Thursday, April 18, 2024

STOMP @ Playhouse Square



Through April 21, 2024
(216) 241-6000

 

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

The action is fast and furious for the ninety minute (without intermission) back beat extravaganza as performers wow the audience with incredible feats of percussive skills. You will be astounded by the muscularly demanding precision performed on stage. With only four days left, purchase your ticket NOW!

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.

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Yuko's posts here.

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

 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

AMADEUS

AMADEUS

Cleveland Play House (Outcalt Theatre)

April 6-28, 2024

https://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/shows/2023/amadeus or call 216-400-7000

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

Sheri Gross

Imagine a jealousy that runs so deep that the war waged is not against the one that evokes that jealousy, but with God Himself. This is what Italian composer Antonio Salieri eats, sleeps, and breathes, as he walks through the world in the shadow of his friend and nemesis Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. 

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

Mark Horning

If you are a stickler for truth in theater this may not be a work you wish to witness. It follows to the letter the same dramatic flaws, innuendos and misrepresentations of the original 1979 play and 1984 movie. Do, however, see it for the superb acting by all members of the cast. It is an intriguing “tale of madness, malice and music” that will leave you thoroughly entertained.

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

Chris Howey

This CPH production traces every step of that tormented man's journey with style and relish.

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

Laura Kennelly

Didn’t know classical music had a naughty side? Let Amadeus, the sizzling Mozart/Salieri fable now at the Cleveland Play House, change your mind. Director Laura Gordon and a fine cast bring Peter Shaffer’s entertaining riff about jealousy and European royal patronage to life in the Outcalt Theatre through April 28.

It’s true that Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart died tragically young and that his final commissioned work was a requiem for a secret patron. However, there’s little basis for the play’s supposition that Italian composer Salieri’s jealous efforts destroyed young Mozart. As far as history tells us, Salieri’s music was acclaimed and successful, and he had nothing to do with the poverty and illness that brought Mozart to an untimely end.

But never mind, Amadeus rivetingly illustrates envy’s corrosive powers.

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

Kate Klotzbach

Did he do it? Did Italian composer Antonio Salieri murder musical genius Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart? If intentions were enough to kill a person, then the easy answer is, “Yes.” Salieri never laid a hand on Mozart, but his vicious acts of professional sabotage certainly took a violent toll upon Mozart’s soul. Written by Peter Shaffer, this fictional account of Mozart’s life is every bit as complex as his music is famous.


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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Yuko's posts here.

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

 

Sunday, April 7, 2024

Jitney Taxi Service @ Beck Center for the Arts


Through May 5, 2024

www.beckcenter.org

(216) 521-2540

 

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

If you have never witnessed an August Wilson play you are in for a huge treat and if you have, you owe it to yourself to see this production. This two hour race of emotions grabs and holds your attention for the entire time. You not only relate, you root for various characters praying they will win out in the end. It is life, death and romance in a gripping saga. This is must see theater of the highest magnitude. 

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


Jitney, playing at the Beck Center for the Arts through May 5, is a mini masterpiece. Director Jimmie Woody allows each character’s unique perspective to gradually unfold in this August Wilson award-winning classic. It was the first play written in playwright August Wilson’s Pittsburgh series.

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

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Set in a car service office—run by Becker (Darryl Tatum) in the Hill District between 1970 and 79, the story of Jitney follows immediately after Two Trains Running, which covers the decade between 1960 and 69. Jitney illustrates the story of the multigeneration of taxi drivers and how they impacted their communities. This play's background is the modern transportation mode (automobiles) that gave mobility and freedom to Blacks and their lives. Yet, behind this appearance of “improvement” is permeating gentrification that pushes original residents out of the area, as they need to close their businesses and schools.


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

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

 

Stonewallin' @ Convergence-Contiuum



Through April 20, 2024

www.convergence-continuum.org 

(216) 687-0074

 

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

Con-Con really enjoys putting itself out there with works that champion the LGBTQ community in America yet are extremely entertaining to straight audiences as well. You will find yourself totally engaged in this “romantic tale” with a twist. Fill the theater for this one.

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.

Kate Klotzbach

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Yuko's posts here.

