LEVELING UP Receives World Premiere at PIP, Feb. 9-March 10


PIP_Leveling Up(CINCINNATI) – The fuzzy line between reality and virtual reality is explored in the world- premiere production of LEVELING UP by Deborah Zoe Laufer. This thought-provoking and often humorous play begins previews in the Playhouse’s Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre Feb. 9 and continues through March 10.

LEVELING UP follows the story of four 20-somethings who struggle to transition from college to a “real” life that is rarely spent outside the glare of the video game monitors in their Las Vegas basement. What they find is a world of grown-up relationships that require levels of intimacy far beyond the social shield of technology. When one member of the circle is recruited by the NSA to pilot remote missiles, he’s ill-equipped to handle the moral ambiguities raised.

According to Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison, “LEVELING UP is a play about friendship, about growing up, about facing life’s important challenges. Gaming is the context, but everyone can relate to the hurdles faced by the young people in this play.”

The cast of LEVELING UP includes Ali Rose Dachis as Jeannie, Bobby Moreno as Chuck, Sean Mellot as Ian and Ben Morrow as Zander. All four actors are making their Playhouse debut.

Ms. Laufer’s play End Days was awarded The American Theatre Critics Association’s Steinberg Citation and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant. It has received more than 40 productions, including in Germany and Russia, is listed in the Burns Mantle The Best Plays Theater Yearbook as one of the best regional plays of 2008 and is published in The Best Plays of 2008 (Smith and Kraus). End Days was developed at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference. Sirens premiered at the Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival in February 2010. Out of Sterno received its world premiere at Portland Stage in Maine in 2009 with a grant from The Edgerton Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. Ms. Laufer is currently adapting both plays into musicals. Her play The Last Schwartz enjoyed a six-month run at the Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles, and was published in Women Playwrights, the Best Plays of 2003. Fortune premiered at Marin Theatre Company.

Wendy C. Goldberg, who directed Durango and Doubt at the Playhouse, will helm the production. She is artistic director of the Tony Award-winning National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center. A workshop of LEVELING UP was developed and directed by Goldberg at the O’Neill Center during a residency at the National Playwrights Conference of 2011.

Other members of the production team include Set Designer Kevin Depinet, Costume Designer Anne Kennedy, Lighting Designer Josh Epstein, Sound Designer Benji Inniger and Fight Director Drew Fracher.

Prices for LEVELING UP range from $30 to $71, depending on day and seat location, and are subject to change. Tickets are just $30 for the preview performances at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 9; 7 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 10; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 12 and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 13. The official opening night is Thursday, Feb. 14 at 8 p.m.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays.

Tickets to LEVELING UP are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse box office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for TDD accessibility.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

The Playhouse is supported, in part, by the generosity of the tens of thousands of individuals and businesses that give to ArtsWave.

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.

Special Performances

Meet the Artists
These free programs allow audiences to interact with cast members and others associated with the production following the show.

  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17
  • 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24
  • 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 27
  • 8 p.m. Thursday, March 7

Dining Options
Karlo’s Bistro at the Playhouse offers full-service dining prior to most evening performances. Dinners include salad, entrée and dessert. Reservations are required by noon on the day of the show. The price is $27. Karlo’s Casual Fare offers busy theatre patrons an alternative light, quick bite prior to the show. Options include salads, sandwiches, soups, pasta and desserts. No reservations are required. Credit cards are now accepted.


Production Sponsor: Vickie Buyniski Gluckman and Jack L. Gluckman, M.D.

Additional Support Provided by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust

The 2012-2013 Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre Series is presented by The Heidelberg Distributing Co.

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