Monday, December 18, 2017

CLEVELAND CRITICS CIRCLE 2017 THEATER AWARDS



CLEVELAND CRITICS CIRCLE 2017 THEATER AWARDS

The Cleveland Critics Circle each year honors local theaters, performances, performers and technicians of plays staged by Cleveland area professional theaters during the January 1-December 31 year.

Awards Committee: Bob Abelman, Roy Berko, Kerry Clawson, Howard Gollop, Mark Horning, Christine Howey, and Andrea Simakis.  Participation in these awards does not preclude individual critics from preparing their own recognitions.

Those recognized for Superior Achievement are listed alphabetically, not by order of achievement.

Best Musical Production:  Newsies, Porthouse Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Bring It On, Beck Center
            Camelot, Ohio Shakespeare Festival      
            Carousel, Mercury Theatre Company
            The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater
            Rock of Ages, Cain Park

Best Non-Musical Production: The Flick, Dobama Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            A Dolls House, Mamai Theatre Company
            brownsville song (b-side for tray), Dobama Theatre
            Hand to God, Dobama Theatre
            How I Learned to Drive, Cleveland Play House
            How to Be a Respectable Junkie, Dobama Theatre
           
Best Actor Musical:  Alex Syiek:  The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater

Superior Achievement:
            Corey Mach, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater
            Douglas F. Bailey, Rock of Ages, Cain Park
            Matt Gittens, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre
Michael Canada, Brings It On, Beck Center
Michael Snyder, Floyd Collins, Blank Canvas Theatre
Shane Patrick ONeill, Bridges of Madison County, Lakeland Civic
            Theater

Best Actor Non-Musical: Christopher M. Bohan, The Flick, Dobama Theatre

Superior Achievement:
Antonio DeJesus, Equus, Blank Canvas Theatre
David Peacock, The Night Alive, Dobama Theatre
Luke Wehner, Hand to God, Dobama Theatre
Robert Ellis, The Whale, None Too Fragile Theater
           
Best Actress Musical:  Keri Rene Fuller, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater

Superior Achievement:
            Katelyn Cassidy, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre
            Trinadad Snider, Bridges of Madison County, Lakeland Civic Theatre
Natalie Green, Camelot, Ohio Shakespeare Festival

Best Actress Non-Musical:  Lara Mielcarek, Well, Ensemble Theatre

            Superior Achievement:
            Anjanette Hall, A Doll’s House, Mamai Theatre Company
            Ashley Aquilla, Barbecue, Cleveland Public Theatre
            Dorothy Silver, Marjorie Prime, Dobama Theatre
            Katrice Monee Headd, Barbeque, Cleveland Public Theatre
            Lisa Louise Langford, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Dobama Theatre
           
Rising Star Award
            Male--Jabri Little, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Dobama Theatre

                        Superior Achievement:
                        Antonio DeJesus, Equus, Blank Canvas Theatre
                        Christian John Thomas, A Great Wilderness, Beck Center
                        Colin Frothingham, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars,                          Dobama Theatre

            Female:  Logan Dior Williams, brownsville song (b-side for tray),                                      Dobama Theatre

                        Superior Achievement:
                        Elise Pakiela, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, Dobama Theatre
                        Megan Medley, These Mortal Hosts, Cleveland Play House

Best Director Musical: Terri Kent, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Joanna May Hunkins, Rock of Ages, Cain Park
            Martin Friedman, Bridges of Madison County, Lakeland Civic Theatre
            Pierre-Jacques Brault, Carousel, Mercury Theatre Company
            Victoria Bussert, Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater

Best Director Non-Musical: Nathan Motta, The Flick, Dobama Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Celeste Cosentino, Well, Ensemble Theatre
            Eric Schmiedl, Waiting for Godot, Beck Center
            Laura Kepley, How I Learned to Drive, Cleveland Play House
            Mathew Wright, Hand to God, Dobama Theatre
Robert Barry Fleming, Between Riverside and Crazy, Cleveland Play
House
           