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

 

Monday, March 25, 2024



BACH AT LEIPZIG

SEAT OF THE PANTS PRODUCTIONS

March 22-April 7.2024

Franklin Circle Christian Church

1688 Fulton Road.  Cleveland 44113

seatofthepants.org

 

Roy Berko

Seat of the Pants Productions has a purpose of “selecting plays which raise potent questions - some specific to today and others that speak to human nature across the ages.” BACH AT LEIPZIG fulfills that mission. Though it makes for a long sit, the play will be of interest for those interested in historical biographies, classic music and unusual play scripts. 

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

Mark Horning

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

Chris Howey


Setting aside some questionable playwriting and directorial decisions, all hail to the cast that turns in yeoman, often inventive work and manages to make the show quite delightful when they are given the opportunity.


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


THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR



THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR
GREAT LAKES THEATER
March 22-April7, 2024

For tickets call 216-241-6000 or go to www.greatlakestheater.org

Roy Berko

Though generally described as a lesser work, with the right production, the tale of Falstaff, the rotund rascal who attempts, unsuccessfully, to woo and con the two wealthiest married ladies in the town of Windsor, can be a delight.  GLT’s staging, with its glorious set, entrancing costumes, and wonderful acting is so good, that even if you aren’t a Bardophile, it’s a must-see.

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

With any other company this would be a tough production to pull off but in the hands of GLT this madcap farce about the over weight and over sexed rascal trying to con two ladies of means in Windsor is a feast of comic theater. Old fans and newbies of the Bard will all agree that this is must see theater. It’s all fun until someone gets dumped in the canal then it becomes hilarious.  

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

Chris Howey

There are some laughs to be had in this Wives, thanks to the script that is in many ways foolproof, as is the physical humor. But overall, the merriment is less merry than it might be.  

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

Laura Kennelly


William Shakespeare’s The Merry Wives of Windsor, now at the Hanna Theatre, featured Sir John Falstaff, an oft-drunk, always clownish, would-be womanizer. His scenes provided comic relief in Shakespeare’s Serious (and grim) dramas about the Tudor family’s rise to power. (See Henry IV, Parts I and 2, as well as Henry V.) Elizabethan-era audiences adored Falstaff. They clamored for more.

As a result, Falstaff got his own show. And why not? History — like the news — can be depressing. And, as The Merry Wives of Windsor demonstrates, marriage, love, sex and politics can be funny.

And so, it seems, Shakespeare obliged with more fat Falstaff jokes, although, as Director Terri McMahon notes, The Merry Wives of Windsor is set in an era contemporary with Shakespeare’s own.

----

Bottom Line: The brawling, egotistical clown that is Falstaff gets a play of his own. He may not have deserved one. Despite valiant efforts and the talented Great Lakes Theater cast, opening night seemed too slow-paced for farce. It is highly likely in later shows (last performance is April 7), the pace will pick up and all will revel in this classic comedy.

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

Kate Klotzbach

THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR is full of classic Shakespearean plot points: mistaken identities, misunderstandings, disguises, and joyful conspiracies amidst foes, friends, and lovers... All-in-all the show is worth seeing, whether you are a seasoned Shakespearian or a first-time watcher who is “Shakespeare-curious.”

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
No review yet.
To see a full review of this show, read Yuko's posts here.

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

 

Thursday, March 21, 2024

CMSD All City Musical "DreamGirls" @ Playhouse Square



Through March 24, 23024
(216) 241-6000

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

Close your eyes and you will think that you are listening to an authentic Broadway performance. Open your eyes and you will be greeted with a most superb stage set with professional lighting and sound all done by Cleveland area students. This is your chance to see top quality entertainment by dedicated students from the Cleveland, Ohio area. SEE THIS SHOW!

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


Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Annie @ Playhouse Square


 Through March 24, 2024

https://www.playhousesquare.org/

(2316) 241-6000

Mark Horning

The one shame of this production is that it will only be on stage through Sunday, March 24, 2024 so you will really have to rush in order to procure a ticket. Believe me, it will be worth the effort. Bring a little March theater sunshine to your Cleveland gray skies. You will be the better for it...Maybe!

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


Tuesday, March 19, 2024

REQUIEM


REQUIEM

CLEVELAND PUBLIC THEATRE

MARCH 14-APRIL 6, 2024

216-632-2727 X 501--www.cptonline.org/get-tickets/


Roy Berko

REQUIEM is a play that is neither easy to understand nor to immediately grasp its meaning.  It takes a while of after-thought and some mulling over what one has just experienced to gain self-awareness.  It is not a play for anyone who goes to the theatre for pure entertainment.  This script and production are not entertaining in the normal sense.  As with all existential theatrical experiences, it takes work to not only sit through the production, but allow yourself time to gain its message.

