Saturday, September 24, 2022

AMERICAN MARIACHI @ Cleveland Play House


AMERICAN MARIACHI
Allen Theatre
September 17-October 9, 2022

Roy Berko

AMERICAN MARIACHI allows audiences to experience a telenovela, a Hispanic storytelling technique, and be exposed to mariachi music, while sharing a tale of universal angst.  The CPH production is well staged and performed.  This is a fine evening of theatre.


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.
To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Chris Howey

"A sweet but overly simplistic look at what happens when five young Chicano women in the 1970s decide to start their own Mariachi band. The music is lively throughout and the performers give it their all. But a pedestrian and predictable book by José Cruz González doesn't provide the actors enough runway to lift this work to another level."

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

Laura Kennelly

"Director Henry Godinez places original musical arrangements by Cynthia Reifler Flores (who also serves as music director) front and center in this play by José Cruz González about the power of music (what else?) to unify and heal. In this case, the music is Mexican mariachi as played by a small, but striking ensemble that appears and disappears as the story continues....

Author González brings multiple plot points before us in the hour and a half plus production. There’s a lot of music, plus information about and evidence of music’s power to unite, to cheer, to heal, and to comfort. All valid ideas, each deserving of its own show. Blending them all together, however, weakens the overall effect — whipsawed as we are from feeling deeply touched by the daughter’s efforts to use music as therapy to soothe her mother’s dementia and then excited to see the entrepreneurship Lucha and Boli display as they decide to organize their own band. and then to our delight at their success as even her father sees how good her ensemble has become."

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

Kate Klotzbach
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

Joey Morona
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.

 

Monday, September 19, 2022

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS @ Great Lakes Theater

September 16-October 9, 2022

216-241-6000 or www.greatlakestheater.org

 Roy Berko

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is the kind of show that many love to hate while others love it.  The topics of abuse and drug use, which are not in the wheelhouse of musicals, sometimes turn people off, as does the phy-sci-centered plot.  The GLT production is as good as you are going to get.  It solidly hits all the comic and horror notes.  It’s a must see for the script’s fans!

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

Of course, nothing wilts so fast as the bloom of trendiness -- and this production might easily have been a tedious go-round of milking an old cash cow -- but Victoria Bussert, one of Cleveland's foremost directors of musical comedy, makes sure this "Shop of Horrors" still has the merchandise that sells.To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Chris Howey

"If you love some good tunes and a couple outstanding performances, Little Shop awaits your arrival with open jaws."

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

Laura Kennelly

One of the best musicals yet in the Hanna. The cast, largely made of BW music theatre students past and present conveyed a fresh take on this classic light-hearted horror musical (is there such a genre? If not, there should be). Of course, there’s a moral: beware of feckless scientific exploration and moral rationalizations. But who cares in the face of such delightful exuberance? (Don’t know about you, but exotic potted plants in my house don’t do all that well anyway.)

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

Kate Klotzbach

Every character is just a little over-the-top and completely enjoyable. The pacing is quick and invigorating. The plant is crazy cool. The choreography is fun. To round it out – the set, lights, costumes, and sound all lead into a Skid Row that is full of heart with vibrant possibilities in this carnivorous musical comedy.

To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

Joey Morona

Binding everything together is a message that we could use a reminder of from time to time, whether you call it being careful what you wish for, the high price of fame, or, simply, don’t f--- with the universe. “Little Shop of Horrors” might have a more twisted plot to go along with a higher body count than your typical feel-good musical, but, powered by terrific performances, the production is also full of heart, humor and, ahem, a killer soundtrack.

To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.

 

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

ONE MAN TWO GUVNORS @ BLANK CANVAS


September 9-24, 2022

http://www.blankcanvastheatre.com/ 

Howard Gollop

No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

Whether you are an actor, a former actor, or an enthusiastic theater goer, every so often a show comes along that makes you want to jump out of your seat and run onto the stage to be a part of the hilarity. This is the case for Blank Canvas Theatre’s current production of “One Man, Two Guvnors,” by Richard Bean. 

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Chris Howey

Loaded with intentionally one-dimensional characters, silly slapstick schtick, audience participation, some agile improvisation, lively band music, and a plot that joyously swerves through hairpin turns, it's a show that wants desperately to be loved.


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


Monday, September 12, 2022

BUYER & CELLAR

BUYER & CELLAR 

BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS

September 9-October 9, 2022

216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org


Roy Berko

BUYER AND CELLAR is a show that will delight gay audiences who will be able to laugh at themselves, as well as appreciate their perceived hero-worship of the world of divas, but should be a fun experience for the uninitiated into all things gay.  Scott Esposito gives a finely tuned performance in this well-conceived play. So, “bubalah,” If you want to escape from the world of covid and political stress, go see B&C, you may get “verklempt.” 

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

Howard Gollop


Local actor Scott Esposito is so narratively vivid -- assuming the roles of the narrator's boyfriend, Barbra Streisand herself, her secretary and even handsome hubby James Brolin and other incidental figures -- the audience remains mesmerized, usually in hilarity. The only thing raining on this parade is audience laughter and applause.


To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

What if you were offered a job to be the manager of a faux mini-mall in the basement of a huge star’s home, keep every last “tchotchke” (knick-knack) neat and tidy, and wait to see if the one customer, the star herself, ever comes down to shop? It sounds like a “meshuggeneh'' (crazy) idea. But in “Buyer and Cellar” by Johnathan Tolins at the Beck Center, this peculiar premise evolves into an hour and a half of sheer fun, with a dose of perspective and insight that we can all use once in a while.

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Chris Howey

Despite the wincingly forced pun of the title, this 90-minute piece has plenty of laughs and some startling depth. In short, it doesn't rain on her parade.

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

Laura Kennelly
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Kate Klotzbach

The most amazing part of this play is that it’s 90 minutes (no intermission) of Esposito playing every character, embodying every single one with ease. Juggling hundreds of lines without a break, Esposito is an engaging storyteller who moves in and out of each character like a breeze. It’s not necessary to be a Barbra fanatic to enjoy this romp in the private cellar, and it helps if you’re humored by all of the excesses of a wealthy and flamboyant lifestyle. Bring your dreams of glamour to the Beck Center for BUYER AND CELLAR. 

To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

 

Saturday, August 13, 2022

DISNEY FROZEN @ KEY BANK STATE THEATRE



DISNEY FROZEN

AUGUST 11-SEPTEMBER 11, 2022

216-241-6000 or playhousesquare.org

Roy Berko

Disney has created some of Broadway’s most memorable musicals including THE LION KING, BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, MARY POPPINS and NEWSIES THE MUSICAL.  FROZEN, unfortunately, does not deserve to join that exalted list. It’s not terrible, but kids will probably not be enchanted, adults should be adequately interested, and  all will be awed by the special effects and lighting

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

Yes, Elsa (powerful Caroline Bowman) -- the ice queen who rejects the Norwegian  royal court that first rejects her in fear of her magic wintery powers -- ascends the glacial mount of her new ice palace to burst into a new icicle pantsuit as she belts out the runaway hit, "Let it Go." 

Yes, the cuddly snowman Olaf, deftly handled by the onstage puppeteer actor F. Michael Haynie, insinuates his lovable goofiness into the hearts of the audience. 

Yes, the stage erupts into one glittering ice spectacle into another, sending chills into even the most overheated audience member.

What doesn't seem to erupt into any sensation at all is the tepid book/script by Jennifer Lee -- at odds with itself in pursuit of a narrative that vacillates between sisterly bonding and male heroism-cum-villainy. 

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

When your youngsters come begging for you to take them to see the Broadway Touring Production of Disney’s “Frozen”, trust me. You will enjoy it as much if not more than they will. This is solid family entertainment that is great musical theater for all ages. 

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

Chris Howey

This monumental touring production is highlighted by one number, the Act One closer "Let It Go," which is set in a glistening ice palace and is dazzling, stupefying and magical. It's tempting to say that song alone is worth the price of admission, but that's a tough call since the rest of the show stumbles as often as it soars.

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

Laura Kennelly

Bottom Line: It’s Disney so yes, it’s life lessons suitable for children. (Many excited princesses in full princess garb attended opening night.) As for adults? Well, after intermission, a short segment about Hygge (roughly translates as “good feelings”) with lightly-clad dancers enjoying a sauna seems designed for older visitors (and has nothing to do with the plot—except that it’s fun).

 Side Note: I was lucky enough to see the Broadway production of Frozen, with Baldwin Wallace University graduate Ciara Renée as Elsa, a few days before Broadway shut down in March 2020. This touring version includes some of the Broadway show’s special effects, but not all. Unfortunately, this reduces the impact of the production, one which depends on massive special effects to create an enchanted frozen world. I doubt its intended audience (young, first-time theater goers) and loyal Disney fans will care. Disney magic tends to conquer all.

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

Kate Klotzbach
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

Joey Morona

'Frozen" isn't the perfect musical.  It oftens feels overstuffed with extraneous musical numbers, elaborate costumes, larger-than-life sets and flashy effects serving as distractions from the somewhat flimsy story and numerous plot holes.  Still, its message of self-love and acceptance is something we should all be reminded of from time to time.  So, try seeing the show through the eyes of a child.  Feel, don't conceal.  Enjoy the spectacle and--you guessed it--just let it go. 


To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.

 

Monday, August 8, 2022

THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL@ Blank Canvas



THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL
BLANK CANVAS
AUGUST 5-21, 2022

 

Roy Berko
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.


Howard Gollop

Assuming the directorial reigns for the (at last) Cleveland production, Patrick Ciamacco, brilliantly translates the subversive immersive (aquatically and otherwise) spirit of the show into an invitingly intimate production. 
He has inspiringly whipped a cast of varying talents  into a class-A act. What's even more surprising, he and his team have created nothing short of a pocket-size Broadway extravaganza.

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

“SpongeBob the Musical” is a blast for all ages, with lovable characters, cool music, vivid lighting, creative cartoon projections, and it even has an optimistic message. Do yourself a favor and watch an episode of the TV series in order to appreciate every nuance that this cast has managed to capture, then put on your scuba gear and follow “Patchy the Pirate’s” voice to Blank Canvas Theatre for an under the sea experience that is out of this world.


To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

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

Chris Howey

This musical spinoff from the uber-popular animated TV show (and a series of films) has found itself on the tiny stage at Blank Canvas Theatre. And thanks to director Patrick Ciamacco, who is a wizard at downsizing huge musical productions without losing a gram of energy or excitement, this production is a fast-paced, Jello-colored delight.

 

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



 

OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD at Seat of the Pants Productions



OUR COUNTRY'S GOOD

Reinberger Auditorium
August 5-21, 2022 

Roy Berko

OUR COUNTRY’S GOOD exposes the viewer to a part of history not well known to many.   The overly-long script gets a creditable staging by Seats of the Pants Productions.  It is worth the sit for anyone interested in probing theater.


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

 

Sunday, August 7, 2022

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM @ Cain Park's Alma Theatre



SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM
August 4-14-, 2022
216-371-3000 or visit tinyurl.com/ye2b2zzu

Roy Berko

SONDHEIM ON SONDHEIM is a theatre-lovers dream.  It is an in-depth look at one of America’s musical theatre greats presented in his spoken words, his musical sounds, and creative lyrics.  It is a must see for anyone who admires his work or is interested in finding out more about Sondheim!

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

Sheri Gross
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

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

Chris Howey


This iteration of Sondheim on Sondheim will tweak the pleasure zones of Sondheim devotees, because how can you miss with this kind of material? But due to some odd design and directorial choices, this production doesn't quite "finish the hat." 


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


Wednesday, August 3, 2022

West Side Story @ Porthouse Theatre


Through August 14, 2022
https://www.kent.edu/porthouse
(330) 672-3884

 

Roy Berko

WEST SIDE STORY is near the top of my list of all-time great musicals. The creative choreography and solid character development of the Porthouse production did nothing to dissuade my love for the show.  Bravo!!!  I look forward to more shows produced by the Terri Kent and Martin Céspedes dynamic duo!

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

Kerry Clawson

Passion, love, hate and tragedy leap onto the stage at Porthouse Theatre with its electrifying production of West Side Story.

... Director Terri Kent and artistic collaborator/choreographer Martin Cespedes have combined forces to create a swirling, constantly moving world of warring street gangs and star-crossed lovers caught amid hate, prejudice and violence in 1957 New York City. The 36 actors in their terrific cast throw themselves into this timeless musical ...

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

Sheri Gross

No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

Porthouse Theatre has always been more than the show. It is the gathering of old friends and family to break bread picnic style on the spacious grounds. It is also a chance to see the future stars of Broadway as they practice their craft for the first time. This remarkable production of “West Side Story” is not to be missed. Bring the clan and enjoy a superb evening of entertainment.

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

Chris Howey

Porthouse Theatre's Production of 'West Side Story' Is So Damn Good

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


Sunday, July 31, 2022

"Newsies" @ Chagrin Valley Little Theatre


Through August 13, 2022
(440) 247-8955 12-4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday 
or two hours before curtain.

WORTH NOTING: 

In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved Equity Theater 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.
To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

It never ceases to amaze when Chagrin Valley Little Theatre takes on a major production that fills their tiny stage. “Newsies” uses every single square inch of space and somehow does it without the actors bumping into each other. This show has its moments that make it worth the price of the ticket.

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
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Laura's posts at Cool Cleveland.

Kate Klotzbach
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

Joey Morona
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.

 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

TAMING OF THE SHREW




OHIO SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL

July 7-August 14, 2022

https://www.ohioshakespearefestival.com/shrew 

Kerry Clawson

... something's missing here because we don't feel the chemistry between her [Tess Burgler's] Petruchio and Katarina. After Petruchio goes through elaborate machinations to force Katarina to comply as his new wife, we're supposed to believe that a real spark develops between them by the end. But I wasn't feeling it. 


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

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


Sunday, July 17, 2022

ANGRY FAGS at con-con




convergence-continuum
July 8-30, 2022

www.convergence-continuum.org 

Roy Berko

Con-cons cult audience will be pleased by the presence of lots of male partial nudity, a non-traditional story, and the gay theme.  Others will be intrigued by the author’s ability to lead down one path and throw a curveball into the action and then surprise with a startling ending.  All in all, even with some of the weak performances, this is a production worth seeing.

Howard Gollop

Right off the bat (which happens to be a murder weapon in this play) Convergence-Continuum should be thanked profusely for bringing more unique, unsettling and vital theatre to Cleveland. 

That being said, "Angry Fags" is not without problems. 

With a play that begins as "Boys in the  Band" and ends up as "Bonnie and Clyde" (albeit more perverse and dystopian), playwright Topher Payne  bites into a lot more political and philosophical meat than he can chew. 

Although quite earnest and intent, the nonprofessional cast might be in over their heads -- as is director Scott Zolkowski, although he's to be commended for navigating so well through a tight budget in an even tighter performance space

Despite its powerful moments, the production fails to remediate the discordant tonal problems of the script, much less hone in on the nuances (and humor) that would make underwritten characters compelling, or at least worth more empathy.

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.


Friday, July 15, 2022

AIN'T TO PROUD--The Life and Times of The Temptations



Key Bank Broadway Series

Key Bank State Theatre

July 12-31, 2020

Roy Berko

It is always interesting, whether or not you are a fan of a person or a group, to see and hear their story in a juke box musical.  AIN’T TOO PROUD gives the viewer an inside view of how The Temptations were founded, developed and performed.  The touring show did the history proud.  If you love the Temptations, you’ll be on “Cloud Nine” and “Shout” about AIN’T TOO PROUD.  If not a fanatic, it is still worth seeing it

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

Kerry Clawson

"Ain't Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations" is pure excitement at the State Theatre at Playhouse Square.

The jukebox musical, which follows the Temptations' journey from their early days in Detroit to the top of the charts, features a mindboggling 31 hits by the Motown group and others.


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

Howard Gollop

Yes, the expected ups and downs of superstardom -- drugs, alcohol, womanizing, troubled marriages -- are all there, as are the trials and tribulations of navigating the 1960s, from the bigoted South to the turbulent North. Yet a sleek black-and-grey production design by Robert Brill, powerfully lit by Howell Binkley, nuanced direction by Des McAnuff and mesmerizingly accurate choreography by Sergio Trujillo keep the proceedings exciting and vital. 

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.


Laura Kennelly

More a concert than a musical, the national tour production of Broadway’s “ain’t too proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations, is rocking Playhouse Square through July 31. This lively production celebrates the R&B hits that made the ensemble popular from the 1960s until today. Directed by Des McAnuff, with a script by Dominique Morisseau, it features the Tony Award-winning choreography of Sergio Trujillo with music and lyrics from the Legendary Motown Catalog 

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

Kate Klotzbach

The acting is believable, the dancing is entertaining, the costumes are slick, and the singing is off-the-charts with tight and powerful harmonies. This is not just a jukebox musical with no story, it is indeed "The Life and Times of the Temptations," a journey into the lives of an epically popular group that is a cornerstone of Motown history.

To see a full review of this show, read Kate's posts here.

Joey Morona

With rousing songs (and less-so dialogue), 'Ain't Too Proud' takes us through group's highs and lows.

To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

GODSPELL @ Porthouse



July 8-23, 2022
Tickets:  330-672-3884 or www.porthousetheatre.com

Roy Berko

A good production of GODSPELL can be a fine theatrical experience, whether you are or are not into the religious message.  Though the ending did not have the emotional effect that could be created, the Porthouse staging pleased the audience.

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

Kerry Clawson

Porthouse Theatre has a hit on its hands with its ultra-animated, fun-loving production of the classic musical "Godspell," featuring a highly talented cast of 10 at the outdoor summer theater adjacent to Blossom Music Center. 


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

Sheri Gross

This production of “Godspell” is filled with music that you want to sing, lessons that you want to think about, and talent that you want to applaud. So make sure to check the Blossom concert schedule and start out early to avoid traffic. You won’t want to miss a moment.  

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.


Saturday, July 9, 2022

Something Rotten @ Beck Center For The Arts


Through August 7, 2022
https://www.beckcenter.org/shows/somethingrotten 
(216) 521-2540 X10

 Roy Berko

"SOMETHING ROTTEN" is a theatrical treat. This is an absolutely must see for anyone who loves musical theatre and/or wants to experience a wonderful evening of dance, song and side-splitting laughter. It is actually worthy of a standing ovation!)

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

Howard Gollop

Even the best regional theaters stretch their limits when it comes to mounting a big Broadway musical, usually the domain of the national tour circuit in Northeast Ohio. But Beck Center for the Arts stretches its talent (if not its budget) to new heights in its production of the relatively new Broadway hit "Something Rotten."

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

If you are no stranger to the show “Something Rotten,” you will want to make your way to Beck Center to see this particular rendition. And if you have never seen the show, get your tickets now, because we all need a good laugh these days, and this production is not only laugh-out-loud funny, but wonderfully campy, and full of frivolous fun!

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

If you are weary of seeing the latest “Broadway Show Based On A Movie”, “Something Rotten” stands alone in its originality. It is truly laugh out loud funny. See how many Bard and Broadway references you can pick up out of the rapid fire delivery. Be prepared to be totally entertained.

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

Nothing is rotten about the Beck Center’s fast-moving summer offering, Something Rotten. An allusive feast, the musical, playing in the Senney Theater through August 7, makes snappy, satirical fun of literary icon William Shakespeare and his imagined rivals.

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


Monday, June 20, 2022

ELLIOT & ME



Chagrin Falls Little Theatre

June 9-June 25, 2022

 WORTH NOTING: 

In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved Equity Theater 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 blog site.  This review falls into that category.


Roy Berko

ELLIOT & Me is a “hamisha” (warm/comfortable) show that makes for an enjoyable evening of theatre.  It’s the kind of script that could be comfortably performed by community theatres and maybe even off-Broadway.


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


Sunday, June 19, 2022

Little Shop Of Horror @ Porthouse Theatre



Through July 2, 2022
https://www.kent.edu/porthouse/little-shop-horrors
(330) 672-3884

 

Roy Berko

Porthouse’s LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS is well directed by Terri Kent, creatively choreographed by Martin Cespedes, and musically on-key by Jennifer Korecki and her musicians.  Audiences should enjoy themselves with the spirited production, but may return home and get rid of their house plants.

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

Kerry Clawson

For a really campy treat, head to Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls for the famously fun, comedy sci-fi musical "Little Shop of Horrors." 

The musical, which kicks of Porthouse Theatre's 54th season, features a tight cast of nine including Kent State University students, recent grads and other professionals. It's a colorful celebration of the horror musical as well as early rock, doo-wop and Motown, based on the 1960 film by Roger Corman and Charles Griffith.

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

Sheri Gross

Scary-licious sci-fi meets paranormal pop/rock in Porthouse Theatre’s horror musical comedy, “”Little Shop of Horrors,” and while it may make you second guess purchasing a venus flytrap anytime soon, the show will definitely have you bopping in your seats. 

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

Porthouse Theatre has a long established tradition of far more hits than misses and their current production proves the point. It is a pleasant way to spend an evening with a picnic supper on the spacious grounds followed by a well produced and entertaining musical. Come see what all the fuss is about. You will be glad you did.

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

Chris Howey

PLet's face it, if you haven't seen "Little Shop of Horrors" by now (or even actually been in it) since it's been a perennial favorite of school, college and community theater groups for several decades, then you really have to call someone to remove the rock you've been living under. Surprise, it's 2022 and we're still humming along to this musical version of the cult eponymous cult flick. It features the Mushnik florist shop employees—schlub Seymour and fetching Audrey—along with the carnivorous botanical monstrosity dubbed Audrey II by love-smitten Seymour.

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

Friday, June 17, 2022

The Fantasticks @ Near West Theatre

 


June 18, 19, 24, 25 & 26 2022
(216) 961-6391

WORTH NOTING: 

In order to bring attention to local productions of merit at theaters that are not on the Cleveland Critics Circle’s approved Equity Theater 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

At long last, Near West Theatre is able to stage small intimate productions in their brand new 70+ seat Black Box Theatre. This will allow them to broaden their horizons even further as people once again venture out to see live entertainment. Their first production “The Fantasticks” is a nice fit to their plans. Chances are this limited dates production (only five more shows) will sell out in a hurry so get your tickets fast.

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


Sunday, June 12, 2022

SCHOOL OF ROCK @ Cain Park




SCHOOL OF ROCK
June 9-26, 2022

 

Roy Berko

SCHOOL OF ROCK is a fun-filled show with a nice moral message. The Cain Park production is well-directed and performed. The music rocks.  The cast entertains.  It’s the kind of show that audiences love.   

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

Chris Howey


If you want take children you know to a show, you should bring them down into the leafy environs of Cain Park and experience "School of Rock." It's not perfect and sure, it's predictable. But thanks to the skills of director Joanna May Cullinan and band conductor Bradley Wyner, "School" is family friendly with just enough sly winks. And when it comes to conveying joy, this show shreds.


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


 

Thursday, June 9, 2022

Playhouse Square Touring Production of My Fair Lady


Through June 26, 2022
https://www.playhousesquare.org/events/detail/my-fair-lady-22 
(216) 241-6000

 

Roy Berko

MY FAIR LADY has deservedly been called "the perfect musical" and the Lincoln Center revival did nothing but increase the respect level. The touring company, may not be up to the New York performance level, but it is a visual and production delight.  It is well-worth a trip to Playhouse Square!

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

Howard Gollop

Yes, as the number ("Get Me to the Church on Time") magically grows chorus members, the dancing girls somehow fade away and in come drag queens for a raucous can-can. We are in "Moulin Rouge" territory now.

I don't think Shaw would have ever imagined this when "Pygmalion" opened in London in 1913, but 109 years later, audiences less and less can imagine or appreciate what life was really like in the author's day, which would make a more faithful adaptation all that more "loverly."

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

Yes, this play is three hours long, but don’t let that scare you away. This updated version of “My Fair Lady,” under the impeccable direction of Bartlett Sher, with its beloved score by Lerner and Leowe, and its exceptional cast led by Ahmed and Mackintosh, is an important piece of classic theater that demands to be seen. In fact, you may walk out of the theater singing to yourselves, “I could have watched all night…and still have begged for more.” 

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

This is a show that will totally enthrall all who see it. From the over the top grand stage sets with descending Opera House front, Higgin’s spinning multi-room home with spacious study, Alfred’s neighborhood pub, Higgin’s outdoor street, Ascot (with the sound of horses racing from left to right), and the Grand Ballroom at the Embassy, the costuming, the singing, the orchestra...I could go on and on. In short, see this show and be bedazzled. You will be humming songs all the way back to the car.

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

Chris Howey

Some have dubbed "My Fair Lady" the "perfect musical" since it is not the kind of sappy "moon-June" romance that gets stale over the decades. Thanks to Alan Jay Lerner's witty book and lyrics, Frederick Lowe's lush score, and Sher's spot-on direction, this production rises to the top. And it does so without a traditional love story, a comedy lead, or de rigeur kickass dance numbers for a chorus of 40, "My Fair Lady" is simply a delight for all the senses, right down to the perfect downbeat ending.


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

Laura Kennelly

Although My Fair Lady is over 60 years old, she is not showing her age. Director Bartlett Sher has kept the glamour and modernized the emphasis without changing a word in Playhouse Square’s latest touring show. Yes, Alan Jay Lerner (book and lyrics) and Frederick Loewe (music) still create theater magic....

Caution: If you are expecting a rom-com, you are bound to be disappointed, especially in this subtly modernized version. Ahmed’s Eliza is brilliant, hard-working, and — when the role demands it — gorgeous and charming, but there are no romantic vibes between her and her instructor. It does not matter, it is a wonderful show and if you go home and think Higgins and Eliza are made for each other? Well, anything is possible in fantasy land.

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

Zachary Lewis

Superb cast and lavish visuals come together in lavish production of "My Fair Lady" at Playhouse Square.

To see a full review of this show, read Zach's posts here.

 

Tuesday, May 31, 2022

Waitress @ Playhouse Square





Through June 26, 2022
 https://www.playhousesquare.org/events/detail/waitress-2
(216) 241-6000

 

Roy Berko

If you haven’t seen WAITRESS before, go see this staging.  If you have seen WAITRESS before, go see this staging.  Except for the sound system issues, WAITRESS is a fine theatrical experience.   In spite of that, go see this show!!


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

Howard Gollop

This version triumphs in a more intimate production that sacrifices none of the Broadway panache, but delivers a more human-scale tour-de-force that's rare on the stages of touring houses.

To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Sheri Gross

WAITRESS is one of those shows that everyone should see; a musical comedy about serious issues.  We laugh with, we even laugh at, but are never trivialized.  It is a show that renews our belief in happy endings.  And with a story that tugs at the heartstrings, a fabulous cast and a winning score.

To see a full review of this show, read Sheri Gross' review here.

Mark Horning

Flour...Sugar...Butter...Flour...Sugar...Butter and of course Love. These are the ingredients that go into making a great pie and Love makes everything special including this show. Take someone special to see it and afterwards go out for some pie. 

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

Chris Howey

"Waitress" is a delightful offering, stuffed with engaging songs and a few outstanding performances. Heck, even the scene changes as created by the original director Diane Paulus are worth half the price of admission.


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

Laura Kennelly

Sara Bareilles’ hit musical Waitress has returned to Playhouse Square for an extended run in the close confines of the Hanna Theatre. The show is based on the 2007 motion picture written by Adrienne Shelly with a book by Jessie Nelson, music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, choreography by Lorin Latarro and direction by Diane Paulus.

In this case, “a new look” does not mean improved.

The Hanna’s thrust stage has been removed and the theater’s excellent acoustical properties are buried under amplification. The vocalists and the compact onstage band, conducted by Lilli Wosk, often overwhelmed the space. What is usually an advantage in the Hanna (proximity of every seat to the stage) has become a liability.

The storyline has shifted to a caricature of the original’s “feel-good” small town vibe. Yes, we do sympathize with waitress Jenna (Stephanie Torns) who suffers in her marriage to abusive loser Earl (Brad Standley). Torns’ attractive Jenna belts out Bareilles’ quirky songs about the pies, pies created to fit every occasion. The titles offer an ongoing commentary on Jenna’s life: “Big Guy Strawberry Pie,” “I Don’t Want Earl’s Baby Pie,” “I Hate My Husband Pie,” and “Pregnant, Miserable, Self-Pitying Loser Pie.”

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

Joey Morona

"Waitress" isn't a groundbreaking musical nor is it the gradnspectacle of other Boradway fare thatr passses through Playhouse Square. Instead, staged in a smaller theater, it's an intimate experience that will leave you feeling happy, hopeful and maybe a little bit hungry.

To see a full review of this show, read Joey's posts here.