Tuesday, January 29, 2002

New at Playhouse: 3 summer premieres

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC) struck a comic goldmine with its collection of Complete Works (abridged), including Shakespeare, American History, The Bible.

        Playhouse in the Park's PNC Advisors Summer Playhouse will bring audiences in on the act as the RSC develops its new show, The Reducers, in Cincinnati in July.

  • What: PNC Advisors Summer Playhouse
  • When: Marx Stage: Reduced Shakespeare Company in The Reducers, July 9-28; Thompson Shelterhouse: Wingfield Unbound, July 2-14; Honky Tonk Angels, July 25-Aug. 18
  • Where: Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park
  • Tickets: Reducers, $30; Wingfield, $24-$35; Angels, $28-$39. Tickets go on sale March 18 to subscribers, April 20 to the general public. Call the box office at (513) 421-3888 or (800) 582-3208.
        The Reducers is one-third of a series that could be subtitled “new, newer and newest.” The Playhouse summer season also includes the U.S. premiere of Wingfield Unbound and the regional premiereof Honky Tonk Angels, both playing in the Shelterhouse.

        The Reducers will gently skewer great literature from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to Moby Dick. Reed Martin, co-author and performer, emphasizes that means great literature of the past. “I think we can safely say that we'll only be looking at authors who have been well and truly dead for a while,” he says.

        The work-in-progress will be played in its entirety for the first time in its Playhouse run, and audiences will be invited to give their opinions formally and informally in shaping the show. “I would be shocked if scenes weren't cut and added on a weekly basis,” Mr. Martin says.

        Playhouse audiences were introduced to stockbroker-turned-hapless farmer Walt Wingfield in 1994 with The Wingfield Trilogy.

        Canadian playwright Dan Needles and actor Rod Beattie return with a new episode, Wingfield Unbound, that finds Walt recently married and trying to promote a mill (suspected by some of his neighbors to be haunted) as a museum site. The story unfolds as a series of letters to the editor.

        Honky Tonk Angels is a new musical by the author of Always ... Patsy Cline, a huge hit for the 2000 summer Playhouse season.

        The Angels of the title are three gals who meet on a bus trip to Nashville and the legendary women of country music.

        The score intersperses the classics of Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Tanya Tucker, Dolly Parton, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Emmylou Harris to tell the story.


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