Dirty Dancing at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Dirty Dancing at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Dirty Dancing 2There is always one movie that you remember for the rest of your life.  One movie that you watched over and over, hung up the posters all over your room and recited every other line.  For me, that movie was Dirty Dancing.  I loved it!  I had the soundtrack and the VHS tape (yes…VHS).  My friends and I watched it at every sleep over.  When I heard that the musical was coming to the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati, I was beyond thrilled.  I was a little worried that I may be disappointed, but I was not!

The live show is very true to the movie, with a couple of extra moments.  The scenes are projected on stage in the background to give the feeling of being at Kellerman’s, the swanky resort that Baby and her family visit that summer in 1963.  At first, I thought this may be a little distracting, but overall, it was a great way to bring the movie to the stage.  The actors playing Baby (Jillian Mueller) and Johnny Castle (Samuel Pergande) did a great job and I loved watching the first dance scene between the two, at the dancers’ clubhouse.  I remember the awkward moment between Baby and Johnny in that first scene and cracked up watching Mueller spin around like a dizzy school girl after Johnny twirled her and left her on the dance floor.Dirty Dancing 1

It is very hard to bring a movie to the stage.  You have to wonder…how will they do that last dance scene?  How will they show both the stage, the band and the audience?  How will they show Baby and Johnny practicing lifts in a lake? There is a lot of action to capture in Dirty Dancing.  But, they do it!  I loved how the band is actually on the stage, above the other actors. And, if you go, you can see for yourself how they portray the lake scene.

A few moments were added to the stage performance that were not in the movie.  There is very little singing in the movie Dirty Dancing, but Jennlee Shallow (Elizabeth) and  Doug Carpenter (Johnny’s cousin Billy)  gave stand out performances in the stage version when they belted out a couple of phenomenal songs. While the stage version stays very close to the movie, the romance between this couple was added to accompany the story line of ‘forbidden’ love…whether that be between perceived classes or race.

Here are more details about the show:

Dirty Dancing—The ClaDirty Dancing 3ssic Story on Stage is an unprecedented live experience, exploding with heart-pounding music, passionate romance, and sensational dancing. Seen by millions across the globe, this worldwide smash hit tells the classic story of Baby and Johnny, two fiercely independent young spirits from different worlds who come together in what will be the most challenging and triumphant summer of their lives. Featuring the hit songs, “Hungry Eyes,” “Hey Baby,” “Do You Love Me?” and the heart stopping “(I’ve Had) The Time of My Life. ” London’s Sunday Express says “This crowd-pleasing stage adaptation hits the jackpot!”


 It’s the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances ‘Baby’ Houseman is on vacation in New York’s Catskill Mountains with her older sister and parents. Mesmerized by the racy dance moves and pounding rhythms she discovers in the resort’s staff quarters, Baby can’t wait to be part of the scene, especially when she catches sight of Johnny Castle, the resort’s sexy dance instructor. Passions ignite and Baby’s life changes forever when she is thrown in to the deep end as Johnny’s leading lady, both on-stage and off.

Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stage will play the Aronoff Center from September 23 – October 5: Tuesday – Thursday at 7:30PM, Friday at 8:00PM, Saturday at 2:00PM and 8:00PM and Sunday at 1:00PM and 6:30PM. Tickets for Dirty Dancing – The Classic Story On Stagestart at $29. They are available at the Aronoff Center Box Office downtown at 650 Walnut Street, online at CincinnatiArts.org or by phone at 513.621.ARTS. For groups of 10 or more, contact the group sales department at 513.369.4363. Performance schedule, prices and cast are subject to change without notice. For more information, please visit www.BroadwayInCincinnati.com.

Get your tickets today!

Photo Credits: Matthew Murphey, provided by Broadway in Cincinnati

Disclaimer:  I received complimentary tickets for this performance.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own…and I loved this show!!

