Saturday, February 29, 2020

BREAKOUT SESSION (OR FROGOSRSE) @ Cleveland Public Theatre



February 22-March 14, 2020
216-631-2727 or go on line to http://www.cptonline.org/


Roy Berko


BREAKOUT SESSION (OR FROGORSE)” has an important purpose with lofty goals.  Unfortunately, the play’s format and subject development does not satisfy the need to truly explain, “something is not working, people” and teach the “Bias Bubble”reality.

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

Howard Gollop
No review yet.

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

Chris Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.

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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

SLEUTH @ GREAT LAKES THEATER


Through March 8, 2020
(216) 241-6000


Roy Berko

“SLEUTH” should be an enjoyable delight for theater-goers.  Go!  See!  Enjoy! (But don’t tell anyone the secret of the cast, the gun shots or the ending!)
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Mark Horning


If you are someone who likes to investigate what goes bump in the night and enjoy a great murder mystery comedy with a madcap ring to it this is must see theater for you. This show will leave you guessing right up to the end. Boo!

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

Chris Howey

The stock-in-trade for Great Lakes Theater is evocative language, whether by Shakespeare or other theatrical luminaries. And this play, even while getting awfully gimpy in the knees, still has enough rich wordplay to make for a dandy evening.

To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.

Howard Gollop

A one-trick-pony whodunit such as "Sleuth," which has been making the rounds on screen and stage for decades, would seem a tired choice for a regional theater. So it's a testement to playwright Anthony Shaffer and the cast and crew of Great Lakes Theater that "Sleuth," under the muscular direction of Charles Fee, remains so compelling in 2020 -- even if we have long known who did it.

Complete article appears in Elyira Chronice Telegram

Laura Kennelly


There’s mystery afoot in the engaging Great Lakes Theatre production of Sleuth at the Hanna Theatre. Director Charles Fee and the talented cast create a tour de force of acting chops. These players show what acting is all about as they create a maddening, confusing world, and then, having done so, plunge us all into its surprising adventures.

Full review at artstillmatters.com or read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Sunday, February 9, 2020

SCOTTSBORO BOYS @ Beck Center (Baldwin Wallace/Beck co-production)


February 7-23, 2020
216-521-2540
 or http://www.beckcenter.org


Roy Berko

“THE SCOTTSBORO BOYS” is a powerful piece of historical theatre whose message must be heard, especially in these days of the continuance and rise of racial and religious prejudice.  The Beck Center/Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Program production itself was inconsistent in its overall effect, but is still a staging worth seeing. 

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

Kerry Clawson

Beck Center for the Arts and Baldwin Wallace have joined forces for a bold and devastating show, “The Scottsboro Boys,” in the Ohio premiere of this stark, historically-based musical by John Kander and Fred Ebb.

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

Mark Horning


You can bill this show as an intense historic drama played out through the most nocuous manner possible (i.e. a Minstrel Show) that illustrates the truths and pathos far better than any other manner could. It is a show that will leave you angry about racial inequality but wiser with the final scene bringing it all home. 

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

Chris Howey

This fascinating piece is about a deadly serious Depression-era event that added fuel to the black civil rights movement in the 1960s. 

Howard Gollop


If nothing else, the Beck Center for the Arts and the Baldwin-Wallace musical theater program deserve accolades for at last bringing this criminally neglected decade-old musical to Northeast Ohio.  It not only marks the final collaboration of John Kander and the late Fred Ebb, it majestically and ingeniously unfolds a chapter of Black American history that gave birth to the civil rights movement.

Then again, this production of "Scottsboro Boys" -- conceived in the style of a classic minstrel show -- deserves so much more adulations for its sheer talent -- magnificently helmed by choreographer-director Jon Martinez.

Complete article appears in Elyria Chronicle Telegram

Laura Kennelly

Brilliant and daring. The latest Baldwin Wallace University/Beck Center collaborative production, John Kander and Fred Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys, directed and choreographed by Jon Martinez, provides a stunning (albeit starkly condensed) musical sketch of a real event.

To see a full review of this show, go to Scottsboro Boys or read Laura's post at Cool Cleveland.

Andrea Simakis

It's a swift, sometimes beautiful, often brutal ride---entertaining and horrifying all at once.


