Saturday, November 18, 2017

THE HAIRY APE @ ENSEMBLE THEATER



Through December 10, 2017
(216) 321-2930

Bob Abelman


Ensemble Theatre’s ‘The Hairy Ape’ powerful but not poetic

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

Roy Berko

Ensemble is to be praised for continuing to present classic theater to its audience.  Whether The Hairy Ape was the best of the ONeill play to select is questionable.  For anyone who likes to be exposed to works by noted writers, and those who like to probe into the intellectual nature of the arts, the play may be of interest. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

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

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Monday, November 13, 2017

CHRISTMAS AT THE WILEY DINER @ CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE



Through December 10, 2017
(440) 331-0403
https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=cplay

WORTH NOTING: 
In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved list, members of the Circle who attend a community or educational theater production that is perceived as of high quality will have the option of listing that production on the CCC blogsite.  This review falls into that category.

Roy Berko
No review yet.
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
No review yet.

Mark Horning


While Christmas tales abound this time of year, "Christmas at the Wiley Diner" is a gentle notch above the rest. It is a story of friendship, tradition, home and hearth that is told in a non-jarring way. This is a wonderful play to share with the entire family.

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

Christine Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's blog Rave and Pan
To see a full review of this show, read Christine Howey's review at  Cleveland Scene

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

David Ritchey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Friday, November 10, 2017

WICKED @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through December 3, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


There’s no place like home.  And the touring production of “Wicked” has apparently found one in Cleveland. 

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

Roy Berko


Put on your tiara, bring your wand, and join the masses who will enjoy “Wicked.”  Whether it is your introduction to this delightful and well-performed musical, or your umpteenth time, you will absolutely enjoy this must see production.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


With great acting, wondrous singing, delightful costuming and set design this show moves much faster than its two and a half hour plus run time. You will find your eyes continuously scanning the stage as action takes place in all corners of the frame. This is a perfect example of what great Broadway can be and will probably be a sellout for its entire run. Buy your ticket right now!

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

Howard Gollup

Continuing a month-long run on Playhouse Square, the 14-year-old “Wicked” has maintained all of its visual and vocal power in re-creating a unique vision of a bizarre, magical world — thanks to ornate, mechanical sets by Eugene Lee, impossibly intricate costumes by Susan Hilferty (an inspiring hybrid of Victorian and 1940s fashion) and lighting by Kenneth Posner. It’s unlike anything MGM had Dorothy sing and dance through in “The Wizard of Oz.”

Laura Kennelly

Magic still sparkles in Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of OZ. This brilliant production once again has returned to Playhouse Square (possibly for the fifth time), but then consider, this Tony-Award winner has been on Broadway since 2003 (and it’s still playing there). The time-tested winning concoction, created by Stephen Schwartz (music and lyrics), Winnie Holzman (book), and Joe Mantello (director) enchants, amuses, and entertains. The touring version, thanks to its all-round excellent cast, good small orchestra plus adept mechanics, offers Cleveland a dashing Broadway-quality production.


To see a full review read Laura Kennelly's review here or at CoolCleveland.com

Andrea Simakis


The national tour of "Wicked" is modern-day Broadway perfection, from the set to the songs and the cast.

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

Sunday, November 5, 2017

THE LAKE EFFECT @ KARAMU THEATRE



Through November 26, 2017
(216) 795-7070  

Bob Abelman

Karamu’s ‘The Lake Effect’ more bluster than blizzard.

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

Roy Berko


“The Lake Effect,” written by Cleveland Heights’ award winning playwright Rajiv Joseph, is a thought-provoking script which uses Cleveland area references to develop its theme.  It gets a creditable production at Karamu.

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

Mark Horning


While a bit of the acting is heavily weighted and relies more on loud demonstratives, the core of the writing still makes for an intriguing evening of entertainment. Sometimes it takes a perfect stranger to be the holder of deep family secrets. 

