Pull Up a Chair – Know Theatre Has Some Stories to Share at DARKEST NIGHT AT THE GNARLY STUMP

ktc_darkest-night-at-gnarly-stump-logoPULL UP A CHAIR – WE HAVE SOME STORIES TO SHARE AT

A world premiere Appalachian ghost story by Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin
With original music by Paul Strickland

Directed by Brant Russell
November 26 – December 17

On the darkest night of the year, residents of a secluded Kentucky town gather at local pub, The Gnarly Stump, to share ghost stories and songs.

When an outsider arrives reporting the mysterious disappearance of her sister, the lines between story and reality blur…

This world premiere commissioned by Know Theatre pairs an original tale from the writers behind Know’s Saturday the 14th (2015) and We Will Rise: Stories from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (2012 & 2014) with music and lyrics from Paul Strickland, local fringe favorite and author of The Trailer Park Trilogy (2013-2016), My Messed Upera (2016), and co-author of Andy’s House of [blank] (2015).

Stories passed down from Celtic traditions blend with local lore, some true personal tales, and original music inspired by the melodies of Appalachia, forming the backbone of this brand-new theatrical adventure.

There is more than just trees in the woods around The Gnarly Stump. Strange occurrences are not uncommon. People lose their way. Are these mere coincidences? Or are there supernatural forces at play, lingering from times long past?

More than a play, DARKEST NIGHT AT THE GNARLY STUMP will be an experience unlike any other MainStage production you’ve seen at the Know.

Our trusted design team is working hard to transform our own Underground Bar into The Gnarly Stump. You’ll gather alongside the town’s local residents on the darkest night of the year, in your favorite cozy local tavern (The Know Underground). And the stories and songs will unfold all around you.

Brant Russell (University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music) will bring this mystical world to life as director. About this project, Brant says,

“The Gnarly Stump might be a dive bar in Kentucky, but it’s also a metaphorical space that welcomes us all: it’s where we confront our prejudices, comfort each other, and embrace what we once thought impossible.”

Joining him is a star-studded cast of Know favorites and Know debuts:

Longtime Know Theatre artist Derek Snow returns to the Know stage for the first time since 2015’s The Hunchback of Seville. Michael Sherman (Walnut Hills High School Theatre Director) returns after a smash-hit turn in last season’s All Childish Things — and he’s joined by his wife Lisa DeRoberts, whose hilarious antics in 2015’s Hearts Like Fists made her a fan favorite. Rounding out our Know veterans in the cast is Lindsey Mercer, who joins us onstage for the first time since Hundred Days, after directing (and sometimes drumming in) our summer musical  Girlfriend.

Making their MainStage season debuts in this musical tale are Lormarev Jones (Playhouse in the Park) and Gabriella DiVincenzo (UC-CCM).

Alongside them will be Paul Strickland on guitar and Linsey Rogers on fiddle, whose underscoring and accompaniment will add lush, traditional flavor to the tight harmonies and soaring melodies of the show’s original score.

Says Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford,

When nights are long at the close of the year, we all gather together to tell and create the stories of our lives. So while Gnarly Stump isn’t a Holiday show, I think it’s perfectly suited to the season. It’s an opportunity to find comfort in the dark, a reminder that none of us are alone. And, like any gathering of friends, it’s bound to be a good time.”

DARKEST NIGHT AT THE GNARLY STUMP opens November 26 and runs through December 17 in the Underground. Bring your family, bring your friends, and pull up a chair – we have a story to share!

Cast in Alphabetical Order: Lisa DeRoberts, Gabriella DiVincenzo, Lormarev Jones, Lindsey Mercer, Michael Sherman, Derek Snow


  • Paul Strickland – guitar & vocals
  • Linsey Rogers – fiddle & vocals

Production Team

  • Director – Brant Russell
  • Music Director – Paul Strickland
  • Lighting & Scenic Designer – Andrew Hungerford
  • Prop Designer & Scenic Charge – Sarah Beth Hall
  • Costume Designer – Noelle Wedig
  • Sound Designer – Doug Borntrager

About Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin
Writing partners Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin met in high school when they both worked for the same New England Shakespeare Company. After graduating from Brown and Stanford respectively, they worked in theater before transitioning to screenwriting. They still maintain a presence in the theater world with a keen interest in immersive, site-specific theatrical pieces.

They adapted the Grimm fairy tale The Twelve Dancing Princesses as an animated musical feature for Amazon Studios. Last spring, they sold the live-action Mulan to Disney. Recently, they’ve been writing an animated adventure feature for Sony Pictures Animation. They are proud members of the Writers Guild of America West. Currently, they serve as the vice-chair and co-chair of the Committee of Women Writers at the WGAW.

Calendar Listing

Production:   Darkest Night at the Gnarly Stump by Lauren Hynek & Elizabeth Martin with music & lyrics by Paul Strickland


  • 8:00pm November 26, 30; December 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 14, 15, 16, 17
  • 3:00pm November 27; December 4*, 11

*A pre-show brunch is available on this date with purchase of $35 “Brunch + Show” tickets in advance. Deadline for brunch reservation is November 27. Brunch provided by Water Tower Fine Wines


Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. In historic Over-the-Rhine.


  • $25 regular Price
  • $15 Rush tickets at the door 10 minutes prior to curtain (when available)
  • FREE walkup tickets on Wednesdays, as part of Know’s Welcome Experiment initiative. (Advance reservations to Welcome Experiment performances are $5.00). Free walkup tickets are available beginning one hour before showtime on the day of the show. 50 free tickets will be available for every Welcome Experiment Wednesday performance.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting knowtheatre.com or calling                                                           513.300.5669 (KNOW).

Know Theatre is Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. The Know showcases unexpected voices, new works, and plays that embrace the inherent theatricality of the live experience. Know Theatre seeks to be a place where artists and audiences feel welcome to take artistic risks, creating work that is cutting edge and accessible.

Know Theatre’s work is made possible, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Know Theatre with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence, and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Know Theatre is also supported by The Carol Ann & Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation, helping to change our communities for the better through collaboration and innovation, and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, which provides a simple, powerful, and highly personal approach to giving.

Know Theatre is a member of Theatre Communications Group and an Associate member of the National New Play Network.

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