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

Chris Howey

Based on three short stories by Anton Chekhov, and under the thoughtful direction of Raymond Bobgan, it creates a rich, consistent tone with many humorous jabs and feints. But by keeping the energy and performance invention at a low ebb, other theatrical opportunities are set aside.

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

An allegorical character, The Old Man (Peter Lawson Jones), is a modern-day “everyman” who, just before his own death, realizes his selfish and inconsiderate behavior, especially toward his own wife (The Old Woman), performed by Venetia Whatley, whose facial expressions (Suwatana Rockland put excellent stage-makeup on her face ) tell everything. The Old Man’s redemption comes too late for the couple (The Old Woman dies), but philosophically, he completes his journey to become a better human before his own death.  

To see a full review of this show, read Yuko Kurahahi's blog here.

Monday, March 18, 2024

ORDINARY DAYS


ORDINARY DAYS

BALDWIN WALLACE MUSIC THEATRE PROGRAM

MARCH 15-17, 2024

PLAYHOUSE SQUARE/THE HELEN  

Roy Berko

It’s a shame that the show only ran four performances.  It is the type of production that develops a cult following and could have run on and on in an open-ended -format.  Personally, I was enamored by the script, found the members of the Downtown cast wonderful (the show is double cast, with Anthony Maja, Kenna Wilson, Luke Henson and Jessi Kirtey being the Uptown cast), and not only would I have liked to see that cast, but would have excitedly encouraged everyone to see the show!

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


Laura Kennelly

Recipe for a musical:

*Mix four talented humans in huge city (yes, NYC).

*Allow them to meet.

*Step back to allow chemistry and fate to complete the work.

Ordinary Days, with music and lyrics by Adam Gwon, does just that, and in doing so, weaves a simple tale spun by chance encounters into a meditation about life.

*****

Bottom Line: Impressive performances from multi-talented performers. The appealing student quartet melded Ordinary Day’s character sketches into a compelling and coherent whole. The musical itself (and its celebration of random chance) proved positive and refreshing. Looking forward to following Mejia, Wilson, Henson, and Kirtley as they pursue their own careers and NYC life — -or, as one note that fell near me said, “On the road of Life, Let no Obstacle, Great or Small, Stand in your way.”


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


Sunday, March 10, 2024

It Happened In Atlanta @ Karamu House


Through March 30, 2024
(216) 795-7070

 


Mark Horning

This slice of urban Cleveland life will ring true especially with older married couples who would have sense enough NOT to play “the couples game” with each card being a hand grenade with the pin pulled and tossed aside. That fact withstanding, it was intriguing to see the created chaos and how each person worked to make everything right. A solid play with a solid performance worth seeing with your significant other.

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.


Saturday, March 9, 2024

Something Clean @ Dobama Theatre



SOMETHING CLEAN
DOBAMA
MARCH 8-30, 2024
DOBAMA.ORG or 216-321-2930

Roy Berko

Combine the fine writing by Selina Fillinger, with the focused directing of Shannon Sindelar, add in the excellent technical aspects of the Dobama staff, and three finely-etched realistic portrayals, and the result is a superb evening of must-see theatre.


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

What happens when undeserved blame is showered on the innocent? This play, ripped right out of the pages of the nation’s newspapers and social media feeds tells the unabashed story of a family in crisis and their manner of coping. You will feel yourself drawn in as the story unfolds and rooting for maybe not so much a happy ending but a fair one. See this show.      

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.

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
We rarely take a glimpse of the (inside of) the lives of those who are involved with sexual assault cases beyond the media coverage. Thus, the play gives a fresh and intriguing internal “story” about the assaulter's family and what they have gone through. So the play is extremely moving, making the audience feel for the parents of Kai  (never on stage), who is scheduled to be released within a week. Derdriu Ring’s Charlotte—the mother of Kai—exquisitely portrays the woman/mother/wife—who forever keeps “why my son ended up raping a girl?”

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

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

 

Saturday, March 2, 2024

The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby @ Ohio Shakespeare Festival



Through March 17, 2024
(330) 574-2537

 

Mark Horning

Personally, I would have wished for an earlier start time and perhaps dividing the show into two segments and alternating each piece on succeeding days. This would put far less stress on the actors and audience alike. With that said, it is a well produced show with just a couple of fixable problems that will right themselves as the show carries on. 

