I want a table, and I want it now

Jeff Horst plays 40 different characters in CATCO’s one-man show Fully Committed (Red Generation Photography)
Jeff Horst plays 40 different characters in CATCO’s one-man show Fully Committed (Red Generation Photography)

By Richard Ades

And I thought I had it bad.

During the two years I waited tables, my worst experience came when our cook fell off the wagon and showed up drunk. When the lunchtime crowd arrived, I had to keep dropping off orders in the kitchen even though I knew it was like dropping them down a well. I then had to make excuses to our customers about why their burgers and Reubens never seemed to materialize.

But all that was a walk in the park compared what Sam goes through in Fully Committed. Working the reservation desk at an exclusive New York restaurant, the would-be actor regularly has to put up with an egotistical chef, an uncooperative maître d’ and self-important customers who make impossible demands.

Written by Becky Mode, the one-man play follows Sam on a particularly difficult day. A co-worker has failed to show up, leaving Sam to deal with all the crazies on his own. Adding to the pressure, his father keeps calling and asking if he’s coming home for Christmas. Plus, another actor makes frequent calls whose apparent purpose is to rub his own success in Sam’s face.

One of my quibbles with a show like this—in which one person plays a plethora of roles—is that many of the characters invariably come off as stereotypes. It’s hard not to fall back on ethnic clichés in such a situation, especially if your aim is to provoke laughs.

In CATCO’s production, however, actor Jeff Horst and director Steven Anderson avoid taking that easy route. Sure, the chef is a haughty Brit and the maître d’ is a snooty Frenchman, but the 40 or so characters seldom fit into overused pigeonholes. They may not be as grittily believable as Michael S. Brewer’s messy set, but they’re far from one-note creations.

“Fully committed,” by the way, means a restaurant is completed booked, but it also describes an actor who invests himself totally in his characters. That’s something Horst does many times over.

Particularly memorable are the AWOL co-worker, who exudes an oily Jack Nicholson-like aura; the gangster who caresses himself while speaking in a voice filled with menace and power; and Sam’s folksy father, who is too self-effacing to admit how desperately he wants his son to come home for the holidays.

And then there’s Sam himself, who seems to have inherited his dad’s decency. Or maybe he’s decided that being calm and diplomatic is the only way to survive in a job that regularly requires him to walk through a minefield filled with explosive egos.

Whatever his motivation, he manages to keep himself together through most of his hectic day, but he eventually starts to lose his equilibrium. And that’s when things start to get interesting.

Until then, truthfully, this supposed comedy is more annoying than funny, with characters who are as unpleasant as the constantly ringing phones. For much of its running time, the show’s main draw is the opportunity to see Horst earn his keep in what reportedly is his first role as a member of Actors’ Equity.

But that should be enough for many viewers. After all, Horst’s performance, even more than his union card, proves that he’s a full-fledged professional.

CATCO will present Fully Committed through Nov. 24 in Studio Two, Riffe Center, 77 S. High St. Show times are 11 a.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Running time: 1 hour, 40 minutes. Tickets are $45, $11.50 for Wednesday matinees. 614-469-0939 or catco.org.

Advertisements

Hoping to spell their way to happiness

Japheal Bondurant as competitor William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Red Generation Photography)
Japheal Bondurant as competitor William Barfee in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Red Generation Photography)

By Richard Ades

A confession: I was disappointed when I heard CATCO had booked The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for its new season.

That was partly because I’d rather see Columbus’s premier troupe tackle works that aren’t quite so familiar. Mostly, though, it was because I’d seen a touring production come through town several years back and hadn’t fallen in love with it.

But you know what they say about love being better the second time around? Maybe that also applies to this quirky musical. Thanks to CATCO’s personable production, I now love both it and its nerdy characters.

With a book by Rachel Sheinkin and music and lyrics by William Finn (Falsettos), Spelling Bee is like a comedic and tuneful version of the 2002 documentary Spellbound. Like the film, it delves into the personalities of the young contestants in an attempt to explain how they became spelling whizzes and why parlaying their skills into victory is so important to them.

It could be that director Steven Anderson’s long submergence in children’s theater has served him well here, because his production’s greatest strength is its ability to turn each of the competitors into a recognizably and lovably eccentric individual.