Cincinnati Reds Star Wars Weekend

Darth Vader Mr. Red

Cincinnati Reds Star Wars Weekend!

My kids love Star Wars.  I love the Cincinnati Reds.  Sadly, we do not quite share either of the other’s passion.

But, last night at Great American Ball Park, we came together as one to watch Darth Vader throw out the opening pitch when the Cincinnati Reds played against the Milwaukee Brewers for Cincinnati Reds Star Wars weekend!  It was fantastic.  Even I was excited to see Darth Vader and Mr. Red battle with life sabers and then suddenly decide “Why Can’t We Be Friends” as they hugged it out while the famous song played.

After the game, we stuck around to watch the phenomenal fireworks show set to the tune of Star Wars music, which included The Imperial March, Princess Leia’s Theme and Victory Celebration.  And, let’s not forget my boys’ favorite, Cantina Band.

Rozzi fireworks does a great job with the Cincinnati Reds fireworks show.  The music and show fit perfect.  I especially loved the delicate, well, as delicate as fireworks get, touch of ‘glittery’ fireworks during Princess Leia’s Theme that made me remember the sweet affection between Han Solo and the princess.  Okay, maybe I like Star Wars a tiny bit…

And, bonus, I finally found the location of the mysterious dollar concession stand where you can get hotdogs, snacks and colas for one buck!  It’s not an urban legend friends!  Pssssst…it’s near section 530. I fed all five of us for $9.  Peanuts and hotdogs all around!

Cincy Reds

Watching fireworks!

If you are a Star Wars fan, you can still catch a couple games during Star Wars weekend.  Select fans tonight can get a free Star Wars Cincinnati Reds t-shirt (that I really want, by the way) with Star Wars characters sporting a Mr. Redlegs moustache! The game starts tonight , Saturday May 3rd, at 7:10pm.

Sunday, select fans can score free posters.  Sunday’s game starts at 4:10pm.  Check out details HERE.

If you are looking for a deal on Cincinnati Reds tickets, check out REACH Magazine Sunday Family Days.  Thanks to REACH Magazine and eReach.com, you can purchase one adult admission and can get up to three non-premium tickets at half price!  Tickets must be purchased in advance of game day and can be purchased at select Kroger locations,  reds.com  or by calling (513) 381-REDS (7337).  Tomorrow is a great day to use this discount and experience Star Wars weekend.  Plus, it’s May 4th…you know what that means…May the FOURTH be with you!  Go celebrate!

Make sure you check out more deals and discounts on my discounts page HERE.

Happy Star Wars weekend!


Review: Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati presents Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR.

Willy Wonka Bob HerzogLast night, the kids and I headed to downtown Cincinnati and caught the opening night performance of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka JR. at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.  It was fantastic.

My kids have seen both screen versions of the show and their school play this year is Willy Wonka, so they were excited to check out this version at Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.  They were on the edge of their seats with their eyes glued to the stage the entire time, no exaggeration.

My oldest son and I were excited to see Bob Herzog of Local 12 as Willy Wonka, since we both love to watch him in Dance Party Friday.  Herzog did a great job of portraying Willy Wonka as an adult who was really a kid at heart, but was grown up enough to still be irritated by the ill-behaved kids who visited his chocolate factory.  His subtle, or sometimes not so subtle, jabs at their lack of manners was hilarious.  My 6 year old imitated Herzog’s funny strut and grunts for the rest of the night.  He loved his character.

The kids and I especially enjoyed watching the parents and their children take a boat ride down the chocolate river with Willy Wonka followed by ghosts and other spooky specters.  It was creepy, dreamy and very imaginative.  We forgot that we were watching actors on a stage, but were mesmerized by the floating mist and spectacular effects.  After the show, my oldest could not stop talking about the giant ‘scarecrow’ that chased the boat and how cool it was.