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

Andrea Simakis


Our eagerness to solve the mystery is dampened by the wooden, self-conscious performances of Suleiman and El Dabh, who never relax into their parts. (The cramped stage, erected in Karamu's Concert Hall, a less than ideal venue for fully staged works while the Jelliffe Theatre is refurbished, doesn't help.) They could take a lesson from Little, a natural always at ease in whatever skin he's in.  In one scene, he stands alone in a pool of light, gazing into a whirl of falling snow, seeking a bit of otherworldly advice, and it's then that we realize the full, poignant potential of Joseph's piece - and the limitations of this Ohio premiere.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

THE ART OF LONGING @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE


Through November 2, 2017
(216) 631-2727


Mark Horning


While one must admire Cleveland Public Theatre’s mission of bringing forth finished works of local playwrights writing about local subjects, this work falls so far off from reality as to be disturbing to the casual viewer and possibly even veteran attendees. Sometimes too much is just that.

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

Christine Howey

There is a theatrical syncopation that is bubbling under the surface of this play, tied together here and there with bits of songs by Nina Simone and other ancillary music. 

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

Andrea Simakis


Despite some opacity, Langford and director Jimmie Woody have conjured an exciting, bracing piece of theater - a mesmerizing visit to a starlit place that accommodates the sweetest dreams and the darkest nightmares - to create one of the most challenging and original plays of the season.

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

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A STEADY RAIN @ NONE TOO FRAGILE



Through November 11, 2017
(330) 671-4563

Bob Abelman

none too fragile’s ‘A Steady Rain’ is a washout.

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

Mark Horning

 With all of the recent focus on police brutality (especially against people of color) this work has us asking the question “is it the man or the circumstances which has good cops turning bad” and what if anything can be done about it? This is raw theater that relies on words rather than props to get the message out but the viewing of this show comes with a price as we will carry certain parts of this play for some time to come.     

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


Christine Howey

As the two guys plod dutifully through their respective stories, it becomes apparent that even the lurid details of their histories won’t save this play from itself. 

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

THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK @ CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE



Through November 19, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman


Director Laura Kepley finds all the play's dramatic beats and very human moments, and turns what could easily be an historical re-creation or revered testimonial into a resonating piece of theater. 

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

Roy Berko


“The Diary of Anne Frank” is a powerful and important play. Especially in this country, when racist, religious and national attacks are condoned by the country’s leader, it is imperative that the message of “never again” be bannered.  Cleveland Play House has done a great service by staging the message of a young girl who was destroyed by bigots and haters.  This is a must see production! 

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

Mark Horning


As the play develops, we the audience begin to feel the claustrophobic conditions that these eight had to endure for years. Although at times comical, poignant, spiritual and dramatic it never wavers from the theme of fear and repression of innocents. In effect we ourselves become prisoners of the barb wire shrouded theater. An excellent example of true to life theater and a must see show for all.

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

Christine Howey

Setting quibbles aside, The Diary of Anne Frank feels fresher and more relevant now than at any time in recent history.  

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

Laura Kennelly


It’s both painful and important to realize that The Diary of Anne Frank is based on truth, not fiction. Drawn from incidents described in young Anne’s diary, this moving drama by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett (adapted by Wendy Kesselman), runs through November 19 at Playhouse Square. Bottom Line: A fine and moving production of what is now a classic.

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

Andrea Simakis

Whatever its flaws, "The Diary of Anne Frank," as this finely crafted, haunting production proves, exists to remind us where unchecked fear and intolerance can lead  That's resson enough to stage it any decade."

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

Saturday, October 21, 2017

WAITRESS @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through November 5, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Order up: Touring ‘Waitress’ a blue-plate special with a side of extraordinary.

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

Roy Berko

The quality of the music, the staging, the performances and the story line of “Waitress” assure that it will delight audiences as it traverses the country.  It’s a must see for anyone who loves musical theater at its creative best. 
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Howard Gollop

It must have been daunting for the producers to open “Waitress” during the same Broadway season as the runaway sensation “Hamilton,” but this modest confection nevertheless proved itself a piping hot hit, still running on Broadway and launching a national tour that began last week in Cleveland.  This production — created and directed completely by women — may be too cerebral to call “easy as pie” but the audience will certainly want to savor it as if it were.