Early laughs are won by Leaf Coneybear (Patrick Walters), whose behavior is even odder than his helmeted and caped attire. Also attracting our attention is the Korean-American Marcy Park (Nicolette Montana), who only later reveals why she seems annoyed by the whole event.

The richest portrayals are provided by Japheal Bondurant as the plus-sized William Barfee—whose haughtiness could well be both a reflection of his brilliance and a defense against an often-hostile world—and Elisabeth Zimmerman as the lonely Olive Ostrovsky. Played by Zimmerman with a deer-in-the-headlights expression and a lovely voice, Olive reveals the direness of her situation in the show’s most touching number, The I Love You Song.

Also taking part in the competition are Chip Tolentino (James Sargent), whose struggle to repeat last year’s victory is complicated by his dictatorial libido, and Logainne Schwarzandgrubenierre (Emily Turner), whose gay fathers encourage her to win at any cost.

Four pre-selected audience members play additional competitors and frequently come in for witty and personalized jibes from the spelling bee’s hosts, Rona Lisa Peretti (Krista Lively-Stauffer) and Vice Principal Douglas Panch (Ralph E. Scott). Panch, by the way, has many of the show’s funniest lines—which usually follow the question “Can you use it in a sentence?”—and Scott delivers them with deadpan perfection.

The cherry on the show’s comical sundae is Mitch Mahoney (Geoffrey Martin), a scruffy ex-con who was sentenced to perform community service by acting as the competition’s “comfort counselor.”

Michael S. Brewer’s set design captures the look of a school auditorium right down to the cinder-block walls and the “Putnam Piranhas” wall signs. A band led by Matt Clemens is a spirited presence despite being hidden backstage.

With tuneful tunes, heartfelt performances and more laugh-out-loud moments than you can shake a dictionary at, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is simply irresistible.

CATCO will present The Twentieth Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee through Aug. 18 in Studio One, Riffe Center, 77 S. High St. Show times are 11 a.m. Wednesday, 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Running time: 2 hours, 20 minutes (including intermission). Tickets are $41 for Thursday and Sunday performances, $45 for Fridays and Saturdays, $11.50 for Wednesday matinees. Student tickets are available for $15 two hours before non-sold-out performances. 614-469-0939 or catco.org.

Young playwrights aim high

The spirit of George (Sean Reid) watches as his wife (Mary-Aileen St. Cyr, left) and daughter (Lexy Weixel) deal with his loss in Neither Here Nor There (photo by Michelle Batt)
The spirit of George (Sean Reid) watches as his wife (Mary-Aileen St. Cyr, left) and daughter (Lexy Weixel) deal with his loss in Neither Here Nor There (photo by Michelle Batt)

By Richard Ades

When MadLab launched its Young Writers Short Play Festival last year, I was pleasantly surprised to find the high school playwrights taking on mature topics and storylines. Though they spent their days in the classroom, they demonstrated that their imaginations were fully capable of roaming the world at large.

This year—in the first of the festival’s two collections, at any rate—the writers seem to have graduated from mature topics to “big” topics. Friday night’s plays deal with, in order, death, religion, nuclear war and gay identity. Kudos to the kids for their social consciousness.

But, of course, good intentions don’t guarantee good results. No matter how big its topic is, a play rises and falls on such details as characters, situations and dialogue, not to mention the strength of the acting and directing.

Due to all of these factors, the first play of the evening does nothing but rise. Emily Cipriani’s Neither Here Nor There takes on a potentially manipulative and hackneyed situation and creates an inventive combination of laughs and tears.

Working under Becky Horseman’s sensitive direction, Sean Reid stars as George, a man who suddenly finds himself in a hospital room looking down at an unconscious accident victim. Thanks to the appearance of a doughnut-downing Grim Reaper (Peter Graybeal), he learns that the victim is a brain-dead version of himself. Being an invisible spirit, George is then forced to watch helplessly as his wife (Mary-Aileen St. Cyr) and daughter (Lexy Weixel) attempt to deal with a loss that is all the more difficult because it’s not yet final.

Actor Weixel, by the way, is also a featured playwright in the festival (her Dead End being included in the Saturday collection). In the first of her two Friday appearances, her unfussy portrayal of the daughter is one of the production’s many strengths.

