Saturday, July 29, 2017

DISNEY'S NEWSIES @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE



Through August 13, 2017
(330) 929-4416 or (330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman

Porthouse’s ‘Newsies’ performs above the fold.

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

Roy Berko


“Newsies,” which is based on a real tale of good versus evil, and a love connection of opposites attracting, has a multi-textured melodic score. The Porthouse production contains dynamic choreography and strong musical and vocal sounds, which adds up to a very pleasant evening of theater!

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


Kerry Clawson

Soaring dance and vocals make the Disney musical "Newsies" a thrilling, thoroughly entertaining experience at Porthouse Theatre.

Director Terri Kent's exuberant cast is dominated by the 16 extremely talented newsies, most of whom are college age. Her casting net has gone wide to find the right young men with stellar dance skills in addition to singing and acting prowess. It's exciting and rare to see this much young male, triple-threat talent on one Northeast Ohio stage. ...  All bring a freshness, innocence and winsome energy to their roles as late 19th century newspaper delivery boys.



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


Mark Horning


A small army of professional caliber performers have been gathered to entertain who manage to take a formula musical and turn it into something very special. Bring the entire family together for a pre-show picnic and an outstanding evening of musical entertainment.

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


Christine Howey
It’s a stirring tale with several contemporary connections. And the large cast under the always-disciplined direction of Terri J. Kent handles it masterfully. 

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




Thursday, July 20, 2017

CARRIE @ NEAR WEST THEATRE


Through August 6, 2017
(216) 961-6391
Or http://www.nearwesttheatre.org/pages/tickets

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.

Mark Horning

If you are startled at things that go bump in the night then laugh this may be the perfect show for you. Elements of stagecraft, choreography, acting and song propel the story of a woeful waif trying to deal with two impossible situations in her life at home and school. This is scary drama at its best as only Near West Theatre can pull off.

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

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

THE SOUND OF MUSIC @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE



Through July 23, 2017
(216) 241-6000

Bob Abelman

Touring ‘Sound of Music’ bids a fond and fabulous so long, farewell at Playhouse Square.

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

Roy Berko


 The little girl sitting behind me was on the edge of her seat throughout the show and, at the end, sleepily said to her mother, “I loved it!”  Yes, the touring production of “The Sound of Music,” is a very pleasant experience. “So long, Farewell,” Oy, how long will it be before I have to “Climb Every Mountain” again?  Guess as long as I’m a reviewer, “There is No Way to Stop It.”

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

Mark Horning


There is something quite comforting about enjoying a delightful summertime performance of The Sound of Music in the beautiful and perfectly temperature controlled Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square. Bring the entire family for an evening of familiar music that if it is not already will soon become one “of your favorite things.” With this short run, you are advised to get your tickets quickly.

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


Saturday, July 15, 2017

NEIGHBORS @ CONVERGENCE-CONTINUUM



Through July 29, 2017
(216) 687-0074

Bob Abelman


Intentionally discomforting, con-con’s ‘Neighbors’ is also compelling.

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

Roy Berko


“Neighbors” is a disturbing play with a well-intentioned message, but, as is often the case with first plays by an author, it lacks a strong center, is too long, and often shocks more than presents awareness reactions.  It is definitely not a play to be seen by everyone.

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

Mark Horning

Raw, visual, over-bearing and shocking but at the same time thought provoking are words that best describes this over blown sex act of a play that relies on shock rather than finesse to make its point. It is at heart a good story upon which too much extraneous baggage has been heaped. Some people will love it, some people will hate it. It is up for you to decide.

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


Christine Howey
The riveting con-con performances keep it all remarkably engrossing, and that’s quite an achievement in itself.

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





LA CAGE AUX FOLLIES @ MERCURY THEATRE COMPANY



Through July 22, 2017
(440) 394-6353
Or https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=mtco

Bob Abelman

What defines the Mercury production is that it is an unfortunate amalgam of other productions of this show -- farcical, campy, comedic and charming in spurts, and rarely finding the right balance or holding it for long.  This production works best – works brilliantly, in fact – when it addresses the dignity and resilience of its hero Albin, played by Brian Marshall, and when it does so in song. 

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

Christine Howey

The entire enterprise is saved and even elevated by a genuine fondness for the characters and indomitable energy for which MTC has become famous.

