Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Previews and Quick Reviews: CWRU/CPH, Groundworks, KIBBUTZ CONTEMPORARY DANCE COMPANY, THE NUTCRACKER: Joffrey Ballet/Cleveland Orchestra

“Three Sisters” @ CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program

Eight students are accepted each year to be part of the Case Western Reserve/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program.   The purpose of the program is to combine educational and professional theater experiences to prepare students for theatre careers.

Their latest production, staged in the Helen Theatre in the Allen Complex in PlayhouseSquare, was Anton Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters.” 

Chekhov was a Russian realist writer who is often referred to as the literary predictor of the twentieth century Russian Revolution.

“The Three Sisters” centers on the Prozorov sisters who relocated from their beloved Moscow to a provincial Russian town with their late father.  They wish to return to the refined life in Moscow, but fail to do so and their dreams recede further and further.
The production, under the direction of Ron Wilson, is slowly paced and thoughtful.  The acting is generally proficient.  Standouts in the cast are Nick Barbato as Andrei, the frustrated brother of the three sisters who was moving swiftly toward being a professor before he was wrenched from Moscow to live in the provinces,  Kathryn Metzger as Olga, is the matriarchal and spinster sister, Megan King as Masha, who is involved in a disappointing marriage, and Katie O. Solomon as Irina, the youngest sister, who believes her love is in Moscow and she must go there to find happiness. 
The images are nicely showcased in a fragmented set, enhanced by traditional Russian music, and era correct costumes.
The production runs through November 18, 2014.  For tickets call 216-241-6000 or www.clevelandplayhouse.com

The next performance by the CWRU/CPH MFA program will be Phillip Barry’s “The Philadelphia Story” from February 25th through March 7th, 2015 in the Helen.

GroundWorks Dance Theater, Fall Concert @ the Allen Theatre

Bannered as “imagination you can see,” GroundWorks dance has been critically celebrated as an “artistically significant” ensemble.  The company, which was founded in 1998, spreads its creative wings by performing in challenging settings including an ice house, cathedrals, libraries, outdoor venues, often with live musicians on stage.  In its 16 years it has commissioned 23 premiers from national and international choreographers, as well as 30 new works by its Artistic Director, David Shimotakahara, and 10 by Artistic Associate, Amy Miller.

Earlier this fall the company presented its third annual concert series at the Allen Theatre in partnership with Cleveland State University as its professional dance company in residence.

The nicely balanced program introduced GroundWorks newest company member, Troy Macklin, a welcome addition.  His youth and dynamisms fit well with the precision, athleticism and discipline demanded by Shimotakahara.

The program included “Always” choreographed by Gina Gibney to the music of Patsy Cline, centering on story telling, often about relationships.  The pulse and rhythms of the music were well integrated into the movements.  The second offering was the world premiere of “wait. now. go now.” by choreographer Johannes Wieland, which combined theatre and dance centering on how others see us and we see ourselves.   The concluding piece, “CoDa,” choreographed by Ronen Koresh, was a display of high level emotions, which featured the concept of focus as illustrated by strong physical and static movements.

GroundWorks next public presentations, The Winter/Spring Concert will be March 5 & 6 at EJThomas Hall in Akron and March 20 & 21 at The Breen Center,
2008 West 30th Street, Cleveland.


A joint production of the Cleveland-Israel Arts Connection, The Jewish Federation of Cleveland and Dance Cleveland, the Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, presented “If At All,” choreographed by Rami Be’er, at the Ohio Theatre.

The 65-minute piece, presented without intermission, was a dance/theatrical piece which centered on interpersonal relationships by using literal and abstract movements, mainly the forming and breaking of circles.  The constant motion, and the expanding and contracting physical space, created a feeling of the altering dynamic of individuals and groups sometimes interacting, sometimes being static, other times being alone.

Though the choreography was often repetitive, the overall effect was positive. The well trained and disciplined dancers, especially, the males, were dynamic in their explosive movements. 

Dance Cleveland’s next offering is the creative Pilobolus (http://www.pilobolus.com/) on Saturday, January 31 @ 8 PM in the State Theatre.  For tickets, which run $20-55, call 216-241-6000 or go on line to www.playhousesquare.org


The holiday season is upon us and nothing seems to signal it more clearly than a performance of “The Nutcracker.”  And what could be more exciting than hearing Tchaikovsky’s distinctive score, being performed by The Cleveland Orchestra, one of the world’s great musical assemblages, and danced by the famous Joffrey Ballet?   Great music, choreographic excellent, brilliant costumes, larger than life scenery, all showcased in a tale for all times.

When?  November 26-30, 2014.  Tickets:  $20-99.  Where:  State Theatre in PlayhouseSquare. 

Please note:  Children under two years of age are not permitted.  Everyone, no matter their age, must have a ticket and be seated with an adult.

For tickets call 216-241-6000 or go to www.playhousesquare.org