Saturday, October 16, 2021

"The Tempest" @ Great Lakes Theatre





Through November 7, 2021
https://www.greatlakestheater.org/

(216) 241-5490

 

Roy Berko

THE TEMPEST is not one of Shakespeare’s great plays, but, with the right production it can make for a positive classical theater experience.  Multi-award-winning Director Sara Bruner, who is a master of staging the Bard, unfortunately was not up to her usual superb level in guiding this production.


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.

Mark Horning

Although all of the lines of the play are in Middle English there is no difficulty in understanding what is happening on stage as the combination of spoken word and physical effectuation makes it easy to follow the action. This is a delightful production that dazzles the senses and tickles the funny bone. Come see Shakespeare as it was first designed to be viewed.

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

Bring on enchantment, feuding families and romance! Shakespeare’s The Tempest at Great Lakes’ Hanna Theatre in Playhouse Square welcomes live audiences for the first time since the 2020 Big Shutdown.

Director Sara Bruner and her merry crew create a fitting celebration in this lively presentation of (what may be) the last play Shakespeare wrote alone — and, perhaps consequently, one that falls into poetry and senior philosophy at the expense of plot. But who cares? With beautiful speeches like Prospero’s meditative lines —”We are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” — it’s easy to look inward and at the islands we find our lives lived on today.

To see a full review of this show, read  here or 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.

 

"The Butcher of Baraboo" @ None Too Fragile



Through October 30, 2021

www.nonetoofragile.com 

(330) 962-5547

 

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.

Mark Horning

If you are a fan of intimate in your face no holds barred theater then this might be your cup of strong coffee. This tale of love, deceit, drugs and blood and has more twists than a doubly bent corkscrew. Well worth the short drive down to Akron.

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.

 

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Miss Holmes @ Ohio Shakespeare Festival



Through October 24, 2021
http://www.ohioshakespearefestival.com/miss-holmes

(330) 574-2537

 

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.

Mark Horning

Rather than a WHODUNIT this is more of a WHY’DTHEYDOIT with a flimsy plot, bad voice projection, terrible British accents and being overly long to boot. This is a play in desperate need of a make over. 

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.

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

 

Saturday, October 9, 2021

"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" @ Karamu House




Through October 31, 2021
https://www.karamuhouse.org/

 216-795-7070

Roy Berko


MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM is a well-written, well-performed play, that grabs and holds the attention.  The author, August Wilson, as is his usual manner, brings a strong spotlight onto the plight of the Black population in America.  This is a production well worth seeing!  (Side-note:  The theatre is chilly.  Be advised to bring along a sweater or jacket.) 


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.

Mark Horning

For any educator wishing to explain the concept of Critical Race Theory they need go no further than to share the production of August Wilson’s “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.” It is a microcosm of the American Black experience in the 20’s and for that matter much of history. The Karamu production of this epic play captures all of the tension, spirit and tragedy as originally intended.

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.

 

"The Exonerated" @ The Beck Center For The Arts


November 7, 2021

(216) 521-2540 x10

https://beckcenter.na.ticketsearch.com/sales/salesevent/1357


 

Roy Berko


THE EXONERATED has a strong and important message.  It is one that anyone interested in civil justice should hear.  The docu-drama methodology of one speech following another relayed the idea, but didn’t make for compelling theater.

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

Mark Horning

This “it could happen to anyone” drama should strike a nerve in anyone who views it. What the show lacks in visually appealing action it makes up for in content. Some will find it a bit of a yawn while others will be on the edge of their seats. It will depend on your perspective.

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

The Exonerated, now playing at the Beck, offers an unexpectedly compelling look at the death penalty.

Why “unexpectedly?” Because director Colleen Longshaw skillfully avoids yelling at or lecturing to the audience. Written by Jessica Blank and Erik Jensen, the docudrama presents true accounts of a half dozen wrongfully convicted individuals on death row. Listening to one speaker and then to the next, we learn about their lives, the crime they were convicted of, and the legal decisions that put them on death row. Given that execution cannot be undone and that eventually they were found innocent, their stories make a strong case for abolishing the death penalty.

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.


