THE BIG GIVE & The Crucible (SRO Theatre Company – Columbus, OH)

The Columbus Foundation’s THE BIG GIVE has begun!
 
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before NOON on Wednesday
 
to get your rewards and have your gift MAGNIFIED!
 
TEXT 698 to 614-230-0347 to GIVE TO SRO!
 

CRUCIBLEbanner_normal
OPENING FRIDAY the 13TH!

Arthur Miller’s landmark play has gripped audiences for nearly 65 years, but couldn’t be more timely in today’s political environment. The McCarthy-era drama, set in Puritan Salem, paints a portrait of a paranoid, litigious society — power-hungry and gripped by misguided moralism.
 
The story focuses upon a young farmer, his wife, and a young servant-girl who maliciously causes the wife’s arrest for witchcraft. The farmer brings the girl to court to admit the lie—and it is here that the monstrous course of bigotry and deceit is terrifyingly depicted. The farmer, instead of saving his wife, finds himself also accused of witchcraft and ultimately condemned with a host of others.
 
OCTOBER 13-22ONLY 8 PERFORMANCES!
CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE TICKETS
Fridays & Saturdays at 8pm – Sundays at 2pm
Special Friday Morning at 10:30am on 10/13
Special Saturday Matinee at 2pm on 10/21
 
Audio Description available 10/14 Saturday Evening at 8pm
(audio description will be live and performed along with the show over cell phones for
patrons who wish to utilize the service – for more information on audio description for people who are blind or sight impaired, please e-mail srotheatre@gmail.com or call 614-427-3324 – a promotional video for the audio described performance can be heard here: https://youtu.be/6Cfy7D6jGGA)
 
LOCATION
Columbus Performing Arts Center
Shedd Theatre
549 Franklin Avenue
Columbus, OH 43215
 
PERFORMANCES

FRI 10/13 at 10:30am & 8pm
SAT 10/14 at 8pm (audio description available for this performance only)
SUN 10/15 at 2pm
FRI 10/20 at 8pm
SAT 10/21 at 2pm & 8pm
SUN 10/22 at 2pm

TICKETS
Adults: $23
Seniors/Students: $20
Groups of 10 or more: $15
(e-mail srotheatre@gmail.com or call 614-427-3324 to reserve)

RUNNING TIME
3:00 including intermission

THE CRUCIBLE is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

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Central Ohio Live Theatre Resources

Last fall I assumed the position of President of SRO Theatre Company, which has severely limited my ability to review local theatre (please hold the applause). I now receive many requests for information on local theatre, ranging from auditions, script submissions, unsolicited resumes – you name it. I have a list of website links on this blog to assist people in finding the answers to so many of these questions, but in this day and age it seems to “like” and “subscribe” to a company’s events on their Facebook page is the easiet and most efficient way of keeping on top of things. There are also several groups that are helpful to join as well, in addition to some performance and audition calendars.

Here I am posting links to many important resources; some are websites, but many more are Facebook pages or groups. This list is not complete (is any list ever?), and I aim to add to it in time. It doesn’t include the many fine high school theatre departments as I found that many either didn’t have websites and Facebook pages or that they weren’t always up-to-date. There is also no distinction between professional, semi-professional, and community theatre in this list. Still, this is a good starting point to add to your Facebook “likes” and bookmarks for the time being.

I believe that fans of theatre will see more theatre if they know of all the options available. I also don’t believe one theatre company has to do poorly for another to do well (I know several theatre companies appear to feel differently). Unless we are all doing the same shows at the same time, we aren’t in competition. At SRO, we now have a policy to display as many cards and flyers for other theatre companies as we receive at our performances. We don’t ask for or expect other companies to follow that practice; some are open to it while others are silent, and that’s fine. The bottom line is I want everyone to succeed and to help connect theatre with the community. While there may be individual people within certain organizations that I feel try to denigrate and dismiss other companies and their work, I find that, by and large, the artists, technicians, and audiences just want to come together and enjoy the experience of live performance.

Please help me add and correct this list by posting comments.


EVENT CALENDARS

Columbus Makes Art (GCAC events)

Columbus Theater Events

My Auditions Calendar (Columbus, OH)

My Performance Calendar (Columbus, OH)


GROUPS

Central Ohio Auditions

Grandview Carriage Place Players – Audition Page

I Support Local Live Theatre

Shameless Production Plugs of Central Ohio Theatre

Theatre Audition and Job Notices


COLUMBUS AREA THEATRE COMPANIES

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus

Adrenaline Theatre Group

Available Light Theatre

CATCO

CATCO is Kids!

