Know Theatre of Cincinnati Announces 2011-2012 Season

Features exciting mainstage season, several returning Fringe Festival
shows, and the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival

Know Theatre is pleased to announce our 14th season producing contemporary theatre in Over-the-Rhine. The season will consist of five mainstage productions, The 9th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival, The Know Theatre CityBeat NYE Speakeasy Party, a national tour of Calculus: The Musical!, a few special events, and some new and returning Jackson Street Market programs.

Mainstage Season

Gruesome Playground Injuries
The first show of the season, opens October 8th with the Regional Premiere of Gruesome Playground Injuries by Rajiv Joseph. The production will feature the same artistic and production team as last year’s season opener Skin Tight. Gruesome Playground Injuries will be directed by Drew Fracher with Scenic and Lighting Design by Andrew Hungerford, Costume Design by Noelle Wedig, and Sound Design by Doug Borntrager. The production will star local actress Beth Harris and visiting actor Jens Rasmussen. Gruesome Playground Injuries will show October 8 – November 5, 2011.

Kayleen and Doug’s eight year old lives collide in the nurse’s office when Doug rides his bike off the roof of the school and Kayleen can’t stop throwing up. Over the course of the next 30 years, he lives of these made-for-each-other masochists continue to intersect, leading the two childhood friends to compare their physical and emotional scars. These two misfits may be continually drawn together, but that may not be enough to heal each other’s wounds. The production and artistic crew won many awards for Skin Tight at the beginning of the 2010-2011 season. Skin Tight earned the team Acclaim Awards for Fight Choreography and Direction by Drew Fracher, Best Non-Equity Lead Performance by Beth Harris, and Best Equity Lead Performance by Jens Rasmussen.

“I’m happy we were able to get the band back together for this production,” says Eric Vosmeier, Producing Artistic Director. “They created such a strong working relationship with one another during Skin Tight and I’m excited to see what they’ll be able to do with Mr. Joseph’s incredible script.”

Gruesome Playground Injuries had its world premiere on October 16, 2009, at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. The play had its Off-Broadway premiere in February 2011 at Second Stage Theater in New York City. Playwright Rajiv Joseph was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.

Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party
Know Theatre’s holiday offering will be Aaron Loeb’s Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party. The production will show November 26 – December 23, 2011.

Ms. Harmony Green’s fourth-grade class presents a new take on their traditional Christmas pageant in a rural Illinois town. The production sets off a firestorm of controversy when it calls into question Honest Abe’s sexual orientation – based on historical facts. This thought-provoking, laugh-out-loud funny, and uniquely American story unfolds, offering surprises at every turn. Each of the three acts lets the audience see the story from a different character’s viewpoint. Oh, and of course, plenty of big gay dancing.

“Loeb’s unique storytelling technique was what drew me to the play,” says Vosmeier. “It’s more than just a gimmick, but rather a totally different way of telling a complex story, while creating a thoroughly hilarious and poignant script.”

This show was originally commissioned by PlayGround and received its world premiere at the SF Playhouse in 2009 and won “Best New Play” from the Bay Area Critics Circle. It continued with a run at the 2009 New York International Fringe Festival where it was awarded their “Outstanding Play” award, and in the summer of 2010, the production enjoyed a short Off-Broadway run.

Know Theatre’s February/March production is in the works and will be announced very shortly.

Afghan Women’s Writing Project
In the spring, Know Theatre will produce a special project comprised of collections of stories from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project. Know Theatre commissioned playwrights Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin to curate a performance piece from the writings available on the Project website (www.awwproject.org). The dates of this production are TBD.

The Afghan Women’s Writing Project began as an idea during novelist Masha Hamilton’s last trip to Afghanistan in November 2008. Masha first visited the country in 2004, and was awed and inspired by the resolute courage of the women she met. When she returned, she saw doors were closing and life was again becoming more difficult, especially for women. She began to fear we could lose access to the voices of Afghan women if we didn’t act soon. The Afghan Women’s Writing Project is aimed at allowing Afghan women to have a direct voice in the world, not filtered through male relatives or members of the media. Many of these Afghan women have to make extreme efforts to gain computer access in order to secretly submit their writings, in English, to the project.

The project reaches out to talented and generous women author/teachers here in the United States and engages them, on a volunteer, rotating basis, to teach Afghan women online from Afghanistan. The goal of the project is to encourage the women to develop their voices and share their stories, something that was not permitted during the years when Afghanistan was Taliban-held.