None of the Friday collection’s remaining plays are as fully realized as Neither Here Nor There, but all are worth seeing—if for no other reason than because they offer a rare glimpse into the minds of thoughtful high-schoolers. The other works:

Priestly, by Kinsey Cantrell, dramatizes the clash between an up-and-coming filmmaker (Stephen Woosley) and his religion-fixated mother (Randi Morgan). The play benefits from funny lines, but Cantrell and Morgan are less successful in their attempts to humanize the largely stereotypical mom. On opening night, the production’s timing was also a bit sluggish.

In Love and War, by Amelia Koontz, throws a teenage girl and boy (Weixel and Joe Liles) together on the brink of nuclear annihilation. The resulting romance-in-the-face-of-destruction is reminiscent (probably unconsciously so) of the 2012 flick Seeking a Friend for the End of the World, but Koontz’s tale is less cloying than that oddball rom-com.

The playwright and director Woosley and his two actors actually do a good job of portraying the lonely teens’ attempts to understand and support each other. However, as in the movie, the characters’ interactions can’t help being overshadowed by the end-of-days setting.

Closing Closet Doors, by Hannah Russell, centers on Lydia (Brigid Ogden), a young lesbian who has come out to her family and now has to suffer the embarrassing consequences. It’s a brave effort, but the work has so many characters offering so few revelations that it almost seems like an outline for a play rather than the play itself.

Despite its spareness, Closing Closet Doors did win loads of laughs on opening night. That’s partly because the script gives director Woosley and his cast abundant opportunities to throw in comic business.

Truthfully, it also didn’t hurt that friends of the playwright and cast had turned out for the show and were eager to show their support. But just think of that: high-schoolers being celebrated, not for shooting baskets or making touchdowns, but for creating theater.

One more reason to cheer the Young Writers Short Play Festival.

The Young Writers Short Play Festival continues through Aug. 10 at MadLab Theatre and Gallery, 227 N. Third St. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday (featuring plays by Emily Cipriani, Kinsey Cantrell, Amelia Koontz and Hannah Russell) and 8 p.m. Saturday (featuring plays by Em Hammett, Anna Mulhall, Sarah Fornshell, Lexy Weixel and Abigail Goodhart). Tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors, $8 for members. 614-221-5418 or madlab.net.

Making patriarchy palatable

Amanda Cawthorne as Kate and Tim Browning as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew (photo by Matt Hermes)
Amanda Cawthorne as Kate and Tim Browning as Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew (photo by Matt Hermes)

By Richard Ades

There are two Shakespeare plays that are hard sells because they’re based on outmoded mores. Of these, the more difficult is The Merchant of Venice, not so much because it has a Jewish villain but because its punishment for his villainy is to force him to convert to Christianity.

If Shakespeare were alive today, I’d sure he’d long since have had an Exodus International-style change of heart and issued an apology.

The other tough sell is The Taming of the Shrew, but after seeing the play twice in the past year, I suspect it may be due for a partial reprieve. The comedy is as patriarchal and sexist as ever, but if it’s done with heart and sensitivity, viewers might be able to overlook its dated viewpoint.

Admittedly, I first came to this conclusion after seeing it performed at London’s Globe Theatre, where I joined the other “groundlings” standing at the foot of the stage. Not only was the production a witty delight, garnering the biggest laughs of any Shakespearean outing I’d ever seen, but the theater’s 16th-century design might have made it easier to dip one’s mental toes into the mindset of the Bard’s era.

Still, you don’t have to go to the Globe to appreciate Shrew. If it’s been reprieved, the probable reason is simply that women’s place in the world has changed.

When a character declares that wives owe their husbands obedience because the men are the ones who go out and earn a living, we know she’s talking about a time that’s safely in the past. For most of us living in 21st-century America, the play’s sexism is too anachronistic to be threatening.

As I said, the comedy still must be performed with heart and sensitivity in order to work. New Players Theater’s current production, directed by Jocelyn Wiebe, is not perfect. But it does get the all-important relationship between Katherina (the “shrew”) and Petruchio (her would-be “tamer”) exactly right.

The situation: Baptista (Scott Willis), a rich resident of Padua, Italy, has two daughters of marriageable age. The gentle Bianca (Erin Mellon) has several suitors, but Baptista insists that her older sister, Kate (Amanda Cawthorne), must be married first. Trouble is, Kate’s mercurial temper scares off all prospective husbands.