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



Thursday, July 6, 2017

AIN'T MISBEHAVIN' @ PORTHOUSE THEATRE


July 6 through 22, 2017
(330) 929-4416 or (330) 672-3884


Bob Abelman

Porthouse Theatre has found the perfect formula for a delightful evening’s escapism:  Take 30 of the best 1920’s and 1930’s jazz and swing compositions by Harlem nightclub legend “Fats” Waller, divide them among five extraordinarily entertaining performers, add a tight three-piece band, and subtract any semblance of a storyline. 

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

Roy Berko


“Ain’t Misbehavin’” is a musical-review which will be of interest to those who like 1920 and 30’s Harlem Renaissance swing music.  Be aware that the show, though nicely performed, has over 30 songs and no story line. 

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

Kerry Clawson

The musical revue "Ain’t Misbehavin’" is performed with style, humor, panache and great skill at Porthouse Theatre.  It’s a two-hour party where the joint really is jumpin’ as an excellent cast of five brings to life the spirit of jazz innovator Thomas “Fats” Waller.

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

Mark Horning


Bring along a loaf of bread, a jug of wine and whatever other picnic delights you wish for some open air theater that is the Porthouse tradition. This show will have you jumpin’ and jivin’ in your seat. It is the musical revue at its best.

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

Christine Howey


The Porthouse production sparks to life at times, particularly in the wonderful “Black and Blue” number that reveals the hurt behind the jazz and jive. But in general, Ain’t Misbehavin’ ain’t misbehavin’ enough.

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



CITY OF ANGELS @ BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS




July 7 through August 13, 2017
(216) 521-2540

Bob Abelman

Beck Center’s ‘City of Angels’ is missing its wings.

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

Roy Berko


Though it is inconsistent in performance quality, the Beck production of “City of Angels,” gives theater buffs an opportunity to see this seldom-done musical with a fine display of technical effects.

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

Mark Horning


This is a show that tries too hard to do too much in too long of a time. A judicial use of editing of scenes and songs as well as the elimination of the overbearing incidental music during times of dialog would go a long way in improving the effort. Not a bad show per say but one in need of improvement.

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

Christine Howey

Hats off to Beck and Spence for taking on this challenge, and to the performers who damn near make it all work. 

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

The Beck Center’s ambitious summer musical, City of Angels, wins a few, loses a few. Directed by Scott Spence, this clever and comic Tony Award-winning musical (1990) celebrates, literally, two story lines at a time and, much of the time, this works.

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

THE TESTAMENT OF MARY @ MAMAI THEATRE COMPANY



Through July 23, 2017
(440) 394-6353
Or https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=mtco

Bob Abelman

Risks are taken in this regional premiere production – including the opening reveal of Mary and her final tableau – but not all of them pay off and, given the nature of this work, not enough of them are attempted.  At the end of the play, the grieving, flesh and blood mother of the historical Christ asks “was it worth it?”  If this same question was applied to MamaĆ­’s production, the answer would be yes.


To see a full review of this show, go to:  www.news-herald.com


Mark Horning

For those looking for a revealing religious experience in which to hang their hat on they may be disappointed. This is more a play about a mother’s loss and the effect it has had on her life. You truly feel Mary’s pain as you relate to the loss of her husband and Son. Go in with an open mind and leave a little wiser.   
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Christine Howey

Quibbles with the staging aside, Toibin’s script is finely crafted and Anne McEvoy invests it with a quiet determination and wry skepticism that is rich and evocative. And that is something worth seeing, protests or not.

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

Andrea Simakis

In "The Testament of Mary," the mother of Jesus tells the story of her son's life and crucifixion in her own words.  Her rendition, as imagined by Irish playwright Colm Toibin, differs from anything we've heard. In its regional premiere, the one-woman play is more audacious in concept than execution. This might come as a surprise and, perhaps, something of a disappointment to demonstrators who have gathered in Playhouse Square to protest the production.
To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit Cleveland.com here.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

AS YOU LIKE IT @ OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL



Through July 16, 2017
(330) 673-8761

Mark Horning


Pack a nice picnic dinner, but leave the wine and beer at home since Stan Hywet does not allow you to bring your own (they check all incoming containers). Beer and wine can be purchased at the concession stand (go figure) as well as a variety of snacks and sandwiches. Have a nice meal in the open air and relax for an evening of superb Shakespeare as he originally intended. “As You Like It” is packed with comedy, romance, action, song and dance making it one of the most sought after productions, and OSF does it all extremely well!    

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

Christine Howey

The play is as intensely engaging as the pre-show, offering a volley of its own pleasures. 

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