Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Musicals proliferate on Ensemble schedule

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

It will be a tuneful 2003-04 season at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati with three musicals on the six-show schedule.

Dramatic highlights will be the regional premieres of London hit Blue/Orange, a searing exploration of the health-care system; and Stones in His Pockets, a hit in New York and London in which two actors play 15 characters as they tell the story of a Hollywood film being shot in rural Ireland.

Two shows originated in Ensemble's Theatre of the Mind play reading series. An adaptation of Ernest Gaines' powerful novel A Lesson Before Dying brings together a condemned man and a schoolteacher in the rural South; Mary Murfitt's Prairie Song, the Story of the Orphan Train will be a world premiere musical for ETC.

The season opens with Nite Club Confidential, a campy visit to a '50s nightclub. The holiday musical is The Prince and the Pauper, for the first time in years not a collaboration from local writers Joe McDonough and David Kisor.

(Both are busy: McDonough's One will open Playhouse in the Park's Shelterhouse season; Kisor is working on Little Women for the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music's prep department.)

The ETC season: Nite Club Confidential, Sept. 3-21; Blue/Orange, Oct. 8-26; The Prince and the Pauper, Dec. 3-28; A Lesson Before Dying, Jan. 28-Feb. 15; Stones in His Pockets, March 17-April 4; Prairie Song, April 28-May 16.

Both the Off-Center/On-Stage and Theatre of the Mind series will be announced at a later date.

Information: 421-3555.

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