(CINCINNATI) – Artistic Director Blake Robison announced the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s 2015-16 season today with an engaging combination of world-premiere comedies, beloved dramas, inspirational and provocative new plays, a sultry musical revue and the return of one of the most popular shows in Playhouse history. The Playhouse’s 56th season is Robison’s fourth as artistic director.
The 2015-16 season includes:
- Two world-premiere comedies — NATIVE GARDENS, a hilarious tale of clashing neighbors by Karen Zacarías, author of The Book Club Play, and THE REVOLUTIONISTS, an irreverent, girl-powered fantasia set during the French Revolution and written by one of the country’s most exciting young playwrights, Lauren Gunderson.
- Two beloved shows based on classic novels — the soaring musical version of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s THE SECRET GARDEN and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, a sweeping adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winner.
- * The jazz-infused, inspirational new drama SATCHEL PAIGE AND THE KANSAS CITY SWING, from the creators of Fly.
- * A captivating drama, MAD RIVER RISING, set on an Ohio farm.
“The 2015-16 season highlights what the Playhouse does best — present the full scope of our art form for broad, diverse audiences,” says Robison. “I’m especially pleased to do two world premieres by contemporary female playwrights and to bring a pair of beloved classics to our stages. Coupled with an Ohio-based drama and a portrait of an African-American legend, this new season offers discovery and variety to our growing community of Playhouse goers.”
The Robert S. Marx Theatre Season
Presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation
Marx Season Design Sponsor: Macy’s
The Marx Theatre season opens with THE SECRET GARDEN (Sept. 5 – Oct. 3, 2015; opening night: Sept. 10), the Tony Award-winning, soaring musical version of the classic family novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. THE SECRET GARDEN, with book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and music by Lucy Simon, tells the beloved story of 10-year-old Mary Lennox and the secrets she discovers locked away in an abandoned garden. The production, featuring a gorgeous score, is perfect for fans of the novel, lovers of grand-scale musicals and those discovering its delightful story for the very first time. Tony Award nominee Marcia Milgrom Dodge (who directed the Playhouse production of Cabaret) will direct THE SECRET GARDEN, which is sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.
The poetic, poignant and utterly captivating drama MAD RIVER RISING by Dana Yeaton (Oct. 17 – Nov. 14, 2015; opening night: Oct. 22) is the second production of the Marx Theatre season. Determined to save the land he loves, an elderly man escapes from his nursing home and is found hiding in the family barn. As a boy, he witnessed his Ohio farmhouse wash away in the catastrophic flood of 1937; now, the floodgates of progress are threatening to sweep it aside once again. Blake Robison will direct the production, which will feature music by singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell. MAD RIVER RISING is sponsored by Tony Alper.
The Playhouse production of Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL, presented by U.S. Bank, celebrates 25 years as one of Cincinnati’s favorite holiday traditions (Nov. 25 – Dec. 30; opening night Nov. 27). Bruce Cromer vividly brings the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge to life for the 11th year, while Associate Artist Michael Evan Haney directs for his 23rd year. The Howard Dallin adaptation, faithful to the beloved holiday novel, features a cast of 29 actors, elaborate period costumes and thrilling special effects. A CHRISTMAS CAROL is not part of any subscription package, although subscribers do receive discounts and early buying opportunities.
NATIVE GARDENS (Jan. 23 – Feb. 21, 2016; opening night: Jan. 28) is the latest world premiere by Karen Zacarías, author of The Book Club Play. It’s a comedy about good intentions and bad manners as gardens and cultures clash, turning friendly neighbors into feuding enemies. Pablo and Tania are realizing the American dream when they purchase a house next door to community stalwarts Virginia and Frank, but a disagreement over a long-standing fence line soon spirals into an all-out war. NATIVE GARDENS will be directed by Blake Robison.
One of the most treasured novels of all time, Harper Lee’s TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (March 5 – April 3, 2016; opening night: March 10) returns to the Playhouse stage for the first time in more than 20 years in the sweeping adaptation by Christopher Sergel. Precocious tomboy Scout and her brother Jem discover the meaning of courage when their lawyer father defends a black man unjustly accused of a crime in Depression-era Alabama. It’s a timeless and timely tale of innocence lost and honor found that won Lee the Pulitzer Prize. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD will be directed by new Playhouse Associate Artist Eric Ting and is sponsored by Leading Ladies.
