The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s 2018-19 MainStage season has been billed as one where “the sky’s the limit.” Over the weekend, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati set the bar high (literally) with Superman. This show runs next weekend (October 12-14) at The Taft Theater, and I promise it’s one you need to see. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Superman is high-flying fun for the whole family, proving once again that this children’s theatre troupe is nothing short of magical.
Superman is the story of the Man of Steel’s efforts to defeat a vengeful scientist, new villain Dr. Abner Sedgwick, who seeks to destroy the world’s symbol of good. It’s a classic good-versus-evil story that will immediately grab your kids’ attention.
Superman is good fun and doesn’t take itself too seriously — the “fight” scenes feature “Bam!” and “Pow!” cartoon bubbles in lieu of any actual violence; the villain(s) are over-the-top and just downright silly; Superman himself is all comic-book gestures and seems to always be posing for an invisible camera. But that doesn’t mean the play lacks depth or meaningful lessons for kids.
Evan Koons plays the title hero, and he is incredible. Not only does Koons bear a striking resemblance to beloved Superman Christoper Reeve, but he balances the bumbling charisma of Clark Kent and swift action hero of Superman in a way that makes the character complex and completely believable. Koons is also a triple threat: his singing, acting and dancing are phenomenal! Koons is Superman. And you can’t help but cheer for him, especially as he sings of being sad following Metropolis’ turn against him.
As a feminist, I find Lois Lane to be kind of problematic, but in The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Superman, Brandi Langford-Sherrill’s Lane is anything but helpless (unless you count “helplessly” in love with Superman!). Langford-Sherrill’s Lane is feminine yet take-charge, and her singing is absolutely breathtaking.
Speaking of which, the theatrical elements of Superman are easily the best I’ve ever seen in a production by The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati — and I have really high expectations for this theatre troupe. The singing, dancing and choreography are all Broadway level, and the tap dancing sequence with Max Mencken (Spenser Smith) and Dr. Sedgwick (Kyle Krichbaum) is magic. Smith is like a young Fred Astaire dancing on stage, and you can’t help but be mesmerized by his light-footed moves. (These two are also hilariously bad, and my kids were in constant fits of giggles watching their antics.)
As always, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati knows its audience: Superman is an accessible and fun foray into the performing arts. The story, music, design and actors all combine forces into something absolutely delightful. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Superman is a comic book come-to-life on stage, but unlike a comic book, these heroes are real. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Superman is high-flying fun where the the performing arts triumph.
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s Superman runs Oct. 12-14 at the Taft Theatre. Tickets are available through ticketmaster — where you can get single tickets to the remaining MainStage shows, as well!