Sunday, March 10, 2002

The arts

'20/20' new vision of the arts

By Jackie Demaline
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Enjoy the Arts/START plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary with 20 days and 20 nights of arts from Sept. 24-Oct. 13. Titled 20/20, it could provide a slam-bang kick-off to the 2002-2003 season.

        Enjoy the Arts/Start, which promotes Cincinnati arts to youth and young adult audiences, put out a call for proposals to arts companies last week.

        The plan, ETA exec director Lisa Mullins says, is to use existing programming and aim straight at the hip, the energetic, the youthful. Target audience: under 30.

        ETA is inviting performing and visual arts groups to re-package something already in the works to include a one-day or one-night special event that will become part of the 20/20 calendar.

        “This is about getting young people to see the arts as fun, attractive,” Ms. Mullins says. “We're asking arts groups to think around the corner.”

        The “Wonder Women” of the 20/20 project are Lori Wellinghoff and Jackie Reau. They envision a Spoleto Festival-like atmosphere and use words like “sexy,” “high-profile,” “excitement” and “awareness.” They wouldn't mind if it became an annual kick-off for the performing arts calendar, which traditionally begins in autumn.

        Proposal deadline is March 29. There will be two “information/networking/brainstorming” sessions at 4 p.m. Tuesday and 5:30 p.m. March 20 in the Aronoff's Center Stage Room (the former gift shop)

        Enjoy the Arts/START offers arts opportunities (and deeply discounted tickets) to school-age and young adult (30 and under) audiences. Call ETA at 621-4788 or visit the Web site at

        Museum celebrations: There will be another heavy hit of arts marketing to close the 2002-03 season, as the Cincinnati Institute of Fine Arts continues to plot a celebration around museum openings late next spring.

        Current thinking is the campaign will aim at weekends from May through the opening of the Cincinnati Opera season in July.

        Showboat plans: Tim Perrino didn't mind the icicles that were forming on his nose earlier this week. Down on the Ohio River, the Showboat Majestic was feeling the chill of the coldest day of the year, but Mr. Perrino had a $250,000 matching grant from the city to keep his heart warm.

        Plans to build a permanent home at the Covedale Cinema for Cincinnati Young People's Theatre, which would be the winter home for Showboat operations, already have plenty of West Side grass roots support — “closing in on $35,000!” an ecstatic Mr. Perrino says.

        Contributions have been large and small. One Showboat patron sent along $5, and Mr. Perrino said a sincere “thank you!” Lange-Wheeler Design Group of Mount Adams is making a much larger contribution by “laying out our vision,” Mr. Perrino says. “It's an incredible help.”

        Thanks to the city's matching grant, the theater company was able to put an option on the building. By the time the option runs out on May 21, Mr. Perrino expects to have the money to buy the old cinema building.

        “It's been startling, honestly, every community group we've worked with (like Westwood Concern and Price Hill Civic Club) has been so supportive!” (Not surprisingly, Mr. Perrino is talking in exclamation points these days.)

        Watch for a fund-raising event in April, “the nature of which we're still discussing.”.

        Rehearsals began early last week for season opener Steel Magnolias.(The actors kept their coats on.)

        Showboat is enjoying an almost 100 percent subscription renewal, which Mr. Perrino credits in large part to “a hell of a good season last year” and a renewal campaign that started last fall. He's looking for an all-time high of 2,600 subscribers in 2002.

        For a season schedule call the Showboat box office at 241-6550. Send contributions to a new home for Cincinnati Young People's Theatre to P.O. Box 5255, Cincinnati 45205.

        On a string: Madcap Productions Puppet Theatre is beating Cincinnati Young People's Theatre to a West Side opening. Madcap throws open the doors of 3316 Glenmore Ave. from 2 to 6 p.m. on Saturday for a grand opening celebration.

        Check out the puppet studio, retail store The Puppet Vault and work stations where visitors can design their own puppets. Call 921-5965 for information.

        Arts meeting: Reminder: the quarterly town meeting on the arts is scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St.

        While it took a while to get things in order, organizers Cathy Springfield and D. Lynn Meyers promise there will be interesting arts advocacy work for everyone who wants it.

        If you've never been to ETC, there's gated parking across the street. Call 421-3555.

        Steal a chance: No, you haven't missed your chance to see Women Who Steal at Ensemble Theatre. The Carter Lewis comedy adds a week of performances through March 16. Call the box office at 421-3555.

        Albee work: Human Race in Dayton joins what's looking like an Edward Albee festival on the East Coast with an intriguingly cast revival of Seascape, a comedy of empty-nesters and evolution.

        Featured are Louise Smith and Sue Ott Rowlands of the Antioch College and Ohio State University theater departments, respectively; Playhouse regular Robert Elliott ( God's Man in Texas); and Peter Fitzkee. Tony Dallas directs.

        Seascape runs Thursdaythrough March 31. For reservations and information call the box office at (937) 228-3630.

        Member of "Company': Matt Bogart, Piqua native and University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music grad, is in the illustrious company of Company in the Sondheim Celebration at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

        Six musical masterpieces by Stephen Sondheim play from May to September (along with other related events including concerts by Barbara Cook and Mandy Patinkin.) Company plays May 17-June 29.

        For information, (800) 444-1324 or

        From the director: Mel Gussow of The New York Times calls stage director Anne Bogart “one of the most compelling and controversial theater artists today.” She's won two Obie Awards, regularly directs at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the Next Wave Festival at Brooklyn Academy of Music.

        On March 18, Ms. Bogart will take the stage at Miami University, where she is the Cromer/Flory performing artist-in-residence, to talk about “Six Things I Know for Sure About Being a Director in This Country.” The lecture is free.

        In conjunction with her two-day residency, the SITI Company (she is artistic director and a co-founder) performs Room, a one-woman show that samples the writings of Virginia Woolf. While performances are still a month away, they are long since sold out. An extra performance, 2 p.m. April 12, has been added. You can try your luck by calling the box office at (513) 529-3200. ($16.)

        Lecture and performances are in the Gates-Abegglen Theatre in the Miami University Performing Arts Center.

        Theater talk: Ben Cameron, executive director of Theatre Communications Group, will lead a free discussion “New Times, New Challenges — The Arts in a New Century” at 5:30 p.m. March 26 at Robert Werner Recital Hall at the University of Cincinnati.

        Mr. Cameron's local appearance is part of the Joan Cochran Rieveschl Series on Issues in the Arts. TCG is the national service organization for American non-profit professional theater.

        Finding a home: After two years as a nomad troupe, Tri-County Players has a new home at Twin Towers Retirement Community (5343 Hamilton Ave., College Hill). Speakeasy 2002: A Li'l Travelin' Music plays Friday through March 23. Call 825-0094 for information.

        Contact Jackie Demaline by phone: 768-8530; fax: 768-8330; e-mail:


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