Saturday, September 29, 2018

FENCES @ Karamu


FENCES
Karamu
September 27-October 21, 2018
216-795-7077  or www.karamuhouse.org

Bob Abelman

This Karamu production fouls off a few curveballs delivered by the playwright, but it never swings and misses while going for the “Fences.”

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

As is the case in all of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh cycle plays, “Fences” is both a revealing history lesson and a snapshot of the black experience in this country.  It is a well-performed, important play, which deserves attendance by not only African American but also white audiences.   

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

Christine Howey

This is not a perfect rendition of Wilson’s fine play, but it has moments that will stick with you for a long time.


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, September 27, 2018

FREAK STORM


FREAK STORM
none-too-fragile
September 28-October 13, 2018
330-671-4563

Roy Berko

"Freak Storm" is a well-written, topical play that gets an outstanding absolute must-see production.  Wow!  If all theater productions could be of this level, the world of theater-goers and reviewers would be one of wonder.

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

Kerry Clawson

The drama “Freak Storm” at None Too Fragile in Akron is so inescapably topical, it’s uncanny.
Artistic directors Sean Derry and Alanna Romansky chose the 2008 play by Matt Pelfrey as part of its current season when the #MeToo movement was at the forefront of our nation’s society and politics. 

But they couldn’t have known that they’d be producing the play at exactly the same time that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is being investigated by the FBI on allegations of sexual assault committed in high school and college.

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

Christine Howey

Both the play and our current reality bring into sharp focus how insanely out-of-balance the power dynamics between men and women are. 

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



Wednesday, September 19, 2018

PLATH AND ORION, Two one-Act Plays @ Cesear's Forum


PLATH AND ORION
Kennedy's Down Under in the Playhouse Square Complex
September 21-Ocober 27 (Friday and Saturday @ 8)
216-241-6000
Bob Abelman

The simple title given this collection of one-acts – “Plath and Orion” – only hints at what lies in store in what amounts to an enthralling evening of theater.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

Though some may find the show, especially the second act, obtuse and overly intellectual, Cesear’s Forum again displays that it doesn’t take a big budget, massive sets and ornate costumes to present effective theater, in this case, its exceptional performances.

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

Christine Howey


Although the material is often fast moving and sometimes densely intellectual, the experience is heightened since it displays the extraordinary talents of four of our area’s finest actors: Rachel Lee Kolis, Aimee Collier, Mary Alice Beck and Julia Kolibab.

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


MAMMA MIA! @ Great Lakes Theater



September 28-November 11, 2018
216-241-6000 or visit www.greatlakestheater.org

Bob Abelman

Seven times a charm at Great Lakes Theater’s Mamma Mia!’ 

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman

Roy Berko

MAMA MIA! is once again an audience pleasing delight.  If you haven’t seen it before, go!  If you have, go again! 

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

Mark Horning

Sometimes we go to the theater just for the fun of it and this show fills the bill for just that. Bright, airy and light with lots of bouncy irresistible music and dancing it is designed to make the entire family smile. Great Lakes Theater has hit a grand slam home run with this show. 

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

Christine Howey


This isn’t a show where reality and subtle characterizations rule the day. It’s all about energy, and this production delivers plenty of sizzle with the eye-candy costumes designed by Tracy Christensen, songs that render resistance futile, and young bods in frenzied motion.


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

Laura Kennelly

Mamma Mia!, the Great Lakes Theater joy fest now at the Hanna, deserves the exclamation mark already in the title. (Maybe it needs two!!) This utterly delightful escape, directed by Victoria Bussert, strings together dancing pop songs by (and inspired by) ABBA, a 1970s-era Swedish pop group.

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

David Ritchey

For Broadway quality musical theater, look no further than the Great Lakes Theater’s production of  “Mamma Mia!”  This is theater at its best when everything falls into place and it’s in a good place. 

To see a full review of this show, read David's posts at Talkin' Broadway

Andrea Simakis

Here we go again, yes, but this "Mamma Mia!" has something more to say about the lives and loves of women than productions that have come before--enough reason to take those sparkly boots off the shelf and come out of retirement.

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

THE WOMAN IN BLACK @ Cleveland Play House

September 15-October 7
Allen Theatre in the Cleveland Play House Complex
216-400-7096 or clevelandplayhouse.com



Bob Abelman

The hardest audience to please with a two-handed, one set ghost story like “The Woman in Black” is the seasoned theatergoer just coming off of a “Hamilton” high.  Pleased they will be, for it is impossible not to marvel at Armacost and Brown’s detailed and always interesting performances and the finely tuned storytelling that surrounds them.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

At this pre-Halloween season “The Woman in Black” appears to have been a good choice.  The success of this type of play is dependent upon the audience using its imagination, and the moments of shock-induced terror and the jumpy, scream-induced moments.  These, unfortunately, are somewhat missing in this production.

