Sunday, July 28, 2013

ON THE LINE

none-to-fragile theater
July 26-August 24, 2013
330-671-4563 or nonetoofragile.com

Roy Berko

none too fragile’s ON THE LINE is one of the best lessons in unit acting that has appeared on a local stage.  For anyone interested in seeing acting masters in action, developing a thought-provoking script, in a well directed production, this is for you!  Hurrah!  

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

Fran Heller

A raw, powerful heart-hitting drama about three guys, lifelong friends, whose friendship and loyalty is challenged during a company strike pitting the men against management, the union and each other.
Sean Derry's smart direction and a trio of bravura performances make for an evening of riveting theatre.


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


Christine Howey

Early in the play, the guys refer to themselves as a miracle alloy, stronger by far than any of the individuals by themselves. And the same can be said for these three actors. It’s a performance so free and yet so well controlled, it’s a privilege to share the same space with them.

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

Kory
If you live near Akron, or don’t mind a bit of a drive, you will not find a better value for your entertainment dollar than None Too Fragile Theatre. This production of On The Line is heart-felt, hilarious, and authentic.
To see a full review of this show, read Kory's blog here.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF


Porthouse Theatre
July 26-August 11, 2013

Bob Abelman

“Fiddler” is a delight from start to finish, with each musical number more moving and well delivered than the next.  This stellar production ends a rather spotty season at Porthouse Theatre on a high note.   

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

Roy Berko

Nothing but admirable praise can be heaped on Eric van Baars and his Porthouse cast of FIDDLER.  This absolutely must see production is everything one would want in the creation of the tribute to a way of life destroyed, but lived!  L’Chaim!

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

Kerry Clawson

Cleveland-area actors George Roth and Tracee Patterson make an absolutely perfect couple in Porthouse Theatre’s captivating production of the beloved musical Fiddler on the Roof.
It’s a tour de force for Roth, who brilliantly creates the heartwarming Tevye, patriarch of a family of Jewish peasants. Roth brings finely tuned humor, beautiful singing and a huge heart to the role of the milkman...

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

Fran Heller

From the first plaintive notes of a violin...to the poignant strains of "Anatevka"as the villagers prepare to leave their homeland, there are so many highlights that one scarcely notices almost three hours have passed.
Director Eric van Baars maneuvers a cast of 32 with such seamless finesse that any distinction between seasoned pros and musical theatre students all but disappears.


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


Christine Howey


There is plenty of heart and poignancy in this tale, as the show’s book by Joseph Stein was spun from an original story by the famed Jewish author Sholem Aleichem. And that is what this solid production delivers in spades, as directed by Eric van Baars. 

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





Monday, July 22, 2013

BOSTON MARRIAGEA @ Mamai Theatre Company


BOSTON MARRIAGE
Mamai Theatre Company
July 18-August 4


Fran Heller
 

Words and lots of them is what this play is all about. It's a bloated linguistic conceit whose arch language is all style and little substance and requires a dictionary to decipher.
Despite Christine McBurney's brisk direction, which keeps the characters moving around the stage like musical chairs, and a trio of well-defined character portraits, the play is mired in verbal ping-pong that proves an insufferable bore.


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

Mark Horning

“Boston Marriage” is a light and frothy comedy that uses enough fancy dialog to make it interesting and engaging.  It is a whimsical snapshot period piece of days gone by and a nice evening’s diversion.  

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

Christine Howey

This play fascinates as much as it confounds, offering many deliciously dense passages that are both amusing and invigorating. But these Mametian verbal joustings go on so long, with very little actually happening (unlike, say, in Glengarry Glen Ross) that one eventually tires from this genteel exercise in conversational sparring.

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

Andrea Simakis
 

“Boston Marriage” — a turn-of-the-century euphemism for women living together who may or may not have been getting it on — is a comedy of manners the likes of which you have never seen. 

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

MAESTRO:  LEONARD BERNSTEIN
Cleveland Play House
July 17-August 4, 2013


Roy Berko
 

MAESTRO:  LEONARD BERNSTEIN is a compelling evening of discovery which exposes not only the life of a real person, but is an intriguing probe into the world of music and life in the arts.  This is a must see for anyone interested in music and theatre.

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

Kerry Clawson

In this highly educational and entertaining play, accomplished pianist Felder embodies the spirit of the conflicted conductor and composer who became a superstar as America’s ambassador of music.
 In one of the play’s most beautifully staged moments, Felder plays Wagner’s Love Death from the opera Tristan und Isolde simultaneously with a video above of Bernstein playing the piece. The moment is so seamless, the two men’s profiles so similar, and Felder so thoroughly embodies the composer’s persona, it almost seems as if the image above could be a live video feed.

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


Fran Heller
 


The show is a love letter to Bernstein.
Felder, who sings, acts, plays the piano and impersonates a host of other characters, delivers such a strong portrait of Bernstein that the line between the legendary musician and the actor portraying him all but dissolves
.
 