Another very cool part of the play was the Oompa-Loompas.  In the original screen version, many actors play the Oompa-Loompas.  In the next version with Johnny Dep, one actor played all 165 (yes, I looked that up) of the Oompa-Loompas.  In The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati version, there are six Oompa-Loompas played by different actors in glow-in-the-dark costumes and crazy glow-in-the-dark wigs.  Each time they came out to sing about the fate of the child who had just been removed from the chocolate factory, they were equally creepy and fascinating.  The singing was on target and the dancing was perfect.  I loved hearing their ‘riddles’.

image003.jpgIf you would like to see Willy Wonka JR., there is still time!  There are two more shows—tomorrow and next Saturday.  Show times are as follows:

Sunday, April 6 at 2 PM

Saturday, April 12 at 2 PM

You can order tickets on line HERE or call (513)569-8080 ext. 10.

Taft Theatre is located at 5th and Sycamore. There is plenty of parking downtown.  Last night we found $5 parking at the Chiquita Center, just a block from the theatre.  We have also parked in a lot right next to the theatre, but that fills up fast!

This was a fantastic way for us to kick off Spring Break.  We hope you can enjoy it too!


Disclaimer:  In exchange for a giveaway and review, my family received tickets to this show.  Rest assured, all opinions are my own.  We truly loved this show!!

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

Last week we hadcircus set up a chance to see the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which truly is The Greatest Show on Earth.  Every year the show is a little different, this year’s theme being “Built to Amaze.”

We were circus ring leadertreated to the opening parade of characters and elephants, many dressed in colorful and outlandish construction costumes.

One larger than life character was on stilts consisting of orange and white stacked traffic cones.  The kids said he looked like Nemo and thought it was pretty cool.

The performers include specircus tight ropecial ticket holders in the act and let them sit up close and personal on the floor of the show.  I can’t imagine being so close to the action.

Luckily, our seats were directly in front of the tight rope walkers.  We were close enough to see their expressions and concentration on their faces as they balanced high above ring.  It was breath taking.circus tigers

Before the show, we were able to meet with some of the working mothers of the show and learn about how they juggle circus life and family responsibilities.  Their children receive tutoring and many are performers, or learning to be performers, themselves.  Their husbands also work with the circus so the whole family is part of the act!

The show was mesmerizing.  Make sure you don’t miss it next year, when the circus train rolls into town.


Disclaimer:  I was given tickets for my family in exchange for a review and giveaway.  All opinions are 100% my own.  We truly loved the show!




















Pinkalicious at The Cincinnati Children’s Theatre

Pinkalicious BeePinkalicious the Musical is at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati February 14-16 & 22 on the Taft Theatre stage!

My four year old daughter loves everything girly.  She loves princesses, tutus and especially the color pink.  One of her favorite books is Pinkalicious, so when I heard Pinkalicious the Musical was at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, I knew we had to go!

We were able to see this show last Saturday and she loved every second of the 55 minute production.  She was fascinated that Pinkalicious really did turn ‘pink’ and that by eating ‘just one more cupcake’ she turned red!

We had a great time discussing actors, costumes and make up. She was also intrigued by the floating and dancing cupcakes that Pinkalicious dreamt about every night. That led to an explanation of theatre props and sets, as well as stage hands. What a learning experience! And, what a great job by The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati for making such a magical production that made my daughter really believe ipinkaliciousn flying cupcakes and Pinkititis.

This is show is not just for girls.  Let’s not forget that Pinkalicious has a brother, Peter, who secretly yearns to be able to reveal his love of the color pink as well.  In the end, Pinkalicious is not the only character who turns pink!

Pinkalicious the Musical is great for children four years of age and older.  You have one more chance to watch Pinkalicious the Musical at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati this Saturday at 2:00pm.  Tickets may be ordered by calling 1-800-745-3000, online  www.ticketmaster.com, and at select Kroger outlets.

If you go, have fun and wear pink!  There was no mistaking where to find the show last weekend, as we just followed the throngs of girls wearing pink tutus, pink dresses, pink boots and pink coats to the theater!



