GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER: The Silver Screen Classic Celebrating its 50th Anniversary this Year, Comes to the Stage in its Cincinnati Debut!

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Darnell Pierre Benjamin as John Prentice in GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER. Photo by Mikki Schaffner Photography.

CSC presents the regional premiere of this new stage adaptation of the classic film directed by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s D. Lynn Meyers

CINCINNATI, January 10, 2018 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues the Debut Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater with GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, by Todd Kreidler, based on the screenplay by William Rose, playing January 26- February 17, 2018. This production marks the script’s Cincinnati premiere, and is directed by D. Lynn Meyers, the Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. The cast includes CSC Associate Artists Darnell Pierre Benjamin and Kelly Mengelkoch alongside Barry Mulholland, Annie Fitzpatrick, Caitlin McWethy, Ken Early, and Thursday Farrar. The production is sponsored by Frost Brown Todd, BB&T, and Moerlein Lager House.

Self-proclaimed liberals Matt and Christina Drayton (Barry Mullholand and Annie Fitzpatrick) must wrestle with their own buried prejudices when their daughter Joanna (Caitlin McWethy) returns home with her new fiancé: African-American doctor John Prentiss (Darnell Pierre Benjamin). When the family is joined by John’s parents (Ken Early and Thursday Farrar), the young couple offers an ultimatum: the families must come to terms with their impending marriage that night – or John and Joanna will part forever.

This production follows closely on the 50th anniversary of the film GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER, which premiered December 12, 1967. The film featured Hollywood’s first interracial kiss and was groundbreaking in its portrayal of Joanna and John’s romance, and its incredible financial success cemented Sidney Poitier’s position as the top box-office draw of the year. The film also marked the final time that real-life power couple Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy appeared together onscreen, as Tracy passed away mere days after filming ended.  Sidney Poitier will also be turning 90 years old this year on Feb. 20, days after this production closes!

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company welcomes D. Lynn Meyers to the Director’s Chair again after working with CSC on Sense and Sensibility.  Ms. Meyers is in her 22nd season as the Producing Artistic Director of Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, where she has directed over 80 world and regional premieres, including The Legend of Georgia McBride, Hands on a Hardbody, Detroit ’67, I Am My Own Wife, Next to Normal, andCinderella: After Ever After. She has directed Off-Broadway at the York Theatre with Marsha Norman’s Traveler in the Dark and James McClure’s Max and Maxie. She has directed extensively throughout the US and Canada and began her career as the Associate Artistic Director at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Aside from directing, Ms. Meyers is also a member of the Casting Society of America, having cast for Hallmark, PBS, CBS, BBC, HBO, MTM, Paramount, and MGM. Her favorite feature credits include Carol, Miles Ahead, The Goat, and The Public, in addition to serving as the Location Casting Director for The Shawshank Redemption. She was named a finalist for the Zelda Fichandler National Award in 2011 and is a past recipient of the YWCA Career Woman of Achievement Award.

GUESS WHO’S COMING TO DINNER runs January 26- February 17, with performances on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM, as well as Saturday February 17 at 2:00 PM.  Preview performances are January 24 and 25 at 7:30.

On Sundays Feb. 4 and 11, bring your younger kids (4+) for artist-led childcare DURING the performance! The “Playdate” program is only $15 and free for subscribers. The option to add this program will be available as you are buying tickets for either of these show dates. Activities will range from Shakespeare Storytime to theatre games and crafts. Share the great benefits of CSC’s programming with your children: Playdate will style activities to correspond with each production, so even your youngest can join in the discussion on the ride home!

The theater is now located at The Otto M. Budig Theater at 1195 Elm Street in OTR, adjacent to Washington Park. Single ticket prices range from $14-$52.  Student/Children and Preview tickets are only $28. If available that day, $14 student rush tickets may be purchased thirty minutes before a show with a valid student ID. This production is a part of this season’s subscription package. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply.  Discounts are available for students, seniors and groups as well as AAA members. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at http://www.cincyshakes.com. 

Valet Parking is now available for every performance! Make reservations for $10 in advance when purchasing tickets. Purchasing in advance guarantees a spot at the discounted rate of $10 (vs. $15-20+ at the curb).  Valet is available right at the corner of 12th and Elm Street in front of the theater and begins approx. 1.5 hours before a performance. Cars can be picked up for up to one hour following a performance. (After one hour, you will need to arrange pick up with the valet service directly.) The valet will have your name on the list after you purchase- it’s that easy!

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About Cincinnati Shakespeare Company:
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing Shakespeare and the classics to life for audiences of all ages.  In the summer of 2017, the theater relocated to the Otto M. Budig Theater, a brand new facility in OTR. CSC’s repertoire is made up of the works of William Shakespeare, literary adaptations, and contemporary classics.  CSC performs on a Small Professional Theatre contract with Actors’ Equity Association. Cincinnati Shakespeare is a member of the Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theater Association.  Each year, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Education and Outreach Programs reach over 50,000 young people and underserved community members each season by taking Shakespeare into schools, parks, community centers and by hosting educational matinees of mainstage productions.  In 2015, CSC was proud to become one of the first five theaters in the United States to “Complete the Canon” by producing all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. CSC is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s stage for the classics!

About The 2017-2018 Season:
This season is funded by ArtsWave and is generously sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company receives operating support from The Ohio Arts Council, the Shubert Foundation and is supported.  The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this program/organization with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Production dates and information on the season are available online at www.cincyshakes.com.

The National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest presents Shakespeare in American Communities. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company was one of 40 professional theater companies selected to participate in bringing the finest productions of Shakespeare to middle- and high-school students in communities across the United States.

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