I had the distinct pleasure of seeing Andrew Lippa’s “Wild Party” yesterday afternoon at Wright State University. Starring one of the young performers who got me hooked on local theater, Paige Dobkins as Queenie (shown in this UNAUTHORIZED cell phone photo :-)), this show was superb. The music – led by the megatalented Ian Benjamin – was impeccable and the work of the entire ensemble was mesmerizing. Mark Beyer, Law Terrell Dunford, and Kelsey Pohl were all terrific, too. In fact, I think Kelsey Pohl might be a genius; the way she embodied the character of “Kate” was unlike anything I’ve seen … there’s a unique energy about her that I can’t really describe. The rest of the ensemble was exceptional especially the always magnificent Mathys Herbert and Kevin Ferguson and I really enjoyed Emma Jordan’s turn as “Madeline True.” It was just a dynamite show full of great jazz and wildness.
Speaking of jazz, last night I saw Duke Ellington’s Nutcracker Suite featuring the CCM Jazz Ensemble and several musical theater students as featured dancers. It was fun to see some of my favorites like Emily Schnexaydre (who’ll be Madame Thenadier in CCM’s Les Miserables this spring), Max Clayton and Katie Wesler (who lit up the same stage in “Singing in the Rain” just a couple of weeks ago) and Hannah Freeman (who rocked my world as “Carrie”) among others. What a great day to be a fan of theater and music yesterday. (By the way, I didn’t take the picture; I wouldn’t dare! UC President Santa Ono re-tweeted it from someone else!)
I’m hopeful that you all will enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend by taking in a show or two. “Bull” at the KNOW Theatre wraps up on Saturday night and the dark, dark comedy “The House of Yes” continues at the Clifton Performance Theater until December 7th. If you want a little bit lighter comedic fair, you could check out “The Complete History of Comedy (Abridged) at the Playhouse in the Park.
Speaking of the Playhouse, I’m seeing “A Christmas Carol” this weekend … and my friend Denver Bierman and his Mile High Orchestra will be performing a Christmas concert at Princeton Pike Church of God on Sunday night at 6 PM. This is some amazing big band holiday entertainment. Check it out!
So … what are you doing to support local theater this week?