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

Mark Horning

Maestro: Leonard Bernstein is a show that people who grew up on “Young Peoples Concerts” will love.  It is a tribute to greatness that for many of those in our golden years owe our love of classical music.  Singing aside, Hershey Felder does a fine job.

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


Christine Howey



Felder, who has done solo romps through the lives of other composers (Gershwin, Chopin, Beethoven) is an abundantly talented pianist and performer, weaving together music and dialect-inflected stories in this 105-minute tour de force. However, there are aspects of the show that one might wish were more thoroughly thought through.

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


Kory

Maestro: Leonard Bernstein is a truly immersive masterpiece of American theatre. Felder will have you so deeply engaged in Bernstein’s life, that you live and die with his every emotion, and feel like you could fly with every wave of the late-great conductors hand. This is a show that you don’t so much view, but feel. You will marvel at the talent, charisma, humor and passion of a complex and fascinating man named Leonard Bernstein.

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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

COMEDY OF ERRORS @ Ohio Shakespeare Festival


July 4-21, 2013
http://ohioshakespeare.com or 330-673-8761

Kerry Clawson

Terry Burgler and his merry band of players bring a stream of mistaken identities to delightfully mad heights in Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors, Ohio Shakespeare Festival’s summer opener at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens.

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

Christine Howey

Summer is short, but that’s no reason not to hie yourself to Akron for this always entertaining Shakepearian treat, served alfresco and with inordinate relish by the talented OSF team.

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

SPAMLOT @ Beck Center for the Arts


July 12-August 18, 2013
216-521-2540 or http://www.beckcenter.org

Bob Abelman

Those attending “Spamalot” and not in touch with their inner child will find the show a tedious, sophomoric affair.  For those willing to let the little rascal run wild for the evening, the Beck Center is the place to play.

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

Roy Berko

As my grandson Noah, one of the kid reviewers who goes along to give me a fresh eye to shows, said as we exited the theatre, “That was fun.  I really liked it!”  Anyone who is in the mood for silliness and exaggerated humor should  totally enjoy Beck’s ”you’ve got to see this,” SPAMALOT!

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

Fran Heller

For Monty Python fans, "Spamalot" is a whirligig of laughs. I'm not of that camp.
Despite some lingering skepticism over such tomfoolery, I found myself chuckling in quite a few places throughout this outrageous musical comedy that turns low-brow inanity into high-brow art.


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

Mark Horning

Spamalot at the Beck Center for the Arts is a punferific delight that will entertain even the most ardent Monty Python fans as well as convert new believers to the fold.     


Christine Howey
If you are opposed to silly things on moral grounds, then you should steer clear of Spamalot, now at the Beck Center. Because this show is not just silly—it is profoundly, deeply and terminally silly in a way that continually redefines silly for more than two hours. And thanks to an energetic and sublimely silly production under the direction of Scott Spence, the laughs come in profusion. Even on opening night, with light and sound glitches galore, the silly won hands down.

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

Kory

There is no way to escape Beck’s Mackey Main Stage without laughing yourself to tears, I certainly couldn’t. Even if you have never seen a Monty Python film (I havent! – don’t judge), you will loveSpamalot! Do not miss this show!

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


Andrea Simakis

All hail the scatting, belting, eat-your-heart-out-Mariah-Carey stylings of Jessica L. Cope as the Lady of the Lake, a shimmering prima donna who is King Arthur’s muse and protector. She's also one of the best reasons to saddle up your air steed and coconut clop to the Beck Center for the Arts to see this ridiculously fun production of "Spamalot.

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

Art Thomas

An epicenter of theatrical talent, The Beck Center production successfully carries silliness to an extreme. Python fans will be pleased, and more importantly, the audience is fully engaged regardless of past experiences with the movie inspiration. 
 
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

LION KING @ PlayhouseSquare


July 8-Aug 4, 2013
216-241-6000 or www.playhousesquare.org

Bob Abelman

This simple coming of age story is told with such pageantry, imagination and scale that it takes a while to catch one’s breath and get one’s bearings.  Even repeat patrons are bound to be awe-struck.   Having just come off of a one-week break while traveling from Tulsa, the cast is sharp and in top form.

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

Fran Heller

Long live "The Lion King."
I can think of no better way to turn children on to the magic of live theatre.


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

Christine Howey


In the dense jungle of Broadway musicals, The Lion King has earned it’s lofty status as one of the most popular shows ever. And every visit here just reinforces that honored position.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Kory

All in all, Disney’s The Lion King falls short of the heart of the film in key moments, but makes up for it with all the charm and spectacle only the stage can offer. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll never forget the night you first experienced this Broadway classic.