SATCHEL PAIGE AND THE KANSAS CITY SWING (April 23 – May 21, 2016; opening night: April 28), an exciting and inspirational new play from Fly creators Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, is the Marx Theatre season finale. In the 1947 Negro Leagues, Satchel Paige is the king of baseball, despite his advancing age. But as Jackie Robinson wraps up his historic first season in the majors, Paige finds his own fame eclipsed. The jazz-infused drama, which paints a vivid picture of America on the brink of great change, will be directed by Ricardo Khan.
The Thompson Shelterhouse Season
Presented by Heidelberg Distributing Company
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation
The Thompson Shelterhouse season opens with the provocative and funny Laura Eason play SEX WITH STRANGERS (Sept. 26 – Oct. 25, 2015; opening night: Oct. 1), which explores what transpires when private lives become public domain. When famous blogger Ethan is snowbound with the gifted but obscure novelist Olivia, their passion for each other is matched by their envy of the other’s career. Both must confront the complications of reinventing themselves when the past is just a click away. SEX WITH STRANGERS will be directed by Playhouse Associate Artist KJ Sanchez and is sponsored by The Schueler Group of Companies.
The club may be closed, but the party is just heating up in Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman’s sizzling, sultry revue LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES (Nov. 7 – Dec. 20, 2015; opening night: Nov. 12). A group of veteran musicians assembles for an after-hours jam session to swap stories and share their favorite tunes, pulled from the greatest hits of Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf, Pearl Bailey and more. Directed by Randal Myler, LOW DOWN DIRTY BLUES features nearly two dozen songs that celebrate the bawdier side of the blues.
Four beautiful, badass women lose their heads in Lauren Gunderson’s irreverent world premiere THE REVOLUTIONISTS (Feb. 6 – March 6, 2016; opening night: Feb. 11) which is set during the French Revolution. Playwright Olympe de Gouges, assassin Charlotte Corday, activitist Angelle Ogé and former queen Marie Antoinette try to beat back extremist insanity in Paris. The comic fantasia by one of the country’s most exciting young playwrights considers how we actually go about changing the world. THE REVOLUTIONISTS director Eleanor Holdridge will be making her Playhouse debut.
MOTHERS AND SONS (March 19 – April 17, 2016; opening night: March 24), a gripping new drama by award-winning playwright Terrence McNally, explores what it means to be a family. Cal and his husband Will have built a happy life with their 6-year-old child. When the mother of Cal’s long-deceased former lover makes a surprise visit to their home, she serves as a vibrant reminder of how much and how little has changed for a generation of gay men facing a future they never imagined. A 2014 Tony nominee for best play, MOTHERS AND SONS will be directed by Associate Artist Timothy Douglas.
Theresa Rebeck’s irresistible comedy BAD DATES (April 30 – June 12, 2016; opening night: May 5), one of the most popular shows in Playhouse history, will wrap up the 2015-16 Shelterhouse season. As restaurant manager/shoe connoisseur/single mother Haley Walker re-enters the dating world, she relates a series of hilarious tales while preparing for, and then recovering from, one dreadful date after another. The uproarious tale, which combines killer Chanel pumps, a shoebox full of money and the Romanian mob, is certain to be the hottest date night in town. BAD DATES will be directed by Associate Artist Michael Evan Haney.
New this year is an earlier performance time on Thursdays. For the 2015-16 season, Playhouse performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, at 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays.
Subscriptions to the 2015-16 Playhouse season are available now in a variety of packages. Prices range from $157.50 to $387 for the five-show Robert S. Marx Season or the five Thompson Shelterhouse shows and $280 to $688 for the full 10-show combination series.
The popular Build Your Own subscription allows patrons to create their own season of four to nine shows in either theatre. Once again this season, all price options are available in the lower level of the Marx Theatre. The Playhouse offers two-, three-, six- and nine-month payment plans for subscribers. Some restrictions apply.
A student Build Your Own package allows full-time students to pick as few as four shows and as many as 10 from either theatre for just $15 per show. The Baby Sitter Rebate Series allows a couple purchasing two subscriptions in the Marx Theatre to attend any performance and receive up to $100 at the end of the season to help cover the cost of baby sitters for children under the age of 12.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of the community contributors to the ArtsWave campaign.
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.
The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.