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Jackie Demaline: What's Hot at Local Theatres in November

The best of November on stage includes a couple of longtime favorites, but – yay! – it looks like a very good month for area premieres. Most from the last five years and there’s love, love, love – family love,  platonic love, romantic love, off-kilter 21st century love.
 
As always, the list is in chronological order, and my Top Pick just happens to come first:
 
Driving Miss Daisy Nov. 1-16. The Carnegie, 1028 Scott Blvd., Covington. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $25 adults, $18 students. 859-957-1940 and www.thecarnegie.com.
 
 
 
Favorite actress Dale Hodges makes her Carnegie debut in the title role, with talented co-stars Reggie Willis and Randy Lee Bailey, directed by Mark Lutwak
 
Daisy promises to be a polished revival of a sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, always thoughtful play about the 25-year, rarely easy relationship of snarky, elderly Jewish widow Daisy Wertham and her African-American chauffeur in Atlanta, beginning post-WWII and continuing through the Civil Rights movement. 
 
Speech and Debate, Nov. 6-8. CCM Drama, Cohen Family Studio, College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, 2 & 8 p.m. Saturday. Free, but reservations  required. Tickets can be reserved beginning 12 p.m. Nov. 3 at 513-556-4183. Adult themes, recommended for mature audiences.
 
The regional premiere of a nationally acclaimed and delightfully subversive coming-of-age tale follows the lives of three high school social pariahs as they try to make sense of themselves and the sobering world they live in today. 
 
Ryan Garrett, Katie Langham and Owen Alderson. Photo by Richard Hess.
 
New York Times: "A triumph...hilarious, cliché-free, and immensely entertaining... Stephen Karam's dark comedy seems to be about a frumpy girl, a nerdy guy and an openly gay guy who band together to disclose the truth about a teacher who preys on his male students. But that topical plot is almost window dressing. The play's real accomplishment is its picture of the borderland between late adolescence and adulthood, where grown-up ideas and ambition coexist with childish will and bravado."
 
All New People, Nov. 7-30. Untethered Theater, Clifton Performance Theatre, 404 Clifton Ave., Clifton. Check performance dates and times, they change week to week. Tickets: 513-939-0599 and https://cpt.tixato.com/buy/. For more information: Click Here
 
Written by Zach Braff (yup, the TV star, movie director/actor/screenwriter of Garden State and more) and directed by Jared Doren, whose work is always worth your time. At the Jersey Shore, Charlie's birthday first goes wrong when Emma stumbles in, disrupting his suicide attempt. Emma, Myron and Kim throw Charlie a party to convince him to keep living. They all learn everyone is running from something, but, in the end, life is what you make it. 
 
 
New York Times: “’All New People’ may be seriously contrived in its mechanical assemblage of characters brought together for a day of drinking, drugging and, eventually, needlepoint-worthy lessons in learning to connect, but it’s consistently and sometimes sensationally funny."
 
Peter Pan, Nov. 7-9. Cincinnati Ballet, Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St. Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets $32-$100. 513-621-5282.
 
Peter and Wendy, the Darling Family, Nana the dog, The Lost Boys, Tiger Lily, the pirate Captain Hook and his mortal enemy, a tick-tocking Crocodile who can also boogaloo. There's plenty of swashbuckling and, of course, flying, too, all set to an original score by Cincinnati Ballet Music Director Carmon DeLeone.
 
Once, Nov. 11-23. Procter & Gamble Hall, Aronoff Center for the Arts, 650 Walnut St.,Downtown Cincinnati. Tickets: $29 and up. 513-621-2787 or www.cincinnatiarts.org.
 
Based on the 2006 film, The Tony and Grammy award-winning musical is the wistful romance of a Guy, a Dublin street musician who's about to give up on his dream and a Girl, who takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. The chemistry heats up, so does his music, but of course Guy and Girl are both involved with other people. More or less. The ensemble of actors play their own instruments on stage. 
 
