Roy Berko, a life-long Clevelander, holds degrees, through the doctorate from Kent State, University of Michigan and The Pennsylvania State University. Roy was an actor for many years, appearing in more than 16 plays, 8 TV commercials, and 3 films. He has directed more than 30 productions. A member of the American Critics Association, the Dance Critics Association and The Cleveland Critics Circle, he has been an entertainment reviewer for more than twenty years.
For many years he was a regular on Channel 5, ABC-Cleveland's "Morning Exchange" and "Live on 5," serving as the stations communication consultant. He has also appeared on "Good Morning America." Roy served as the Director of Public Relations for the Volunteer Office in the White House during the first Clinton Administration.
He is a professor of communication and psychology who taught at George Washington University, University of Maryland, Notre Dame College of Ohio and Towson University. Roy is the author of 31 books. Several years ago, he was selected by Cleveland Magazine as one of the most interesting people in Cleveland.
BWW Review: Cleveland Play House's THE DEVIL'S MUSIC - An Entertaining Bio-Concert
February 21, 2013
THE DEVIL'S MUSIC is a very entertaining evening of theatre, highlighted by the performance of Miche Braden, but is somewhat burdened by the format of the script.
BWW Reviews: BLUE MAN GROUP Nothing But Fun, Fun, Fun at Palace Theatre
February 15, 2013
Ian, my thirteen year old grandson, who I often bring along to judge whether theatre productions are both appropriate and will be enjoyable for kids, just kept repeating, 'That was fun,' as we returned to our car for the trip home.
BWW Reviews: None Too Fragile's A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE...Not for the Language Police!
February 11, 2013
Sean Derry, the artistic director of none too fragile theater, is known for his love of off-the-wall scripts and characters. He fears no plots, language or the macabre. In Martin McDonagh, the author of none too fragile's latest brain teaser, A BEHANDING IN SPOKANE, he has met his mate.
BWW Reviews: Cute YOU SAY TOMATO, I SAY SHUT UP! at 14th Street Playhouse
February 8, 2013
What do courtship, sex, money, lack of sex, romance, birth, wanting more sex, parenting, children, squabbling, still wanting more sex, and anniversaries all have in common? Marriage, of course
Preview of The Shaw Festival 2013
February 8, 2013
Yes, it's snowing outside, but soon Spring and Summer will be upon us. That means The Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada, will beckon. The Shaw is one of the two major Canadian theatre festivals, the other being The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario. Both are high quality venues.
BWW Reviews: Lakeland's NEXT TO NORMAL: Compelling Script, Must See Production
February 3, 2013
If you were an investor in Broadway shows and someone came to you proposing a rock musical about a mother with worsening bipolar disorder, that was going to be performed as an operetta (all singing, few spoken sentences), with no show stoppers, no dancing, no chorus numbers, few laughs, and an unnerving ending, written by an author who has never had a big hit, would you invest? Well, a group did, and the result was NEXT TO NORMAL which won three 2009 Tony Awards and the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and had a smash 733 performance-run on Broadway, and is now touring to sold out audiences.
BWW Reviews: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES, Intriguing Theater at Ensemble
February 2, 2013
Charles Smith, author of THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES, which is now getting its Ohio Premiere at Ensemble Theatre, is an award-winning writer, and playwright-in-residence for the Indiana Repertory Theatre. He is also head of the Professional playwriting program at Ohio University.
BWW Reviews: WATER WAYS, Devised Theater at Cleveland Public Theatre
January 29, 2013
Cleveland Public Theatre is sometimes referred to as an off-Playhousequare theatre for its continued probing of non-traditional script choices and presentation styles. It's the place that did an age-blind version of OUR TOWN, a play which paralleled southern slavery with the Holocaust and added a gay twist, presented a one-man diatribe about the Cleveland Browns, and was recognized by the Cleveland Critics Circle in its 2012 awards for 'Outstanding Commitment to Multi-dimensional Theater Production and Education.'
BWW Reviews: Well Written FICTION Gets Excellent Production at Actors' Summit
January 20, 2013
Tennessee Williams, Edward Albee, William Inge, Arthur Miller, Stephen Dietz. What do these playwrights have in common? They are on the list of the top ten American writers who have the most produced plays. Never heard of Dietz? You are not alone. He is a regional playwright who makes a living as a college professor and writing scripts that are done in mid-America.
