Culture FIX: April 26-May 2

A week of openings and closings ahead, as some seasons wind down. Classic dance. Last chance theater. Two big openings at the CAC. An all-too rare performance by VAE. A Grammy winner closes out Xavier’s series. Handelian delights. And more…

Last chance…

Three theatrical productions close this weekend. All have received good reviews. Take your pick…

Torie Wiggins, author of “Who All Over There?” at ETC

Broadway Across America | 1 & 6:30 p.m. Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center, downtown. 513-721-3344

  • Thru April 30. “Hadestown”

Ensemble Theatre | 2 p.m. 1127 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-421-3555

  • houseThru April 30. “Who All Over There?”

Playhouse in the Park | 2 p.m. 962 Mt. Adams Circle, Mt. Adams. 513-421-3888

  • Thru April 30. “The Chinese Lady” (Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre)

Wednesday, April 26

Author Rick Pender

Joseph-Beth Booksellers “100 Things to Do in Cincinnati Before You Die (3rd Edition)” | 7 p.m. Rookwood Commons, Norwood. 513-396-8960. DETAILS: If author/historian/theater critic Rick Pender continues to think of things we must do before we die then we might live forever, right? Thanks for appending and appending! Seriously, this is a must-read for Cincinnati lovers, sharing opportunities I’ve not encountered in my 45 years here.

Thursday, April 27

Taft Theatre, World Ballet Series | 7 p.m. 317 E. Fifth St., downtown. DETAILS: Craving some classic ballet? Thie touring production of Prokofiev’s “Cinderella” – with choreography by Marina Kessler – features a multinational cast of 40 professional ballet dancers, principally from Eastern Europe, Russia and Far East Asia. A good introduction to ballet for younger kids – children under 4 are free if you are willing to hold her/him on your lap.

Friday, April 28

Cincinnati Art Club, Founders Week | 6-9 p.m. 1021 Parkside Pl., Mt. Adams. 513-241-4591. DETAILS: Founders Week honors the club’s 133-year history, the second oldest, continuously operating art club in the nation. This juried, thematic exhibit, open to club members and non-members, highlights “Inspirations from our Regional Heroes, and Eras of Cincinnati.” Not available Friday? The show remains on display Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 p.m.

Cincinnati Pops, “Ragtime in Concert” | 7:30 p.m. Music Hall, Over-the-Rhine. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: Tony-winner for Best Original Score of 1998, this semi-staged “Ragtime” – composed by CCM grad Stephen Flaherty – closes out the Pops season. Maestro JMR leads a diverse cast – headlined and directed by SCPA- and CCM-trained Alton Fitzgerald White. Continues Saturday evening and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Artist Robert O’Neal receiving an award at a juried art exhibition, c. 2000
(Courtesy the Robert O’Neal Multicultural Arts Center)

Contemporary Arts Center, Dual Exhibit Openings | 8-11 p.m. 44 E. Sixth St., downtown. 513-345-8400. DETAILS: Two very different exhibits open this week at the CAC. As the first major survey of the much respected local artist and human rights activist, Robert O’Neal: Open to All” features paintings, drawings, prints and photographs he produced between the 1960s-2010s, along with a collection of archival materials. Runs through Oct. 7.

The second opening features a collection by conceptual artist and pedagogue, Luis Camnitzer (b. 1937, Germany) who presents a series of posters by more than 100 artists depicting proposals for monuments to under-recognized heroes, capturing various perspectives on the ways in which we memorialize.

  • Through Aug. 27. Luis Camnitzer: “Monuments to Unknown Heroes”
  • Through Oct. 7. Robert O’Neal: “Open to All”

DE LA Dance Company, “Coppelia” | 7:30 p.m. 5141 Kennedy Ave., Kennedy Heights. 513-871-0914. DETAILS: A double dose of traditional ballet this week; this 19th century classic from 1870 features a handsome score by Léo Delibes and tells the charming tale by E.T.A. Hoffmann of a young man mistakenly smitten with a life-sized doll. Eleven more performances through May 14.

Maria Schneider

Xavier Music Series, Maria Schneider | 8 p.m. Gallagher Center Theater, Xavier University. 513-745-3161. DETAILS: Series director Polina Bespalko has scheduled quite the season finale. Maria Schneider, one of the most respected and decorated composer/bandleaders anywhere, visits Xavier to jam with our own outstanding big band, the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra. Pretty cool way to send us off into jazz summer, wouldn’t you say?