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

Thursday, February 6, 2020

HEROES @ CLAGUE PLAYHOUSE


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.

Through February 9, 2020
(440) 331-0403
www.clagueplayhouse.org


Mark Horning


 For those theater goers who wish to see three excellent actors working off of each other this is a must see show. Volumes of dialog are replaced with subtle yet knowing inflections that only years of being on local stages can create. It is nuance theater at its best. 

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

ON CLOVER ROAD @ NONE TOO FRAGILE



Through February 15, 2020
(330) 671-4563


Kerry Clawson

The thriller “On Clover Road” is such a harrowing roller coaster ride, audience members could get whiplash from all of its twists and turns.
It’s playwright Steven Dietz’s first thriller ever, now being produced in a highly intense local premiere that grabs you by the throat at None Too Fragile Theatre at the Coach House. For its first offering of the 2020 season, the small professional theater has knocked it out of the park with this extreme story.

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

Chris Howey


"It grabs you by the throat in the first line and doesn't let go." We've all heard someone say that about a book, a movie or play. And sometimes, it's even true. 

Well, it's true in this case. The play is On Clover Road, and don't be misled by the bland title. This work by playwright Steven Dietz doesn't waste a second or a breath as it plunges the audience into a world of surprises that all occur in a seedy room in an apparently abandoned motel. 


To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.

THE TOURING PRODUCTION OF ANASTASIA @ PLAYHOUSE SQUARE


Through February 23, 2020
(216) 241-6000


Roy Berko
There is an adage in theatre that after seeing a musical one should not leave talking sets and costumes.  In the case of the touring company of “ANASTASA” however, that’s exactly what the audience was doing.  Yes, this is not a great musical.  The plot is obvious and the music pleasant, not memorable.   However, the production values are outstanding and the cast excellent, so, all in all, what we have is a pleasant, if not spectacular,  evening of theatre.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Kerry Clawson

“Anastasia” is a visually stunning musical whose tale has an epic sweep. But for much of the first act, its momentum felt a bit slow Wednesday night at Playhouse Square in Cleveland.

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

Howard Gollop


Luckily, the sets and costumes add color and nuance to a production that could use more of both. At the very least, one would think a veteran director named Darko Tresnjak (for real) could imbue his cast with an authentic Eastern European aura.

No such luck. Although the show is nevertheless engaging and expensive-looking, particularly for a national tour,  it's about as Russian as St. Petersburg, Fla. 

Mark Horning


What we have is the usual collection of pleasant but hardly memorable songs, a predictable story line combined with an excellent cast and spectacular stage set and video projections that add depth. In short this is a show worth venturing out into the cold and weather to see. It is indeed a very nice way to spend an evening at the theater.

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

Chris Howey
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.


Laura Kennelly

Bottom Line: Anastasia is a light, enjoyable musical that offers a new take on the rags-to-riches motif. It’s a perfect winter treat. The national touring company does a bang-up job of bringing Broadway to Cleveland. (And yes, Cleveland was mentioned in the dialogue — but I bet a different town is named at the next stop — we all laughed anyway.)

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

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

IF/THEN @ Lakeland Civic Theatre


January 31-February 16, 2020

Roy Berko

IF/THEN has a wonderful score.  Too bad somewhere in the show’s development, the confusing plot and excessive length weren’t dealt with. 

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

Chris Howey

The saving graces in this production are that it is directed by Martin Friedman, a man whose plays always pulse with humanity, and that it stars Sandra Emerick, a woman who knows how to act a song while doing full justice to its musicality. 

To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.

Saturday, February 1, 2020

SASSY MAMAS @ KARAMU THEATRE



Through February 23, 2020
(216) 795-7070


Mark Horning


This show is absolutely hilarious in its concept and execution as three “hot mamas” seek out young companionship in this total role reversal. It is a laugh fest supreme that will have you feeling good all the way home. 

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

Chris Howey

Sassy Mamas, Celeste Bedford Walker's naughty and frolicsome comedy is making its return engagement at Karamu House. In this iteration, the cast is flying even higher on the sexual octane pumped out by the playwright, as three career women "of a certain age" in the same condo building explore their libidos with younger studs. 

To see a full review of this show, read Chris Howey's Review here.