Monday Matinee 1.6.14

Last week we touched on a few of the shows that I’m looking forward to in 2014.  I’d like to talk about some others that I can’t wait to see.

Julian Decker, Blaine Krauss, and Andrew Quiett all take on the role of "Jean Valjean" this season in "Les Miserables" at UC-CCM & Wright State University
Julian Decker, Blaine Krauss, and Andrew Quiett all take on the role of “Jean Valjean” this season in “Les Miserables” at UC-CCM & Wright State University

Both Wright State University and UC-CCM will be presenting “Les Miserables” this season.  From what I’m hearing, each production should be very different from the other and because CCM has double cast both “Jean Valjean” and “Inspector Javert”, both times I see it, it should be a different experience as well.   I’m excited to see how Collin Kessler (“Parade,” “Carrie,” “Spring Awakening”) handles the part of the Inspector differently from Noah Ricketts (“Parade”) and Julian Decker (“Singin in the Rain,” “Chess”) and Blaine Krauss (“Into the Woods,” “Chess”) should contrast each other nicely as Valjean.  Wright State will feature one of my favorites, Andrew Quiett (“Oklahoma,” “Death of a Salesman”) as Jean Valjean.  Javert will be played by Law Dunford, who was just marvelous in “The Wild Party.”  The part of Marius will be played by two young men who really have great vocal chops – Eric Geil (“Carrie”) at CCM and Zack Steele (“Funny Girl”) at Wright State.  You should at least try to get to one of these great productions if not both – and you shouldn’t wait. Tickets will sell out for these runs, I’m confident.

UC-CCM will present “Les Miserables” from February 27 – March 9th.  Tickets are available NOW by clicking here.  I’m seeing it 3/2 and 3/9.  Wright State’s production runs from March 20th – April 6th.  Tickets are available here (subscribers only for now, general public tickets go on sale on March 17th). I’ll be there on 3/30.

pip_clybourne-parkAlso coming up this season are some fantastic plays.  First is “Clybourne Park” at the Playhouse in the Park beginning January 18th.  From

“Called “ferociously smart” by The New York Times and “uproariously funny” by Entertainment WeeklyClybourne Park is the most acclaimed play of the decade — winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play. In two acts set 50 years apart, the same Chicago bungalow sits at a volatile intersection of race and real estate, initially in 1959 with its sale to the neighborhood’s first black family, and then in 2009, during the first wave of role-reversing gentrification. While the stakes have changed, the debate remains strikingly familiar in this razor-sharp satire. “

It should be a great culturally relevant production.  Speaking of such, “Tribes” at the Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is another new play that I’m excited to see.  The play won a 2012 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Play.  Here’s the description from

“Meet Billy: the deaf son of a fiercely outspoken family obsessed with self-expression. He has adapted brilliantly to his family’s unconventional ways, but they’ve never bothered to return the favor. However, when he finds a new family in the deaf community, tensions reach an all-time high in this touching play about membership in your tribe. With excoriating dialogue and sharp, compassionate insights, this is a savage, funny look at family dynamics, belonging and the limitations of communication.”

“Tribes” runs January 29th – February 16th. Tickets are available here.  I’ll see it on Opening Night.

Torrie Wiggins and Annie Fitzpatrick seen here in "The Black Pearl Sings" will star in "Pluto" at the KNOW Theatre
Torrie Wiggins and Annie Fitzpatrick seen here in “Black Pearl Sings!” will star in “Pluto” at the KNOW Theatre

Finally, I’m interested in “Pluto” opening at the KNOW Theatre on January 24th.  Starring two of my favorites, Torrie Wiggins and Annie Fitzpatrick (both just finishing “Around the World in 80 Days” and getting rave reviews for “Black Pearl Sings!” last year at the Ensemble), this show sounds interesting and provocative.  I still need to get my ticket for this one but I plan to check it out early in its run.  Here’s a description from

“A local tragedy disrupts what began as a perfectly ordinary morning in the Miller’s typical suburban kitchen. This strange occurrence allows mother Elizabeth and son Bailey only a few hours in which to reconnect. But things get stranger still with fragmented news reports that won’t long be silenced, the appearance of a talkative three-headed dog, and a refrigerator that will not sit still. Mixing mythological elements with a contemporary setting, playwright Steve Yockey explores tragedy, loss, and the way love can blind us to the truth in this poignant and evocative new script, presented as part of a National New Play Network Rolling world premiere.”

There are so many great shows coming in the first part of 2014.  Others that deserve a mention are UC-CCM’s unique take on “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,”  the brilliantly written “Seminar” at the Falcon Theatre, “Spamalot” at Northern Kentucky University, and “Torch Song Trilogy” at The Human Race Theatre in Dayton among so many others.

You should stay tuned every Monday for a run down of some of the highlights of theatre in the area.  Opening this week at the Aronoff Center for the Arts is the touring production of “The Book of Mormon.”  Don’t forget, opening this week is “Hamlet” at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.  I’ll be there on Friday, courtesy of the folks at CSC, and will have my thoughts in a special review available next weekend.  Stay tuned for that and of course you can get my instant thoughts at @sappycritic on Twitter!

As always, I will ask what are you going to do in 2014 to support local theatre?  One of the biggest things you can do is reblog, retweet, and get the word out about this blog.  We at the League of Cincinnati Theatres heard loud and clear the biggest challenge that is facing our theatre community is the lack of NEW audiences.  So, tell your non-theater going friends about these and other shows in town.  Take them out to the theater.  Give them tickets as gifts.  But most of all spread the word so people can discover what we already know – theatre moves us, inspires us, and changes lives.  Let’s be part of something great together!

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