“When I stumbled upon a review of the first staged performance of these pieces I was intrigued by the concept,” says Vosmeier. “Once I spent some time on the site, I knew I wanted our audiences to hear these women. The stories are touching and horrifying, funny and thoughtful. They are inspiring in so many ways. And when you realize that most of the writers put their lives in danger just to write, let alone to find a way to upload their stories, you know that these stories deserve to be heard by as many people as possible.”

In 2010 AWWP held two highly successful readings of poems and stories by these Afghan women writers: the first in Los Angeles on March 8th and the second in Washington, D.C., on May 24th.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
The final show of the season will be the Off-Broadway hit musical, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson with music and lyrics written by Michael Friedman, and a book by Alex Timbers (Creator of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant performed at Know Theatre in 2008). Recently closed on Broadway, this rock musical will show at Know Theatre March 31 – May 12, 2012. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson premiered in 2008 in Los Angeles. The show’s New York premiere took place in 2009 at The Public Theater in a concert version, followed by a fully-mounted production the following year, before transferring to Broadway.

An audacious mix of historical fact and invention, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson uses the story of America’s controversial seventh president, “the man who invented the Democratic Party, doubled the size of our nation, and signed the Indian Removal Acts that started the Trail of Tears,” to investigate the attraction and terrors of American populism, using a raucous blend of outrageous comedy, anarchic theatricality and an infectious rock n’ roll soundtrack.

Bloody Bloody was one of those shows I fell in love with right away,” says Eric Vosmeier, Producing Artistic Director. “Timber’s writing is sharp and funny, and Freidman’s emo-rock inspired score is a perfect accompaniment.”

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson was nominated for two Tony Awards in 2001 for Best Book of a Musical and Best Scenic Design of a Musical.

2010-2011 Mainstage Season Dates

Gruesome Playground Injuries: October 8 – November 5, 2011

Abraham Lincoln’s Big Gay Dance Party: November 26 – December 23, 2011

Production TBD: February 4 – March 3, 2012

Afghan Women’s Writers Project: Dates TBD

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson: March 31 – May 12, 2012

Please visit knowtheatre.com/calendar.html for full performance schedules

Jackson Street Market
Last season Know Theatre launched a new series of programs geared toward building and retaining our local artist community. During the 2011-2012 Season, Know Theatre plans to continue existing programs under this umbrella and also work to expand not only its reach to the local artistic community, but increase public engagement.

The goals of the Jackson Street Market are to provide opportunity to local artistic entrepreneurs, to leverage Know Theatre’s resources on their behalf, and to build upon the strengths of our artistic community by creating a space where they can experiment and play with new ideas.

“The first year of the Market was a strong start. We collected a lot of information and we found a number of needs among our community of local artists that we were able to help fill. This year, we’re adding some new programming and building upon those programs that were a part of the Market last year,” says Vosmeier. “We’re currently renting low cost office space to two groups, and we’ve got a waiting list for additional space. We’re continuing True Theatre, bARTer Lab, and the Requiem Project, and we’re adding a new comedy improv troupe, Off The Rocks Improv (OTR Improv)”.

Existing Programming Includes:

• True Theatre’s mission is to bring together a wide variety of people to share stories in an effort to create community, encourage discussion, and remind everyone that all of us have stories to tell with unique insights and broad appeal. True Theatre’s first season in 2010-2011 was a wild success with packed houses for every performance. The 2011-2012 Season is as follows: trueHUNGER (November 7, 2011) trueLOVE (February 13, 2012), trueMOM (May 14, 2012), and trueGRIT (July 23, 2012). Tickets and subscriptions for True Theatre’s 2011-2012 Season are on sale at knowtheatre.com.

Off The Rocks Improv Team is a newly formed improve troupe based Know Theatre. The team will have regular public improv nights at Know Theatre as well as various performances at other local events.

bARTer Lab is a monthly program facilitated by Pones Inc. that seeks to create a forum for multiple artistic disciplines to merge and jointly explore creative change in Cincinnati. Trade meetings will include an experiment, critical discussion, and prescription to a different theme or topic. bARTer Lab meetings are currently scheduled for October 10, November 14, December 12, January 9, February 13, March 12, April 9, and May 14.

• Know Theatre’s Playwrights Group, formed in 2006, is a group of local playwrights and writers who gather monthly to read and critique each other’s work.

Higher Level Art, are a creative duo who have become known locally for their innovative mural and street art work, as well as all of the murals on Know Theatre’s building. The company is currently sharing office space with Know Theatre as part of the Jackson Street Market at low cost.