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.


Dr. Yuko Kurahashi


Under the direction of Nancy Cates, the design team created an environment in which this epic story is told seamlessly. Scenic Designer Natalie Steen keeps the stage minimalistic, installing four different performable levels with several staircases.  The upper level “balcony,” as familiar in the Elizabethan theatres, serves as a performing area and a passage for the performers.  In addition, the actors use the second level of the auditorium of the Henry C. Bishop Stage in Greystone Hall. These spaces illustrate the world of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby: London, Yorkshire, and Portsmouth.  Within in each location are sub-locations that include the residence of Ralph Nickleby, the inn, the tavern, the millinery, and the backstage of the theatre in Portsmouth. Tables, tablecloths, chairs, and a chaise support the production’s numerous “scene changes” (without interruptions).


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


Saturday, February 24, 2024

RENT



RENT

KENT STATE UNIVERSITY--E. TURNER STUMP THEATRE
February 16-25, 2024
330-672-2787

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Kent State University School of Theatre and Dance’s production of Rent written and composed by Jonathan Larson and directed by Amy Fritsche is one of the most revealing, moving, and compelling works. We worry about if the current generation can grasp the breadth of this musical written and set in the 1990s. KSU School of Theatre and Dance’s cast nailed the show by their true understanding of the script and genuine compassion for each character.


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

 

MIDDLETOWN



MIDDLETOWN
Cleveland Play House (CWRU/CPH MFA ACTING PROGRAM)

The Helen Theatre

February 21-March 2, 2024
216-400-7000

Howard Gollop

A simple drama about small-town life turns out to be anything but warm escapism in Will Eno's "Middletown." Some striking and ominous visual effects by Ben Needham (sets) and Adam Ditzes (lights) help coax the audience into accepting the extraordinary emanating out of the ordinary. But what really propels the subtext is the nuanced performances of the members of the Case Western University and Cleveland Play House joint MFA program, so insightfully honed by director Donald Carrier.

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


Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Set in Middletown, a small town where everybody knows everyone—but not quite, Will Eno’s Middletown is a nervous Our Town, minus Emily and umbrellas. Eno includes possible bits and pieces of references, renditions, and metaphors from Angels in America, Endgame, The Trueman Show, Expecting Isabel, many stories by Philip Roth, and Carl Sagan’s Murmurs of Earth. 

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


Thursday, February 22, 2024

Funny Girl @ Playhouse Square



Through March 10, 2024
https://www.playhousesquare.org/
(216) 241-6000

 

Roy Berko


FUNNY GIRL is a throwback to the traditional musical.  From the sprightly overture, to the sequential story line, to an I want song (“Who are You Now!), that sets the show’s storyline in action, to the big score which is nicely woven into the storyline, to several hit songs (“People” and Don’t Rain on My Parade”), it is meant to entertain audiences and, in spite of what some will think is a misinterpretation of the role of Fanny, entertain it does. 

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

Howard Gollop

The question becomes, does Katerina McCrimmon, a Cuban discovery from Miami, sound enough like the Streisand? Does she sound too much like Streisand to the point of imitation? How about comparisons to Lea Michelle, the star from TV's "Glee" who took over the struggling musical revival and reportedly enabled it to turn a profit last year? Well, good news: McCrimmon is a powerful interpretive singer in her own right, and she even manages a convincing Jewish accent that brings back Fanny Brice into focus as well. As for the rest of the musical, it's a joy to hear the complete original score by Jule Styne (music) and Bob Merrill (lyrics) in Isobel Lennard's original book (script), tweaked for the latest Broadway revival by Harvey Fierstein.

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

Sheri Gross

This is a revival that needed to happen. And although it got off to a rocky start on Broadway, Katerina McCrimmon, along with the rest of the talented ensemble, is just the actor to land this version of “Funny Girl” into a brand new spotlight of its own.

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

Mark Horning

In the proud tradition of the Broadway musical, this show has it all and then some. Brassy Ziegfeld Folly numbers, heartfelt romantic ballads, superb dancing numbers with exciting tap routines, flashy costumes, fantastic sets and superb acting makes this must see Broadway musical theater. Don’t let the weather rain (or snow) on your parade. Come on down for an evening of fun and find out what happy people do (hint, they see touring Broadway musicals).

