Archive for the 'Theatre' Category

Enjoy The Arts

For Christmas my brother got Kim and I a membership to Enjoy the Arts. Enjoy the Arts gives anyone aged 35 or younger free tickets, ongoing discounts, exclusive invitations, and insider information to enjoy Cincinnati’s world-class arts scene for an entire year. I’m not sure why I never heard of this before my brother joined, it seems like something that nearly all my friends should have taken advantage of. If there is anyone that isn’t too close to the age cutoff I urge you to join right away.

Over the weekend we all went to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Gustav Holst’s The Planets. Though this performance is over, there are plenty of other CSO performances throughout the year that you can see for free after joining Enjoy the Arts. I’m looking forward to heading to the Ensemble Theatre, Shakespeare Company, and Playhouse in the Park, just to name a few.

The Book Of Mormon

If you haven’t already bought your tickets for The Book of Mormon’s national tour stop in Cincinnati, don’t give up hope. If you have thought about going to see the musical but have not done so, I encourage you to find a way to get in before the tour leaves Sunday. A lottery drawing for $25 tickets takes place 2.5 hours prior to each performance.

Procter & Gamble Hall

Procter & Gamble Hall

If you are not already familiar, The Book of Mormon is from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I’m sure most are aware of the explicit language and content associated with South Park, and the same is true for this musical. But it is absolutely hilarious and highly entertaining. It has won nine Tony Awards including Best Musical and critics have called it the best musical of this century!

Curtain Call

Curtain Call

I had the privileged of seeing the performance last Thursday night. The story follows two Mormon missionaries, Elder Price and Elder Cunningham, who are sent to Uganda to spread the word of their church. Unfortunately for the young men the villagers in Uganda have no interest in their stories. That is until Cunningham alters the Book of Mormon stories to relate more to the problems the Ugandans face, but in doing so he has created hilarious falsehoods when compared to the original stories. I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time and I would highly recommend seeing the musical.

Ghost The Musical

I watched a fair amount of musical films growing up. My grandmother was a big fan of them and because of that I was exposed to them fairly often. In fact I think I could still sing along to most of the songs from The Sound of Music.

When I was invited to Broadway in Cincinnati’s season opener of Ghost The Musical last Tuesday, I decided to give it a try despite never seeing the Oscar-winning movie that it is based on. I did read the story from the musical’s website, so I had a very general understanding of the plot, but I was still surprised when the major events all took place.

The musical features an original pop score from multiple Grammy Award-winners Dave Stewart, one half of the 80s pop duo the Eurythmics, and Glen Ballard, co-writer with Alanis Morissette on the multi-platinum album Jagged Little Pill, among many other notable credits and collaborations. Adapted from the hit film by its Academy Award-winning screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, Ghost the Musical follows Sam and Molly, a young couple whose connection takes a shocking turn after Sam’s untimely death. Trapped between two worlds, Sam refuses to leave Molly when he learns she is in grave danger. Desperate to communicate with her, he turns to a storefront psychic who helps him protect Molly and avenge his death.

Ghost The Musical

Ghost The Musical

Aside from the great singing performances and creative acting from the cast, I was most impressed by the visual effects on the stage. Rather than relying solely on a physical backdrop, many of the scenes were created on giant LED screens that allowed the ghostly characters to fly through doors and appear to board and even ride on moving subway cars. I was very impressed with Ghost The Musical and would recommend it even if you have never seen the movie. Performances run through October 6th at the Aronoff.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company – Oliver Twist

Last night my wife and I were treated to a free dress rehearsal performance of Oliver Twist by the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company thanks to Yelp. This was our first time seeing this company perform and our first time in their intimate theater that seats roughly 150 audience members. The theater space is just thirteen rows deep and there is not a bad seat in the house.



Prior to the performance we were provided complimentary drinks as well as Holtman’s Donuts and Patty’s Old Fashioned Popcorn, all of which were excellent. Holtman’s will be opening a shop in Over-the-Rhine soon, and I look forward to many mornings with their delicious treats. Patty’s is very close to our house and we are regular customers there. If you’ve never had their cookies ‘n cream flavored kettle corn, it is a must try!



The performance of Oliver Twist was excellent! I was blown away by the singing and acting of the company, they all appeared to be very professional. While the backdrop was fairly simple, it was perfectly transformed between scenes often times with the actors still on the stage doing most of the lifting themselves. Though I have never read Oliver Twist and only have a slight understanding of the play’s story, I found the performance very entertaining.

Oliver Twist will run September 6 – 29, 2013 with evening performances Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and matinée performances Sundays at 2 p.m. Thursday and Sunday prices are adults $31, seniors $27, and students $22. Friday and Saturday: adults $35, seniors $31, and students $26.

Blue Man Group

Last night I saw the Blue Man Group for the first time.  Kim has season tickets to a series of plays with a group of girls and one of them couldn’t make it last night, so I gladly took her place.  Having never seen them before I only really expected to see them play their PVC pipe style instruments for an hour and a half.  And while they did do plenty of that, there was so much comedy mixed in to the act.  That was the surprising thing for me.  I actually laughed way more than I expected.

Since the blue men do not speak, they rely on great visual effects and the occasional voiceover to provide the comedy.  Whether it be Twinkie filling shooting out of their chest, or paint flying from their mouths and drums, the visual effects are wonderful.  There is also a fair amount of audience participation, some of which has to be staged, at least a little bit.  Regardless having members of the audience up on stage helps add to the humor and really captures everyones attention.

I believe that this national tour just started, so be on the lookout for when they come to your town.  I would highly recommend it.  Check out the video above for brief clips from the show.

Improv At Impulse Theater

Saturday night I headed to the Impulse Theater with my wife and a couple of friends. Our friend Amy was in town visiting and chose this activity for us since she can’t see improvised comedy anywhere in Cincinnati. I had often seen the theater entrance, as it’s in the basement of the Wynkoop Brewery, but had never been inside. My knowledge of improv extended only as far as what I’d seen on the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway. Fortunately, many of the acts at the Impulse were very similar to the games on the TV show, only they don’t keep score and there is no winner.

Actually there is a winner, everyone in the audience! The comedic wit and quick thinking of the four actors we saw was amazing. We were treated to seats in the very front row, but I think everyone in the room had a great view. The hour and a half long show was the perfect amount of time, and it went by so quickly while I was cracking up in my chair. I would highly recommend this show to anyone, well anyone over twenty-one since that is the age requirement. Even then the show is not really crude, which was hard to pull of with a group of women celebrating a bachelorette party in the crowd. I thoroughly enjoyed the Impulse and hope to be back soon.

Bah Humbug

For her birthday I got Kim and I tickets to see A Christmas Carol on it’s opening night at the Denver Center for Performing Arts, which was last night. I thought the play was wonderfully done, and the very intimate Stage Theater was a great place to see it even from the very last row. I’m sure everyone knows the play, so I won’t go into a recap of it, but this is definitely worth seeing for anyone in the Denver area.

Prior to the play, we had dinner at the nearby Corner Office, a restaurant and martini bar. For starters we both ordered from the martini menu. I had the paper shredder which was Jim Beam (though online says Knob Creek), fresh ginger, and ginger ale. Kim had one of the holiday selections which involved spiced apple cider, cranberry, and rum as best I can remember. For dinner I had the orange chicken which was served in a traditional Chinese takeout-like container. Kim ordered the tonkatsu salad, which was panko crusted chicken breast and sesame soy dressing served over a standard salad mix. I thoroughly enjoyed all of what we ordered and would love to return to the restaurant in the future to try even more.

The Corner Office Restaurant and Martini Bar on Urbanspoon

Circus Of The Sun

Last night we caught the final performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo in Denver. I had never seen a Cirque du Soleil performance before, so I had no idea what to expect, but Kim was really excited for it since she had already seen a show before. I have to admit that the acrobatic elements of the show were pretty amazing. I think my favorite of acts were the Teeterboard and the Ladder (video of both posted below). I could have done without some of the more theatrical acts, but I guess those are necessary as the crew sets up for the next acrobatic act. The two hour show flew by, so that must be a good sign, and I would gladly go see another Cirque du Soleil in the future.

So Long Starlight

We attempted to go to our last play of the Starlight season last night, Hairspray. The weather had different plans for us though. The start of the play was delayed for a bit so that a “small storm” could pass by. Well once they finally started the small storm quickly grew in strength and after ten minutes or so they delayed the play once more. We stuck around for awhile but sensed that the weather was not going to get any better, so we left. I’m still not sure if they officially cancelled the show or not, which would entitle us to tickets for another date. Oh well.

The best part of the night was having dinner in the Applause Club before the start of the show. The buffet style dinner is served by Fiorella’s Jack Stack Catering. Thanks to Phil and Doni we had a free meal there with our friends The Martins! The food was pretty good, although I’m not sure that it would be worth the $16.95 door price. It would depend on the menu for the night.

Of the five plays in the Starlight season we saw about two and a half. I guess you get what you pay for and we had discount on the tickets. My definite favorite of the season was Riverdance, the first one we saw. If we are around KC next year I will consider buying the tickets again but likely only for a discounted price.

Not Paying Rent

We made our return to Starlight Threatre last night to see Rent. Unlike plays in the past, I actually did a little reading about Rent before attending. I think it helped in the end, otherwise I think I could have been really lost at times. At times during the show the music would drown out the performers’ vocals and other times the singers were just hard to understand. Thought you could still get a sense of what was happening based on actions and props.

Overall my review of Rent can be summed up in one word: interesting. If you aren’t familiar with Rent, “the musical centers on a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Alphabet City in the early 1990s, under the shadow of AIDS.” Wikipedia continues, “Rent was one of the first Broadway musicals to clearly feature gay, bisexual, lesbian, and transgender characters.” Although the characters may be hard for everyone to relate to, the plot contains themes that touch everyone’s lives.

On a more positive note, I thought the music and singing was spectacular. Rent is referred to as a “rock opera” and the band that was playing last night certainly did rock. Most all of the performers had great to amazing voices and the collaborations were excellent. I’d recommend seeing Rent, just once in your life, for the music alone.