Enter Petruchio (Tim Browning), who’s in search of a rich wife and insists that he can mold Kate into a devoted spouse. With help from his long-suffering servant, Grumio (Todd Covert), he sets out to do just that by adopting a plan of action that convinces her and everyone else that he’s outlandishly eccentric and possibly insane.

What makes all this palatable is that Browning portrays Petruchio as manipulative but never disrespectful toward Kate, while Cawthorne portrays Kate as ill-tempered but never undignified. Besides, we can’t help suspecting that these two fiery spirits are well-suited to each other.

A subplot involving Bianca’s suitors is marked by the typical Shakespearean disguises. Both Lucentio (Austin Andres) and Hortensio (Matthew Moore) pretend to be tutors in order to gain alone time with her (a goal that will resonate with fans of The Bachelorette), while Lucentio’s servant Tranio (Clifton Holznagel) masquerades as his master. The ruses are good for a few laughs, but the funniest suitor of all, thanks to Miles Drake’s crusty portrayal, is the doddering Gremio.

Mellon’s Bianca seems a tad too shallow to justify all the attention she receives, but the acting in the subplot is mostly on-target. Unfortunately, this part of the play is weakened by hackneyed bits of slapstick accompanied by overbearing sound effects (“Boing!”) and musical flourishes (“Whah, whah, whah, whah”). To be sure, slapstick has a place in Shakespeare, but it should serve the plot rather than acting as an over-the-top distraction.

Director Wiebe seems to set the tale somewhere in the mid-20th century, judging from the recorded musical accompaniment and Natalie Cagle’s costume designs. Again, the music is sometimes overbearing, but the costumes are distinctive and attractive. Alas, none is as daring as the ass-less outfit Petruchio wore to his wedding at the Globe, but that approach probably would have gotten the troupe thrown out of Hilliard.

And that would have been a shame. Despite its outdated attitudes, The Taming of the Shrew remains a clever and entertaining take on the war between the sexes.

New Players Theater will present The Taming of the Shrew through July 21 at the Mill Run Amphitheater (behind the Church at Mill Run), 3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard. Show times are 8 p.m. June 20-23 and 30, and July 6-7, 11-12 and 19-21. (Henry IV, Part One will be presented at 8 p.m. June 27-29, July 5, 13-14, 18 and 25-28.) Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes (including intermission). Tickets: Pay what you will. “Premium reserved seats” are available with paid reservations; otherwise, bring a blanket or lawn chair. 614-874-6783 or newplayers.org.

Troupe, playwright take another shot at literary romance

Robyn Rae Stype as the title heroine and Jeff Horst as the mysterious Rochester in Jane Eyre: A Memory, a Fever, a Dream (photo by Matt Slaybaugh)
Robyn Rae Stype as the title heroine and Jeff Horst as the mysterious Rochester in Jane Eyre: A Memory, a Fever, a Dream (photo by Matt Slaybaugh)

By Richard Ades

Don’t boys ever read Jane Eyre? Playwright Daniel Elihu Kramer seems to assume it appeals only to girls in his new stage adaptation, Jane Eyre: A Memory, a Fever, a Dream.

Maybe, maybe not. I know I read it during the youthful years when I was addicted to the Victorian novels of Dickens and others.

But maybe Kramer is right that Charlotte Bronte’s gothic romance means the most to girls. If his onstage “interviewer” (Jeff Horst) were to ask what the book meant to me, I’d have trouble coming up with answers as personal as those of the female “readers” who show up throughout the play.

You probably remember Kramer from his earlier literary adaptation, Pride & Prejudice, which Available Light premiered in 2010. In both works, Kramer periodically interrupts the British tale with digressions that are meant to increase our understanding and appreciation. With P&P, they were explanations of the period’s mores and mindsets; with Jane Eyre, they’re faux interviews with various girls and women who formed a special bond with the fictional Jane.

Personally, I like the new approach better. It seems less like a series of professorial asides, and it occasionally offers interesting insights, such as how girls react to the heroine’s self-described physical plainness. Even so, I feel about Kramer’s Jane Eyre much like I felt about his Pride & Prejudice: It’s most engrossing when he focuses on the original story. Director Acacia Leigh Duncan and her cast do an admirable job throughout, but it’s during the scenes from the book that the production really shines.