 
New York Times: “’Once’ uses song and dance in a way I’ve never experienced in an American musical (even if its sound will be familiar to alternative radio listeners): to convey a beautiful shimmer of might-have-been regret... What lends a special, tickling poignancy to Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglova’s songs is their acceptance of loneliness as an existential given.”
 
Failure: A Love Story, Nov. 20-23 and Dec. 3-7. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Corbett Theatre, Fine Arts Center, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights. $14 adults, $11 seniors, $8 students. 859-572-5464 and here.
 
A magical musical fable set in 1928 -- the last year of each of the Fail Sisters’ lives. Nelly was the first of the Fail girls to die, followed soon after by her sisters Jenny June and Gerty. As with so many things in life -- blunt objects, disappearances and consumption -- they never saw death coming. The show traces the sisters’ triumphs and defeats, lived out in the rickety two-story building by the Chicago River that was the Fail family home and clock shop.
 
Almost, Maine Nov. 16-23, Villa Players, Thomas More College, 333 Thomas More Parkway, Crestview Hills. 859-344-3421. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Ticket prices (and the play) are currently not on the TMC website. Keep a lookout for updates. Once it’s updated you should be able to order online here.
 
On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost's residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this midwinter night's dream.
 
New York Times: "...a whimsical approach to the joys and perils of romance. Magical happenings bloom beneath the snowdrifts."
 
Comedy of Errors, Nov. 21-Dec. 13. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, 719 Race St. Downtown Cincinnati. 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets $32 and $36 adults,$28 and $32 seniors, $22 and $26 students. Previews Nov. 19-20, $21. Click Here or call 513-381-2273.
 
CincyShakes likes a romp to start the holidays. This year it’s two sets of identical twins, masters and servants, who cause mass confusion. Of course the two sets were separated at birth and don’t know of each other’s existence. Of course they end up in the same town on the same day. Comic misunderstandings abound.
 
A Christmas Carol, Nov. 28-Dec. 28, Playhouse in the Park, Eden Park. 7 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday, 2 p.m. matinees. Check performance dates. No performances on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets $35 and up. For adults and subject to change. $30 and $45 children and students. 513-421-3888, (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.comCall 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.
 
It isn’t the holidays in Cincinnati without it. Charles Dickens’ timeless cautionary tale of the dangers of man’s inhumanity to man, and of letting “ignorance and want” go unchecked is as real today as it was almost 200 years ago. Happily it’s all wrapped up in one of the great ghost stories that promises there can be redemption, even for cold-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge. One of the great delights of Carol”– a cast populated with Cincinnati actors, led by Bruce Cromer, celebrating 10 years as Scrooge. God bless us, every one!
 
WORTH CONSIDERING:
 
Mame through Nov. 23. The Human Race, The Loft Theatre, Metropolitan Art Center, 126 N. Main St., Dayton. 8 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 2 and 7 p.m. Sunday. $40 adults, $37 seniors, $20 students. Unsold seats in the side sections are available at most performances, and go on sale two weeks prior to performance.
 
Dayton, you ask? The Dayton in Ohio? Sure – go on a Saturday or Sunday and take in an exhibit at terrific Dayton Art Institute, catch dinner before or after a matinee. And who doesn’t love Mame? The songs never stop in the story of Mame Dennis who “lives life all the way,” even through the Roaring Twenties and the Great Depression. When she becomes guardian to her young nephew Patrick, she “opens a new window” for him.
 
 
One of the things I’m most looking forward to – remember Chicago in summer 2013 at The Carnegie? Broadway vet Leslie Goddard was absolutely sensational as murderess Roxy Hart? Goddard does 180 degrees to play sad-sack secretary Agnes Gooch. Goddard assures, “It’s a role I've wanted to play for years. She really goes on a journey during the course of the play and it's been fun finding her transformative moments.” She’s having a blast. Among her co-stars is another local favorite, Torie Wiggins, as Mame’s ‘bosom buddy’ Vera Charles.Goddard recommends somewhere in Dayton’s historic Oregon District or the Pine Club for dinner.
 
Written by Jackie Demaline, River City Arts