The Requiem Project has recently joined as a member of the program as they work to renovate and create programming for the Emery Theater in Over-the-Rhine. The team is also renting office space from Know Theatre as well as utilizing some of Know Theatre’s resources for their upcoming events.

Planned Programming:

• The launch of a resource sharing website which will be a list of all available physical resources that Know Theatre can share. The system will function as an online library where an individual artist can check out costumes, props, scenic elements, etc. In exchange, Know Theatre will ask for some minimal volunteer hours of some form.

Vosmeier adds, “I look forward to getting the resource website up and running. This has been a huge undertaking to first move, then organize our physical assets. We’ve been offered some assistance with the cataloguing of assets and we hope to have this website up and running before the end of the season”.

Support for the 2011-2012 Season of the Jackson Street Market is generously provided by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation.

Fringe Encores!
Know Theatre is very excited to announce that several hit productions from several past Cincinnati Fringe Festivals are returning this season for encore performances at Know Theatre. Below are the confirmed visits from Fringe performers. Several more are in the works and will be announced when confirmed.

  • An Evening with Kevin J. Thornton
    Featuring material from several of Kevin’s past performances in Cincinnati, This evening with Kevin is a throwback to the golden age of entertainers on the vaudeville circuit — Kevin sings poignant songs and tells hilarious jokes but the twist is Thornton is anything but old fashioned. This comedian’s stories comment on sexuality (the straight and gay kind), religion and American life in a new century.

An Evening with Kevin J. Thornton
October 19, 2011 @ 8:00 p.m.
Tickets available at knowtheatre.com

  • Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown
    Winner of the Critics’ Pick of the Fringe at the 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Written and performed by Joe Hutcheson and directed by Cheryl King. Southern debutante Miss Magnolia Beatrice Devareux Beaumont has choked to death on the meat of a pork rib, only to find herself suddenly inhabiting the body of a thirty-something, gay New Yorker (to whom she refers as Master Joseph) on his way to Provincetown, Massachusetts for a birthday vacation. But before Miss Beaumont can quietly get used to Master Joseph’s cosmopolitan, gay lifestyle, an offensive painting suddenly jolts her into his awareness. After the initial shock and a few disagreements, the two spend the rest of their trip discussing the deeper meanings of life, why they were brought together, and why a simple kite can be such a magical thing. More than a monologue, Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown is a modern comic fantasy celebrating the beauty and magic of P-town.

Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown
January 13 & 14, 2012 at 8:00 pm
Tickets available at knowtheatre.com

Know Theatre CityBeat NYE Speakeasy Party
On New Year’s Eve, Know Theatre will again hold the 6th Annual Know Theatre CityBeat NYE Speakeasy Party from 8pm – 1am. Over 300 people dressed to the nines and attended last year’s swingin’ toast to the New Year to enjoy casino games, dance lessons, delicious fare, martinis, and a champagne toast at midnight. Funds raised from this annual event support operations for Know Theatre and the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Tickets are available for $15 in advance and $20 the week of (starting on December 26th).

Education
Know Theatre’s national tour of Calculus: The Musical! has now performed in 30 different states for over 44,000 students after three years of touring. This season welcomes a new cast to the national tour. Breona Conrad, who toured with Calculus: The Musical! in 2009 and recently performed as Ms. Valoosh in Sideways Stories from Wayside School returns this year along with her new husband Joshua Murphy, a member of Know Theatre’s company in 2009-2010 and was seen in boom, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Adding Machine: A Musical, and Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes. The tour continues to expand each year as many schools continue to book year after year and teachers incorporate the soundtrack into their yearly curriculum.

2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival
Know Theatre’s season would not be complete without the 9th Annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which will kick-off May 29 through June 9, 2011. As always, Ohio’s largest performing arts festival will take over Downtown/Over-the-Rhine with 12 days of theatre, music, dance, film, art and everything in between. The 2011 festival saw the addition of some new programming including FringeNext, performances produced by high school students, and FringeDevelopment, workshops and events focused on giving the greater Fringe community events and workshops to collaborate and create. This year’s FringeNext program will grow by two and feature five performing groups, entirely high school produced, performing at The School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

Vosmeier says, “The success of last year’s Festival was inspiring. Much of the growth came from the addition of FringeNext to the line up. We’ll continue to focus our individual Fringe artists as well by continuing the FringeDevelopment series, which was created to incubate/workshop new scripts using the concentration of creativity that our Fringe artists bring. Last year’s workshops of Cincinnati Shakespeare’s Canterbury Tales, and The Bengsons new piece The Proof proved to be very successful and helpful in the developmental process for these works.”