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


Andrea Simakis

As staged, the book--a pastiche of "Hamlet" and classic coming-of-age yarns, never delivers the emotional gut punch it should.

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

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

TWELVE ANGRY MEN @ Blank Canvas

 
440-941-0458 or www.blankcanvastheatre.com


Roy Berko

Blank Canvas’s 12 ANGRY MEN is a compelling production which should be a must see for anyone interested in the justice system, fine acting, and a special evening of theater.  BRAVO to the cast and director!

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

Fran Heller

Everyone loves a courtroom drama. "Twelve Angry Men" is no exception.
Patrick Ciamacco's muscular direction and a dozen high definition performances make this production a small and flawless gem.

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

Mark Horning

Twelve Angry Men produced by Blank Canvas Theatre is classic theater at its best.  Even for those completely familiar with the play will find this production worth seeing.  It’s a guilty pleasure worth pursuing.

To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's post: http://www.examiner.com/review/blank-canvas-theatre-takes-twelve-angry-men-to-a-high-standard-of-excellence

Christine Howey

The dozen jurors (and one guard) on stage craft an ensemble performance that feels genuine in all respects. Even if there is ultimately less edge and vitriol than one might want, director Patrick Ciamacco blends these actors well and the result is as gripping as ever.

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

Kory

12 Angry Men is a fascinating look at how race, class, traditions, and pre-conceived notions equate into the American justice system. This production is well staged, well acted and will send you out into the night questioning your own hang ups.

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

WORKING @ Porthouse Theatre


July 4-20, 2013
 
Bob Abelman

Leaving “Working: The Musical” at Porthouse Theatre, there is a greater sense of having just done one’s civic duty than having spent the evening being entertained. The show seems better suited as the opening act at a U.S. Department of Labor corporate event than sandwiched between musical haymakers“South Pacific” and “Fiddler on the Roof” in Porthouse’s summer repertoire.

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

Kerry Clawson

Director Jim Weaver’s strong young cast of 12 singers, all of whom are in college or have recently graduated, are often successful in bringing out the humanity of 25 varied characters who share their feelings about how work does or does not define them. These real middle-class workers’ words, which seek meaning in their work and their personal lives, were originally transcribed by Terkel.


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

  Fran Heller

"Working" is not a great musical. What it is, is an entertaining and sometimes moving tribute to the workingmen and women in America in song and movement.
In an age of economic uncertainty, job insecurity, lingering unemployment and increasing disparity between the haves and have-nots, it is good to be reminded about ordinary people who helped build this extraordinary country.



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

Mark Horning

“Working” is a pleasant evening of musical theater in the outdoors.  The cast (made up of mostly Equity membership candidates and non-candidates) does a great job of singing and acting.  It will not take much work for you to feel entertained.

To see a full review of this show: http://www.examiner.com/review/porthouse-theatre-s-production-of-working-cannot-be-dampened-by-storms

Christine Howey

If you’ve worked for a living, inside the house or out,Working is a show that rings many bells. And this production is delivers the goods, for the most part, with energy and consistency.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan

Monday, July 1, 2013

SELF DEFENSE @ convergence-continuum


July 5-27, 2013
convergence-continiuum.org or 216-687-0074

Bob Abelman

Between Laurel Hoffman’s Jolene and Tracee Patterson’s Medea, presented earlier this summer in MamaĆ­ Theatre Company’s inaugural offering, audiences have been treated to some superb acting and given plenty to think about.  Misbehaving middle-aged men have been given two more reasons to watch their backs.

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


Roy Berko 

SELF DEFENSE OR DEATH OF SOME SALESMEN has an interesting story to tell.  It’s too bad that the author doesn’t do a better job of creating a more stage worthy script.  Con-cons production mirrors the script in its inconsistency of effectiveness.

Fran Heller

Play held my interest, but was less than emotionally gripping in its almost clinical treatment of the material, including a plethora of theories about motive.
In the end, the "real" Jolene remains as elusive as ever.


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

Mark Horning

“Self Defense or death of some salesmen” is not for the faint of heart.  If you like intense, gritty, hardcore, no-holds-barred theater, then this is the show for you.  It is theater designed to make you ponder.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's review at 


Christine Howey
Kreitzer's script is loaded with ambition, as it attempts to portray this troubled woman from a variety of perspectives, and the con-con players are often engaging and at times even compelling. But as seen in its final dress rehearsal, the play's fragmented structure combines with a lack of storytelling focus to fashion an experience notable more for its thematic aspirations than its theatrical engagement.

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


Art Thomas

"Self Defense" is a quirky look at one of America's female serial killers. Carson Kreitzer's script is a lot of buckshot that leaves some relationships dead ended and has trouble deciding its intended tone toward the prostitute who claimed self-defense in the murder of seven customers in the wake of the 1987 Gulf War. Laurel Hoffman makes the central character intriguing but distant to the audience.

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife