2017-2018 Season Announced by Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

PIP_logoCincinnati Playhouse in the Park Announces 2017-2018 Season

Shakespeare in Love, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time and Million Dollar Quartet Will Bring Romance, Fun and Music to Cincinnati

(CINCINNATI)–Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park announced today an exciting season of extravagant stage adaptations, powerhouse productions and world premieres, beginning with an adaptation of the Oscar-winning film SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE opening Sept. 2.

“We’re  planning a blockbuster line-up this year in the Marx Theatre,” says Blake Robison, artistic director. “We’re bringing Cincinnati shows from London’s West End, two Tony Award-winning shows and a beloved adventure story. In the Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre, we will debut two world premieres and present comedies that will leave you in stitches. You won’t want to miss a single show.”

The Marx Theatre season features extravagant stage adaptations of the beloved, Oscar-winning film SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE and favorite adventure story TREASURE ISLAND;  the exclusive regional premiere of the Tony Award-winning adaptation of the bestselling novel, THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME; the acclaimed musical featuring legends Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley in the Tony-award winning MILLION DOLLAR QUARTET; and the roof-raising gospel music of Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight in the regional premiere of MARIE AND ROSETTA.

In the Shelterhouse Theatre, audiences will enjoy two compelling world premiere plays by up-and-coming female playwrights, BE HERE NOW and SOONER/LATER, a poignant and daring production about the ties that bind us all, featuring one actress who brings to life nine different characters in MR. JOY by Dayton-native Daniel Beaty; and zany musical comedies with the hilarious, two-man whodunit MURDER FOR TWO and Frank Ferrante’s acclaimed turn as Groucho Marx in AN EVENING WITH GROUCHO.

Along with the new season, the Playhouse announced that its returning Associate Artists Timothy Douglas and KJ Sanchez will be in residence during the 2017-18  season in new creative roles. Timothy Douglas, who started his career in the theatre as an actor and performs classical work at the renowned Shakespeare &  Company will make his Playhouse acting debut in SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. In addition, newly appointed Associate Artist Wendy Goldberg will direct the world premiere of SOONER/LATER.

KJ Sanchez returns as a playwright to her community-based play CINCINNATI KING. The Playhouse will hold an extended workshop to take the script to the next level and prepare it for a potential fully-staged production. Robison commissioned Sanchez to create the play in 2013. It celebrates the legacy of Cincinnati’s own King Records and was compiled from transcripts of interviews with nearly 50 people across greater Cincinnati, as well as newspaper clippings and books written about King Records. The project was last seen as a staged concert reading in Cincinnati’s Washington Park in 2015.

“We are excited to showcase different sides of our Artistic Associates’ talents this season, bringing more creativity and artistry to our community in the new season,” Robison says.

For the 2017-18 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 2017-18 Playhouse season are available now in a variety of packages. Prices range from $157.50 to $396.00 for the five-show Robert S. Marx Season or the five Thompson Shelterhouse shows and $280 to $704 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. 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 all 10 for just $15 per show. The Babysitter 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 babysitters for children under the age of 12.


The Robert S. Marx Theatre Season
Presented by  Schueler Group
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Rosenthal Foundation
Design Sponsor: Macy’s


Emily Trask, who will portray Viola in Shakespeare in Love. Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Blake Robison
Sept. 2 – 30, 2017

The beloved, Oscar-winning film comes to life on stage in an extravagant production that’s both wildly funny and irresistibly romantic. Young Will Shakespeare has writer’s block… the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he’s in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse—Viola. Against a bustling backdrop of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece. Critically adored after its premiere on London’s West End, this exuberant romantic comedy will make you believe in love above all.

★★★★★ “An absolute joy from beginning to end!” – London Daily Express


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Simon Stephens
Adapted from the novel by Mark Haddon
Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge
Oct. 14 – Nov. 11, 2017

Winner of five Tony Awards, this Broadway smash hit puts audiences inside the brilliant mind of a boy who sees the world as most of us can only imagine. Fifteen-year-old Christopher is acutely sensitive and highly intelligent, but he has trouble adapting socially. When he’s unfairly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, Christopher puts his analytical skills to work to clear his name. His investigation leads him on a sometimes frightening quest that unearths a second, more personal mystery. Based on the bestselling novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a breathtaking theatrical experience that will fill you with hope.

“Dazzling, pulse-pounding and remarkable.” – Time Out New York

By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Howard Dallin
Directed by Michael Evan Haney
Nov. 22 – Dec. 30, 2017

This joyous, time-honored production returns for its 27th season with a cast of nearly 30 actors, elaborate costumes and thrilling special effects. A Christmas Carol is not part of the season subscription, but subscribers get early access and special discounts on tickets.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
Original Concept and Direction by Floyd Mutrux
Inspired by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins
Jan. 20 – Feb. 18, 2018

The electrifying Tony Award-winning musical Million Dollar Quartet brings you inside the recording studio to relive the evening of December 4, 1956. In an extraordinary twist of fate, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley find themselves together at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions in history. Step back in time to experience an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets and celebrations. Million Dollar Quartet boasts powerhouse performances with an incredible score of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and country hits, including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “Fever,” “Walk the Line,” “Great Balls of Fire,” “Folsom Prison Blues,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” “Hound Dog” and more.

“A breakneck hour and 45 minutes of Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven.” – Chicago Sun-Times


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Leading Ladies present
By George Brandt
Directed by Neil Pepe
March 3 – 31, 2018

Celebrated for her fierce guitar playing and swinging gospel music, singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe became a veritable legend. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Sister Rosetta performed gospel in the morning and swing music at the Cotton Club at night, to inevitably become a major influence on rock n’ roll’s earliest icons. This “play with music” chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare for a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history. Marie and Rosetta’s compelling life stories combined with roof-raising, heart-rending gospel songs set the stage for an inspiring evening at the theatre.

“Not to be missed! It’s enough to make the theatre faithful stand up and shout HALLELUJAH!” – Theatremania


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Blake Robison
April 21 – May 19, 2018

Set sail on the journey of a lifetime, complete with cutthroat pirates, a treasure map and a courageous boy entangled in a dangerous swashbuckling expedition. Jim Hawkins gets more than he bargained for when he embarks on a daring sea voyage to locate an island of buried riches. But with his fate sealed, he discovers not only gold and gems but also treachery and mutiny lurking around every corner. Filled with unforgettable characters including Long John Silver, the most famous pirate of them all, Treasure Island comes alive as an epic theatrical adaptation of one of the world’s great adventure stories.

“A sweeping extravaganza … exciting entertainment for audiences of all ages.” – Variety

The Thompson Shelterhouse Season
 Presented by Heidelberg Distributing Company
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation
Design Sponsor: Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant Family Fund


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Daniel Beaty
Directed by Nicole A. Watson
Sept. 23 – Oct. 22, 2017

What happened to Mr. Joy? A Harlem community is shaken when Mr. Joy, a Chinese immigrant whose shoe repair shop has been a neighborhood pillar for decades, is the victim of sudden and violent attack. Through the lens of nine of Mr. Joy’s customers – all brought to life by one actress – we learn the subtly profound and unassuming impact the shop owner has had on each of their lives. Poignant, thoughtful and stirring, Mr. Joy invites you to celebrate the power of the invisible ties that bind us all. Written by Playhouse favorite and Dayton native Daniel Beaty!

“An absorbing journey to watch.” – Boston Globe


Photo of Frank Ferrante as Groucho Marx by Michael Doucett.

Frank Ferrante in
Nov. 4 – Dec. 17, 2017

Award-winning actor/director/playwright Frank Ferrante recreates his PBS, New York and London acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx. Called “masterful” by the Chicago Tribune and “a tour-de-force” by Variety, this fast-paced 90 minutes of hilarity contains all of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs. Ferrante portrays the young Groucho of stage and film and reacquaints us with the likes of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, MGM’s Louis B. Mayer and Marx foil Margaret Dumont.

“An affectionate, funny and unsentimental portrait…a truly delightful show” – Hollywood Reporter


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Deborah Zoe Laufer
Feb. 9 – March 11, 2018

Two lost souls come together under most unusual circumstances in this deeply insightful and charmingly funny world premiere. Surrounded by painfully cheerful co-workers, Bari is deeply cynical and woefully underemployed working at a small-town fulfillment center. After an unexpected and unexplainable turn of events, Bari finds herself on an enlightening new path. When she meets Mike, a man who makes art out of garbage, it’s Bari’s turn to pull another out of the darkness. Be Here Now asks what we are willing to do for love and happiness and to create meaning in our lives.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Allyson Currin
Directed by Wendy Goldberg
March 24 – April 22, 2018

As teenaged daughter Lexie helps her reluctant single mother Nora re-enter and navigate the dating scene, a unlikely suitor emerges in Griff – the guy at the coffee shop who inadvertently witnesses Nora’s string of unsuccessful dates. As choices collide with coincidences and longing mixes with reality, each character must face the complications that always arise in the search for intimacy and the closeness of family. This captivating world premiere with a metaphysical twist navigates the paths of romance, marriage and parenting while exploring the pains and pleasures of all three.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Book and music by Joe Kinosian
Book and lyrics by Kellen Blair
Directed by Paul Mason Barnes
May 5 – June 10, 2018

Who killed the great American novelist Arthur Whitney? Found dead in his isolated, rural mansion on the night of his surprise birthday party, every guest has a motive—their dirty little secrets the unwilling and barely veiled subject of the author’s bestsellers. Was the killer his loopy, scene-stealing widow? His overly curious niece? The too-friendly psychiatrist? Or the glamorous, but menacing, prima ballerina? One actor plays the overwhelmed detective while another takes on all of the suspects, creating a zany, musical comedy whodunit. Murder for Two is the perfect blend of music, mayhem and mystery guaranteed to keep you guessing – and laughing – until the very last note.

“Ingenious … a snazzy, vaudevillian double act.” – The New York Times

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