Friday, October 26, 2012


A BRIGHT NEW BOISE
Dobama Theatre
October 26-November 18, 2012
216-932-3396 or dobama.org

Bob Abelman

Walking into the Dobama Theatre’s production is like stepping into Edward Hopper's iconic 1942 painting, “Nighthawks.”   On the surface, “A Bright New Boise” appears to be telling a simple, two-dimensional story.   But then it reveals the playwright’s aptitude for dark comedy, his remarkable capacity to capture in words the intense desperation of human suffering, and the many layers of complexity he hides just below its surface.  Director Nathan Motta digs deep and his superb cast uncovers everything.

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

Roy Berko

Though the message, due to the abstract nature of the concept of Rapture and religious differences may turn off some viewers, Dobama’s A BRIGHT NEW BOISE, featuring superb acting and focused directing, is a production well worth seeing!
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Fran Heller

Winner of the 2011 OBIE award for Best Playwriting, "Boise" is a beautifully written play whose quirky, eccentric characters may seem alien to you or to me, but who grow on the viewer in ways that are humorous and heartbreaking.  The deeply moving Dobama production under Nathan Motta's piercingly intelligent direction features an ensemble whose richly etched characterizations make for an evening of thoughtful and rewarding theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
Using minimum-wage workers at a typical craft store as his palette, the playwright attempts a thematic reach-around. While plumbing the depths of one character's personal search for meaning, Hunter also tries to diddle the complexities of a father-son relationship. It's an ambitious gambit, garnished with a surprising number of laughs. 

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

Marjorie Preston
  
Dobama Theatre's current production, “A Bright New Boise,” by Samuel D. Hunter, confronts religion's effect on each of the characters working at a Hobby Lobby in Boise, Idaho. Religion may be a coping mechanism, but in this drama that is also heavily comic, it is an escape from the harsh realities of life.  The cast of “A Bright New Boise” rises to the occasion and delivers a thoroughly engrossing, thought-provoking and funny evening of theater.
To see a full review of this show, read Marjorie Preston's blog here.

Andrea Simakis

Despite some flaws in the script and pacing issues -- a few scenes needed a swig of Red Bull -- Samuel D. Hunter's 2011 Obie-winning play resonates now more than ever, and the Dobama Theatre production wrings both tragedy and comedy from the quiet desperation of clock punchers. Though worth seeing, the show leaves you in purgatory
To see a full review of this show, go to
http://www.cleveland.com/onstage/index.ssf/2012/10/dobama_theatres_a_bright_new_b.html

THE MISANTHROPE
Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program
October 24-November 3, 2012
                                      216-241-6000 or go to www.clevelandplayhouse.com


Roy Berko

CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Programs’,  THE MISANTHROPE, is a delightful production of a historic classic.
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Fran Heller

Moliere's bittersweet, darkly satiric masterpiece about an idealist who cannot function in the hypocritical society in which he lives remains timeless.  The production sparkles under the knowing direction of Donald Carrier, and an ensemble perfectly attuned to Richard Wilbur's translation in rhymed couplets, making the 400-year old comedy of manners accessible and enjoyable.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Sunday, October 14, 2012


KID SIMPLE: a radio play in the flesh
converence-continuum
October 5 through October 27

 convergence-continiuum.org or 216-687-0074


Christine Howey


Centered on a most intriguing concept, the play veers off into uncharted territory. And that could be a good thing. But due to one less than inspired performance and fuzzy direction by Geoffrey Hoffman, the whole enterprise basically (sfx: bowling ball dropped into a box of wet mud).

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


THE COLOR PURPLE
KARAMU PERFORMING ARTS THEATRE
October 4-28
216-795-7077 or www.karamuhouse.org


Roy Berko


THE COLOR PURPLE, which is an appropriate selection for Karamu’s mission, gets a good, but somewhat flawed production, filled with some wonderful singing and acting.

