As a reviewer for League of Cincinnati Theaters (LCT), and an avid theatre go-er of shows I do not review, here are some highlights from the first half of the 2022-2023 and some shows that I am looking forward to this winter and spring.
The best show that I have seen both this year and for the last several years: Frida…A Self Portraitwhich was part of the Playhouse in the Park series but presented at the Carnegie Theater due to construction on the new building. Conceived, written and performed by Vanessa Severo, Frida tells the roller coaster story of famed Mexican Artist Frida Kahlo. Frida suffered from polio and had a mercurial relationship with painter Diego Rivera. Severo bounces between her personal story and that of Frida seamlessly. One of the many surprises is the set design/costuming. Four clotheslines are filled with disparate costumes which Frida wears as she narrates her story.
The staging and the humor the Agatha Christie classic Murder on the Orient Express which was part of the Playhouse program but shown at the Jarson Kaplan theater was very clever,
Under the direction of Brian Isaac Phillips, Jim Hopkins’ powerful interpretation of King Lear at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was extraordinary. With the combination of theatricality and acting, this definitely was a highlight.
Also, the Broadway series shows of Hamilton, Tina and Jesus Christ Superstar were very good. (It helped to have seats in the 3rd row.)
Finally, the Covedale Theater’s productions of Sister Act(based upon the movie) and A Christmas Carolwere very good.
2023 Highly Anticipated Shows
Upcoming, I am looking forward to several shows at different theaters including:
Anastasia (with music by CCM grad Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens) and Hadestown in the Broadway series.
A Chorus Line will open the new theater at the Playhouse and it doesn’t get any better than that. Singing in the Rainwill be featured at the Carnegie Theater in January. Be interesting to see how they stage the famous dancing scene “in the rain”.
There will be an interesting juxtaposition of two shows at two theaters which are tied together. Within a few weeks of each other, CSC is presenting The Taming of the Shrewwhile the Covedale Theater is doing the Cole Porter classic Kiss Me Katewhich is the story of feuding thespians performing The Taming of the Shrew.
Finally, this summer, the Incline Theater is performing four shows including my personal favorite musical Man of La Mancha.