Sunday, August 24, 2003

Theater notes

Guthrie wrapped up in 'Dream'

Christopher Guthrie has it figured out. Since he arrived at Cincinnati Shakespeare Festival just over two years ago, he's spent "one out of every four days either rehearsing or performing A Midsummer Night's Dream."

He came to the festival in 2001 as a member of the Young Company and was cast as Bottom (famously turned into a donkey by a mischievous fairy king) for an educational touring production.

Last season, Dream was an entry on the main stage and Guthrie turned expectations upside-down as Puck, who sorts out two sets of sometimes mismatched young lovers lost in a forest.

Now he's directing this year's Young Company for another educational tour of evergreen Dream.

While he won't object if this is his last Dream for a while, Guthrie is happy to be doing it. "I wanted to get in with the Young Company as soon as possible, start building the ensemble from day one."

The educational touring productions (Dream and Oedipus/Antigone, both presented in school-friendly, two-hour versions) will have public previews for the next two weekends at the festival. Call 381-2273 for details.

Guthrie has been a compelling presence since his first festival appearances. His memorable performances range from fine supporting work in Chagrin Falls and a dazzling turn as Mercutio in last season's main stage opener Romeo and Juliet.

Guthrie's growing fan base will be happy with the stage time that he has scheduled for the coming season. "I'm excited about the entire season and my role in it," he says.

The Young Company is at the top of his list of priorities, but he happily reports "I finally get to do a villain - in Pericles," and "I can't wait for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead with (Jeremy) Dubin. I've wanted to do that since I was 16."

What he's also looking forward to: "Taking myself out of my comfort area and seeing what I've got." Cincinnati theater fans will want to be along for that ride.

Lights out on Broadway

The lights went out on Nancy Parrott on Aug. 14. Broadway in Cincinnati's director of public relations was in New York planning to check out the Broadway productions of this fall's line-up of touring shows (including Urinetown, Thoroughly Modern Millie and Tony Award-winning best musical Hairspray, all still going strong) when Broadway blacked out (along with the rest of the Northeast).

Parrott missed Millie but had a good time anyway, joining the throngs of people on Times Square, enjoying the city by flashlight. "Once in a lifetime," she laughs.

Reading in Manhatten

Once the electricity and cell phones were back in order, Mark Friedman called in from a New York sidewalk cafe to report that Green Gables, by local writing team Friedman and Janet Vogt, will have a reading at Manhattan's York Theater on Oct. 13. (That's after it has its official world premiere at Columbus Children's Theatre, opening Sept. 25.)

Youth role available

Playhouse in the Park has a big role available to a husky boy, aged 12 to 16, who can play a cherubic and sensitive 13-year-old in world premiere Going Gone, running Jan. 13-Feb. 14.

The role is Hanky, son of Jewish immigrants living in Cincinnati during the 1930s and 1940s. Anyone trying out must be available for all rehearsals and performances.

Those interested in auditioning should submit a resume (including exact birth date, height and any experience) and a photograph (good quality school or family photo is fine) to: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Attn: Auditions, c/o Michael Haney, P.O. Box 6537, Cincinnati, OH 45206. All material must be received by Sept. 8.

Those selected to audition will be contacted by phone by the Playhouse to schedule an audition. (Don't call them, they'll call you.)

Casting news

Next spring, Elder High grad Rich Roedersheimer will be performing on stage at the Aronoff Center as part of the national tour of Oklahoma! But before he joins the company in November, you can see him on board Showboat Majestic as the male half of the musical about marriage, I Do! I Do! Jan Bruce co-stars.

I Do! I Do! plays Sept. 10-28. For reservations and information, call the box office at 241-6550.

Falcon sets season

How do you follow Rocky Horror Picture Show? With Jesus Christ Superstar. Falcon Theatre hopes to follow last autumn's hit with another rock classic.

Falcon promises an attention-grabbing season with a musical version of Gilligan's Island (yes, starring Gilligan, the Skipper too, the millionaire and his wife...) in February. The three-play season closes with the first local revival of powerhouse drama Equus (about a psychiatrist, his patient and the young man's fixation with horses), opening April 30.

There's also drama for Falcon off-stage: the company is searching for new digs after Superstar completes its run (Oct. 10-25) at Westwood Town Hall. Falcon's longtime home will close for renovation by the end of the year and the theater's administrative team is busy scoping out alternative playing spaces. Decisions are expected shortly.

For reservations and information, contact Falcon at 481-9042 or

New play in the works

Local playwright Katherine Schultz Miller is in Scotland until early September, researching a new work about Scots/American Indians. The new play (still untitled) was commissioned through a grant by Ohio Arts Council in conjunction with the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews and Ohio Northern University.


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