EVITA at the Cincinnati Aronoff Center

Evita Balcony portraitLast night, my husband and I had our delayed Valentine’s celebration.

First, we had dinner at KungFood Chu’s Amerasia in Covington.  Both of us enjoy small, local, quiet restaurants.  Not so much because we can gaze lovingly into one another’s eyes and hold hands across the table, but because it’s date night and we love to enjoy the quiet of no children!  If you can’t have an actual date night, Amerasia is fine for kids also.  We were there on a week night at 6:30 and there was a mix of patrons, but it was still a relaxing atmosphere…probably because our kids weren’t there!  You can read more about KungFood Chu’s Amerasia HERE in a post by Katie at Family Friendly Cincinnati.  I had pad thai and a handcrafted beer.  The portions were nice sized and delicious.

Where did we go next for date night?

We went to opening night of EVITA at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati!

It was spectacular.

This musical takes place in 1934-1952 and is based on the true story of Eva Peron, who grew up very poor in Argentina, works her way to Buenos Aires and eventually marries General Juan Peron, becoming the wife to the President.  I was mistaken when I thought she was loved by all people, all the time.  As I saw a steady stream of gentlemen friends parade through her bedroom, I realized, wow, she was quite popular…and not in a good way!  When she first started dating General Peron, Argentina sees Eva as his ‘lady of the moment’ and does not like her.  Eventually, she wins over most of Argentina.  The people look up to her because she is very glamorous, gave generously to the poor and was a model representative when visiting other nations.

Caroline Bowman as Eva “Evita” Peron was amazing.  She used her beautiful, yet powerful, voice to tell the story of Evita and express her Evita Cast Dancingemotions.  One of my favorite numbers was “Buenos Aires”, during which Eva sings of her desire to go to the big city and then finally arrives in the town.  The crazy and bustling atmosphere of Buenos Aires is portrayed perfectly by the cast, as is the sensuality of the city.  I loved listening to Bowman sing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” from the balcony to her people, wearing a glamorous, white, full length gown and jewels.   Bowman seems to never tire and portrays the First Lady of Argentina with just the right amounts of sass and confidence, with a hint of manipulation.

Josh Young as Che also had never ending energy and a strong voice.  It amazed me that he sounded just as powerful at the end of the show as he did in the beginning…after singing in so many numbers.  He did a fantastic job expressing his distaste for Evita, but at the same time seemed to admire her.

Here’s what Broadway in Cincinnati has to say about Evita:

Evita and Che dancingTim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Tony Award®-winning musical returns at last! Eva Perón used her beauty and charisma to rise meteorically from the slums of Argentina to the presidential mansion as First Lady. Adored by her people as a champion for the poor, she became one of the most powerful women in the world — while her greed, outsized ambition and fragile health made her one of the most tragic. EVITA tells Eva’s passionate and unforgettable true story, and features some of theater’s most beautiful songs, including “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina,” “Another Suitcase in Another Hall” and “High Flying, Adored.”

EVITA is playing now through March 2nd at the Aronoff Center in Cincinnati.  Be sure to check out show times and more details at Broadway in Cincinnati.  Both my husband and I give EVITA two thumbs up.

Disclaimer:  I was given two complementary tickets to the opening night of EVITA in exchange for promotion and review.  All opinions are my own.

All photo credit goes to Richard Termine.


Diana, A Celebration:: Cincinnati Museum Center

Celebrating Diana TiaraLast week, I was invited to attend a very exciting event:  Diana, A Celebration at the Cincinnati Museum Center.  This special exhibit chronicles the life of the late Princess of Wales from her childhood to her untimely death at the age of 36 in 1997, and all of her accomplishments in between.  Diana, A Celebration opened to the public on Friday February 14th and runs through August 17th.   Cincinnati is the last stop on this 11-year world tour.

