Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues their season with what has been called one of the most significant playsGodot1(1) of the 20th century – Waiting for Godot.  This production is one of those that many of heard of, thanks in large part to Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart who performed this play on Broadway last year, but not many have actually seen.

If you, like me, had heard of this play but had never seen it performed or read it then here’s a bit about the show from Cincy Shakes:

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company kicks off 2015 with this vaudevillian production of the classic “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett. This production is directed by Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips and features Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Resident Ensemble members Bruce Cromer, Jim Hopkins, Nicholas Rose and Brent Vimtrup, joined by young actor Jack Johnson.  The design is generously sponsored by Graydon Head.

Godot7“Waiting for Godot” is an absurdist play by Samuel Beckett, in which two loveably hapless vagrants, Gogo and Didi, grapple with the mysteries of the universe, trading barbs and banter as they await the arrival of the eternally truant Godot.  Godot’s absence, as well as numerous other aspects of the play, has led to many different interpretations and pop culture references since the play’s 1953 premiere and it was voted “the most significant English language play of the 20th century”.  “Waiting for Godot” is Beckett’s translation of his own original French version, “En attendant Godot”, and is subtitled (in English only) “a tragicomedy in two acts”.   The original French text was composed between October 9, 1948 and January 29, 1949.  The premiere was on January 5, 1953 in the Théâtre de Babylone, Paris.  “Waiting for Godot” is considered one of Beckett’s most successful plays with two of the more notable recent revivals both occurring in 2009 – one on London’s West End with Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart and one on Broadway with Nathan Lane and Bill Irwin. “Waiting for Godot” was nominated for three Tony Awards in 2009 including Best Revival of a Play.

Estragon (Gogo) and Vladimir (Didi) are brought to life during this production by Bruce Cromer and Nicholas Rose, and are joined on stage by Jim Hopkins in the role of Pozzo as well as Brent Vimtrup as Pozzo’s slave Lucky, and young Jack Johnson as simply Boy.  Some info about the cast:

This production brings together two of Cincinnati’s favorite actors Bruce Cromer and Nicholas Rose in Godot4the featured roles.  Bruce Cromer, most recently seen on Cincinnati Shakespeare’s stage in two sold-out smash hits as Claudius in “Hamlet” and Atticus Finch in “To Kill a Mockingbird”, has also appeared on the stages of the Shakespeare Festival of New Jersey, Santa Fe Stages, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Clarence Brown Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.  Nicholas Rose, an audience favorite and founding company member of Cincinnati Shakespeare Company, continues his regular appearances on Cincinnati Shakespeare’s stage already appearing in this season’s “Complete Works of William Shakespeare”, “The Great Gatsby” and “The Birds”.

I enjoyed, as I always do, watching the Cincy Shakes cast do what they do best.  Nick Rose has quickly climbed the ladder to become one of my favorite local performers and I always look forward to seeing him take the stage -no matter the role, big or small. Jim Hopkins is always a delight, even when he’s portraying a blustering and not all that likeable character. It was my first time seeing Bruce Cromer in a prominent role, although I had heard many great things about him over the years.  The acting was a delight, as it always is.

I cannot pretend that the material was my favorite, but I don’t regret seeing Cincy Shakes takes on this play. If you are an avid theatre goer then this needs to be on your “must see” list.

Performances of “Waiting for Godot” are scheduled from January 16- February 7, 2015 on Thursday, Friday & Saturday evenings at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2pm with an additional Saturday matinee on Feb. 7.  Preview performances are on Wednesday Jan. 14 and Thursday Jan. 15 at 7:30pm and tickets are $21.  The theater is located at 719 Race Street, downtown Cincinnati, two blocks west of the Aronoff Center.  Single ticket prices range from $22-$32 on Thursdays and Sundays and from $26-$36 on Fridays and Saturdays.  This show is a part of the 2014-2015 subscription season.  If available, $14 student rush tickets may be purchased 30 minutes before a show with a valid student ID.  Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted.  Ticketing fees may apply.  Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups as well as AAA members.  To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at www.cincyshakes.com.

Next up in the season at Cincy Shakes: Little Women!  Stay tuned for info on what is sure to be a fantastic show!

disclosure: I was invited to attend the opening night performance of this show in exchange for sharing my thoughts along with information on the show.  Views stated above are 100% honest and from the heart.