Well, maybe “shines” isn’t the best word, because the most memorable moments benefit from Carrie Cox’s dark and moody lighting. It combines with Brian Steinmetz’s roughhewn set and Jordan Fehr’s atmospheric sound design to create an aura of mystery and dread.

Robyn Rae Stype stars as Jane, an orphan who survives a deprived childhood and goes to work as a governess in a house run by the secretive Rochester (Horst). Stype makes an appealing heroine, but her performance is strangely opaque. It’s not a grave failing—we know what she’s thinking thanks to the presence of the narrator (the always good Michelle Gilfillan Schroeder)—but it would be nice if she occasionally allowed Jane’s thought processes to be more apparent.

In contrast, Horst is unfailingly expressive as Rochester, making him the kind of charismatic figure who could win the lonely Jane’s heart without really trying. Elena M. Perantoni is equally emotive as the warm-hearted Mrs. Fairfax and other female characters.

Michelle Whited’s costumes are simple but effective. Except for Schroeder’s outfit, which is modern and rather unflattering, they manage to suggest mid-19th century fashions while coming off as basically timeless.

Pride & Prejudice was a popular production that Available Light has brought back more than once. Kramer’s take on Jane Eyre deserves to enjoy just as much success, and maybe even a bit more.

Available Light Theatre will present Jane Eyre: A Memory, a Fever, a Dream through June 8 in Studio One, Riffe Center, 77 S. High St. Show times are 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday, plus 8 p.m. June 6. Running time: 1 hour, 45 minutes. Tickets are $20 in advance or “pay what you want” at the door. 614-558-7408 or avltheatre.com.

Not as outrageous as you might think

Betsy Shortt (left) and Julie Klein in The Lost Girl, one of three Don Nigro works featured in Viva Vagina (Studio 66 photo)
Betsy Shortt (left) and Julie Klein in The Lost Girl, one of three Don Nigro works featured in Viva Vagina (Studio 66 photo)

By Richard Ades

If the Shadowboxers are going to do a show called Viva Vagina, they really should include a production number in which an Elvis-impersonating drag king sings the title to the tune of Viva Las Vegas.

Also, for the sake of fairness, they really should plan a sequel called, say, Up With Penises.

Sadly, though, Shadowbox has announced no plans for a follow-up, and the current show does not feature any Viva Las Vegas takeoffs.

It does feature a musical number that’s even more fun and outrageous: Storm Large’s 8 Miles Wide (as in “My vagina is 8 miles wide”). But for most of its running time, this Stage 2 production is pretty close to the low-key spirit of Shadowbox’s long-gone spinoff, 2Co’s Cabaret.

That’s not a bad thing, but it does make the title a tad misleading.

As at 2Co’s, the evening is a combination of songs, one-acts and monologues. Three of the theater pieces are by 2Co’s mainstay Don Nigro.

Of these, the best is Ballerinas, an atmospheric tale that stars Stacie Boord, Leah Haviland and Amy Lay as performers in a run-down dance hall. The other Nigro works, in descending order of interest, are Genesis, in which Eve (Michelle Daniels) remembers life in the Garden of Eden; and The Lost Girl, a metaphorical piece about—well, if you figure it out, let me know.

Better than all three is Martha King De Silva’s The Waiter, in which former flames Ivy (Haviland) and Andrew (David Whitehouse) are chagrined to learn they’ve each arranged to meet someone else at the same restaurant. Boord, Amy Lay and Anita McFarren are also featured in this gentle comedy about a romance that fizzled for reasons that aren’t completely clear.

Besides 8 Miles Wide, a couple of the musical numbers achieve the feminist brand of outrageousness promised by the show’s title: Bitch (sung by Lay) and Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves (sung by Boord and others). Both are fun and nicely done.

But other musical highlights are considerably less fierce. Steve Guyer is a smooth stand-in for Joe Cocker on You Are So Beautiful; Julie Klein’s rendition of The Mind of Love is accompanied by a wistful/lustful dance delicately delivered by Lay; and Boord gives what could be the vocal performance of the year on When a Man Loves a Woman.