BWW Reviews: SPANK! Screaming Women Encourage the Sexual Goings-On at The Hanna Theatre
January 19, 2013
There are some weird and off-beat goings-on in downtown Cleveland's PlayhouseSquare. At the State, cross-dressers and a transvestite are feverishly dancing and preening in PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT, THE MUSICAL. At the Hanna, witches and warlocks are cavorting in BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE. On stage at the Hanna, in SPANK! THE FIFTY SHADES PARODY, whips, chains, handcuffs and undulating abs have the mostly 20-something female crowd screaming for more. Yes, female crowd...the farer sex outnumbered the males by at least 100 to 1.
Cleveland Critics Circle Announces 2012 Theater Awards
December 18, 2012
It is the purpose of THE CLEVELAND CRITICS CIRCLE AWARDS to recognize outstanding Cleveland area productions, performers, directors and others who were involved in those offerings during the 2012 year. Awards are considered for those theatres which the members review and the categories agreed upon by the members of the organization. (For a listing of these theatres go to: clevelandtheaterawards.com)
BWW Reviews: Delightful MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING at Actors' Summit
December 16, 2012
MY MOTHER'S LESBIAN JEWISH WICCAN WEDDING is a meaningful musical production which has a solid message enforcing the need for equal rights for all, while also being totally delightful. This is a must see show!
BWW Reviews: THE SECRET SOCIAL Holds Special Meeting at Cleveland Public Theatre
December 11, 2012
THE SECRET SOCIAL is not traditional theatre. No plot, no social message. All in all the goings on are intended for fun. That is, if you are in the mood to be uninhibited, and just have a great time. It also helps if you and half the audience are looped and let loose with rude and creative comments.
BWW Reviews: ANNIE Lights up the Stage at Beck Center
December 11, 2012
This is the time of year that theatres are looking for productions to attract large audiences in order to bring some extra money into the coffers. BECK, for a number of years did BEAUTY AND THE BEAST for their holiday show. This year they opened the classic ANNIE.
BWW Reviews: Dorothy Silver and Strong Cast Takes Audience 4000 MILES at Dobama
December 10, 2012
There is an air of an impending explosion about to happen in Amy Herzog's 4000 MILES, now on stage at Dobama Theatre. Interesting, though the artillery never goes off, the 90-minute play captivates and absolutely holds attention.
Cleveland Winter '13 Theater Calendar
December 5, 2012
Don't just hunker down during Cleveland's upcoming season of discontent and snow, support the local theatres. BTWtickets or gift cards to local theatres make great holiday presents!
BWW Reviews: Not One But Two NUTCRACKERS the Same Weekend
December 4, 2012
It's that time of year. Local theatres are staging all sorts of holiday fare. Tiny Tims, Scrooges, elfs and Santas are traipsing their way across the boards. And true to form, THE NUTCRACKER is marching and dancing.
BWW Reviews: DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, NOT FOR PRUDES at Blank Canvas
December 1, 2012
What does an airheaded, "good" girl from Beaverton Jesuit High School do when she wants to be a Dallas Cowgirl professional football team cheerleader, and she gets accepted, but doesn't have the money to get from Oklahoma to the big city? She and her cheerleading friends, of course, turn to prostitution. That, at least is the premise of the classic porn flick DEBBIE DOES DALLAS, as well as the musical based on that flick. The latter is now on stage at Blank Canvas.
BWW Reviews: MIRCLE & WONDER - A Welcome Change From Usual Holiday Fare
November 20, 2012
Ensemble's Stagewright's concept is an excellent means for local playwrights to try out their writing skills, get constructive feedback, and hopefully get their works staged. Congratulations to Jonathan Wilhelm for developing the often delightful MIRACLE & WONDER. Though it needs some refinements, and a more clearly directed concept, it is both entertaining and thought provoking and a change from the usual holiday theatre fare.
A Look Behind the Scenes at Inlet Dance's Marvelous Evening of Dance
November 19, 2012
Every once in a while a reviewer has the opportunity to not only see an enthralling dance performance, but to experience it from the inside. I accomplished both when I not only saw Inlet Dance's recent evening of dance, but sat in on a rehearsal.
BWW Reviews: HOW HIS BRIDE CAME TO ABRAHAM
November 12, 2012
BWW Reviews: GroundWorks Dance is Superb in Allen Premiere
November 1, 2012
This is the 14th season of GROUNDWORKS, the Cleveland area small dance company which has proven to be a local treasure since its inception. In its short history the company has commissioned 19 premieres by nationally and internationally acclaimed choreographers, as well as 26 new works by its founder and Artistic Director, David Shimotakahara, and 8 by former dancer and now Artistic Associate Amy Miller. Its highlight feature is the high level of discipline, purposefulness, and precision instilled by Shimotakahara.
BWW Reviews: Thought Provoking A BRIGHT NEW BOISE at Dobama
October 28, 2012
Though the message, due to the abstract nature of the concept of Rapture and religious differences, might turn off some viewers, Dobama's A BRIGHT NEW BOISE, featuring superb acting and focused directing, is a production well worth seeing!