Columbus Children’s Theatre (CCT)

Columbus Civic Theater

Curtain Players

Cyclodrama

DNGinc Productions

Eclipse Theatre Company

Ember Women’s Theatre

Evolution Theatre Company

Exit Left Productions

Gallery Players

Hilliard Arts Council

Imagine Productions

King Avenue Players

Little Theatre Off-Broadway (LTOB)

MadLab

Mine4God Productions

Ohio Musical Theatre Institute

Out of the Box Community Theatre (OOTBCT)

PAST Productions Columbus

Pickerington Community Theatre

Red Herring Productions

Shadowbox Live

Short North Stage

SRO Theatre Company

State of the Arts Productions (SoArtsPro)

Tantrum Theater

The Tipping Point Theatre Company

Warehouse Theatre

Westerville Parks & Recreation Civic Theatre

Worthington Community Theatre


UNIVERSITIES

Ashland University Theatre

Capital University

Denison University

Ohio State University Department of Dance

Ohio State University Department of Theatre

Ohio University Lancaster Theatre

Otterbein University Theatre and Dance

Theatre Columbus State


SURROUNDING THEATRE COMPANIES/GROUPS

Beavercreek Community Theatre (Beavercreek, OH)

Bespoke Theatre (Columbus, OH)

The Black Box Improv Theatre (Dayton, OH)

Dare to Defy (Dayton, OH)

Dayton Playhouse (Dayton, OH)

Dayton Theatre (Dayton, OH)

Dayton Theatre Co-op (Dayton, OH)

Dayton Theatre Guild (Dayton, OH)

Frontgate Theatre Troupe Productions (Dayton, OH)

Human Race Theatre Company (Dayton, OH)

Lancaster Playhouse (Lancaster, OH)

The Libby Art and Theatre Company (Dayton, OH)

Licking County Players (Newark, OH)

Magnolia Theatre Company (Dayton, OH)

The Musical Theatre Initiative (Dayton, OH)

On Stage Dayton (Dayton, OH)

The Playground (Dayton, OH)

Roundtown Players (Circleville, OH)

Sinclair Community College Theatre (Dayton, OH)

UD Studio Theatre (Dayton, OH)

University of Dayton Theatre, Dance, and Performance Technology Program (Dayton, OH)

Weathervane Playhouse (Newark, OH)

The Zoot Theatre Company (Dayton, OH)

Devotion (A & B Theatricals – Columbus, OH)

 
Exactly how much can you negotiate in a relationship to get your way? When do you end one relationship and start another? How much contact is healthy with an ex? These are just some of the issues dealt with in Bill Cook’s Devotion, a comedy about three people who should probably remain single indefinitely as they don’t seem to comprehend the kind of devotion necessary to sustain a relationship.

In Devotion, Tricia (Beth Josephsen) is a budding artist with a problem: her ex, Alex (Danny Turek), is living in her loft apartment with her and her current boyfriend, James (James Harper). The time is the early ’90s and the area is SoHo in downtown Manhattan, and it’s all about where you are and who you know that can propel your career forward, a belief keenly held by Tricia, Alex (an actor), and James (a videographer). Even after he is forced out, Alex finds a way to keep returning to Tricia and James, creating tension and mistrust while he makes his goal of reuniting with Tricia very apparent.

 

Photo: Bill Cook – Beth Josephsen (Tricia) and Danny Turek (Alex)
 
The emerging star of this production is Danny Turek, perfectly cast as the actor Alex, as he has (to quote “I’m the Greatest Star” from Funny Girl), “Thirty-six expressions, sweet as pie to tough as leather, and that’s six expressions more than all them Barrymores put together.” Mr. Turek has a delightfully rubbery face, reminiscent of a young Jim Carrey. He is quick on his feet and has terrific chemistry with his nemesis, James Harper, another fine, handsome performer. Mr. Harper has the blander role, but he comes to life with his trademark intensity (I saw him in Standing Room Only’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde last month and was frightened) in scenes where he as his character is doing improvised monologues on camera. Beth Josephsen’s Tricia is tough to take in large doses, as the eye-rolling and sighing gets to be a bit much. I saw Ms. Josephsen in Actors’ Theatre of Columbus’s All the Great Books Abridged over the summer where she was delightfully peppy and energetic, a stark contrast to the role she plays here. Tricia is the kind of girl men should stay clear of as, at the end of the day, her devotion is strictly to herself and career.

What I like most about Bill Cook’s writing is the dialogue. Every character has their own voice and motivation, and the plot stands up to analysis and interpretation. For instance, the title Devotion refers not to any of the three characters’ feelings for each other; this is a love story about an apartment! That explains how Tricia is able to get away with being such a harpy with two attractive men fighting over her – it’s a love story about real estate! The writing doesn’t come out and state that explicitly, and it’s quite possible that my take on it isn’t what Mr. Cook intended, but what a joy it is to find writing meaty enough to chew on and discuss.

