The can’t miss theater shows happening this month

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The can’t miss theater shows happening this month

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The National Touring Company of Wicked (Photo by Joan Marcus _2015)

We caught up with several area theater experts to talk about a few of the shows around town in October.

WICKED

Genevieve Holt, General Manager for Broadway in Cincinnati shares more about “Wicked.”

Description of show: So much happened before Dorothy dropped in. “Wicked” the Broadway sensation, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz … but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another young woman, born with emerald-green skin — smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships … until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Venue: Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St., Downtown Cincinnati

Details: Runs through Oct. 15

Cost: Tickets start at $42.50

More info: www.cincinnatiarts.org/wicked

Q: What do you consider as some of the production’s highlights?

A: The set is grandiose in nature and visually stunning and the use of color throughout is completely striking. The story is one nearly everyone can identify with in some way.

Q: Do you have a favorite, scene, song or moment in the show?

A: While the Act I finale “Defying Gravity” is one of the best moments in theater, one of my favorite parts in the show is earlier on. “The Wizard and I” is a classic “I Want” song, and it opens wide our glimpse into the character of Elphaba, how she really feels about her skin color and being an outcast, and what her deepest hopes and dreams are. It’s a beautiful moment and a powerhouse song.

Q: How do the cast members and other aspects of the show (staging, lighting, costumes etc.) complement the script/story?

A: This show has fantastic production design, from the incredible metal dragon at the top of the proscenium, to the twisted Edwardian costumes, to the brilliant green hues of the Emerald City. It’s truly a beautiful and spectacular show to watch on stage. And the cast is absolutely fantastic – performers in “Wicked” are some of the best Broadway actors and actresses working in the theater today.

Q: What are some of the common themes that run through the show? Or what is the prominent storyline and what would you hope audiences walk away with?

A: “Wicked” is a show entirely about what is good and what is evil, and the fact that the definition and of those two terms can be flipped on its head depending on who you are, where you come from, and what you hold dear. There may be no definitive good and bad, but what matters is that you stand up for what you think is right. I think audiences walk away moved by the experience of watching Elphaba’s journey and wowed by the production design and powerful music.

Q: What’s the No. 1 reason why audiences won’t want to miss the show?

A: If you like theater and have never seen “Wicked,” it’s truly a must-see. It represents some of the best of what stage musicals can do – inspire you, wow you and make you think.

Jenni Sheets, Matt Neal, Tom Dierling, and Gaby Neal rehearse for “My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra” on Thursday, September 28, 2017 at Parrish Auditorium. Contributed photo. Contributing Writer

MY WAY: A TRIBUTE TO FRANK SINATRA

Mandy Gambrell, producer of “My Way: A Tribute to Frank Sinatra” talks about Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre’s production.

Description of show: A musical revue with dozens of songs, paying homage to one of America’s coolest crooners. Featuring four singers and dancers, and three musicians.

Venue: Parrish Auditorium on the Miami University Hamilton Campus, 1601 University Blvd., Hamilton

Details: The public is invited to come sing along to Frank Sinatra’s most popular songs — more than 50 of them. Performed by Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre. The show runs Thursday, Oct. 5 – Sunday, Oct. 8; Shows are 8 p.m. nightly Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Cost: $17 per person with discounts available for students, seniors and groups.

More info: Tickets are available online at www.ghctplay.com, (513) 737-PLAY or at the door. Pre-sale of this show is preferred due to possible sell-outs. This show is sponsored by Community First Solutions of Hamilton.

Q: What do you consider as some of the production’s highlights?

A: This show will have everyone in the audience singing along at some point — even the younger patrons who may not recognize some of the tunes.

Q: Do you have a favorite, scene, song or moment in the show?

A: When the four singers are harmonizing and the musicians are really going to town, I get chills. There are a lot of these moments.

Q: How do the cast members and other aspects of the show (staging, lighting, costumes etc.) complement the script/story?

A: Even though it’s present day, the set design (by Mary Slocum, a longtime GHCT set artist and designer) will take patrons to a time when Frank Sinatra was in his hey day. The club scene and props are reminiscent of when Ole Blue Eyes would have been out on the town. And our lights designer, Bill Balfour, perfectly sets the mood — as he has done with so many GHCT shows of the past.

Q: What are some of the common themes that run through the show? Or what is the prominent storyline and what would you hope audiences walk away with?

A: The audience will learn some things about Frank Sinatra that even the biggest of fans may never have known. The performers interact from the stage to make this revue personal and intriguing.

Q: What’s the No. 1 reason why audiences won’t want to miss the show?

A: Anyone who has ever attended a Greater Hamilton Civic Theatre shows know it puts on above-average, quality performances. This one is no exception — the music, the feel, and the timing are perfect. And — it’s Sinatra!

Other not-to-miss shows:

  • Dr. Seuss’s “The Cat in the Hat,” Fairfield Community Arts Center, Friday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m., Presented by TCT on Tour: A Division of the Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. Tickets $10 adults, $7 children 12 and under, available at (513) 867-5348 or www.fairfield-city.org/tickets. More info at www.Fairfield-City.org/CAC.
  • Join members of the Lebanon Theatre Company, Middletown Lyric Theatre, and vocalists from all over Southwest Ohio’s church and theatre communities as they come together for a concert like no other in “Raise Your Voices.” The participants will join forces to raise the roof in a joyous celebration with a concert of hymns, gospel, and spiritual music. Tickets are available only through Middletown Lyric Theatre by calling (513) 425-7140. (Please do not contact Lebanon Theatre Company for these tickets.) Find out about other season offerings at www.LTCplays.com and at www.middletownlyric.org.
  • The Victoria Theatre Association in Dayton opened the 2017-2018 Premier Health Broadway Series with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Tony Award-winning musical, “In the Heights,” which will run through Sunday, Oct. 8 at the Benjamin & Marian Schuster Performing Arts Center in Downtown Dayton. Tickets start at $25. Tickets are available online at www.TicketCenterStage.com, at the Box Office, or by phone at (937) 228-3630 or toll-free at (888) 228-3630.
  • For two nights only, on Friday, October 13 and Saturday, Oct. 14, The Performing Arts Academy will present a Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre, “Shop Til You Drop…Dead” from 6:30-9 p.m., nightly. Tickets are $25 plus ticketing fees. For tickets and more info., visit www.ThePerformingArtsAcademy.com or call (513) 594-7242.
  • “Mamma Mia!” is making it’s La Comedia Dinner Theatre debut in Springboro. The production features ABBA’s greatest hits, including “Dancing Queen,” “S.O.S.,” “Take A Chance On Me,” and more. The show runs through Saturday, Oct. 28. Tickets start at $30 for children 11 and under and $61 for adults. Call 937-746-4554 or toll-free at (800) 677-9505 or visit www.lacomedia.com.

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