Arts and culture from around the Tri-State, including theater, music and poetry.

Before the world got its first glimpse of the Land of Oz, its creator, L. Frank Baum, was already a storyteller. First performing as an actor, he then created compelling marketing materials for his father's oil enterprise and ultimately waxed poetic to his own children at home, as well as the children of others through his wondrous retail operation on the American frontier.

Museum purchase with funds provided by Carl Jacobs, 2005.15

The Cincinnati Art Museum premieres a film about a groundbreaking local photographer later this week. Light on IOWA features Nancy Rexroth and her work with a toy camera. Filmmaker Ann Segal says Rexroth, who lives in Cincinnati, produced ethereal photographs with a Diana camera.

A local singer-songwriter has music featured in the Netflix series Deaf U. Aziza Love was uniquely positioned to offer her creative offerings to such a series that focuses on deaf and hard of hearing students at Gallaudet University.

Romeo & Juliet

Feb 10, 2021

Sunday, February 14 at 7 p.m.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presents one of the most beloved romantic tragedies in Shakespeare’s canon, Romeo and Juliet, the tale of Bard’s star-crossed lovers.

Juliet and Romeo fall instantly in love only to discover they come from feuding families. In defiance of their families, amidst the animosity of friends, and in concealment from their mentors, the young couple risks everything to be together.

TJ Vissing / Courtesy of Cincinnati Museum Center

A short drive east of Cincinnati in Adams County sits 20,000 acres of vast forest, ravines, prairies and stunning views of the Appalachian foothills. The Edge of Appalachia Preserve System is Ohio's largest privately-owned natural area, and the subject of a new exhibit at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Fairs and festivals play an important role in the culture and economy of communities across the Midwest. But the continued prevalence of COVID-19 could put them in jeopardy again in 2021.

Wave Pool

Small creative spaces in the Queen City are usually great spots for community building, cramming artists and art lovers into small gallery spaces for conversation and connection.

But what happens when you can't pack those spaces due to a global pandemic?

cso musicians of color
Courtesy of Mark Lyons

The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is a founding member of an organization seeking to address racial inequalities in the field of classical music. The National Instrumentalist Mentoring and Advancement Network (NIMAN) is a collection of music organizations and artists that want to improve resources and opportunities for classical instrumentalists of color.

pretty woman the musical
Morris Mac Matzen / Broadway Across America

Broadway In Cincinnati last summer rescheduled or postponed the remainder of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, it's adding one show to its 2021-22 lineup.

"A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play"

Dec 15, 2020
Mikki Schaffner/Playhouse in the Park

A Christmas Carol: A Radio Play is presented by Cincinnati Public Radio and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and sponsored by Macy’s. Bruce Cromer performed all the roles in this adaptation of the script used by Charles Dickens for public readings. Bruce Cromer also recorded his performance. The production features sound design by Matthew M. Nielson. 

Thank you for listening! Merry Christmas from Cincinnati Public Radio and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park! And as Tiny Tim observed, “God Bless Us, every one.”


The theaters are closed, the stages are dark and the seats are empty. Local entertainers are struggling under the COVID-19 pandemic. But they're also finding ways to modify their act from virtual gigs to outdoor concerts, to drive-thru performances.

Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is a decades-long tradition on the stage of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, but COVID-19 - being the Scrooge that it is - prevents another time-honored pleasure. Almost.

Courtesy of Mikki Schaffner

The Cincinnati Opera recently held auditions for its 2021 Summer Festival Chorus. In any typical year, the event would bring dozens of singers to Music Hall, performing nearly back-to-back for several days in a row. This is anything but a typical year.

Julie Coppens/WVXU

There's power in silence. There is protest, peace and sometimes, protection. For the musicians of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, silence has taken on all kinds of new meanings during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Courtesy of Mikki Schaffner

Two more arts organizations are going dark for the remainder of the year because of the pandemic. Playhouse in the Park and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company are canceling their holiday productions and postponing mainstage productions until fall of 2021.

