By Thomas Consolo
No foolin’, Monday is April 1. Where did the first quarter of 2019 go? Well, time flies when we’re having fun, and the region’s arts organizations have been giving us plenty of that, not to mention all the other food for the soul that the arts offer. Are you ready for another trip to the arts buffet? The next course is now being served….
Those who didn’t grow up here may be excused for thinking we perhaps go overboard taking note of the first day of the baseball season. Maybe someday you’ll understand, and Thursday, March 28, might be a good year to start. In case you haven’t heard, it’s the 150th season for the Reds, professional baseball’s original team. It’s also the 100th year for the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade, the civic celebration of all things baseball. If you haven’t experienced the atmosphere in person, the weather looks like it will actually cooperate this year. The starting lineup includes:
• Findlay Market Opening Day Parade: Kicks off at noon from Ohio’s oldest open-air market, heads down Race Street and across Fifth Street. Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is the grand marshal, and Johnny Bench will be right beside him. Did we mention it’s the centennial incarnation?
• Celebrations: At least three major events start late Thursday morning. There’s a parade-watching party in Washington Park; Rally on the Square to benefit Give Back Cincinnati on Fountain Square; and the Reds Community Fund Charity Party at the Banks. Enjoy a craft beer at lunchtime and support some community involvement.
• Game: The 2019 version of the Red Stockings take the field at 4:10 p.m. to face the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Cincinnati Zoo | 3400 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45220; 513-281-4700
Opens Monday, April 1: “Zoo Blooms”
This is the time of year that the zoo reminds us that its formal name includes “and Botanical Garden.” The grounds are blanketed in joyful color, thanks to more than a million daffodils, hyacinths and tulips; flowering trees and shrubs; and other spring bulbs. The last two years of the annual event were kind of a bust, with the flowers already faded by the festival’s opening one year and slow to come out the other. This year looks like a Goldilocks year – just right.
Built into Zoo Blooms is Tunes & Blooms, a concert series on Thursdays through April.
Exhale Dance Tribe | 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-2787
Saturday, March 30, 3 and 8 p.m.: “Letters to My Shadow”
The tribe is back at the Aronoff Center’s Fifth Third Theater with choreographic premieres by Katie Farry, Erin Downey, Jennifer Rutterford, and Missy & Andrew Hubbard, Exhale’s founders and artistic directors.
Cincinnati Ballet | 1555 Central Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45214; 513-621-5282
Opens Saturday, March 30: “Aladdin”
After the intense and rather adult themes of “The Rite of Spring,” the ballet’s Family Series presents this family-friendly tale in nine performances on weekends through April 7. Taking the stage to music of Dvorak, Grieg, Nielsen, Rimsky-Korsakov and Sibelius is the Cincinnati Ballet Second Company.
The Mini Microcinema | 1329 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202
Tuesday, April 2, 7:30 p.m.: “Inquiring Nuns”
The title says it all: Two nuns travel across 1968 Chicago, a center of unrest that year, asking strangers if they’re happy and what that means. Are the subjects’ answers unique to half a century ago, or are the keys to happiness timeless? See it and decide for yourselves.
Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra | 953 Eden Park Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-723-1182
Thursday, March 28, 7:30 p.m.: “A Walk in Paris”
The group and address are an unusual combination, but there’s no mistake here. The August-centric CCO keeps its name in the game with an appearance at the art museum. Flutist Rebecca Andres curates a program of turn-of-the-century French music for woodwind quintet. It’s the aural complement to the museum’s “Paris 1900” exhibition. The CCO’s music director, Eckart Preu, will be on hand, too, for the official unveiling of the 2019 Summermusik schedule. Reception begins at 6 p.m.
Musica Sacra | 1750 Chase Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223; 513-374-8249
Sunday, March 31, 3 p.m.: Spring Concert
If the voice of spring seems to have a bit of an Italian accent this year, it may be Musica Sacra’s fault. Their spring concert features Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria.” It’s an early work, written as a conservatory graduation piece. If you didn’t know Puccini wrote any sacred choral music, you probably also didn’t know he was the fifth generation to be a musician in the family. All his predecessors worked in Lucca’s cathedral, and it was assumed he would, too. Time he later spent at Milan’s Conservatory changed all that. The College-Conservatory of Music’s Chorale also performs, all under the direction of Brett Scott.
Memorial Hall | 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-977-8838
Tuesday, April 2, 8 p.m.: Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn
If music be the food of love, this couple knows all about it. Dubbed the “king and queen of the banjo,” they met at a square dance, began a musical collaboration and eventually fell in love. He brings a jazz and classical background to their music; her influences include Chinese folk music. They’ll perform music from their Grammy-winning debut album and their new record, “Echo in the Valley.”
Music Hall Ballroom | 1241 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-621-2787
Tuesday, April 2, 7 p.m.: The Harry James Orchestra
You’ve heard that song before, you say? They say the big band era is over, but nobody told the Harry James Orchestra. Now led by trumpeter Fred Radke, at heart it’s still the swinging group from the 1940s. On Tuesday night they play the Music Hall Ballroom under the auspices of WMKV-FM, which has made nostalgic music it’s business.
Know Theatre | 1120 Jackson St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-300-5669
Thursday-Saturday, March 28-30, 8 p.m.: “Sand”
Know’s producing artistic director, Andrew Hungerford, takes the stage in this U.S. premiere, an intense look at the threat of devastation from nuclear weapons. It’s told through the stories of a dozen women over a century. The short run – just three performances – is a script-in-hand staging.
• “A Doll’s House, Part 2”: Playwright Lucas Hnath picks up with Nora Helmer 15 years after the point Ibsen left audiences hanging in this bitingly funny sequel. Through Saturday at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3555).
• “Two Trains Running”: It’s the 1960s installment of August Wilson’s monumental Century Series, and it’s a time of social upheaval in Pittsburgh’s Hill District. Through Saturday at Playhouse in the Park (962 Mount Adams Circle, Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-3888).
Art Beyond Boundaries | 1410 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-421-8726
Opens Friday, March 29: “Springmageddon”
A showcase of works – paintings, sculptures, photographs and more – by both emerging and seasoned artists with disabilities in Over-the-Rhine. Opening reception at 6 p.m. Friday.
1305 Gallery | 1305 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202; 513-383-6815
Opens Friday, March 29: “Garrett Goben – Place and Play”
Goben writes that his work celebrates a culture of play. His work is built around inventing homemade sports and games to be played with others in everyday space. Equipment he constructs for gameplay exists as artifacts on the wall. More recently, he’s focused on flags to depict the landscape as an arena.
Cincinnati Art Museum | 953 Eden Park Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-721-2787
March 29, 5-9 p.m. Art After Dark: “Passport to Paris”
Celebrate the CAM’s special exhibition, “Paris 1900: City of Entertainment,” at this free event with live music by the Faux Frenchmen, dance performances by Madame Gigi’s Outrageous French Cancan Dancers, food for purchase from Urban Stead Cheese, Macaron Bar and the Terrace Café, wine from The Skeleton Root, docent-led tours with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and star gazing with Cincinnati Observatory.
Last chance:• “1919 Cincinnati Reds”: As the Reds head into their sesquicentennial season, the Behringer-Crawford looks back a century at the 50th season. The Reds won the World Series, but it was forever tainted with an asterisk because of the Black Sox scandal. (“Say it ain’t so, Joe!”) Includes player postcards, autographs, World Series souvenir programs, scorecards, newspapers and more. Only through Thursday, Opening Day, at the Behringer-Crawford Museum (1600 Montague Road, Covington, KY 41011; 859-491-4003).