‘End Days’ a quirky ETC production featuring young talent

End Days, a play by Deborah Zoe Laufer, is an amusing and philosophical comedy now showing at the Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati. The divinely inspired comedy by Deborah Zoe Laufer enjoys its regional premiere at the Ensemble from March 16-April 2, 2011. It is directed by guest director Michael Evan Haney, Associate Artistic Director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

The show features two young local actors who both make a stunning debut at the Ensemble. Lily Hidalgo plays the lead, Rachel Stein, and is a freshman at St. Ursula Academy. Her character’s beau, nerdy Nelson, is played by Richard Lowenburg, a skilled magician and seasoned performer having worked with Playhouse in the Park, CCM Prep, SCPA, Xavier University, and Cincinnati Music Theater, attends the School for Creative and Performing Arts.

Other performers include Amy Warner and Barry Mulholland playing Rachel’s parents, and Michael G. Bath in an interesting double billed role as both Jesus and Stephen Hawking.

End Days tells the story of the dysfunctional Stein family, who left New York after 9/11. With a depressed father and a newly religious mother, youngster Rachel Stein has nowhere to turn but her teenage angst and her obnoxious, Elvis-impersonating neighbor, Nelson.

When Nelson persuades Rachel to read Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time, she becomes interested in physics. Eventually he ingratiates himself in the Stein family. With the help of a secret confidante, the family and friends join and realize that togetherness can make life worthwhile, even despite a coming apocalypse.

End Days was awarded the 2008 American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg Citation. It received its NYC premiere at Ensemble Studio Theatre through an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant. End Days is listed in the Burns Mantle Yearbook as one of the best regional plays of 2008, and is published in The Best Plays of 2008.

With great acting and fantastic lighting, the show had audience members laughing out loud. Get down to ETC and enjoy this regional premiere for a rollicking good time and look at life, love and faith.

End Days is on stage now through April 3 at Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, located in historic Over-the-Rhine at 1127 Vine St. in the Gateway Quarter. Ticket Information
Single tickets are $34 to $42, depending on the day. Children’s tickets are $16 for all performances.

Rush Tickets: $15 rush tickets are available for all performances 15 minutes prior to curtain and are subject to availability. Senior/ student, Cincinnati Public Radio Perks Card, ArtsWave Fun Card, AAA, and Enjoy the Arts discounts available. ETC accepts all major credit cards, Over-the-Rhine Merchant gift cards, and Downtown Cincinnati gift cards. Group rates are available for 10 or more people.

Patrons may purchase tickets in person at the ETC box office, by calling (513) 421-3555, or online.

image provided by ETC.

SCPA to feature young talent tomorrow at the Carnegie

The Carnegie Visual & Performing Arts Center hosts an evening to showcase budding local talent tomorrow, Thursday, January 21 at 7:30pm in the acoustically superb Otto M. Budig Theatre. The event will feature Cincinnati’s School of Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA) instrumental Jazz Combo, Meridian 8 vocal ensemble, and young composer and pianist Jonathan Carlisle. The event is the third in a series of six performances as part of the 2009-10 Carnegie in Concert series.

Meridian 8 is a vocal jazz octet featuring students in grades 9-12. Directed by SCPA music department chair Rick Hand, the ensemble features arrangements written for groups including Manhattan Transfer, and allows students opportunities to learn and practice improvisation and scat singing. The Jazz Combo is a similarly select ensemble of the school’s top instrumentalists, who cut their teeth on the masterpieces of the repertoire under director and respected local musician Erwin Stuckey.

SCPA pianist and composer Jonathan Carlisle will perform a number of original compositions. “It’s the type of music you hear in movies,” said Carlisle. “Strong melodies that you can really latch onto.” One piece Carlisle is particularly excited to perform at The Carnegie is entitled Metamorphosis. “It’s a dramatic piece about one thing evolving into another.”

Tickets to Carnegie in Concert performances are available for $18 at The Carnegie Box Office (Tuesday through Friday 12pm to 5pm), online, or by phone at (859) 957-1940. Students, holders of the Cincinnati Public Ratio Perks Card, members of the Carnegie, and members of Enjoy the Arts each receive a $3 discount.

Carnegie photo from CityBeat.