Mark Horning

This is a well told story with tailor made songs that while not memorable will leave you with a pleasing overall effect to ride home with. There is drama, romance, comedy, suspense and pathos all carefully mixed together. It is in short sugar and spice and a perfect recipe for an enjoyable night out at the theater.

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

Christine Howey
As directed by the esteemed Diane Paulus, this show is sweet but never saccharine and it goes down real smooth. If I were Jenna, I’d call it “The ‘You’ll Laugh, You’ll Cry, You’ll Sigh with Delight’ Pie.” Yum.

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


Laura Kennelly

This finely-crafted show in the Connor Palace opens the national tour of the Broadway hit that’s still playing in NYC. We may be in Cleveland, but we might as well be in New York as far as cast, sets, and performances go. “Waitress” revels in a slickly presented and sassy mix, blending song, great sets, recipes for imaginary pies, dancing, and sex into a sprightly musical event.

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

Andrea Simakis

'Waitress' serves up a delicious slice of life in all its messy, complicated beauty.

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

Sunday, October 15, 2017

IN THE CLOSET @ CONVERGENCE-CONTINUUM



Through November 4, 2017
(216) 687-0074

Roy Berko


 “In the Closet” is not a great play, but it is a script that incites a great deal of thought.  It gets a very creditable production at con-con.

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

Christine Howey

If you’re hearing the high-pitched squeal of a metaphor being stretched to its breaking point, you wouldn’t be mistaken. 

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


Saturday, October 14, 2017

MARJORIE PRIME @ DOBAMA THEATRE


Through November 12, 2017
(216) 932-3396

Bob Abelman


“Siri?  Google ‘artificial intelligence’ and the seemingly innocuous but increasingly integral role technology plays in our daily lives.”

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

Roy Berko


 “Marjorie Prime” is one of those special theatrical occurrences that allows the audience to experience both a thought-provoking script and a superbly acted and directed staging.  This is theater at its finest!  Go see!  Must see!

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

Mark Horning

As the world pitches headlong into a state of increased artificial intelligence usage questions arise as to the dangers and pitfalls as opposed to the benefits. While seemingly benign in nature does the turning over of basic brain functions help or weaken us as humans? What about the effects on our instinctive behavior patterns? Through our association with these future animatrons do we end up mimicking them to the point of surrendering our humanity? These are the questions that you will find raised in this fascinating futuristic work. 

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

Christine Howey

On one hand, one could wish for a more dramatic confrontation between these people as some of them evolve from one form to another. Surely, such an experience would generate passions of some sort, and those are notably missing in this rather sterile piece. But the elegance of Harrison’s exposition-free writing and the finely modulated performances exert a quiet drama all their own.

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

Andrea Simakis


Love - whether sexual or filial or the kind you feel for a pet - and the terror of losing that love to the endlessness of the grave run through every moment of director Shannon Sindelar's hypnotic production, like the low hum of an electric current.


Silver is magnificent as the aging flirt who has borne more hurts than any parent should. A long-ago family tragedy has sent fissures through her relationship with Tess, cracks that have never mended.

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

THE FAMILY CLAXON @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE



Through October 28, 2017
(216) 631-2727

Bob Abelman


There’s a sitcom on stage at Cleveland Public Theatre.

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

Mark Horning
     
By no means can the word subtle be used in describing this production. The cast comes at you hammer and tong in a comedic assault of your senses. Some may find it a bit too much as this over-extended sitcom leaves nothing sacred and barely takes a breath from start to finish. Not what one would call a quiet night at the theater with which some audience members will appreciate.

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

Christine Howey

Suffice to say that CPT deserves our thanks for encouraging and staging new work. And that The Family Claxon should be taken out behind the barn and quietly interred. Cause of death: Terminal creative exhaustion.