 

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

The Lion King @ Playhouse Square

Through October 15, 2021
(216)241-6000

www.playhousesquare.org

Roy Berko

With its stellar credentials one would expect the Playhouse Square’s production to be spectacular.  The sets, costumes, puppets, and special effects are.  Unfortunately, the quality performances and dynamics needed to make the performance shine, are often in short supply.  This is THE LION KING light…a gentle roar, compared to previous dynamic stagings.

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

There really is no other dramatic sustenance to draw upon other than the original Disney animated movie. Despite a handful of new songs and music by various artists and authentic African sources (plus a fleshed-out rendition of the 1961 pop classic "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"), the on-stage "Lion King" starts to wallow in a rather pallid script by Roger Allers and Irene Mecchi. But this time, the touring production, buffed up splendidly for a new post-Covid-19 lockdown tour schedule, seems to mitigate the show's pitfalls with exceptional precision and energy.

(For a full review go to https://chroniclet.com/news/277497/review-lion-king-returns-afresh-on-reopened-playhouse-square/ )

Mark Horning

Broadway is back in all its glory at Playhouse Square with the phenomenal “The Lion King” once more gracing the stage of the Keybank State Theatre. This is a show that dazzles with great music, dance, comedy and heart. 

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

Joey Morona

No matter how many times you’ve seen the show, it still elicits oohs and ahhs.

To read the entire review:  https://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/2021/10/broadway-is-back-in-a-big-way-at-playhouse-square-with-disneys-the-lion-king.html



Friday, September 24, 2021

The Afterparty @ Playhouse Square

Through September 29, 2021

(216) 241-6000

https://www.playhousesquare.org/events/detail/the-afterparty

 

Mark Horning

The Afterparty” is far more than your ordinary concert. It is a jumpin’ good time for the performers as well as the audience members. The cast is quick to share a laugh and a drink (especially during the song “Tequilla”) and you will find yourself swept along for a wild ride of music, song and dance that will have you feeling all right. 

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


Monday, September 20, 2021

Broadway Bound @ Beck Center for the Arts




Through October 3, 2021

(216) 521-2521

beckcenter.org


Roy Berko


Serious with a humorous underbelly, Beck's BROADWAY BOUND is a perfect way to reenter the world of live theatre. The script is well written, the cast is outstanding, and except for the problems with the sound system, this is a special evening of theater.

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

Howard Gollop

But, once again, Austin Pendleton -- this time as the wily but cuddly commie with scatological one-liners -- dominates the show. His persona seems to be something of an elfin septuagenarian ragamuffin, and his almost chaotic delivery works as well here as it did when he starred as the destitute over-the-hill real estate salesman in Beck Center's "Glengarry Glen Ross."

Come to think of it, Pendleton is so right and original in this role, one might suspect it was his choice to put "Broadway Bound" on the Beck 2021-22 season in the first place. It's a feather in his cap, but Beck Center audiences reap the real benefit.


For the full review, link to 

Mark Horning

One common factor that every one who sees this play will experience is the idea that it was written about their particular families. It is chock full of relatable experiences of people we have grown up with. While not as bone jarring as some productions it is more like sitting down to a dinner of comfort food and upon finishing the meal walking away very contented.

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

Laura Kennelly

Neil Simon’s Broadway Bound opened the 2021-2022 theater season September 10 in the Beck Center for the Arts. Directed by William Roudebush, and staged in the updated Senney Theater, the drama/comedy draws from the author’s life. The story veers from family dynamics (did dad wet the bed again?) to life’s mundane details (is the pot roast hot?) to Simon’s efforts to be a writer (will I ever make it big?). It’s not a spoiler to say that he succeeded (Tony Award, Pulitzer Prize, Broadway shows, hit films), but it’s possible that the first success illustrated here proved to be his most exciting one.

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

 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Oliver Parker! @ convergence -continuum


August 20-September 11, 2021
2438 Scranton Road, Cleveland (in Tremont) 

Roy Berko

One critic stated of OLIVER PARKER!, “Elizabeth Meriwether’s comedy combines the crass vulgarity that passes for wit in teen-aimed Hollywood movies with a well-worn stage cliché, the dark story of family dysfunction.”  I would add, “it gets a better production at Con-con than the script deserves.”

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
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. 