BWW Reviews: CWRU/CPH MFA Students Present Delightful MISANTHROPE
October 27, 2012
CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Programs' THE MISANTHROPE is a delightful production of a historic classic.
BWW Reviews: Problematic LITTLE DOG LAUGHED at Beck Center
October 21, 2012
THE LITTLE DOG LAUGHED continues the recent trend of area theatres to probe into the gay phenomenon. Though it is somewhat dated due to changing attitudes towards gays in the arts, it still makes for an interesting theatrical experience.
BWW Reviews: Browns Win, So Does THE KARDIAC KID at Cleveland Public Theatre
October 15, 2012
Sunday the Cleveland Browns won. Later that day and carrying over to Monday, the city was abuzz. No, the team hadn't won the Super Bowl, the Browns had been victorious in the first game in their last eleven attempts.
BWW Reviews: Emotional THE COLOR PURPLE at Karamu
October 14, 2012
THE COLOR PURPLE, which is an appropriate selection for Karamu's mission, gets a good, but somewhat flawed production, filled with some wonderful singing and acting.
BWW Reviews: STANDING ON CEREMONY; THE GAY MARRIAGE PLAYS at Cleveland Public Theatre
October 10, 2012
Every era has its controversies. Since theatre represents the era from which it comes, here in the United States, attitudes about the women's movement were presented by feminist plays. The Black movement found African American writers sending forth their messages. Today, with the Gay rights movement in full swing, it is only logical that some of that community's issues reach the forefront.
BWW Reviews: Will Rogers Shares Wisdom at Actors' Summit
October 9, 2012
Will Rogers was a great American humorist and philosopher. His understated humor is sage wisdom, but does not make for compelling theatre, in spite of a nice presentation by Neil Thackaberry at Actors' Summit.
BWW Reviews: Blank Canvas Stages Thought-Provoking NEXT FALL
October 6, 2012
NEXT FALL continues the Blank Canvas's streak of well conceived productions of challenging scripts. Though viewers may have to set aside their own individual beliefs in order to buy into the play's ending, this is an overall positive theatrical experience and very well worth seeing.
BWW Reviews: MOTHERF**KER Captivates at Dobama
October 1, 2012
THE MOTHERF**KER WITH THE HAT, the play that dare not speak its name, has a lot to say. In spite of the almost immediate negative reaction of some people to the title, the production makes for a very compelling evening of theatre. Congrats to Dobama for not steering away from the script because of the title and the realistic language.
BWW Reviews: Disappointing THE WINTER'S TALE at Great Lakes Theater
September 30, 2012
GLT's THE WINTER'S TALE is a disappointment. This is a difficult script to produce due to the many emotional and psychological levels which require a clear staging philosophy. Due to the lack of focused directing by Jesse Berger, the production never sets a clear course and leaves so much of Shakespeare's brilliance untapped.
BWW Reviews: THE NORMAL HEART at Ensemble - Emotionally Moving, Expertly Performed
September 29, 2012
Each night during the 2011 Broadway revival of THE NORMAL HEART, Larry Kramer, the author of the script, stood outside the theatre to distribute a letter to members of the audience.
BWW Reviews: Verb Ballet's EXPLORE DISCOVER Echoes Its Name
September 26, 2012
Antonio Brown, whose work was the centerpiece of EXPLORE DISCOVER (9/22/12) has great potential as a choreographer. Though it might be incumbent upon a local reviewer to extol his work, it would not be a service to him or his audience. Brown is just developing a style and dance philosophy that will take years and maturity to polish, and needs honest evaluation to help him on his path. Verb should be praised for giving the young man a chance to ply his creativity and give him a chance to experiment.
BWW Reviews: Must-See PROOF at Lakeland Theatre
September 24, 2012
What happens when you combine a perfectly perceived script, which tells a meaningful story, and a gets masterfully staged show? You get Lakeland Theatre's PROOF. This is a production everyone interested in a good story and a great production must see!
BWW Reviews: XANADU at Beck Center Turns Bad Script Into Funky Fun
September 22, 2012
If you are in the mood for total silliness, want to hear some well sung classical modern songs, and desire to see some excellent dancing, XANADU is for you. The "Magic" may "Suddenly" take you to "Xanadu," allowing you to be "Suspended in Time," so, "Don't Walk Away" from seeing this show at Beck.
BWW Reviews: LOMBARDI Kicks a Field Goal at Cleveland Play House
September 21, 2012
LOMBARDI doesn't get the full six points of scoring a touchdown, but is good enough to get three for kicking a field goal.