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

Christine Howey

This play, which is definitely not a parody although it seems like one, has been a big hit in London for the past 30 years, which explains a lot about the British, who made Benny Hill a star. 

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

Laura Kennelly

The actors are a delight, always convincing. But there’s something a bit too genteel at times. It’s hard to scare an audience used to film horror, a genre which seems to outdo itself every year with zombies, heaps of gore, and psychopathic characters.
BOTTOM LINE: Not as scary as current horror films, but a beautifully acted, super-British piece (that means, its hauntings and threats of ghostly retaliations are extremely subtle). Maybe that’s enough.

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

Andrea Simakis

Like all good ghost stories, "The Woman in Black" follows you long after your leave the theater, up the stairs and into your bedroom crouching in the dark corners of your imagination, waiting for just the right moment to spring.

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

Saturday, September 15, 2018

AN ACT OF GOD @ Beck Center for the Arts


September 14-October 7, 2018
216-521-2510 or beckcenter.org

Bob Abelman

God does indeed move in mysterious ways. Bada-boom.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's article here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

“Act of God” is one of those funny, funny irreverent scripts that, while it may offend some, gets a no–holds-barred, must see fine production at Beck Center for the Arts.  You’ll be upset or leave with a smile on your face respecting a writer who can come up with a clever way to confront the ills of the world in a humorous way.

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

Christine Howey


There are lots of laughs to be had in this production, especially if you lean left politically. If you lean right, I guess you’ll have to wait until Dennis Miller writes his version of An Act of God.

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

Laura Kennelly

Mike Polk, Jr.  is God? Well, that’s his designation in the Beck Center’s irreverent incarnation. Directed by William Roudebush, this regional premiere features a script by David Javerbaum. The snarky, hip vibe featured in An Act of God may sound familiar to stand-up comedy fans and those who love The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That’s no accident; Javerbaum writes for the show.

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


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A LITTLE NIGHT MUSIC @ Lakeland Civic Theatre


September 7-30, 2019
440-525-7134 or http://lakelandcc.edu/academic/arts/theatre/index.asp                          

Bob Abelman

“Isn't it bliss? Don't you approve?” asks DesirĂ©e in the opening refrain of the money-song “Send in the Clowns” in “A Little Night Music.”  “Well, for the most part” is the honest answer after watching a respectable but not remarkable production of this musical at Lakeland Civic Theatre.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's review at www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

In spite of a talented cast, “A Little Night Music” is uninspired and not up to the usual high level of Lakeland’s Sondheim script presentations.  
 
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Christine Howey

From the vocal overture sung by a five-person chorus to that rom-com conclusion, this production directed by Friedman (his 50th at this theater!) is a nearly constant delight. 

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

Sunday, September 9, 2018

ALABAMA STORY @ Ensemble Theatre


September 7-30, 2018
216-321-2910 or www.ensembletheatrecle.org

Bob Abelman

Ensemble’s ‘Alabama Story’ strikes a familiar, formidable chord.

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's blog here or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

“Alabama Story,” a well written account of a real life incident is theater at its finest displaying excellent acting, an enveloping script and a technically complementing design. This is an absolutely, must see production!

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

Christine Howey


In all, this is an admirable and well-intentioned effort. But the script by Jones, while sweet and compassionate, is often far too instructive and didactic. It also gets tangled up in unnecessary factoids about Reed’s life and career, unable to shake off the urge to share all the jots and tittles of his Wikipedia research. 

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, September 8, 2018

SUNSET BABY @ Dobama

September 7-30, 2018
216-932-3396 or www.dobama.org

Bob Abelman

Dobama’s ‘Sunset Baby’ rises to the occasion

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's review here
or go to www.clevelandjewishnews.com/columnists/bob_abelman/

Roy Berko

“Sunset Baby” is an unnerving, thought-provoking script which exposes the viewer to not only the black experience in this country, but forces them to think back to both the turbulent 1960s and the effect the political and societal problems of the day had on those who actively lived through those times.  It is a well-conceived production worth seeing.

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

Christine Howey


Sunset Baby is worth a trip to Lee Road, for Mary Francis Miller’s stunning performance, for a few clips of Nina Simone’s singing, and for a story that touches on the personal sacrifices that people make when they try to move the world in a different direction.

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

Andrea Simakis

Dobama's intelligent production enhances the work of a savvy playwright who knows every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. No problems or causes in sight. 

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