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


Fran Heller

Credit belongs to artistic director Terrence Spivey for bringing this mega-musical to Karamu House.  With a cast of 46, most of whom are non-professional actors, 15 scenes and as many set changes, and more than 25 songs in this operetta-style musical, 'Purple' is a monumental challenge that the Karamu production meets with uneven results.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Christine Howey

There are so many good things in this ambitious production of The Color Purple at Karamu House that it almost seems churlish to point out a couple major problems. Trouble is, those problems affect the overall impact of the piece, and that’s most unfortunate.

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

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED
Beck Center for the Arts
October 5-November 11
216-521-2540 or http://www.beckcenter.org

Bob Abelman


For a play full of characters who readily admit an inability to identify their feelings in a police lineup, it is not for want of trying or for a lack of eloquent verbiage to do so.  Douglas Carter Beane’s “The Little Dog Laughed” is the kind of theater that requires and rewards a careful listening to. 

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

Roy Berko


THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED continues the recent trend of area theatres to probe into the gay phenomenon.  Though it is somewhat dated due to changing attitudes towards gays in the arts, it still makes for an interesting theatrical experience.

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

Fran Heller

The acerbic comedy parallels the lies and deceptions of the movie industry with the lies and deceptions of two gay men in denial about their real identity.
Play takes on Hollywood's hypocritical stance about homosexuality.
This dog bites at Beck..


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey

This sneaky, snarky play by Douglas Carter Beane is about a film star, Mitchell, whose flickering fascination with gay sex is causing problems for his razor-edged agent, Diane. And under Scott Plate's propulsive direction, the humor lances all the right targets.

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

Kory

If you are offended by the male form, this is not the show for you. Period. If you can get past the random scattered booty, or if it’s your primary motivation, you will thoroughly enjoy this incredible production playing now at Lakewood’s Beck Center For The Arts.

To see a full review of this show, link to http://new102.com/korysreviews

Andrea Simakis

Plate's "The Little Dog Laughed" is entertainment for grown-ups, and
the director assumes his audience is urbane enough to handle a show
that depicts sex between two men with fearless frankness. And what a
show it is.


To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' review on Cleveland.com go to:http://www.cleveland.com/onstage/index.ssf/2012/10/beck_centers_the_little_dog_la.html

STANDING ON CEREMONY:  THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS
CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE
October 4-20
216-631-2727 or go to www.cptonline.org

Bob Abelman


“Standing on Ceremony” will not win converts.  It is, in fact, preaching loud and clear to a choir of gays, lesbians, and sympathetic straights.  But this comfortably casual portrayal of tradition and traditional values with a twist creates a reaffirming sense of normalcy where once there was none.  This play’s power lies in the air of social acceptance it breathes and in its delightful presentation at the CPT.  

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


Roy Berko

STANDING ON CEREMONY;  THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS is a must see production for anyone who has empathy toward the same sex marriage movement.  It should be required seeing for conservatives who don’t understand why there is a need for a “gay agenda.”


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

Fran Heller

"Standing on Ceremony" explores how far society has come in terms of same sex unions and how far it needs to go.  While the play serves as a platform for the gay agenda, it remains an evening of very entertaining theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Christine Howey

Concise, sometimes hilarious, and often touching, the pieces find pro-gay marriage truths that need telling. And even if a couple of the vignettes are just skits, and some of the acting a bit forced, the absurdity of denying gay marriage and "reducing the amount of love in the world" comes storming through.

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

Kory

Regardless of what side of this issue you sit on, STANDING ON CEREMONY: THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS is wildly entertaining and sure to leave a lasting impression.
To see a full review of this show, link to http://new102.com/korysreviews

Andrea Simakis

"Standing on Ceremony: The Gay Marriage Plays" makes no apologies for being what it is -- a piece of agitprop theater gift-wrapped as a collection of one-acts by some of America's hottest playwrights. Sure, it's good for you like dried kale, but Cleveland Public Theatre's first major work of the season tastes great, too. It's screamingly funny, moving and shot through with a ripped-from-the-headlines urgency. Best of all, it's about something.