Cincinnati Art Museum

The third floor of the Cincinnati Art Museum unveils an exhibition this Friday that explores struggle and strength by focusing on the facial expressions of people of color during the extremes of 2020.

The Children's Theatre of Cincinnati (CTC) had hoped to dazzle its young audiences with big productions like Disney's Descendants and the world-premiere musical Princess & Frog, but the pandemic has had other plans for live entertainment this year.

Courtesy of Cincinnati Arts Association

Arts, cultural and live events were some of the first industries shut down by the pandemic and most remain closed or extremely limited, meaning hundreds of thousands of Ohioans are unemployed or underemployed.

John Kiesewetter

For his final segment on Around Cincinnati, John Kiesewetter pays a visit to the Rosemary Clooney House in Augusta, Kentucky. After touring the house for the first time since it opened, he speaks with one of the owners, former Miss America Heather French Henry, who opened the museum with her husband, about some of the classic pieces that are on display and how she wound up opening the museum. Lee Hay produced one of her most popular specials about the Kentucky native called Rosemary Clooney: Big Band Singer in 2013.


One of Cincinnati Public Radio’s most ardent fans and biggest supporters is also one of the city’s most talented musicians. Michael Chertock is the pianist for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, conductor of the Blue Ash Montgomery Symphony Orchestra, and chair of the music department at the UC College-Conservatory of Music. For her final profile for Around Cincinnati, Anne Arenstein has a wide-ranging conversation with Maestro Chertock about his career and how he found his way to Cincinnati.

River City News

Around Cincinnati’s longtime theatre contributor, Rick Pender, chose one of the region’s most talented and in-demand actors for his final segment. Bruce Cromer is perhaps best-known to local audiences as either Bob Cratchit or Ebenezer Scrooge in the Playhouse in the Park’s annual production of “A Christmas Carol,” but he has performed on most of the other stages in town, plus had a key role in the locally-filmed movie “Dark Waters”; and is an esteemed professor at Wright State University. Bruce Cromer has been a previous guest on Around Cincinnati, including in 2014, talking about “The Iliad” accompanied by director Michael Haney.


The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra is creating a new chief diversity and inclusion officer. According to CSO President Jonathan Martin they are the first major American orchestra to have such a position. With the killing of George Floyd and the subsequent protests against police brutality the CSO took a closer look at its existing diversity, equity and inclusion work.


When former president and CEO of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Kathy Merchant pitched the idea for a book about Cincinnati's artists there was just one catch. ArtsWave CEO and President Alecia Kintner wanted the book to be all about women.


As Around Cincinnati winds down its 15-year run, we want to share one of our shining moments. In 2007, local theatre writer and longtime contributor Rick Pender arranged an interview with Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. Rick has written extensively about the composer for years, including an upcoming, in-depth biography.

Lee Hay's favorite Around Cincinnati interview over the years is the acclaimed designer Todd Oldham's 2006 interview of his mentor and friend, celebrated artist Charley Harper, in our studio.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted local arts organizations, big and small. The Cincinnati Arts Association, manager of Music Hall and the Aronoff Center, has been dealing with two shuttered facilities since March. The CAA’s Van Ackerman joins Jim Stump via Zoom to detail what the organization is doing to stay afloat and what the future may hold.

A Poem From Pauletta Hansel

Aug 7, 2020

A poem from Pauletta Hansel called “Our Words: Cincinnati, April 2017,” written when she was Poet Laureate for Cincinnati.


Downtown’s Christ Church Cathedral dedicated a new C.B. Fisk organ in their Centennial Cathedral in 2018. To learn more about this very special instrument, our Alexander Watson recently spoke with Dr. Michael Unger, Professor of Organ and Harpsichord at UC, and David Pike, head tonalist from C. B. Fisk Organ Builders.

A Poem From Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin

Jul 31, 2020

We revisit Dr. Herbert Woodward Martin’s poem, Mississippi Poplars, from his collection The Shape of Regret, which he shared with us for Martin Luther King Jr. Day earlier this year.


David Lewis shares the story of Sam Ash, not the name on the music stores, but the 19th century Campbell County-born recording pioneer and movie actor.