And just like that, summer is upon us. Theater, concerts, a little thing called Summerfair, and the launch of Fringe. But wait, there’s more… (Please try to keep up, ok? 😉
Just getting started…
Broadway Across America, “To Kill A Mockingbird” | Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, 650 Walnut St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-721-3344. DETAILS: Let’s add up the reasons in favor of seeing this: 1) Based on one of the most beloved and influential books of the 20th century, 2) adapted by one of the most successful and respected screen writers of our time, 3) directed by “one of the most original and exciting directors, not only in the American theater, but also in the international world of opera,” (New York Times), and starring an icon of the American screen (most recently seen as a dysfunctional father in “Ozark”). Any questions? My only qualm was the size of the theater (P&G too large?), but the performance I saw last night drew everyone in from the very start. Can’t recommend this production enough. Go see it, even if you think you’re familiar. Continues through June 12.
Ensemble Theatre, “Tiny Beautiful Things” | 7:30 p.m. 1127 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-3555. DETAILS: According to ETC Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers, “‘Tiny Beautiful Things’ celebrates our uniqueness, but also our universal need to connect with another human, to open our hearts to listening, and to share as best we can that which we can give to someone else.” Based on the acclaimed book by Cheryl Strayed, the story was adapted by Nia Vardalos, Academy Award-nominated writer and star of “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The show follows a struggling writer as she takes over the unpaid, anonymous position of an advice columnist named Sugar. At first unsure of herself, she finds a way to weave her own life experiences together to help those seeking guidance for obstacles large and small. Tonight through June 26.
Wednesday, June 1
Clifton Cultural Arts Center, “Wednesdays in the Woods” | 7 p.m. Burnett Woods. 513-497-2860. DETAILS: Outdoor music returns with a vengeance, and this series offers some of the best local talent all summer long. The Comet Blugrass All-Stars are really good, and a blast, and are sure to set your toes a-tappin’.
No Promises Vocal Band and The Three Bald Guys | 7 p.m. Memorial Hall, 1225 Elm St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-977-8838. DETAILS: For this performance, the main floor of Memorial Hall will be transformed into a cocktail lounge. Serving up entertainment are the excellent a cappella group No Promises, in a jazz set, and the soft rock trio Three Bald Guys. Singer/arranger Joshua Steele provides the creative glue between the two. Only 100 seats available, general admission.
Thursday, June 2
Basilica of St. Peter in Chains, St. Olaf Choir | 7:30 p.m. 325 W. 8th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-421-5354. DETAILS: This concert was thankfully re-scheduled from last winter due to Omicron. Long one of the best collegiate choirs in the country, St. Olaf is directed by the meticulous Anton Armstrong, who led a Christmas concert here several years ago by the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati.
Sorg Opera House, “Considering Matthew Shepard” | 8 p.m. 55 S. Main St., Middletown, OH 45044. DETAILS: Having had the great privilege of performing this work twice under the composer’s leadership, I am both pleased to see and intrigued by this staging by INNOVAtheatre at the Sorg. This moving and hopeful piece of musical theater deserves to and should be seen by people across the social and political spectrum. Composer Craig Hella Johnson – also music director of the Vocal Arts Ensemble of Cincinnati – has created his own form of musical “passion” story, employing multiple musical genres to full effect. So glad to see CMS take on a life of its own. Five performances through Sunday. (So beautiful, you better bring a handkerchief.)
Friday, June 3
Cincinnati Fringe Festival | Know Theatre, Art Academy and various venues, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: In case things have not been weird enough for you lately, or if you simply need an experience to reflect how weird things have been, here comes CincyFringe No. 19. This year’s offerings include 28 live shows, 4 virtual presentations and special events. Buy individual tickets or a festival pass and Fringe to your heart’s content. Runs through June 18. (Most shows are best consumed by grown-ups.)
Eisele Gallery of Fine Art, “Reupholstering the Fabric of Old Stories” | 6-9 p.m. 6936 Madisonville Rd., Cincinnati, OH 45227. 513-791-7717. DETAILS: Juxtaposing past and present, this exhibit creates an artistic “conversation” between new ceramic works by James Webb and historical European and American paintings from the gallery’s inventory. Webb’s newest body of ceramic work is inspired by stories of reupholstering old couches, as told by his deeply American-spirited immigrant grandmother. On display through June 18.
Summerfair Cincinnati | Coney Island. 513-531-0050. DETAILS: For many years, this largest of our region’s arts and crafts festivals has signaled the start of summer. You’ll find 350 artists from around the country, plus food and some dandy music, all down by the riverside. Juried art exhibits are showcased in 12 categories. Buy some art. Invest in creativity! Continues through Sunday.
Saturday, June 4
The Arts Alliance, Deerfield Handmade Market | 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sonder Brewing, 8584 Duke Blvd., Deerfield Township. 513-309-8585. DETAILS: Fine art, artistic vendors, food, music and more, at this first of three handmade markets in 2022. (also Sept. 18 and Nov. 6)
Great Parks of Hamilton County | 7 p.m. Glenwood Gardens. 513-521-7275. DETAILS: This gorgeous, but somewhat under-the-radar park between Woodlawn and Glendale has been getting some much-deserved love lately. Arrive early to partake of its beauty, then settle in for a performance by singer-songwriter Lauren Eylise, who apparently made quite the impression with her submission for NPR’s 2020 Tiny Desk Contest.
Tiger Lily Press, “Paper, Ink, Press” | 4-6 p.m. The Annex Gallery, Pendleton Art Center. 859-760-6070. DETAILS: The annual member show features 31 local artists strutting their stuff and runs through June 25. Can’t make the reception? The gallery is open noon-5 p.m., Wednesday-Saturday, and Final Friday, June 24.
Sunday, June 5
Chamber Music Cincinnati, Anthony McGill and Gloria Chien | 4 p.m. New Prospect Baptist Church, Roselawn. 513-342-6870. DETAILS: Another show we are lucky to have re-scheduled from January features one of the very best clarinetists in the universe, accompanied by the accomplished Chien on piano. Along with standard repertoire works by Telemann, Brahms and Weber, the duo will explore newer music from Jessie Montgomery (“Peace,” 2020), James Lee (“Ad Anah?,” 2015), and by Taiwanese folk musician Deng Yu-Shien. This program repeats (NOTE) Monday evening, 7:30 p.m., in OTR’s Memorial Hall.
Christ Church Cathedral, When in Our Music God Is Glorified: A Celebration of Hymns | 3 p.m. 318 E. 4th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202. 513-621-1817. DETAILS: This program seems designed as more of a catharsis than a concert. If you have been pining for the past couple years to sing with like-minded choral geeks, here is your chance to let it loose in full-throated glory. And you can do so to the accompaniment of CCC’s glorious new organ. What a way to close out this season devoted to welcoming such a splendid instrument.
Monday, June 6
Washington Park, Jazz at the Park | 6 p.m. Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: This weeks features Noisepolice, an all-star quartet with Eric Lechliter on E.W.I. (Electronic Wind Instrument), Dominic Marino on keyboard, Aaron Jacobs on electric bass and Tom Buckley on drums. There is a twist, however, as Noisepolice performs classic themes from video games, but in a contemporary jazz style. (What, you never noticed the music…?!)
Tuesday, June 7
Sitwell’s Coffee House, Poetry Night | 7 p.m. 324 Ludlow Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45220. DETAILS: Two of the region’s top poets – Pauletta Hansel and Sara Moore Wagner – come together to “bounce some poems off each other.” Nothing like a spoken word throw-down to close out a week of wonderful performances.