, 2019

MAMMA MIA @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY



Through June 23, 2019
(216) 771-5862

Bob Abelman

Mercury offers an infectious but undistinguished Mamma Mia!’

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


Saturday, June 1, 2019

KING LEAR @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS


Through June 30, 2019
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman

Beck Center offers a well-acted but ill-conceived ‘King Lear.’  

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

Mark Horning


With its bare bones set and costuming in this 100 seat theater you are in for an intimate and totally immersing experience of Shakespeare as you rarely see it. The only way to make it more compelling would be to assign lines to the audience members. This is truly one of the best cast and most vivid productions of this outstanding drama. Buy a ticket and be amazed.

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


Laura Kennelly

Shakespeare’s King Lear shines with fresh light in this subtle and brilliant Beck Center production. Director  Eric Schmiedl has created a new view of this familiar classic by ditching frills, fancy  costumes and elaborate sets. It’s nothing like the King Lear you might have been forced to read in school (of course, if you liked it then, never mind this sentence.)

For the full review see King Lear.

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

Sunday, May 26, 2019

ELTON JOHN & TIM RICE'S AIDA @ KARAMU


May 23-June 16, 2019
216-795-7077 
or go to http://www.karamuhouse.org/


Bob Abelman


Karamu’s ‘Aida’ is so good it earned a standing ovation at intermission.

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

Roy Berko
   
In evaluating productions, it is important that a reviewer take into consideration the venue and the company doing the show.   Karamu’s “Aida” cannot be compared to the Broadway or professional touring company. None of the youngish cast are Equity members.  They range from being seasoned community and educational theater performers to stage newbies.  That taken into consideration, audiences should enjoy themselves with this Tony Sias directed production.

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

Kerry Clawson

In the musical “Aida” at Karamu House in Cleveland, actress Mary-Francis Miller creates a supreme blend of power and passion as the mythical title character. ... It’s too bad that her leading man, though, Darelle Hill as Radames, took a while to warm up to his role as the other half of this star-crossed duo in Sunday’s performance.

To see a full review of this show, see https://www.ohio.com/topics/clawson.

Mark Horning

What makes this show an exciting viewing experience is the sheer power of the vocals that sweeps the audience along for an amazing ride back to ancient Egypt. It is a show of love, loss, political intrigue, power, lust and greed...in effect, great entertainment. This is a great show to bring the entire family.

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