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
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

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
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

“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
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

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
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.

 

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
No review yet.
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.