A rehearsal for “She Kills Monsters”

Village Players, “She Kills Monsters” | 8 p.m. 8 N. Ft. Thomas Ave., Ft. Thomas. 859-392-0500. DETAILS: This 2011 adventure, by acclaimed playwright Qui Nguyen, delves into the world of fantasy role-playing games, and is described as a “high-octane comedy laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and 90s pop culture … a heart-pounding homage to the geek and warrior within us all.” Continues through Sunday and next Thursday-Saturday.

Saturday, April 29

Looking east along Court Street Plaza

Asian Food Fest | 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Court Street Plaza, downtown. DETAILS: The region’s largest celebration of Asian food and culture has expanded again and will feature this year nearly 50 food vendors representing 15 countries. The relatively new location along continually transforming Court Street only adds to the vibrancy with live music all day. Repeats Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Marcia Ramirez and Rob Harris

DownTowne Listening Room, Rob Harris & Marcia Ramirez | 7 p.m. Location TBA. DETAILS: Because of the intimacy of its venues, the DLR series was slower to return than others, but now is back in full. While not held “downtowne” anymore, these performances offer top-notch talent, mostly from out of town, in an environment that encourages, dare I say requires, active listening. Please pay attention to the artists baring their souls before you. About those venues? Request an invitation from the website. This performance, featuring singers/songwriters from Nashville, is being presented somewhere in the heart of Madeira.

Cellist Anita Graef, Taft Duncanson Artist-in-Residence for 2023
(Photo by Khris Sanchez)

Taft Museum of Art, Finale Concert: Duncanson Artist-in-Residence | 7 p.m. 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. 859-957-1940. DETAILS: Closing out her two-week Taft Museum of Art residency, cellist Anita Graef presents a concert of works in the Budig Theater, sharing the stage with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s Nouveau Chamber Players and special guests.

Guest conductor Malcolm Merriweather

Vocal Arts Ensemble, “Sanctuary Road” | 7:30 p.m. Jarson-Kaplan Theater, Aronoff Center, downtown. 513-381-3300. DETAILS: It’s a shame that the best choir in this part of the country will only perform three times this season, and I say that as – full disclosure – a longtime member. In its season finale, VAE ventures into fresh territory with the 2020 oratorio by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Paul Moravec and librettist Mark Campbell, based on stories of fleeing slaves by William Still from his collection, “The Underground Railroad.” VAE Music Director Craig Hella Johnson has had to withdraw due to illness, so Malcolm Merriweather, already scheduled to sing one of the solo roles – and who has performed the work 10 times – will step in to conduct this newly commissioned, reduced orchestration. An added bonus is a set of five spiritual arrangements by Moses Hogan, Joseph Jennings and others.

Sunday, April 30

Mayerson JCC and Jewish Federation, Israel at 75 | 2-7 p.m. Summit Park, Blue Ash. DETAILS: Do you know someone who would like (or needs) to know more about the variety of ways of expressing Judaism? This outdoor festival highlights the diversity of Israel through hands-on experiences, food, art, games and more, plus a performance by Israeli drumming group Mayumana.

Avimimus: Lauren McAllister & Alexandra Kassouf

Seven Hills Baroque, “Love’s Anguish and Delights” | 4 p.m. Hyde Park United Methodist Church, Hyde Park. DETAILS: This new-ish local old music ensemble welcomes vocal duo Avimimus to join in duets by Handel. My fellow Vocal Arts Ensemble member, mezzo-soprano Lauren McAllister, and Chicago-based CCM alum, soprano Alexandra Kassouf, will be accompanied by Lindsey Tootle on baroque violin, Michael Delfin on harpsichord and Josh Bermudez on baroque cello.

Monday, May 1

Woodward Theater, “Sick of Myself” | 7:30 p.m. 1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine. 513-345-7981. DETAILS: Described as a “mean-spirited and spitefully enjoyable Norwegian-language satire” by Guardian reviewer Wendy Ide, this is the story of a relationship between competitive artists gone wrong. Nice to have the Woodward adding to the area alternative film offerings.

Tuesday, May 2

Cincinnati Preservation Association, Preservation in the Park | 5 p.m. The Porch at Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine. DETAILS: This series of talks shares the stories that historic buildings of Cincinnati tell. In this case, the building is the Cincinnati Observatory, ‘The Birthplace of American Astronomy.’  It houses one of the oldest working telescopes in the world and was the first public observatory in the western hemisphere. Presenters from the observatory are Mandy Askins, assistant collections manager, and Kelsey Stryffe, visitor experience coordinator.

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