 

Photo: Bill Cook – Beth Josephsen (Tricia), Danny Turek (Alex), and James Harper (James)
 

Devotion runs around ninety minutes with an intermission, a break that only serves to separate an inferior first act in which a lot of groundwork is laid from a quick and witty second half. Director Pamela Hill doesn’t always seem to know the best way to start and end a scene effectively, and the performers often come off as rather awkward without enough business around their lines at the beginning of scenes. The blackouts are also quite long while people rather slowly move set pieces and props around. This kind of comedy needs a certain pace to work effectively, and it’s very obvious when it is off.

 

Photo: Bill Cook – (left to right) James Harper (James), Beth Josephsen (Tricia), and Danny Turek (Alex)
 
Though it was a bit rough going early on and Beth Josephsen’s shrill characterization of Tricia can be tough to take, Devotion winds up as an enjoyable enough treat. It doesn’t pretend to be more than it is, and there are genuine laughs that arise organically out of the situation (mostly in the second act). I found myself surprised when it ended as the plot had just taken an unexpected left turn, leaving me curious to see what was going to happen next. And then I realized that a variation on that story had already been written nearly fifty years ago by Neil Simon: The Odd Couple.

**/ out of ****

Devotion continues through to November 14th in the MadLab Theatre located at 227 North Third Street in downtown Columbus, and more information can be found at http://ab-theatrical.com/

The Maderati (Haberdasher Theatre Inc. – Columbus, OH)

The Maderati by Richard Greenberg is a two-act farce about a group of artsy, vapid people coming to terms with the aftermath of the previous night’s party that left one of their own in a psych ward. What follows is a comical version of the game Telephone where everyone adds their own spin on what may or may not have happened to their recently committed friend: Was she hit by a cab? Did she get an abortion? Was she murdered? Does anyone really care? Each person has a way of making the fate of their friend about themselves, quick to grab the spotlight should anyone try to take it away. In summary, these are NOT the kind of people you would want as friends.

As the inaugural production of the Columbus branch of Haberdasher Theatre Inc., The Maderati is as good a choice of material as any comedy for a cast unafraid of being disliked, the litmus test for a true professional in my mind. Though filled with an attractive cast of young performers, I didn’t feel like all of the actors knew that they were in the same play; some overacted tremendously while others were deadly serious, and one performer expressed no discernible emotion whatsoever. Still, there were some performers that stood out from the group and were consistently interesting to watch.

Briavel Schultz’s Cuddles Molotov is dangerously funny as an Eastern European femme fatal who rapidly vacillates between being homicidal and deeply affectionate. Sure, her part probably has some of the best lines (“My pity for you is matched only by my contempt”), but Schultz knows just how to spit them out with maximum effect, equal parts Natasha from “Rocky and Bullwinkle” and Euro Trash guttersnipe. She has a firm grasp on the absurdity of her character and holds firm even when some of her scene partners don’t know how to react to her.

Billy DePetro’s Ritt Overlander is more than the typical cuckold, sweet and supportive but very much a follower to his wife. DePetro strikes an imposing frame that is quickly dispelled by his willingness to be as silly and docile as his part requires. His face is wonderfully expressive, and he finds moments to bring a kind of sincerity to the role that is perhaps not in the text.

Zach Lyon’s Chuck Debutts is the most underwritten role in the play, so it’s doubly surprising that Lyon has found a way to make the character so real and responsive. He plays it straight and natural, a refreshing change from the cornucopia of performances going on around him, and he responds in a way that shows that he is listening. It’s difficult to articulate exactly, but Lyon gives the impression that he has a lot more to show given the right material.

Director/Sound Designer/Producer/Artistic Director Hollie Klem wears a variety of hats that would sink anyone with less energy. Klem keeps the show moving at a brisk pace and finds inventive ways to move around the set pieces to represent many locations. Everyone can consistently be heard and understood, a feat in and of itself what with the often erratic sound of the shows I see locally. I was a bit confused by the opening scene that takes place in silhouette and is perhaps too quick to take in, and I wasn’t a fan of the songs used to bridge scenes (I think quirky instrumentals would’ve suited the material more). Still, she has taken a group of young performers with varied strengths and corralled them to tell this story, fostering an environment in which they work well together towards the same goal even if I wasn’t convinced they all quite got the point of the play. 

The Maderati shows what we should all aspire to avoid being, the kind of self-obsessed cyphers that bounce from one catastrophe to the next. It’s also oddly prescient being a piece from 1987, before smartphones, the Internet, and the reality television of today has served to encourage a new breed of these kinds of people to flourish. This production is ultimately successful in getting that point across, and it is consistently entertaining if also uneven.

**/ out of ****

The Maderati continues through to September 26th in the MadLab Theatre located at 227 North Third Street in downtown Columbus, and more information can be found at http://haberdashertheatre.com