Thursday, March 5, 2009

Crime and Punishment 4 March 2009, the Drury Theater at the Cleveland Play House

The film director George Roy Hill once said that if a director picked a good script and did a good job in casting the main roles 90% of his job was done. I'm not sure Director Anders Cato feels the same way about his current production of "Crime and Punishment" at the Cleveland Play House, but that's the impression left on my mind after seeing last Wednesday's performance. Adapted for the stage by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus from Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel, the production allows three talented actors to present a story filled with emotional dialogue and soliloquies.
Patrick Husted plays Porfiry, Paul Anthony Stewart plays Raskolnikov, and Lethia Nall plays Sonia in this story about murder, denial, confession, and redemption. Lee Savage's stark two-story staging adds suspense to the story, as does the lighting by Jeff Davis. It all adds up to a good night of live theater, an intense ninety minutes of roller coaster emotions told straight through without an intermission. The play runs through March 22 at the Drury Theater.
The Cleveland Play House is winding down its season with two more major productions. "The Lady With the Answers," a one-woman show about the life of Ann Landers, runs from March 27 until April 19. The world stage adaptation of the novel "Heaven's my Destination" will be presented from April 24 until May 17. The Play House closes its season with its annual FusionFest from April 29 through May 10, with a variety of productions featuring music, dance, and theater. For more information on any of these productions, or to purchase tickets, go to

"Seussical the Musical" 27 February 2009, Beachwood Community theater

In these days of dire financial times, it is great that people are still supporting the arts, especially live entertainment. For some theater lovers, especially those with a family, a night downtown or at the Playhouse might be a reach right now. But they won't be left out in the cold because of the abundance of quality, inexpensive smaller professional and community theater groups in Northern Ohio.
One of those quality community groups is the Beachwood Community Theater, which is currently putting on an entertaining production of "Seussical, the Musical" now through March 15 at Beachwood Middle School. The fun show features colorful costumes and scenery, songs in the unique language Dr. Suess has shared with us over the last fifty years, and a cast filled with a nice mix of community theater veterans and young enthusiastic rookies.
The play combines two popular stories, "Horton Hears a Who" and "Gertrude Mc Fuzz," along with elements from dozen of other Dr. Suess favorites, in a series of musical dance numbers and comedy sketches.
Amongst the stand out performances are Mark Oet as JoJo; Streetsboro High School senior Casey J. Braun as the Cat in the Hat; Ted Rosati as Horton the Elephant; Molly Sawyer as Mayzie LaBird; and Cheryl Eitman, whose day job is a Cantorial Soloist at several east side temples, as Gertrude McFuzz.
I highly recommend this show, especially for a family outing that would include young children. Tickets are inexpensive, only $7 for adults and $6 for students, with group rates available. For more information on dates and show times call 216.292.1970.