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Theater review: Lights, camera, Buddy — charismatic actor redeems musical’s foibles

October 30, 2014
“City of Angels” is a grand affair that pulls out all the stops to make us feel as if we are on a Hollywood set while immersing us in the world of the movie. The play is a collaboration between the School of Music and the Department of Theatre, that features a writer in Hollywood struggling to adapt his novel about a 1940s detective into a screenplay. I was rather impressed with all of the elements used to make the viewer feel as if they are watching a movie. Before a single character arrived on stage, opening credits was played, introducing the show like you would find at any movie… Read more

Real life meets ‘reel life’ in Ohio State’s production of ‘City of Angels’

October 26, 2014
A tale of two Hollywoods comes to life in an collaborative effort between the Ohio State Department of Theatre and School of Music. “City of Angels” is an upcoming musical production that blurs the line between reality and fiction. The Tony award-winning jazz musical is an homage to 1940s film noir, according to the Department of Theatre’s website. The musical made its Broadway debut in 1989 and follows Stine, a writer struggling to adapt a detective novel into a screenplay in present-day Hollywood. His novel, which shares the name of the musical, comes to life and follows the adventures of a private eye, Stone, in 1940s Hollywood. “What you see… Read more

Character’s artistry, play’s set evolve in theater production of ‘My Name is Asher Lev’

October 21, 2014
In a culture of typically uniform and muted clothing, one Hasidic Jew broke away into a world fueled by vibrant hues and expression. At least that’s the premise of Chaim Potok’s 1972 novel, “My Name Is Asher Lev,” which is being brought to life on stage by theater company CATCO at Studio Two in the downtown Riffe Center beginning Wednesday. Asher Lev is a Hasidic Jew living in 1950s Brooklyn, N.Y., Lev was born with artistic aspirations and has a desperate need to paint, which conflicts with his family’s heavily religious views. The challenge for Lev is that he feels like he has to create art, while art was viewed… Read more

A queen for a lion king: Columbus’ stage production pride led by local actress

October 16, 2014
Disney’s “The Lion King” is roaring into Columbus this week, and one Ohio native just can’t wait to be queen in her hometown. Tryphena Wade, a Columbus native, portrays the character Queen Sarabi in the touring stage production of the 1994 Disney animated film, which opened Tuesday at the Ohio Theatre. Wade has been performing in the musical’s North American tour since 2010, and this will be her first hometown professional performance, according to a press release.  The actress went through several auditions before she landed the part. “I went to a few open calls in New York, and then I had the opportunity to audition in ‘The Lion King’s’… Read more

Hollywood classic ‘Sunset Boulevard’ reanimated on Short North Stage

September 30, 2014
A local Columbus theater is bringing one of Hollywood’s most famous streets to High Street with a musical that has been described as too big to produce. “Sunset Boulevard,” the Short North Stage’s latest production, is a musical based on the 1950 movie of the same name, with music written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. The story revolves around Joe Gillis, a screenwriter, and Norma Desmond, a faded silent film star looking to make her comeback. “(Norma) kind of captures Joe in this plan to help her write this movie so that she can make her return to the big screen because she hasn’t been on screen for 20 to 30… Read more

Icy ladies seek revenge, hire hitmen in ‘raw’ Ohio State production ‘The Norwegians’

September 28, 2014
There’s a saying that warns about leaving a woman scorned, and in the Ohio State Department of Theatre’s upcoming production of “The Norwegians,” two women have it out for their exes in a hilarious way. Written by C. Denby Swanson, the play follows two women who hire Norwegian hitmen to take care of their ex-boyfriends. “It’s about two women who have both recently moved to Minnesota, and they kind of find each other, and they’ve gone through some heartache, so they decide to hire some very nice hitmen to take care of their ex-boyfriends,” said assistant director and graduate student Shelby Brewster. Brewster also served as the play’s dramaturg, who… Read more

Quartet’s death springs desire to be ‘Forever Plaid’ in CATCO musical

September 23, 2014
Do you ever wonder if there is life after death? Although the answer is a mystery, the musical “Forever Plaid” toys with the idea of an afterlife. The musical tells a story of four young men during the 1950s with dreams and aspirations of becoming a successful “guy group” like The Four Aces or The Hi-Lo’s. The quartet named themselves the Plaids. Unfortunately, their music careers quickly ended when they died in a car crash. The musical “Forever Plaid” begins at that end — with the Plaids resurrected for a final shot at a successful music career. CATCO, a local theater company in Columbus, is producing the musical. Matt Clemens,… Read more

Ohio State student thespians experiment in lab series

September 8, 2014
The lights, costumes and music can all be sensorially evocative of a night out in a modern theater. All the flaws and virtues of the actors are heightened when you reduce the stage to people in a box — but the basics are the same. For Ohio State undergrads in theater, there’s a forum to hone their craft without the distractions. Select students are staging their own creative visions this fall as a part of the Ohio State Department of Theatre’s Lab Series, which has been presenting student-written and directed works every term since 2011. The Lab Series, formed and coordinated by Jennifer Schlueter — assistant professor and director of… Read more

Italian burlesque opera to sound off on issues of self-discovery at Ohio State

September 2, 2014
Gender identity, self-discovery, love and family relationships are all major themes explored in “Operetta Burlesque,” an Italian production coming to Ohio State as its first performance in an English-speaking country. “We’re bringing the world to OSU,” said Lesley Ferris, interim chair of the Department of Theatre. Written and directed by Emma Dante and performed by Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale, the play follows a 40-year-old man named Pietro from a small Italian village near Naples, Italy, who doesn’t feel comfortable with himself because he identifies as a woman and feels trapped inside his male body. “The only escape he has is to get on a train and go to Naples, get… Read more

Ohio State theater sets its stages for global, local productions

August 24, 2014
As students flock back onto campus, Ohio State’s Department of Theatre has made a head start on its productions for the semester. Its first show of the year, “Operetta Burlesque,” happened to be the most difficult to coordinate, Lesley Ferris, interim chair of the Department of Theatre, said. To be performed by Sicilian troupe Compagnia Sud Costa Occidentale, the production, set to run from Sept. 3-5, came stateside as the result of a lengthy advocacy from graduate student Francesca Spedalieri. “She had this dream of possibly bringing them, and we thought it was impossible,” Ferris said. “But she did a proposal, and we all thought it was great, but we… Read more