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Altar Boyz @ Porthouse Theatre



Through August 15, 2021
(330) 672-3884 

https://www.kent.edu/porthouse

 

Roy Berko

ALTAR BOYZ has a weak script and score, but in the hands of the competent Kent/Cespedes/Swoboda combo, the Porthouse production is more than the material deserves.  It’s worth the drive to the grounds at Blossom to see how to make a near “something” from a near “nothing.”

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

Kerry Clawson

It's a very silly musical with the slimmest of stories but, thanks to a talented cast, I enjoyed some laughs and am still humming some of the show's pop tunes from opening night Friday.

Yes, it's fluffy. And yes, it's cheesy — exactly what this satire of the popularity of both boy bands and Christian pop music set out to be when it premiered off-Broadway in 2005.

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

Mark Horning

On the plus side you have a lot of energy and some cute moments. On the down side there is the weak script, silly story lines and less than memorable songs. While the Sunday afternoon audience seemed enthusiastic in their applause some will see this show as not their cup of tea.

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.

 

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Romeo and Juliet at Cleveland Shakespeare Festival



Romeo and Juliet
Cleveland Shakespeare Festival
Various dates and sites.  For information go to:  https://www.cleveshakes.com

Mark Horning

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

Chris Howey

Romeo and Juliet are at it again in a thoroughly enjoyable outdoor production.

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.


 

Friday, July 23, 2021

This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Doe Nothing


Through August 8, 2021

(216) 521-2540 x10

https://www.beckcenter.org/shows/thisgirl

 

Roy Berko

This Girls Laughs, This Girl Cries, This Girl Does Nothing is advertised as family friendly.  The younger members of the audience on opening night were observed squirming and obviously not interested or understanding.  They were not alone.  In spite of a brilliant performance by Derdriu Ring, the obtuse tale did little to grab and hold the audience.

 

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.

Mark Horning

This coming of age saga is a lesson for all of us to grow into ourselves no matter how others perceive us or try to get us to change. Derdriu Ring masterfully handles the multiple roles without a single hick-up. 

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

Chris Howey


As produced at the Beck Center, the laborious and essentially inaccurate title--This Girl Laughs, This Girl Cries, and This Girl Does Nothing--is playwright Finegan Kruckmeyer's worst mistake, since his play exudes charm by the barrelful thanks to a clever script and an always engaging performance by Derdriu Ring.


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.

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

 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Amélie The Musical @ Mercury Theatre Company




Through August 7, 2021

https://www.mercurytheatrecompany.org/ 

(216) 771-5862.

 

Roy Berko

AMELIE is the type of musical that some will find charming, others, like myself, will find it a lesser musical.  The show gets a very creditable production at Mercury Theatre.

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

Mark Horning

With a little bit of work on the technical side of things this could be a delightful summer theater outing. Hopefully, as the production moves forward it will evolve. I would also suggest reading the synopsis of the plot by googling Amélia The Musical and clicking on the Wikipedia offering.

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

Chris Howey

Amelie has a winning quality that leaves you smiling, even if during the middle of the show you're not exactly sure what you're smiling at. 


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.


Monday, July 19, 2021

Midsummer Night's Dream @ Ohio Shakespeare Festival




Through August 22, 2021
(330) 574-2537 https://www.ohioshakespearefestival.com/midsummer


Kerry Clawson

A deluge put a stop to opening night of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" within just two scenes Friday at Stan Hywet's lagoon but that didn't keep me from going back to see all of Shakespeare's delicious comedy Saturday.

The hardy troupe of Ohio Shakespeare actors were awfully game Friday as they were sprinkled on on the outdoor stage during both the company's uproarious greenshow and the beginning of the beloved comedy. Early on, I felt bad for the actors whose backsides became wet after sitting on the sodden stage at various points. But when the rain turned into a downpour, director Tess Burgler called for a break and soon canceled the show.

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


Mark Horning

Come experience Shakespeare as it was meant to be seen (in the open air complete with bugs, bats and frogs). This production is a great way to introduce first time attendees of the Bard’s plays. Once they have experienced this live they will find themselves coming back over and over again.

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.

