By: Patrick E. Phillips
While New York and Chicago may be the first cities to come to mind when one talks about bigname theater, Cincinnati has its fair share of highclass theater companies that produce spectacular productions every year. This fall, theater companies across the city have plenty of exceptional theater coming your way, and you shouldn’t miss out on any of it.
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is the largest and most well-known professional theater house in Cincinnati. The company received the Regional Theatre Tony Award in 2004 and the Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical for its production of Stephen Sondheim’s “Company.” Opening this past week, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s “Fly” is a new play focusing on the Tuskegee Airmen. The performance combines tap dance and video projection, creating a unique performance experience that has already received great reviews from “The Cincinnati Enquirer.” Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park offers $15 student rush tickets for 30 minutes before the show begins. For more information about Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, visit http://www.cincyplay.com
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) has produced nearly every one of Shakespeare’s plays. An equity theater located downtown on Race Street, CSC is dedicated to reinvigorating classics onstage. Notable productions include “Titus Andronicus,” featuring Nick Rose and Miranda McGee, “Measure for Measure,” featuring Brent Vimtrup and Kelly Mengelkoch and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” featuring Bruce Cromer. Their recent production of Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of “Oliver Twist” received solid reviews. Its show runs until Sept. 29, followed by John Steinbeck’s classic “Of Mice and Men.” CSC is also doing a joint production of “The Crucible” here at Xavier University at the end of October, bringing CSC talent right to our campus. CSC offers $14 student rush tickets 30 minutes before the start of the show. For more information about CSC, visit http://www.cincyshakes. com.
Theatre is the hub of Cincinnati’s summer theater event, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. The Know Theatre dubs itself “a stage set for alternative theatre.” Located on Jackson Street in Over-the-Rhine, the Know Theatre produces new, contemporary pieces of theater. Its last mainstage production was the premiere of “Toil and Trouble,” Lauren Gunderson’s dark comedy interpretation of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.” The Know Theatre is also home to the real-life storytelling production, “True Theatre” and “OTRimprov.” For more information about the Know Theatre, visit http://www.knowtheatre.com
Aronoff Center for the Arts
The largest theater in Cincinnati is Proctor & Gamble Hall in the Aronoff Center for the Arts. Broadway touring companies perform in the Aronoff, offering Cincinnati residents a full taste of the Broadway theater experience. The Aronoff recently housed big-name productions such as “The Lion King,” “Jersey Boys” and “Cats.” The 2013-14 season features “Book of Mormon,” the winner of the 2011 Tony for Best Musical, “Wicked” and “Phantom of the Opera.” The first major production to come to Cincinnati is the new Broadway musical “Ghost,” running Sept. 4 through Oct. 6. For more information about the Aronoff, visit http://www.cincinnatiarts.org.
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Ensemble Theatre (ETC) is an equity theater company dedicated to producing brand new plays as well as productions recently closed on Broadway for Greater Cincinnati residents to enjoy. In the past, ETC has produced big-name productions such as “Next to Normal” and “Rabbit Hole.” Its current production of “Other Desert Cities,” called the “best new play on Broadway by the New York Times,” has already received rave reviews from CityBeat reviewer, Rick Pender and BroadwayWorld.com. Next on ETC’s docket is another new play called “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” created by one of the writers of the hit Netflix show starring Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards.” ETC has $15 student rush tickets starting two hours before every performance. For more information about ETC and their future productions, visit http://www.ensemblecincinnati.org.