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

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

WILL ROGERS' U.S.A.
Actors' Summit
October 4-28, 2012
                                               330-342-0800 or go to www.actorssummit.org


Roy Berko

Will Rogers was a great American humorist and philosopher.  His understated humor is sage wisdom, but does not make for compelling theatre, in spite of a nice presentation by Neil Thackaberry at Actors’ Summit.  

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

Kerry Clawson


There’s a lot of love going around Actors’ Summit for American folk hero Will Rogers, the legendary trick roper, humorist and film star who entertained the country from the Roaring ’20s through the Great Depression.  Neil Thackaberry cuts a gum-snappin’, cowboy-hat-wearin’ figure as the loquacious Rogers. But on opening night Friday, he slid in and out of a subtly folksy accent back into his normally clipped elocution, which didn’t help his characterization.

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


Fran Heller

For 90 non-stop minutes, Thackaberry as Rogers regales with pithy aphorisms and wry observations on subject matter ranging from American Indians, politics, medicine and education to foreign policy and war, sentiments that sound uncannily contemporary more than 75 years later.
To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Sunday, October 7, 2012


IMAGINARY INVALID
GREAT LAKES THEATER
October 5-November 3, 2012

216-664-6064 or www.greatlakestheater.org

Bob Abelman

What starts out as a madcap makeover through the infusion of 1960s pop culture and original music reveals drastic cosmetic surgery on a 17th century satire.  Fortunately, it is not of the Joan Rivers variety.

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

Roy Berko


Tracy Young’s direction and the efforts of her cast pay off in a presentation of THE IMAGINARY INVALID that, from the reactions of the opening night audience, pleased many.  On the other hand, MoliĆ©re purists, and those who think comedy is comedy and not farce, will probably not be overjoyed.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Fran Heller

In an election year, with the hotbed issue of health care buzzing around the candidates and the nation like a swarm of bees, "The Imaginary Invalid," Moliere's 17th century comedy of manners about a hypochondriac at the mercy of his mercenary doctors couldn't be more timely.
Great Lakes Theater's slightly naughty and wildly imaginative romp of a production under the knowing wink of director Tracy Young is the perfect antidote for whatever ails you.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
If you've lost touch with your inner four-year-old, the one who loves nothing more than poop/butt/fart jokes, you'd be an ass not to see The Imaginary Invalid, now at Great Lakes Theater. This is a show so laden with cheeky puns about buttocks and bung holes, an audience member may qualify for a proctologist's license by the time the curtain falls.

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

Kory

Unlike some of GLT’s more polorizing work, read: Shakespeare, THE IMAGINARY INVALID gives a classic play a modern upgrade and does it to perfection. This show has a little something for everyone and is guaranteed to entertain.

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

Andrea Simakis

The lowbrow sensibility that pervades "The Imaginary Invalid" is meant to evoke the commedia dell'arte -- the Punch and Judy people's theater of Moliere's time. What does that look like on the contemporary stage?  Sight gags about leeches, suppositories and hypodermics (a 4-foot-long Wile E. Coyote-style needle is plunged into the rump of an apothecary who looks like a buff Andy Warhol), slapstick involving narcolepsy, groaning puns ("It's a light opera," a character quips, one with "fewer calories") and, of course, fart jokes.

To see a full review of this show, link to

Art Thomas

This production is the epitome of Great Lakes mission, "reimagining the classics." With Moliere's simple plot as the base, director Tracy Young adds layers upon layers, including America's 1960's disco fashion and dance as well as contemporary political references. The production delights those with open minds, but it's a bit like a two-pound box of chocolates into which three pounds have been stuffed. 

