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Columbus theater company lets its ‘Hair’ down

March 5, 2015
Wild hair, nude hippies and a slew of angst-filled political and social movements only begin to create the provocative tone for the colorful rock musical “Hair.” Columbus theater company Standing Room Only will bring the musical to the city beginning this weekend, featuring a cast of young performers that includes Ohio State students. Set against a backdrop of the Vietnam War, “Hair” captures the sentiment of a tribe of young hippies in New York City challenging government authority and protesting against their conservative society. The tribe, led by good friends Claude and Berger, steers its way through matters of racial tension, adolescent impulses and anxiety over the fateful draft. Sean… Read more

Short North company creates original adaptation of ‘Jungle Book’

March 4, 2015
“The Jungle Book” is probably best known to contemporary audiences for the musical Disney version, but Short North theater company CATCO is presenting its own adaptation of “The Jungle Book” beginning this weekend. The play, based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 book, features a cast of children and adults alike. Audiences can expect an immersive experience, said director Joe Bishara. “The audience is on three sides of the actors. It’s really up close and personal,” Bishara said. “It’s trying to bring a great piece of literature to life on the stage.” CATCO focuses most of its productions toward literature, and aims to spark imagination and creativity with its performances, Bishara said.… Read more

Former professor works to bring edgy theater to Columbus 20 years after retirement

March 2, 2015
Katherine Burkman is not only the kind of woman who offers you tea after coming in from the cold — she also offers you a plate of homemade biscotti. Burkman retired from Ohio State’s English department as a professor emerita 20 years ago. Despite her bright white hair and soft voice, she’s also the driving force in bringing edgy and absurdist theater to Columbus. After receiving her Ph.D. from the OSU theater department in 1968, Burkman taught classes on absurdist theater, highlights irrationality, in OSU’s Department of English up until her retirement. A year before she retired, Burkman founded theater group Women at Play, a group of women who met… Read more

Ohio State play a ‘cautionary tale’ on race

March 2, 2015
In the mid-1950s, playwright Alice Childress wrote a play about a play that tells a story of racism and one actress’s battle within herself to either conform or to take a stand for herself. “Trouble in Mind” is the story about a fictional African-American actress, Wiletta Mayer, who is forced to play limited roles, such as characters that only wear headscarves and are never able to dress up. Though it’s set in 1957, “Trouble in Mind” carries themes that its producers said are relevant today. The play comes to OSU this week in a Department of Theatre production directed by Melissa Maxwell and will be performed by OSU undergraduate students.… Read more

Ohio State alumnus gives ‘Claudel’ new life

February 25, 2015
It all began about 25 years ago in Paris when Tim Veach visited the museum of August Rodin, and saw a sculpture of two lovers embracing called “Sakountala” by Rodin’s lover, Camille Claudel. Veach immediately bought a print of it, rolled it up, and brought it back to the U.S. Inspired by Claudel’s ability to infuse the illusion of motion into a static sculpture, Veach, an Ohio State alumnus and founder and artistic director of Columbus Dance Theatre, choreographed a ballet in honor of Claudel in 2014. “Claudel” is one of many things Veach has done because of the university fellowship he received from OSU. “It’s a testament to Ohio… Read more

Students to perform “Legally Blonde” musical for charity

February 24, 2015
Blonde-haired beauty Elle Woods is strutting her pink pumps from Harvard Law School to Ohio State for the next two weekends in Off The Lake Production’s “Legally Blonde The Musical.” “Legally Blonde The Musical,” originally a Broadway adaptation of 2001 movie starring Reese Witherspoon, tells the story of a charismatic sorority girl named Elle Woods who chases her college boyfriend to Harvard Law School. While many people are familiar with the movie, music director Brittany von Stein, a fourth-year in music education, hopes OTL will bring a new dynamic to the performance. “Within OTL we have this quality of realness, of raw talent,” von Stein said. “It just seems believable.… Read more

Shakespeare production educates children about war

February 12, 2015
After rallying his men on St. Crispin’s Day, King Henry V’s army slaughtered thousands of Frenchmen in a decisive victory in the Hundred Years’ War. Stripped of its violence but not its themes, Ohio State is using that tale 600 years later to win over young Columbus audiences to Elizabethan theater. Kevin McClatchy, assistant professor in the Department of Theatre, has adapted Shakespeare’s play “Henry V” for the Shakespeare School Tour, a annual tour of the bard’s play OSU around Central Ohio. The play, which is usually about three hours long, depicts both the glory and heartbreak of war. The Shakespeare School Tour aims to make Shakespeare accessible to people… Read more

Students explore playwriting in zero-budget, black box series

February 8, 2015
Inspired by the Sutton Foster song, “Flight,” second-years in theater Myia Eren and Hannah Halischak wrote a play that will be performed March 10 as part of the Department of Theatre’s spring Lab Series line-up. The Lab Series is an initiative by the department that gives students freedom to develop a theatrical work and perform it on campus, as long as their work does not require funding. “Being able to get your ideas on paper and present them to people who are genuinely interested in is very rewarding,” said Halischak, who also majors in strategic communication. Assistant professor Jennifer Schlueter began the series in 2011. Over that time, the Lab… Read more

The Bible’s greatest hits: Wexner Center play to act out the word

February 5, 2015
Faith versus rationalism gets lip service in theological study, but it’s a silly silent comedy at the Wexner Center for the Arts that will put that debate center stage this Thursday through Sunday. Stan’s Cafe, a theater company out of Birmingham, England, has developed these types of shows for decades, but it will bring its new production, “The Cardinals,” to Ohio State for four showings. The play depicts three bumbling Roman Catholic cardinals putting together a puppet show-type production of “the Bible’s greatest hits” as a morality play. It’s a rudimentary telling of the Bible with a “naive performance style,” said director James Yarker. “It’s slightly sort of picture book… Read more

‘Psycho Beach Party’ to bring climate change to Columbus winter

January 22, 2015
An evening in the Short North can soon be a day at the beach with Columbus Immersive Theatre’s production of “Psycho Beach Party.” Set to hit the Garden Theater stage Friday, the companionship of this Charles Busch play might help audiences forget their winter blues. “You walk in, and you’re at the beach,” said director Edward Carignan, who hopes the audience will be able to transport to the ocean from cold Columbus. Busch’s “Psycho Beach Party” is based on the 1957 novel “Gidget” about a young girl’s surfing adventures. In this adaptation, the main character Chicklet Forrest, played in drag by Nick Hardin, is trying to be a member of… Read more