Best Choreographer: Mary Ann Black, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Kevin D Marr, Rock of Ages, Cain Park
            Martin C├ęspedes (with Mary Sheridan), Bring It On, Beck Center

Best Musical Direction:  Jonathan Swoboda, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Edward Ridley, Jr., Ain’t Misbehavin, Porthouse Theatre
            Joel Mercier, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes Theater
Jordan Cooper, The Bridges of Madison County, Lakeland
Civic Theatre

Best Scenic Design:   Walter Boswell, The Hairy Ape, Ensemble Theatre

Superior Achievement:
Collette Pollard, How I Learned to Drive, Cleveland Play House
Jill Davis, Marjorie Prime, Dobama Theatre
Jim Smith, The Chaste Genius and His DeathRay Gun,
             Convergence-Continuum Theater
            Lex Liang, Shakespeare in Love, Cleveland Play House
Wilson Chin, Between Riverside and Crazy, Cleveland Play
            House
           
Best Lighting Design: Russell H. Champa, Shakespeare in Love, Cleveland Play House

Superior Achievement:
            Trad A Burns, City of Angels, Beck Center
            Peter Maradudin, Ken Ludwigs Baskerville, Cleveland Play House
            Andrew Eckert, The Hairy Ape, Ensemble Theatre

Best Projection Design:  T. Paul Lowry, Things as They Are, Playwright Local

Superior Achievement:   
T. Paul Lowry, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Dobama Theatre
            T. Paul Lowry, Sherlock Holmes: The Baker Street Irregulars, Dobama
                        Theatre

Best Costume Design:  Lex Liang, Shakespeare in Love, Cleveland Play House

Superior Achievement:
Aimee Kluiber, City of Angels, Beck Center
Kim Krumm Sorenson, Hamlet, Great Lakes Theater
Martha Bromelmeier, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Great Lakes
 Theater

Best Sound Design:  Cyrus O. Taylor, brownsville song (b-side for tray), Dobama Theatre

Superior Achievement:
            Daniel Perelstein, The Diary of Anne Frank, Cleveland PlayHouse
            Erick T. Lawson, Marjorie Prime, Dobama Theatre
            Nathan Rosmarin, Newsies, Porthouse Theatre
            Victoria Deiorio, Baskerville, Cleveland Play House

Best Full-Production Premiere of a Script by a Local Writer:  
How to Be a Respectable Junkie by Greg Vovos, Dobama

Superior Achievement:
            Art of Longing by Lisa Longford, Cleveland Public Theatre
            These Mortal Hosts by Eric Coble, Cleveland Play House
            Things as They Are by David Todd, Playwrights Local
           
Best Touring Production:  Waitress, Playhouse Square        

Special Mention:

Bill Rudman, for his outstanding advocacy of the American musical.  Through his Musical Theatre Projects concerts, in-school residency programs and radio broadcasts, he and his staff create personal connections with the art form, document the lives of musical theater artists, and reinforce the relevancy of musical theater in contemporary society.

Gina Vernaci, for enhancing the national profile of Cleveland and Playhouse Square through the launching of Broadway tours and expanding the runs of touring productions from two to three weeks.


Christine McBurney and Bernadette Clemens, for their five-year run offering productions at Mamai Theatre, dedicated to producing womens plays from a classical canon.


Cleveland Shakespeare Festival and director Lisa Ortenzi for innovative cross-gender casting in The Taming of the Shrew.


Cleveland Public Theatre, for their continuing commitment to Teatro Publico de Cleveland, the Cleveland-based Latin American theatre ensemble.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

ON YOUR FEET @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through December 23, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Charisma and conga, not story or storytelling, carry touring "On Your Feet!"

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

Roy Berko


The Cuban-American success story is everything that Trump and his alt-right cronies say doesn’t and shouldn’t happen.  Long live immigrants and their success stories!  “On Your Feet is a joyous must see journey, with an infectious musical beat!  I dare you not to be standing, clapping and singing during the curtain call.

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

Howard Gollop

"'On Your Feet!” the new Broadway musical based on the life and music of Emilio and Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine, wins points right off the bat for taking in a cold Cleveland audience in December and dropping a giant satin-like stage curtain to reveal the hot world of the Cuban and Miami music scene — palm trees and all.