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Friday, October 5, 2012



THE KARDIAC KIDS
Cleveland Public Theatre
October 4-20, 2012
216-631-2727 or www.cptonline.org



Roy Berko


You don’t have to be a Cleveland football fanatic, or even a Clevelander to enjoy Eric Schmiedl’s THE KARDIAC KIDS.  You don’t have to, but it helps.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Fran Heller

Cleveland playwright Eric Schmiedl loves the Cleveland Browns.
His affection comes across loud and clear in "The Kardiac Kid", a memory play and warmhearted valentine to the team, the fans and the city.
More than a monologue about football, the game becomes a metaphor for life, and how life can change, like the outcome of a game, in a heartbeat.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News


Christine Howey


The Kardiac Kid is a poignant love letter to the Browns, to the city and to those who suffer to this day in our orange and brown knit caps. With a pom pom on top.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Thursday, October 4, 2012




NEXT FALL
Blank Canvas
OCTOBER 5-21, 2012 

440-941-0458 or
www.blankcanvastheatre.com


Roy Berko



NEXT FALL continues the Blank Canvas’s streak of well conceived productions of challenging scripts.  Though viewers may have to set aside their own individual beliefs in order to buy into the play’s ending, this is an overall positive theatrical experience and very well worth seeing.

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

Fran Heller

A strong cast coupled with Patrick Ciamacco's sensitive and intelligent direction brings this quietly affecting story about love and friendship, death and religious faith to stirring life.
Strength of play is the playwright's compassionate, nonjudgmental approach to all sides of the religious divide.
There isn't one false emotion or move in this ensemble of actors, who make their characters utterly believable.


To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey
On the way to a questionable ending, this is one of the most genuinely warm and funny scripts in recent memory. And the talented cast, under the compassionate and assured direction of Patrick Ciamacco, misses very few beats in telling this story of love and loss.

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


ANYTHING GOES
PlayhouseSquare
October 2-14, 2012
216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org

Bob Abelman

This play, this touring production of it, and the performances within it are of such high caliber that it is the perfect example of what is so great about the Great White Way.  These traveling dignitaries, in the first city on the first leg of their year-long national tour, will leave you breathless.

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


Roy Berko

ANYTHING GOES is a total delight and a must see!  You’ll come out of the theatre thinking of the show that “It’s De-lovely,” that “I Get a Kick Out of You” because “You’re The Top,” and so “Easy To Love. 
  
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Fran Heller

Triple threat Rachel York is beautiful to look at, lovely to listen to, and delightful to watch as Reno Sweeney, leading the ensemble in such show-stopping numbers as the tap-dancing phenomenon, "Anything Goes" and the sensual "Blow Gabriel Blow" which blew the audience away in sustained applause and rightfully so. "Anything Goes" is showbiz at its seductive best.

To see a full review of this show, read Fran Heller's review at the Cleveland Jewish News

Christine Howey

This is another chance to see and hear those great Porter songs, and another opportunity to see ensemble tap dancing that virtually lifts you out of your seat. And should be worth a ticket in anyone’s budget.

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

Kory
If you like a big, ‘old broadway’ flashy, flawless, hilarious, musical theatre spectacle, there is no way ANYTHING GOES will disappoint!
To see a full review of this show, link to http://new102.com/korysreviews

Andrea Simakis

Rachel York embodies the brash, bawdy Reno Sweeney -- made famous by Ethel Merman when "Anything Goes" first set sail on Broadway in 1934 -- with a wink and a purr. And her pipes? Gather 'round, brothers and sisters, and prepare to receive the gospel: Her voice combines paint-peeling power with a luxe smoothness, like a ribbon of dark chocolate spiked with cayenne pepper.

 To see a full review of this show, link to
http://www.cleveland.com/onstage/index.ssf/2012/10/playhousesquare_production_of.html  

Art Thomas

Less than three months closed on Broadway, this "Anything Goes" emphasizes the strengths of the cast and director--dance. It helps that many of Cole Porter's best tunes are in this show. On the  opening night of the tour, the snappy dialogue resonated with the audience who stood and cheered at the end. There's nothing dated in this production. It is a bright, clean, and energized show. 

Click here to read Art Thomas' complete review at WestLife