Arts District

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Comedian Brian Regan Coming to the Akron Civic Theatre in January

Posted By on Tue, Oct 17, 2017 at 5:12 PM

COURTESY OF LIVE NATION
  • Courtesy of Live Nation
Brian Regan originally set out to become an accountant. But when that didn't work out, he shifted into comedy.

Turns out, he made the right call. Years later, comedians around the country hail his impeccable delivery and ability to inflect just enough physicality into his routines.

Regan, who refrains from using profanity, relies on observational humor to entertain patrons. His bit on Pop-Tarts, for example, is a classic as he makes fun of the complex instructions for how to prepare the snack.

Now, Regan just announced tour dates for his spring tour. He’ll perform on Jan. 27 at the Akron Civic Theatre.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Master Class in Acting in 'Waiting for Godot' at the Beck Center Is the Perfect Distraction From Real Life

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 9:38 AM

KATHY SANDHAM
  • Kathy Sandham

If life is absurd and time has no meaning, then you have no excuse not to see Waiting for Godot at the Beck Center. Because during this brief interlude in your pointless life, the fine actors in this production will, for a fleeting couple of hours, show you what kickass acting is all about. Indeed, they are so damn good you may actually, for a fleeting moment, think life has a purpose. Silly you!

Yes Samuel Beckett’s work, in which Vladimir and Estragon wait in vain for the arrival of a person they have never met but who they are sure will save them, is the ultimate example of Theater of the Absurd. It is not done very often since it requires a director who can suss out multiple beats within aimless chatter, and actors who can enliven the script.

Fortunately, this show has all of that, and then some. Director Eric Schmeidl leads his cast through Beckett’s chutes and ladders with confidence, freeing his actors to find distinct attacks on their roles.

As Vladimir (or Didi), the chattier of the two main characters, Michael Mauldin is frequently upbeat, sure that Godot will appear and encouraging his pal Estragon to buck up. Shaping his silences with as much care as his sentences, Mauldin is a marvel of precision in his detailed pursuit of this character.

He is nicely matched by William Hoffman as Estragon (or Gogo). Using his broad and expressive face to register exhaustion along with momentary bliss at times, Hoffman anchors the scenes between the two characters as they deal with their evidently dead-end existence on this little patch of hilly ground punctuated by one bare, then leafy, tree.

During their two act-two-day stint, they are visited by the slave owner Pozzo and his captive Lucky. Brian Pedaci is riveting as Pozzo, in the first act using his fulsome presence and rich voice to draw a distinction between himself and his hapless slave whom Pozzo pulls around on the end of a rope. As Lucky, Allan Byrne is a crumpled mess of a human being, staring off into the middle distance until he is summoned to “think.” At that time, he launches into a florid, rambling, meaningless discourse that feels uncomfortably similar to recent word-salad speeches by President Trump.

And every day, a little boy (Jake Spencer) visits to inform Didi and Gogo that, once again, Godot will not be coming on that day. But he is sure to be there tomorrow. Like the bar with the “Free Beer Tomorrow!” sign, the men know that this promise will turn yellow with age. Still, if there is no hope, what is the point?

The point is: If you relish fine acting, this is a master class in the art form.

Waiting for Godot
Through November 5 at the Beck Center, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood, 216-521-2540, beckcenter.org
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

1920s Jazz at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Five More Classical Music Events to Hit This Week

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 9:32 AM

COURTESY BUTLER, BERNSTEIN AND THE HOT 9
  • Courtesy Butler, Bernstein and the Hot 9

This week’s list features one locally-produced set of concerts by Apollo’s Fire and a gaggle of distinguished visiting artists.

The first event in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s Performing Arts Series matches music with an exhibit. Butler, Bernstein and the Hot 9 will play jazz of the period in Gartner Auditorium on Wednesday, October 11 at 7:30 pm in conjunction with “The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.” You can reserve your tickets online.

Apollo’s Fire Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell has taken one of George Frederic Handel’s great Biblical oratorios and pared it down to a manageable size for 21st-century audiences. Israel in Egypt tells the story of the enslavement of the Hebrews and their exodus from the yoke of Pharaoh, with not quite so many plagues as it originally took to change that ruler’s mind. Erica Schuller, soprano, Daniel Moody, countertenor, Ross Hauck, tenor, and Jeffrey Strauss, baritone, join Cleveland’s Baroque Orchestra and Apollo’s singers for performances in Akron, Shaker Heights, Beachwood, and Avon Lake from Thursday, October 12 through Sunday, October 15. Tickets can be reserved online.

Turkish composer-guitarist Celil Refik Kaya is the first guest artist of the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society’s new season. On Saturday, October 14 at 7:30 pm, he’ll play music by Mauro Giuliani, Bach (selections from the Goldberg Variations), Granados, Morel, and Rodrigo in addition to his own Sonatina at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights. You can order tickets online.

CIM’s Callisto Quartet will back up Lithuanian cellist David Geringas for the Cleveland premiere of Anatolijus Senderovas’ David’s Song for solo cello and string quartet during his recital on Saturday, October 16 at 8:00 pm in Waetjen Auditorium at Cleveland State University. The Cleveland Cello Society is the sponsor, and Geringas’ solo repertoire includes works by J.S. Bach, Couperin, Corigliano, and Penderecki, as well as the first local outings for Giya Kanceli’s After Wept and Peteris Vasks’ Book for Cello. The Society will be happy to sell you tickets online.

Now based in Boston, Italian-born pianist Roberto Plano took away the gold medal at the 2001 Cleveland International Piano Competition. He returns to town for a recital on the Tri-C Classical Piano Series on Sunday, October 17 at 2:00 pm in Gartner Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Art. His program includes some rare selections by Liszt, Latin music by Villa-Lobos and Ginastera, and Plano’s own solo piano version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. You can hear this one for free.

Another guest pianist hails from Hungary. 25-year-old Adam Gyorgy will perform music by Chopin and Liszt as well as his own improvisations on Hungarian folk songs in the beautiful Reinberger Chamber Music Hall at Severance Hall on Monday, October 16 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are available online through the Severance Hall box office.

For details of these and other events, visit the ClevelandClassical.com Concert Listings page.
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Great Lakes Theater's Production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' is a Joyous Romp

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 9:18 AM

glt1005171718.jpg
It seems almost cruel to encounter the joys of Shakespeare’s fantastical comedy set in mid-summer as we contemplate the approaching winter (nuclear or otherwise). But thanks to this thoroughly delightful production at Great Lakes Theater directed by Joseph Hanreddy, there is no downside to the experience.

This three-ring circus has it all: Romance, mystical spells leading to misdirected amour, and oafish attempts by workmen at mounting a play within the play. And the GLT company has never been better in weaving together this modern-dress version, even in the face of a scenic design that is both static and busy, and not all that entrancing.

As most know, the kerfuffles of the heart involving the young folks Hermia, Lysander, Helena and Demetrius are distorted by the intervention of Oberon and Titania, King and Queen of the Fairies. and a band of “rude mechanicals” (that’s Will-speak for blue collar folks). As a result, much gaiety ensues as the magic eye drops the fairies possess lead various characters to fall madly in love with people they wouldn’t normally pursue, including one wearing a donkey head.

Summarizing the twists and turns in a Shakespeare play is always a fool’s errand—Wait, who did you say is in love with whom again? Suffice to say that the mixups in this production are most pleasurable thanks to a number of stellar performances in the outstanding ensemble.

Keri Rene Fuller as tall Helena and Michelle Pauker as not-so-tall Hermia create sparks with Jon Loya as Demetrius and Cory Mach as Lysander. In the featured role of Bottom, the weaver and rabid wannabe actor, David Anthony Smith is consistently amusing. And Tom Ford crafts a lovely, comical take on Peter Quince without coloring outside the lines.

Also excellent are M.A. Taylor as an edgy Puck, Jodi Dominick as a frequently pissed-off Robin Starveling, and Nick Steen and Jillian Kates who are double cast as both the Duke and Queen of Athens and the leaders of the Fairies.

The only odd element of the whole show is the scenic design by Scott Bradley that, among other problems, is a conceptual mismatch with the modern dress of the characters. In an attempt to combine the two worlds of the play—the formal court of Athens and the woods where the fairies romp—the set is filled with stuff, including a tall leaning bookcase, that manages to convey neither. And since the set never changes, except for a couple of lighted globes that drop down a couple feet, the actors are left to create all the magic themselves.

Fortunately for the audience, these actors are quite up to the task. That makes this Midsummer Night’s Dream, to quote the ass’s head in the White House, our own little calm before the storm.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Through November 5 at Great Lakes Theater, Hanna Theatre, 2067 E. 14 St., 216-241-6000, greatlakestheater.org
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Monday, October 9, 2017

In Advance of Her Ohio Theatre Concert, Comedian Paula Poundstone Dissects the Quest for Human Happiness

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 4:46 PM

COURTESY OF PLAYHOUSE SQUARE
  • Courtesy of Playhouse Square
Over the course of a career that stretches back nearly 40 years, comedian Paula Poundstone has been a regular guest on several NPR programs and has performed for the likes of Hillary Clinton and Johnny Carson. Poundstone, who published her first book, There Is Nothing in This Book That I Meant to Say, in 2006, just put out her second book, The Totally Unscientific Study of the Search for Human Happiness.

As its title suggests, it provides a humorous look at the never ending quest for happiness. In a recent phone interview, Poundstone, who was busy doing chores at the time of our interview (“I have 14 cats and two German Shepards. I’m like a really unprofitable farmer,” she says. “Nobody’s fur brings in anything. They don’t do tricks. They don’t do anything”), spoke about her book and her upcoming performance at 8 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 20, at the Ohio Theatre.

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Capitol Theatre's Annual '12 Hours of Terror' Will Showcase Horror Flicks Next Weekend

Posted By on Mon, Oct 9, 2017 at 2:07 PM

CHOD
  • CHOD
For the past eight years, a highlight of the Halloween season has been 12 Hours of Terror at Capitol Theatre in Gordon Square. From 8 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, to 8 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 22, the theater hosts a full night of cult horror favorites. This year’s lineup includes Hellraiser, Dr. Butcher, MD, Pet Sematary, Motel Hell, Rawhead Rex, Freddy vs. Jason and a secret film to be revealed at the event. Tickets are $30 in advance or $35 day of the event. Tickets are available at the box office or online. 12 Hours of Terror is a strictly 18-and-over event, and no one younger will be admitted.

Local artist Chad “CHOD” Kimes will again be selling movie-themed prints in the lobby. Kimes has done the main promotional poster art for all eight years of 12 Hours of Terror, and has made poster prints for each of the individual films for the past three years as well. Individual prints are $10 each, buy two and get a free print of the secret film for free. Sets of all seven prints are $50.

“I have worked with Cleveland Cinemas since I curated my first Cinematic Redux art show at (Art)ificial Gallery back in 2010,” Kimes says. “The first art I did for them was a Pulp Fiction poster for the Cedar Lee Theatre. They have been great to work with over the years and I plan on continuing doing this yearly collaboration for the foreseeable future. If people love horror movies they should really check out the marathon. Every year they have a great lineup.”

Following the event, his year’s movie prints will also be available at the Mummy and the Monkey’s Thrift Crypt (13349 Madison Ave., Lakewood), where Kimes’ work is currently on display. During the month of October, the Mummy and the Monkey’s Thrift Crypt presents 13 original works by Kimes, as well as many prints. Although Kimes’ work isn’t exclusively focused on the horror genre, October was the perfect time to showcase some of the artist’s Halloween and horror-themed work. Clearly, the genre has made a deep impact on Kimes and his dynamic, illustrative work.

Elaborating on the work on display, Kimes says, “The common theme is horror. The oldest piece in the show is of children trick-or-treating for Halloween from back when I had worked for the Medina Gazette. It has some pieces from some old solo shows like the four pieces of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. There are some pieces from the movie posters that I have done for Cleveland Cinemas’ 12 Hours of Terror. And then there are a few pieces that were done new and have not been seen in public yet. But all in all, they definitely have a feel for the season at hand.”

Kimes’ work is hosted in the store’s Grimm’s Corner, a space dedicated to exhibiting local artwork.

“A friend turned me onto the Mummy and the Monkey a number of months ago,” says Kimes. “I went into the shop and talked to them. They were super cool and were familiar with my art and were onboard with a collaboration. We agreed that this would be the best time for displaying my artwork. More artists should check out their space. It is nice change of pace to get your artwork out of the normal gallery settings and in front of other people’s eyes.”

Kimes grew up outside of Canton and received his BFA in Illustration from Columbus College of Art and Design in 2000. Kimes moved from Columbus to Cleveland in 2008. Since then, he has won awards from the Ohio Associated Press and received a commendation from the Ohio House of Representatives for Outstanding Accomplishment in the Graphic Arts. Although Kimes has taken a break from exhibiting in local galleries recently, he continues to be as active as ever. In the last year, he has participated in several conventions, including Wizard World Cleveland and Five Points Festival in New York City. He sold prints at Nelsons Ledges over the summer, and once again participated in Carol & John’s Free Comic Book Day in May, creating an original work in their annual, themed art exhibition and giving away free drawings to customers.

Kimes’ work remains on view at The Mummy and the Monkey’s Thrift Crypt through Halloween. Sold works are cash-and-carry, but Kimes has provided extra originals to keep 13 works on display throughout the month. That means you can buy the work and display it before the holiday, and guests have the possibility of viewing and purchasing new work throughout the month.

(Capitol Theatre) 1390 West 65th St., 216-651-7295, clevelandcinemas.com.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Tuesday’s Playhouse Square Show Represents a Homecoming for Northeast Ohio Native Rhea Butcher

Posted By on Wed, Oct 4, 2017 at 3:06 PM

RIGHTON PR
  • RightOn PR
An Ohio native, comedian Rhea Butcher returns to her home state with her wife and fellow comedian Cameron Esposito on Oct. 10 for a show at the Ohio Theatre, part of their multi-city Back To Back standup tour.

The two are the creators and stars of the hit TV comedy series Take My Wife, the first TV show co-created and co-starring a gay married couple. Expect "edgy and human takes on love, identity and pop culture" when they take the stage both individually and together.

In a recent phone interview from a North Carolina tour stop, the two spoke about the concept for the tour.

Talk about what it’s been like to take this show on the road during this political climate.

Esposito:
I would say it felt really good because this is a time that we’re all feeling isolated. I’m speaking for myself. I’ve been stuck behind a screen and connecting with people via social media so it’s been great to go to some many cities and see how people are doing. Also personally, to feel like there’s something I can do. It’s hard to feel useful as a person when there’s so much going on.

Butcher:
I have enjoyed being out and seeing people’s actual faces. And not just the people coming to the shows but the people in the areas we’ve gotten to visit. It’s been great to see the people in all these communities. We’ve been in South and it’s been great to see people and see how everyone is still making it through days and making each other smile and laugh. It’s a reminder that we’re all still here.

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