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

Chris Howey

With a few wrinkles, this touring show at Playhouse Square provied a glimpse of what star power looked like about a century ago.

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

Laura Kennelly

Funny Girl, now at Playhouse Square’s Connor Palace, celebrates vaudeville star Fanny Brice’s rise to fame via the Ziegfeld Follies in the early 1900s. If you have seen the Barbara Streisand film version, you already know the plot and probably have favorite songs.

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

Joey Morona

“Funny Girl” is one of those shows whose success hinges on its central performance. The role of Fanny Brice is so powerful that it turned Barbra Streisand into a star and uncanceled Lea Michele. Newcomer McCrimmon absolutely shines on tour, capturing the essence of the character while making it her own with vibrant energy, a powerful singing voice and the comedic timing of a seasoned pro.

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

 

Sunday, February 18, 2024

The Play That Goes Wrong @ Cleveland Play House


Through March 3, 2024

https://www.clevelandplayhouse.com/ 

(216) 241-6000


Howard Gollop


If ever a case can be made for less is more, "The Play that Goes Wrong" is the right show to prove that axiom. For the Cleveland Play House production, brilliantly (and self-destructively) mounted by scenic designer Czerton Lim, the performers needlessly punctuate the slapstick and intentional overacting of the amateur British company (billed as the Cornley University Drama Society) putting on the mystery "The Murder of Faversham Manor" to the point of turning the evening into a circus clown show. Then again, a clown show, expertly choreographed by fight and stunt director Jason Paul Tate, was all many escapism-hungry audience members needed on a cold, rainy night on Playhouse Square. Considering the show is still a hit off-Broadway (perhaps slightly more reigned in), even New York audiences would concur.
To see a full review of this show, read Howard Gollop's review here.

Mark Horning

Even if you have seen this work before, it is well worth seeing the Cleveland Play House version of this comic classic. The production values are top-notch, the comedy is spot on and the physical funny aspects are a work of art. It is a comic farce that will have you laughing all the way home. Share in the delight and silliness!

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

Chris Howey

"In sum, The Play That Goes Wrong will make many in the audience laugh till their sides ache, while others may feel like they've attended a limply amusing theatrical mugging."

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

Laura Kennelly

Whoops! If everything goes wrong in the Cleveland Play House’s current show, that means everything is going right! The Play That Goes Wrong, now at Playhouse Square’s Allen Theatre, shows farce at its best. One testimony to that is that the run of this play within a play has been extended to March 10, a week longer than planned, due to ticket demand.

Maybe it’s schadenfreude, but I think Clevelanders know how easy it is for things to go wrong and how cool it is to be able to not only make the best of it, but also to laugh about it. “River on fire? Bah, not stopping us,” etc. 

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

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Mother Courage and Her Children @ Ensemble Theatre


MOTHER COURAGE
Ensemble
February 9-25, 2024
ensembletheatrecle.org or 216-321-2930

 

Roy Berko


Theatre lovers, rejoice!  At 2 hours and 30 minutes MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN is a long sit, but a well-worth investment of time when realizing that you are seeing one of the epics of Western culture’s theatrical cannon which is getting an impressive staging.


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

To say that this production is not one of my favorites would be an understatement. Perhaps it was an off night. If so, humor me, buy a ticket and see for yourself. For me there was no mother's love.

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

Chris Howey

"Mother Courage illustrates the fragility of human values, the ones we cherish and hold onto in the grim hope they will save us. And this trenchant production reveals them for what they are."

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

Kate Klotzbach

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Ensemble Theatre’s Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, translated (adapted) by Tony Kushner with music composition by Duke Special, and directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz and Rebecca Moseley, is a powerful work that addresses multiple issues around war, business, and people. Although the play is set in the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), these themes are universal, relevant to “any war, anywhere, at anytime” as the program states. The central character Anna Frierling, Mother Courage, is a middle-aged woman who pushes her wagon with her children, crossing the war-torn fields. They sell what they can sell—pots, pans, schnapps, soups, and sometimes, ammunition—to survive. The play is about survival, “war as a business,” sacrifice, bravery, courage, hypocrisy, and the devastation of human lives. 