Staffing Updates
Know Theatre is pleased to announce that Alexandra Kesman, formerly Marketing & PR Manager, has been promoted to Managing Director of the company. Alexandra started at the company in 2008 as Development Associate and within a year had taken on responsibility for a number of other tasks. In 2009 she was made Marketing and PR Manager and will now continue to grow with the company as its new Managing Director.

In addition, Associate Company Member Chris Wesselman, in addition to his current position, will become the Associate Producer of the 2012 Cincinnati Fringe Festival working with Artistic Director Eric Vosmeier on producing this year’s festival as well as continue to expand the reach of FringeNext and grow its performances.

Tickets
This season, tickets will be $15 in advance and $18 the week of the performance (beginning Mondays at noon). Season subscriptions five-show flexible passes are available for $75 and can guarantee the user the advance ticket price all season long. Tickets can be purchased by visiting knowtheatre.com or by calling the box office at 513.300.KNOW (5669)

Additional Information

Gruesome Playground Injuries
Rajiv Joseph (Playwright) – Rajiv Joseph’s play Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo has been awarded a grant for Outstanding New American Play by the National Endowment for the Arts. Rajiv’s New York productions include Animals Out Of Paper (Second Stage Theatre, summer 2008), The Leopard and the Fox (Alter Ego, fall 2007), Huck & Holden (Cherry Lane Theatre, 2006), and All This Intimacy (Second Stage Theatre, 2006). In Los Angeles Huck & Holden was produced by The Black Dahlia Theatre in 2006. Through the Lark Play Development Center, Rajiv has traveled to Mexico and Romania, where Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo was translated into Spanish and Romanian, respectively, and performed in staged readings. Rajiv has been awarded the Paula Vogel Award by the Vineyard Theatre and the 2009 Kesselring Fellowship. Rajiv is a Founding Member of the new New York based theatre company The Fire Department and was a contributing writer on their first two theatrical events, Speakeasy and At War: American Playwrights Respond to the War in Iraq. He is a former Lark Playwriting Fellow and Dramatists Guild Fellow. His plays have been published by Samuel French, Dramatists Play Service, and Smith & Kraus. He received his B.A. in Creative Writing from Miami University in Oxford, OH and his M.F.A. in Playwriting from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, and he is currently a Language Lecturer at NYU with the School of Art and Public Policy and the Expository Writing Program. He served for three years in the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa.

Drew Fracher (Director) – Drew is a freelance director, fight arranger and actor, serving as a Fight Master with the Society of American Fight Directors. As a director his work has been seen at Actors Theatre of Louisville, American Stage, Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati, New Stage Collective, Florida Stage and the Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky and Cincinnati Shakespeare Festivals. As a fight director his work has been seen for over 25 years at a wide variety of theatres throughout the U.S. At Know Theatre he has directed Skin Tight, boom, and Angels in America: Perestroika. Other recent directing projects include Much Ado About Nothing at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and A Christmas Story at GA Shakespeare. This summer he directed fights for KY Shakespeare Festival and God of Carnage at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson
Alex Timbers (Writer) is Artistic Director of the downtown company Les Freres Corbusier. Recent directing: Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (OCC and Drama Desk Awards, Public/CTG); The Pee-wee Herman Show; Gutenberg! The Musical! (Drama Desk nom., Best Director of a Musical); Hell House (Drama Desk nom., Unique Theatrical Experience); A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant… (Obie Award and Garland Award, Best Director); Heddatron, Boozy, Dance Dance Revolution (all Les Freres, writer of latter two). Former president, Yale Dramat.

Michael Friedman (Music & Lyrics) Composer/lyricist for Saved and the Civilians’ This Beautiful City, Gone Missing, [I Am] Nobody’s Lunch and Canard Canard Goose? as well as The Brand New Kid, In the Bubble, Hoover Comes Alive! Co-author: Paris Commune. He last worked in this theatre as the dramaturg on A Raisin in the Sun. He recently performed in Lincoln Center’s American Songbook in a concert of his songs. Barron Visiting Professor: Princeton University. Artistic associate: New York Theater Workshop; founding associate artist: the Civilians; MacDowell Fellow; Hodder Fellow. Obie Award: Sustained Achievement.

Our mission is to create evocative and explosive live entertainment.
Our vision is a world awakened to its collective possibility.
We value a playful artistic community where artists can collaborate and grow.

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