Sunday, June 29, 2014

BACK TO BACHARACH AND DAVID @ Actors' Summit


June 12-July 20, 2014
330-374-7568 or go to www.actorssummit.org

Bob Abelman


This production of easy-listening classics is corny but charming and so intimate that it feels as if you are sitting at a piano bar.  All that’s missing is the pretzels and highballs. 


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

Kerry Clawson
 
The musical revue Back to Bacharach and David at Actors’ Summit offers an enjoyable evening of smooth pop stylings by songwriting team Burt Bacharach and Hal David. ...


The cast, featuring Brandon Isner, Chanda Porter, Debra Rose and Lisa Marie Schueller, sings in cool four-part harmony. On Thursday night, pro Mary Anne Prevost joined the group, adding her soprano voice to aid the higher range of Schueller’s vocal part, as the actress was suffering from bronchitis.

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

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A MAP OF VIRTUE @ convergence continuum

June 20-July 12, 2014


Bob Abelman


Smack in the middle of Erin Courtney’s “A Map of Virtue,” a delicate one-act meditation about chance meetings and the currents that guide our lives, lies a psychodrama of Hitchcockian proportions.  It’s the surreal journey leading up to and returning from that dark and disturbing center that makes this Obie Award-winning play so thought-provoking. And it’s convergence-continuum’s mishandling of this that makes its production so mind-numbing.

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

Roy Berko
 

I guess I’m old fashioned.   I prefer a play that, when it is over, I have some idea of what went on and take from it either having experienced a good laugh, a bit of real intrigue, a message, or a moral.  Sorry, philosophically abstract gibberish, and a plot in search of a purpose, isn’t my thing.  If it’s yours, you’ll really be turned on by “A Map of Virtue.’   
  
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning

For all you pseudo-intellectuals out there wanting to impress someone, this is a great show to see and discuss for hours over wine coolers at some hip and happening saloon.  For the rest of us “normal” theater patrons, it is a play that makes no sense whatsoever and probably never will.  For me it showed how far the pendulum can swing away from relevant theater.

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

Christine Howey

This bird-centric play by Erin Courtney is often lyrical, chilling and ambitious. And even though it isn't entirely successful, that's no reason to demean it through "cheep" wordplay.

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

Art Thomas 

This, like so many of the Con-Con shows, sounds like a dream when one attempts to describe it. An Obie award winner, "A Map of Virtue" starts with two people in a chance encounter, later they are held captive by wierdos, and finally their relationship is deconstructed and reconciled.  The promised "part comedy" never emerges, but like most Con-Con fare, there is a lot to "unwrap" in post-performance thinking.
 
Click here to read the complete review at WestLife

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

MY FAIR LADY @ Porthouse Theatre/Kent State

June 12-28, 2014


Bob Abelman


The Porthouse Theatre's treatment of this musical theater classic is significantly less grand and interesting than what patrons have grown accustomed to.  It is more in line with dinner theater, but without the beverage service or 50/50 raffle.

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

Roy Berko
 

Under the directing awareness of Terri Kent, and the outstanding performances by Kayce Cummings and Greg Violand, the Porthouse production of "My Fair Lady," made for a fine evening of summer entertainment.

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


Kerry Clawson


Greg Violand and Kayce Cummings make a winsome pair in the Lerner and Loewe classic MY FAIR LADY, the famous tale of  an egotistical phoneticist who tutors a Cockney flower seller to speak the Queen’s English in an effort to pass her off as a high-class lady.

Violand lets the audience in on how confounded Higgins really is by women when he sings tunes such as "I’m An Ordinary Man," elevating himself with lyrics such as "Let a woman in your life and invite eternal strife." 

Lead actress Cummings gets to squawk and snort plenty as the feisty Eliza, who exhibits great physical humor and decidedly unladylike body language.

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


This show about the Cockney ragamuffin Eliza Doolittle being transformed into a refined lady never gets old, as long as the performers are up to the task. And happily, this production at the Porthouse Theatre has two stellar performers in the key roles.

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


Saturday, June 14, 2014

POSSUM DREAMS @ none too fragile


none too fragile is located in Pub Bricco, 1841 Merriman Road, Akron
June 13th-28th, 2014


Roy Berko
 


“Possum Dreams” is a poorly written and conceived script which gets a better than deserved production at none too fragile theater.  While Andrew Narten and Leighann Niles DeLorenzo are excellent, the play, itself, is not.  Oh well, even none too fragile has to stage something that is less than outstanding every once in a while.

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


Christine Howey 

It’s mostly an amazing, intense experience, thanks to his often deftly written script, two spectacular performances and the masterful direction of Sean Derry.

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

Kerry Clawson

POSSUM DREAMS is a fascinating, two-actor portrayal of a marriage gone wrong, contained in just one alcohol- and drug-infused night as husband and wife Walter and Jan Landing — who have been together nearly two decades — finally face their ugly truths.


Audience members are right on top of this awesome fight in the middle of the Landings’ living room, voyeurs to the dynamics between husband and wife behind closed doors. To say this work is intimate would be an understatement. The play, which runs about 100 minutes with no intermission, is a nonstop scene of domestic combat, both verbal and physical.


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

Andrea  Simakis

"Possum Dreams" feels like an unhinged cousin to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "God of Carnage;" it's a play with similar DNA but willing to go further, break more windows, get into more trouble, than its older relations. 