Though all of this suggests a show that only occasionally is as provocative as its title, a few monologues and standup routines do help to nudge it back into envelope-pushing territory.

The scariest of these, performed by Klein and based on “Being That Woman” by Morgan Moss, explains the difference between a “bitch” and a “crazy bitch” and speaks admiringly of Lorena Bobbitt. It might be easier to enjoy if Klein delivered it as a character rather than as herself—otherwise, you can’t help wondering if someone shouldn’t frisk her for sharp objects.

But I suspect the evening’s most outrageous act is the Nickey Winkelman standup routine that launches Act 2. I can’t say for sure because Winkelman was unfortunately absent on the night I was there, but her online videos suggest that her presence would go a long way toward making the show as vagtastic as its title.

Viva Vagina will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays through July 11 at Shadowbox Live, 503 S. Front St. Running time: 1 hour, 55 minutes (including intermission). Tickets are $30, $20 for students and seniors. 614-416-7625 or shadowboxlive.org.

Unlucky horse hardly leads a stable existence

Conscripted horses Joey (right) and Topthorn prepare to charge the Germans in a battle scene from War Horse (photo © Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)
Conscripted horses Joey (right) and Topthorn prepare to charge the Germans in a battle scene from War Horse (photo © Brinkhoff/Mogenburg)

By Richard Ades

When you saw The Phantom of the Opera or Miss Saigon for the first time, chances are you didn’t come out of the theater exclaiming, “What a chandelier!” or “What a helicopter!”

The special effects, as spectacular as they were, simply played supporting roles to the stories and the music of the night.

When you come out of War Horse, conversely, chances are you will say something along the lines of “What a horse!” Which is to say, “What a puppet!”

The life-size puppets that portray titular steed Joey and other equines are the best thing about this Tony-winning British import. They trot and gallop, fight and play, eat, swat flies and generally behave like real-life horses.

In Act 1, frankly, they’re more believable than their human co-stars. Working under Bejan Sheibani’s direction (which is based on the work of original co-directors Marianne Elliott and Tom Morris), the actors often emote in melodramatic tones that suggest every moment of every day is a life-or-death struggle.

Credibility does improve in Act 2, when both the humans and the horses actually are engaged in a life-or-death struggle—namely, World War I. But even then, the tale is less impressive than the stagecraft with which it’s told: not only the horses, but the sights and sounds that suggest, rather than depict, the horrors of battle.

Adapted by Nick Stafford from a novel by Michael Murpugo, War Horse is a simple story.

In Devon, England, a poor farmer named Ted Narracott (Todd Cerveris) buys a foal at auction simply to show up his brother. Ted’s wife, Rose (Angela Reed), is not pleased, as the family can’t afford a horse that was bred as a hunter rather than a beast of burden. But their son, Albert (Alex Morf), quickly makes friends with the colt and takes on its care and training.

The real drama begins years later, when war breaks out and Ted sells the now-grown Joey to the army to fight the Germans. Though underage, a heartbroken Albert secretly enlists and is sent to France, where he hopes to be reunited with his old friend. What he doesn’t know is that Joey has fallen into German hands—in particular, those of a horse lover named Capt. Muller (a nuanced Andrew May), who does what he can to keep this beautiful animal away from the battlefield.

There are complications and close calls throughout the adventure, some of them quite harrowing. Even so, most viewers will have little trouble predicting how it will come out. As a result, the main surprises involve the way the tale is told, rather than the tale itself.

Besides the puppeteers, the real heroes are behind-the-scenes talents such as set designer Rae Smith, lighting designers Paule Constable and Karen Spahn, and “horse” choreographer Toby Sedgwick. An onstage singer (Megan Loomis replaced regular vocalist John Milosich on opening night) also plays an influential role by contributing mournful folk-style tunes.

War Horse is melodrama—melodrama that is sometimes overdone and ultimately predictable. But for most viewers, the innovative staging should make it a memorable ride.

Broadway in Columbus and CAPA will present War Horse through Sunday (April 28) at the Ohio Theatre, 39 E. State St. Show times are 8 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, 1 and 8 p.m. Thursday, 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. Running time: 2 hours, 40 minutes (including intermission). Tickets are $35-$95. 614-469-0939, 1-800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.