The exhibit begins down a long, dimly lit hall where vCelebrate Diana Loungingisitors are met by a larger than life portrait of Diana wearing a peaceful expression, gazing into the distance.  This striking picture is one of my favorites and sets the mood for the entire exhibit.  It reminds me of how Diana seemed to become more comfortable with herself over time.  She was no longer the quiet, shy twenty year old girl who married Prince Charles.  She was a stunning lady, beautiful inside and out, who had taken on charities and causes such as AIDS, homelessness and landmines.  All the while raising her hem line a little, changing her fluffy hair do into a sexy, sleek look and wowing both Brits and Americans.

Can you tell I love Diana?


Diana, A Celebration continues into the Spencer room, full Celebrating Diana Childhoodof family jewels, artifacts, heirlooms, paintings and more.  Visitors get to see old family movies, taken by Diana’s father, in which a cute preschool age Diana rides around in a toy car and learns to swim and dive.   Her grade school uniform, school pictures and many handwritten memorabilia are displayed.


At the age of 19, Diana became engaged to Prince Charles and they married in 1981.  One room is dedicated to the wedding, with the dress as the centerpiece.  To be in the same room with the dress worn by Diana at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was amazing.  The 25-foot train runs the length of the room and is displayed with Diana’s shoes and accessories.  It is breath taking.  The dress is made of six different fabrics that include 25 yards of silk taffetCelebrating Diana Collagea, 100 yards of tulle crinoline and 150 yards of netting for the veil.  It is absolutely, without a doubt, a dress made of dreams, fairy tales and romance!  Wedding pictures and other wedding pieces decorate the walls, while a continuous feed of the wedding video plays in the room. Keep in mind while you view her dress, only two people in the world are permitted to touch Princess Diana’s wedding dress and have been the only ones to do so for 16 years!

After she was married, Diana’s role became one of humanitarian and champion of causes.  The next gallery displays 28 of her dresses and outfits worn while she carried out that role.  She was glamorous, chic and classic in her wardrobe…whether she was attending an opera or visiting orphans.  Behind many of the outfits is a picture of her in the clothing.   If you go, many will look familiar!

The mood turns reflective as you enter the room full of memorabilia from Diana’s funeral. Items include the original eulogy written by her brother, Earl Spencer, with mark ups and changes, as well as a room full of condolence books and a video of the funeral procession.  To say it is moving, is an understatement.  The score and lyrics to “Candle in the Wind” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin are also displayed.

Celebrating Diana Hall of DressesAt the end of Diana, A Celebration, begins the Daughters of the Queen City.  This exhibit illustrates philanthropic efforts of Cincinnati women from the 1850s-1960s.  Wedding dresses from many prominent Cincinnati women are displayed.  Visitors can take a ‘selfie’ in a mirror with tiaras and create their own family seals with stamps.

Don’t miss Diana, A Celebration at the Cincinnati Museum Center now through August 17th.  See the Museum Center’s website for pricing details and hours of operation.  If you want a girl’s night out, check out Diana: Toast of the Town Night Out and Extended Hours.  Enjoy a cash bar with light snacks!

When you visit, share you social media love and use #celebratingdiana.


Disclaimer:  I was provided able to attend a complementary media preview of this event, which being able to take photographs.  All opinions are my own.  Normally, photography is not permitted at this event.














The Sound of Music at The Carnegie: Review

The-Sound-of-MusicFriday night we headed to The Carnegie for opening weekend of The Sound of Music.  Everyone, including the kids, loved it!

I love the theatre.  I even love taking my kids to the theatre, believe it or not.  Sometimes they complain…oh it’s going to be boring!  Ugh, is it going to be a baby show?  I want to play Minecraft!

I take them anyway.

And, they love it.

They surprise themselves and sit quietly with their eyes glazed over, watching the stage.  I am not surprised.  I knew all along they would love it.

Last night I was a little worried though.  We saw The Sound of Music at The Carnegie in Covington Kentucky.  It’s a long show…right at 2.5 hours.  There is a short intermission, and luckily at The Carnegie you can sneak out quietly for potty breaks.