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

Andrea Simakis


The madcap proceedings swirl around an aged paterfamilias. But in this amusing, pointed romp, Grandad Claxon is little more than a tuft of hair in a high-tech wheelchair, a rolling life-support system that bleeps and hisses and leaks.

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

Saturday, October 7, 2017

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM @ GREAT LAKES THEATER



Through November 5, 2017
(216) 241-6000
Bob Abelman


Great Lakes offers modern, amusing but muddled "Midsummer." 

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

Roy Berko


Those who are afraid of seeing Shakespeare because of the oft abstract language and confusing plot twists should fear not.  This production is a total delight, with a nice mash-up of comedy and outlandish farce, mixed in with a little lover’s stardust.  It’s definite must see!

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

Mark Horning


Great Lakes Theater is skilled beyond measure at making Shakespeare palpable for the masses, especially when portraying a comedy. In spite of the language difference it is easily understood by all and being a farcical comedy will be beloved by all. This band of thespians goes for the laughs with great success. The slapstick play within a play “Pyramus and Thisbe” will have you laughing until you hurt.

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

Christine Howey

The GLT company has never been better in weaving together this modern-dress version, even in the face of a scenic design that is both static and busy, and not all that entrancing.

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

Howard Gollop

The delights of this tale — about  a mash-up of  fairies, nobility and commoners finding romance and royal gratification in a magical forest — are overflowing. And it seems even more so under the magical world created (once again) by scenic designer Jeff Herrmann. It’s a land where grand architecture and effusive vegetation are woven together, a mirthful mix of  earthly and ethereal. There’s no better place for this Shakespeare to happen.

Laura Kennelly

The Great Lakes Theater Midsummer Night’s Dream gives us Shakespeare at his hilarious (and bawdy) best. In this enchanting Hanna Theatre production directed by Joseph Hanreddy every silly, comic element melds and spins into a dream. Under Hanreddy’s guidance, anachronisms (but who cares?) and traditional elements blend seamlessly to create a fresh look and a marvelous show.

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

Andrea Simakis

More than 400  years after its debut, teh Bard's comedy of mistaken identity and midsummer mayhem still brings laughter--and bite--as Great Lakes Theater's whimsical, and very funny, production proves.

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

THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW @ BLANK CANVAS



Through October 28, 2017
(440) 941-0458

Roy Berko

If you are in the right mood, and can let loose of your inhibitions, and take “The Rocky Horror Show,” for its intended purpose—a screwball comedy, you’ll have a blast!  This is not “Next to Normal” or “Bridges of Madison County,” just some” The Time Warp” fun!
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey


This is a show that comes equipped with its own rabid fan base, so the seats are sure to be filled for the run at BCT. They are guaranteed to yell, scream, and shout obscenities on cue. It’s just too bad that this production doesn’t bring the audience to a shattering orgasm—theatrically speaking.

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


WAITING FOR GODOT @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS


Through November 5, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman


There is no greater mixed metaphor than comparing a show to The Show, particularly when one is by Samuel Beckett and the other is baseball.  But last Friday night, worlds apart but just 10 miles away, the Indians met the Yankees at Progressive Field for game 2 of the ALDS while Vladimir and Estragon were waiting for Godot at the Beck Center for the Arts.  And there were lessons to be learned.

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

Mark Horning


Waiting For Godot is a thumbs up/thumbs down kind of play that you either get or are left confounded. Some audience members will over think it while others will under think it. Regardless, it will open your mind to a variety of debates within and without. See it and gauge your reaction. 

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

Christine Howey


The fine actors in this production will, for a fleeting couple of hours, show you what kickass acting is all about. Indeed, they are so damn good you may actually, for a fleeting moment, think life has a purpose. Silly you!

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

Laura Kennelly


BOTTOM LINE: I didn’t think I’d be recommending this show because its thesis is depressing, but I find I must. This outstanding production quietly and strongly reminds us that life is, indeed, absurd. Beckett asks that we devise our reasons for embracing it anyway.

For a full review go to artstillmatters.com or
Cool Cleveland.