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

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

 

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

ALTER



ALTER
Cleveland Public Theatre
February 8-24, 2024
cptonline.org or 216-631-2727 Ext 501


 Roy Berko

It is always interesting to see a new script in its first full production.  With ALTER, the viewer not only gets to see the birth, but also experience a fine staging values.  Congrats to Tania Benites for developing a meaningful play and to Cleveland Public Theatre for giving the audience a fine experience. 

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

What happens when we simultaneously become our biggest asset and worst enemy through the miracle of self-help aids. This is the twisted tale of two personalities inhabiting a single body. We cheer when Marie stands up to her over dominating co-working but agonize at the price she eventually pays. Come see this intriguing play.  

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

Chris Howey

"It's always exciting to see an original play hit a local stage, especially when it's written by a person raised in the northeast Ohio theater community. With Alter by Tania Benites, Cleveland Public Theatre and Teatro Publico de Cleveland join forces to present a work that, while flawed, has a neat twist in the storytelling that captures your imagination."

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

Kate Klotzbach

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi
Tania Benites’s ALTER, directed by Barclay, is a contemporary Faust, Dr. Jekyll & Hyde, or Frankenstein story. One wishes to become or want somebody ideal, and their wishes come true—and then it is too late to realize that they have sold their soul to a devil. Alter challenges the self-help industry and the “let’s transform” ethos in today's context. We are bombarded daily with numerous workshops, trainings, classes, and self-books, which all try to promote a “more assertive, powerful, productive, influential and happier” you.  It is funny that I just got an invitation to attend a Live Webinar training called “Assertive Speaking Skills for Professionals: How to Ask for What You Want and Get It!” Maybe I will attend it to see if I will meet with my alter ego—a better and more assertive version of me.

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

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

 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Ride The Cyclone - The Musical @ Beck Center For The Arts



RIDE THE CYCLONE
BECK CENTER FOR THE ARTS
FEBRUARY 9-25, 2024
216-521-2540 or beckcenter.org

Roy Berko

The strong directing, performances and production qualities of RIDE THE CYCLONE THE MUSICAL overcome the less than stellar book and music to make this is definitely worthy of a trip to Beck Center where the audience gets to appreciate and wonder at the talents of the students enrolled in the BW Musical Theatre program.

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

Howard Gollop

It's hard to avoid the pun, but Beck Center for the Art's "Ride the Cyclone" is indeed a transcendental joyride of all things musical and ethereal about teens grappling with the afterlife after a tragic accident on a carnival rollercoaster. It's an amazing cerebral flip-side to those teen-tragedy "Final Destination" movies -- made all that more compelling by a magnificent production-lighting design by Trad A. Burns and Jack Anthony Ina and the rest of the magnificent cast and crew joining the Beck Center from the celebrated Baldwin Wallace University Music Theater Program.

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

Mark Horning

This is one of those little gems of theater that if you blink will race by before you know it. The marriage of Beck Center’s technical staff with the enormous talent found in the BWU Music Theater Program gives us an extraordinary evening of musical entertainment. This show has it all: heart, courage, love and music. This is a highly recommended show to see.

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

Laura Kennelly

If all your favorite musicals had a love child, Ride the Cyclone might be it. Funny, touching, philosophical and musical — above all musical — this Beck Center and Baldwin Wallace collaboration is a delightful, witty creation.

Directed by Victoria Bussert and written by Canadians Jacob Richmond and Brooke Maxwell, this regional première features a small, but mighty troupe. (It is double cast; I saw the Raptor team.)

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Set in the amusement park in a small town called Uranium City—to ominously suggest a post-apocalyptic world—five high school students who belong to the choir group get on the rollercoaster ride, “The Cyclone.” During the ride, they were thrown out of their seats to the ground due to a mechanical failure.

Each student--Ocean O’Connell Rosenberg, Constance Blackwood, Noel Gruber, Ricky Potts, and Mischa Bachinski--has their distinctive personalities, histories, and dreams—which would not be materialized. That’s why the stories they share in their “last playground” become meaningful and profound to the extent that their shared stories would determine who they really “were” rather than they would be remembered by others. Many familiar themes and story and narrative devices/structures that remind the audience of those in SIX, The Wizard of Oz, Spring Awakening, and A Chorus Line make the show even more appealing.

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


Sunday, February 11, 2024

Murder On The Orient Express @ Great Lakes Theater



Through March 3, 2024
(216) 241-6000

 

Roy Berko


Agatha Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS gets a wonderful staging at GLT.  It challenges the imagination, it delights, it makes for a special evening of theatre.  Yes, if you want a couple of hours out of the time we are all spending in this stressful world, this is an absolute GO SEE!


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

Howard Gollop

After two major film versions and TV versions of Agatha Christie's iconic mystery novel "Murder on the Orient Express," it might be hard to propel Ken ("Lend Me a Tenor") Ludwig the 2017 stage version on the basis of its actual mystery. Instead, the Great Lakes Theater's production propels "Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express" with a train. Under the embracing direction of Charles Fee, the cast members deliver all the European color, flare and mystery of their potentially duplicitous characters, but nothing gets this production moving like the stage crew, dressed as conductors, who literally push the whodunnit drama forward on its tracks. The audience eagerly hops aboard.

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

Sheri Gross

All aboard the luxurious Orient Express for a fabulous, fast-paced farce full of murder, mystery, and mayhem, with a talented cast that will keep you guessing from curtain up to curtain call.  


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

Mark Horning

Even those who are familiar with the movie version (and thus the “surprise ending”) will still fall in love with the characters and the way the plot and characters are developed. It is an evening of superb theater that is guaranteed to sell out with each performance. Get your tickets NOW! It’s everything that is great about theater.

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

Chris Howey

"Of course, the ending is what makes this play  so enduring, as it tosses the concepts of punishment and justice into a cocked (and oh-so-decorous) hat. After all the splendid speeches and visual delights, it will leave you to mull the appropriateness of the outcome yourself. And that's a tasty ending to a luscious theatrical package."

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

Laura Kennelly

A shotgun wedding — an Agatha Christie thriller combined with playwright Ken Ludwig’s sense of the ridiculous — makes for a mystery-packed comedy production of Murder on the Orient Express at Great Lakes Theater.

While it may sound lovely to ride on an elegantly decorated express train from Istanbul to Paris, our story makes it obvious it is a mistake to ride anywhere with mystery writer Christie’s Detective Hercule Poirot. Trouble is bound to follow, at least in this well-paced play directed by Charles Fee.

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

Dr. Yuko Kurahashi

Ken Ludwig’s adaptation/dramatization makes the story simpler, more hilarious, and entertaining for the American audience.  According to the program note, Ludwig reduced the number of suspects from 12 to 8, making it possible for the audience to follow the characters and their relationships with the murder of Daisy. This murder case, which ties all the eight passengers together, reminds the audience of the kidnapping of Charles Augustus Lindbergh Jr. in 1932. Ludwig’s script ominously foretells the approaching Hitler’s invasion of the territories that the Orient Express traverses. And that unsettling atmosphere is implied—so I felt—by the sound effects similar to bombings in the last scene.    

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

Joey Morona

The official description calls “Alter” a workplace dramedy, but the playwright sees it as more of a dark comedy with thriller and horror elements.

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

 

Friday, February 2, 2024

Breakfast At The Bookstore @ Karamu House



Through February 18, 2024
(216) 795-7070        

 

Roy Berko

 According to the program notes, Dot, the fulcrum around which the plot circulates, “represents the next generation of freedom fighters who refuse to be restricted by binaries and demand that we acknowledge their full humanity in all its complexity.”  Oh, if that were only true, and the playwright made this clearer in her writing.  As is, I doubt whether that erudite message was what many in the audience garnered from the presentation.

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

Mark Horning

If you are looking for a bit of something different with hard hitting social commentary, look no further. This is an entertaining two hours with a profound message and a magnifying microcosm of the Black/White situation in Cleveland and the world both past and present. Come to the show and be enlightened. 

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

Chris Howey

The Breakfast at the Bookstore, carries a powerful message about the ways people in Cleveland's Black community were seeking sustenance—physically, mentally and spiritually—back in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

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

Yuko Kurahashi

Though The Breakfast at the Bookstore is packed with so many ideas—feminism, transgenderism, Black nationalism, Afrofuturism, and today’s activism, what comes back at the end of the show is “Free Breakfast.” A free breakfast program was started by the Black nationalist party in the late 1960s to nourish children—both their bodies and souls.  The “bookstore” was the venue that the Black activists used to educate and solidify their followers. Many Black-owned bookstore owners became the targets of the police and FBI harassment.    

To see a full review of this show, read Yuko Kurahashi's review here.