The kids loved it.  The Fourth Grader even laughed along at some of the jokes and filled me in when I had to step out for a minute.

What did I miss?  Why is she back at the Abbey?  Is it already September or did he make her leave?? (It had been a while since I’d seen the movie)


No, mom!  She figured out that she loved him so much that she had to leave!  She had to go back!

Those words came out of the mouth of my 10 year old boy.  Wow.  He paid attention and enjoyed himself.

My 4 year old daughter and 6 year old son had just as much fun.  She couldn’t wait for Maria to ‘become their mom.’

The singing and talent on stage at The Carnegie for The Sound of Music was fantastic.  The energy was never ending and their voices strong.  I am always impressed with small children on stage, and these wonderful kids did an amazing job.  I enjoyed watching The Carnegie’s rendition of “The Lonely Goatherd” complete with yodeling and pretend marionettes.  And, Jared Joplin’s performance as Captain von Trapp as he wistfully sang “Edelweiss”, thinking of the home he was about to leave forever, was captivating.  In the movie, I never really got it, but as I watched the family on stage, I could see the emotion of a man leaving behind his life.

The Otto M. Buddig Theatre at The Carnegie is an intimate setting, with actors moving up and down the aisle.  There is not a bad seat in the house, but, the seats are selling quickly, so make sure you get tickets now for The Sound of Music, as it ends January 26th.

Disclaimer: I was given complementary tickets to the show, but all opinions are my own.




The Sound of Music at The Carnegie

The Sound of Music CarnegieThe Sound of Music is coming to The Carnegie’s Otto M. Budig Theatre in Covington Kentucky January 17th thru January 26th.

Here’s what The Carnegie has to say about the performance:

Presented in partnership with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (KSO), the lightly staged production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s THE SOUND OF MUSIC features one of the most beloved scores in musical theatre and tells the story of a free-spirited nanny who brings joy and love back into the home of Captain Von Trapp and his family.

Every holiday season, I love to watch The Sound of Music on television.  I love the singing, the plot, and the acting.  I am thrilled to have my kids experience this wonderful musical on the stage under the baton of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra conductor James R. Cassidy and the direction of Brian Robertson.  The Carnegie productions always have super talented performers, so I am even more excited to see what the kids think of so many children performing on stage.  What a great experience for them.

Tickets for The Sound of Music are $19 – $28 and are available online at www.thecarnegie.com or by calling The Carnegie Box Office at (859) 957-1940 (open Tu – Fr, noon – 5 p.m.). ***Note: an additional show has been added on Thursday, January 23rd at 7:30pm.  This additional performance was added due to the popularity of the show, so make sure you get your tickets now!

To keep up with The Carnegie, check out their Facebook page HERE.

Disclaimer:  For promotional purposes, I was given complimentary tickets to The Sound of Music at The Carnegie for my family.  All opinions are 100% my own.

Aronoff Center Cincinnati: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical

Tonight we are kicking off Thanksgiving break at Cincinnati’s Aronoff Center to see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical  I loved the animated version when I was a kid, and also enjoyed the film version as an adult. The whole family is thrilled to see this beloved classic on stage at the Aronoff Center tonight. 

Tonight’s show features one of my favorite Grinch songs…”You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch.”  I was just singing this to the kids the other day.  Don’t worry, their ears have stopped bleeding.  Another favorite song from the original animated special is “Welcome Christmas.” 

Tonight, Max the dog narrates the show as the Grinch tries to ruin Christmas for all of those cute little citizens of Whoville. 

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical is at the Aronoff  November 27th thru December 1st, so check your schedule and get your tickets now!  You can get tickets here or you can call the Aronoff Center at (513) 621-ARTS.

Disclaimer:  My family was provided free tickets for tonight’s show.  Rest assured all opinions are my own.