All would be for naught, of course, if the cast were anything less than dynamic triple-threat dancers, singers and actors, and this touring company comes through. Christie Prades, who has the additional task of portraying the famed star Gloria Estefan, creates a deeply dimensional character that carries the show even through some ballad-laden down time in the second act. "


Mark Horning


Even if you are not familiar with Latin music you will find yourself falling in love with this show. The simple yet functional sets, wonderful costumes, upbeat music inter-spaced with heartfelt ballads, dazzling lighting and sound makes this a must see show. You will find yourself dancing out of the theater after the amazing mini-concert after the curtain calls.   

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

Andrea Simakis

Gloria and Emile Estephone's journey is extraordinary, a Broadway-worthy epic of setbacks and sensational victories with an irresistible beat. At heart, it's a love story about two kids in search of the American dream who found each other along the way.

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

Friday, December 1, 2017

THE LITTLE MERMAID @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS


Through December 31, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Roy Berko

I wish I could rave about this go-around of The Little Mermaid as I did last year, but I cant.  This production is acceptable, but with all that talent on stage there needs to be an infusion of joy and enthusiasm to make it reach the high levels of which it is capable.

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

URINETOWN THE MUSICAL @ BLANK CANVAS



Through December 16, 2017
(440) 941-0458

Bob Abelman

Blank Canvas Theatre’s ‘Urinetown’ flush with talent, determination.

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

Roy Berko

 Urinetown:  The Musical is flushed with success and audiences will enjoy themselves, while gaining some insight into political and economic corruption.  Get tickets early as the Blank Canvas theatre is small and this show should be a big box office success!
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey

Under the direction of Patrick Ciamacco, who also quadruples as set/lighting/sound designer, the 19-person cast conveys the problem of peeing-for-a-price with gusto.

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

THE LOUSH SISTERS GET HARD FOR THE HOLIDAYS @ CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE


Through December 17, 2017
(216) 631-2727

Roy Berko


The Loush Sisters encourage the audience to “celebrate the love for friends and family, to sit back, relax and have an adult beverage and enjoy the crazy ride.”  Don’t go to this holiday show expecting great theater or a religious experience.  Go, enjoy the uninhibited rantings of two boozed-up broads who are having a hell of good time.  The drunker you are, the better you’ll appreciate what’s going on.  (Be sure to book the Uber in advance.)

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

Mark Horning


Like a biennial plague of Christmas locust the Loush Sisters once again appear in Cleveland to wreck havoc on our Christmas traditions and sensibilities (this is not a bad thing). The entire ensemble are entirely into their characters and are having as much fun as the audience.

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

Andrea Simakis

You don't go to see the Loushes - "that's loose and lush, but fancy" - so much as to experience them. Teeter alongside them, so to speak, martini glass clutched in one manicured talon, whooping and hollering as they regale you with song and boozy repartee, this year as part of the Nakatomi Christmas show.

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

SHERLOCK HOLMES: THE BAKER STREET IRREGULARS @ DOBAMA THEATER



Through December 30, 2017
(216) 932-3396

Bob Abelman

As a holiday show, “The Baker Street Irregulars” is certainly irregular but it is a most welcome alternative to the numbingly familiar and obligatorily festive theater offerings found elsewhere this time of year.

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

Roy Berko

Sherlock Holmes:  The Baker Street Irregulars gets a good staging at Dobama that will be of interest for parents and grandparents looking for a theatrical experience for their tweens and younger teens during this season.  It is a nice option for the much-done holidays shows that are staged again and again.  It is not great theater, but it could make for an entertaining evening of entertainment.

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

Mark Horning

This is a melodramatic mystery that the family will love. It has all the elements of good guys, little kids acting far beyond their years in solving crimes, mistaken identities, danger, teenage love, bad guys and a few plot twists to keep it interesting. 

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

Christine Howey


In short, this Sherlock is a sure lock for kids and their parents.  For everyone else, deductive reasoning might suggest a different entertainment choice.

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