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

 

Friday, July 9, 2021

BKLYN The Musical @ Porthouse Theatre





July 8 - 24, 2021
(330) 672-3884
https://www.kent.edu/porthouse

Roy Berko

BROOKLYN THE MUSICAL is not a show for everyone.  The story is convoluted and the music not memorable. In spite of these flaws, the Porthouse production is good enough to make the trip out to the beautiful setting a worthwhile ride.

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

Kerry Clawson

"Brooklyn the Musical" is a fast-paced fairy tale, set on a street corner, that features powerful singing by a small but mighty-sounding cast at Porthouse Theatre.

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


Mark Horning

While some will rave at this show as they did on opening night others will walk away a bit confused as to what all the fuss is about. If I would grade the show I would give it a strong B-. It is for the most part entertaining but not as good as it could be.

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

Chris Howey

This show doesn't wear its emotions on its sleeve, it wraps itself in drippy feelings like an oversized and excessively embroidered caftan.


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


Sunday, June 13, 2021

"The Choir of Man" @ Playhouse Square



Extended Through September 18, 2021
(216) 241-6000 https://www.playhousesquare.org

Roy Berko

It isn’t Frozen, The Lion King, or Hamilton, which some local theater-goers might have preferred to re-open the theatres of Playhouse Square, but The Choir of Men is an evening of emotional song and dance, and a perfect selection to reopen Playhouse Square. The response has been so positive that the run has been extended until July 25.

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

Kerry Clawson

The unbridled joy in "The Choir of Man" is the kind of therapeutic show we all need as theatergoers finally start to come together again.

The celebratory concert-style show, set in a working onstage pub at Playhouse Square's Mimi Ohio Theatre, has the distinction of being the first tour in the United States since the pandemic shutdown in March 2020. Yes, it's come to Northeast Ohio. And it's the first live show at Playhouse Square in 15 months. 

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

Howard Gollop

Rather than Emerald-aisle exotica, the aura of the Mimi Ohio Theater stage for this pop/folk-rock cover revue is more spiritually connected to virtually any bar down the block in Northeast Ohio. Most of the true evocations of Irish musical lore are dispensed with in the pre-show riffing, where the tightly-clothed, youngish castmembers (20s through 30s) flirt with the audience members while literally serving them beer -- a practice that delightfully continues throughout the regular performance.”

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

Mark Horning

This is just the medicine that Cleveland needs to bring it out of its doldrums. It is at the same time rowdy, brassy, bold, sentimental, heartfelt and poignant or as those who have traveled to the Emerald Isle would know, a typical night at an Irish pub. 

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

Chris Howey

The degree to which you love The Choir of Man may depend on your tolerance for high volume singing of power ballads, testosterone-fueled dancing, and over-used swiveling concert spotlights that frequently bathe and momentarily blind the audience.

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

Kate Klotzbach

There is no big plot line. There are no story resolutions. You will not have to consult CliffsNotes to interpret anything that happens in this production. The Choir of Man is simple, pure, unadulterated bliss presented with honest elation. It is the show that says, "The worst has passed: let's gather safely and enjoy life again!" CHEERS!

To see a full review of this show, read Kate Klotzbach's Reivew at https://kateklotzbach.com/


"Quilters" @ Porthouse Theatre



June 17the through July 3, 2021
(330) 672-3884 https://www.kent.edu/porthouse

 

Roy Berko

QUILTERS, which could be dubbed Quilters 101, is not only a workshop of the role of material and sewing in the early days of this country, but a history lesson of the experiences of the women who helped settle the Midwest.  Don't expect big chorus numbers or show stoppers, or to come out humming the score.  This is just a pleasant slice of old-time life and makes for a nice way to spend a summer evening and the return of live theater.

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


Kerry Clawson

"Quilters" is a beautiful little musical that celebrates the perseverance, love and relationships of pioneer women, now playing at Porthouse Theatre in Cuyahoga Falls.

The show's opening night, which played to a house about 80% full, was a joyous occasion marking the return of live theater to the summer venue after a pandemic hiatus last summer.

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


Mark Horning

Live theater is finally back and none too soon. Porthouse has chosen a pertinent musical that we can all relate to after the many months of isolation that we experienced. It is an uplifting message of hope that we all need to hear right now.

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


Chris Howey

Even though the material shows some mismatched rows and wavy borders, there's plenty of comfort to be had in the stories of these hardy women.


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