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

Friday, June 13, 2014

HEARTBREAK HOUSE by Actors’ Equity Association @ Pilgram Church/Tremont



Through June 29, 2014 (Thursday-Saturday @ 7:30, Sunday @ 2:30
Tickets:  216-570-3403, www.heartbreakhouse.org or may be purchased at the door

Bob Abelman

This play is rarely performed due to its length (three acts in over 3 hours) and complexity, both of which are seen as creative challenges by director Bernadette Clemens, her design team, and her cast of professional actors who have self-produced this production.  It's an absolutely phenomenal production!

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

Roy Berko


Those interested in being exposed to George Bernard Shaw and his philosophy of life,  the beauty of his language, his use of humor and satire to develop his message, and are willing to sit through three hours of words, words and more words, many of which can’t be grasped because of the echo in the theatre, will enjoy the Actors' Equity Association Members' Project Code production.

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

Mark Horning

While certainly not the fault of the actors, what truly should have been a masterful and exceptional evening of theater quite plainly is not due to the wrong choice of venue that swallows up all sound from the stage.  Add to this the overdone accents and the rising temperatures in the room it was over three hours not well spent at the theater.    
  
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.



Saturday, June 7, 2014

STRANDED ON EARTH @ Mamai Theatre


June 5-22, 2014
Theatre Ninjas and Mamai Theatre Company


Bob Abelman


When we first meet Alexandra, the tormented middle-aged artist has her eyes focused on the looming, omnipresent and descending cover of clouds she envisions overhead.  She references the clouds often throughout this play, for her mind, like the weather, is also overcast, turbulent, and undergoing extreme atmospheric pressure. 

Derdriu Ring is one of only a handful of local actors who can play this role; none could play it better.  

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

Roy Berko
 

MamaĆ­’s mission is “to create intelligent, relevant classical theatre that offers an artistic home for Cleveland’s theatre artists, and equal opportunity for women in the professional theatre community.”  Theater Ninja’s goal is to “reimagine how and why we tell stories, and help us to create deep, fascinating worlds for the audience to explore.”  Their production of Eric Coble’s “Stranded on Earth,” with a master class demonstration of finite acting by Derdriu Ring, well meets both organization’s purposes.   

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

Mark Horning


I strongly suggest that prior to seeing Eric Coble’s “Stranded on Earth” you become familiar with the other two parts of his trilogy, “A Girl’s Guide to Coffee” and “The Velocity of Autumn” either through reviews or synopsizes.  This will greatly add to your enjoyment and understanding of this one woman acting masterpiece starring Derdriu Ring.  Thoughtful, Funny, Intense and Jarring.

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

Christine Howey

In this one-hander, brilliantly performed by Derdriu Ring and directed by Jeremy Paul, Alexa is a 40-something visual artist who is discussing her life in terms of before and after. 

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

Andrea Simakis
 

Actress Derdriu Ring is the white-hot center of a stunning production... Mamai Theatre Company and Theater Ninjas have taken on the most challenging of the three works [Eric Coble's Alexandra plays trilogy]. For me, thanks to this not-to-be-missed collaboration, it is also the most compelling."  

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

Thursday, June 5, 2014

TAPPIN' thru LIFE B@ Cleveland Play House

 
May 30-June 29, 2014
216-241-6000 or www.clevelandplayhouse.com

Bob Abelman

Before Vegas and before the rebirth of Atlantic City, the grand hotels in the Borsch Belt of the Catskill Mountains were “the place” for big-name entertainment.  But by the late 1970s and 1980s, these resorts could no longer attract young guests or afford contemporary artists, relying instead on the nostalgic attraction of performers who no longer had the skills or stamina to do what they were famous for.  Earnest and eager to please, they rely on their celebrity, showmanship and storytelling to tap the shared memories of the late-in-life audience in attendance.

Sadly, such is “Maurice Hines is Tappin’ Thru Life.” 

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

Roy Berko


“Maurice Hines Is Tappin’ Thru Life,” is a personable concert, which is more a Vegas act, than a play.  Audiences anticipating 90-minutes of non-stop dancing may be frustrate.  Some might question why CPH is doing a “touring” show rather than producing its own product and why they stage these one-person bio-musicals.  Whatever.  The majority of the audience will come and enjoy themselves. 

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

Mark Horning

I am going to make a prediction that this show will be a sell-out for each and every performance so you had best get your tickets right now.  Vegas meets Vaudeville with great stories, songs, dancing and music.  This is the hot ticket of the year!

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

Christine Howey

If you’re lonely for the kind of polished and unabashedly sentimental lounge acts that Vegas is famous for, then you need to take a relaxing dip in Maurice Hones is "Tappin’ Through Life," now at the Cleveland Play House.

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

Andrea Simakis

The melodic, poignant production at the Cleveland Play House is a loose homage to colossal talents who gave the Hines Kids – the name he and Gregory used when they hit New York's storied Apollo Theater at ages 7 and 5, respectively – a leg up in the dog-eat-dog business: Ella Fitzgerald, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland and more.

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

Art Thomas

If you didn't realize that Maurice Hines has been a major theatrical entertainer for the last seventy years, you will after seeing "Tappin'Thru Life".  He sings eighteen songs, tells as many stories and finally tap dances with the Manzari Brothers in an extended exuberant finale. This is a must-see in an intimate theater setting.

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife