Sunday, March 19, 2000

Downtown Theatre Classics ambitious

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Forbidden Broadway, the legendary New York entertainment that has spoofed the Great White Way for more than two decades, is set for a Cincinnati run.

        The presenter of the New York company will be Downtown Theatre Classics, if it can pull off an ambitious, $1.2 million 2000-01 season.

        Productions at the Aronoff's Jarson-Kaplan Theater, the company's home base, will be dominated by alums of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's nationally acclaimed musical theater program.

        Those dollars would edge DTC past Ensemble Theatre — which will be flirting with the $1 million mark — to make it Cincinnati's second largest Equity theater company.

        On shaky financial ground just a few months ago, DTC has been engaged in a fancy, behind-the-scenes juggling act following the departures of artistic director Jerry Lowe last fall and founder Chuck Wente early this year.

        DTC's new young producing artistic director Anton Shilov has all but torpedoed a previously announced schedule. Now the calendar will include the premiere of Hey, Big Spender, a musical revue celebrating Broadway composer Cy Coleman (Sweet Charity, The Life).It's by former CCMers Melvin Tunstall and Jeremy Rike.

        Worth Gardner's Pirates of Penzance, originally scheduled for spring 2001, will shift to a holiday stay at the Jarson-Kaplan.

        The season will open with Little Shop of Horrors and close with a production “to be announced.”

        With the exception of Forbidden Broadway, Mr. Shilov intends to bring CCM alums back from New York, where many recent grads are looking for the big break.

        “We're all young and energetic,” says Mr. Shilov, who dropped his CCM studies two years ago to pursue a professional design career.

        The $1.2 million budget is double last season's. “It's not as big a number as it looks,” says Mr. Shilov, who expects the bulk of the money to come from subscriptions and individual ticket sales.

        He estimates about $300,000 will need to be raised, primarily in season and production sponsorships. Season brochures will be available by the end of March. For play dates and subscription information call 621-3822.


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