Know Theatre Kicks Off 21st Anniversary Season with WHISPER HOUSE

KTC_Whisper House logoMusic & lyrics by Duncan Sheik
Book & lyrics by Kyle Jarrow

July 27 – August 19 

We all have ghosts. Some of them are real. 

Along the rocky coast of Maine, in the shadow of World War II, a young boy is sent to live among strangers…and ghosts.

​With music & lyrics by Duncan Sheik, the Tony-winning composer of Spring Awakening, this daring new pop rock musical unfolds in 1942, in and around a remote lighthouse on the coast of Maine.

Amid the threat of U-Boats patrolling the shoreline and the nation’s rising suspicion toward foreigners, a young boy named Christopher is sent to live with an aunt he’s never met, after his father is shot down over the Pacific. 

His aunt Lily is a reclusive lighthouse-keeper, unaccustomed to the company of children and harboring more than a few secrets in her isolated home.

Surrounded by strangers on a forbidding rocky shore, Christopher becomes entangled in a web of intrigue between the hard-nosed and patriotic Sheriff Charles; Lily’s Japanese handyman, Yasuhiro; and a pair of singing ghosts who may or may not be entirely real. 

The Know is thrilled to present the third ever full production of this new musical, and the first US production of the current version of the show.  Says Know Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford,

“I’ve been following WHISPER HOUSE since its world premiere in San Diego and the release of the original concept album, waiting for the opportunity to get my hands on the script. In Spring of 2017, I had the chance to catch the London premiere. It confirmed for me what a great, and increasingly timely, show it would be for the Know. Through the magic of Twitter, I was able connect with Duncan Sheik, and here we are.”

WHISPER HOUSE became the perfect way to start our 21st season, entitled “Fear Itself.” Each story this season explores a fresh aspect of what we fear and why, and how we overcome those fears – or what happens when we don’t. Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow’s show kicks things off by taking a lyrical look at our fear of the “other”: what fuels it, and how we confront it.

(Fun fact: Know Theatre previous produced Tony-nominated writer Kyle Jarrow’s A Very Merry (Unauthorized) Scientology Pageant back in 2008!)

Bringing to life the world of WHISPER HOUSE is a fantastic cast of veteran Cincinnati talent and bright new faces:

Leading the cast as Lily the lighthouse-keeper is Kelly Mengelkoch, a beloved regular on the Cincinnati Shakespeare stage now making her Know Theatre MainStage debut. Joining her as Lily’s devoted helper and handyman Yasuhiro in his Cincinnati debut is Adam Tran.

College-Conservatory of Music theatre professor Brant Russell is a familiar face to Know Theatre fans for his work in the director’s chair. But this time he appears onstage as the unbending and nationalistic Sheriff Charles.

And stuck in the middle of it all as young Christopher is newcomer Andrew Ramos, making his professional debut on the Know Theatre stage.

To fill out this ghost story, the Know is proud to welcome back two fan-favorites to add both musicality and the spooky edge to this tale: Erin Ward (last seen in 2017’s The Arsonists) and Cary Davenport (seen in both 2015’s Girlfriend and 2018’s Ada & The Engine) play the ghosts of musicians who perished along the lighthouse’s shore years before…and who now revel in interfering with the affairs of the living.

And at the helm of this adventurous new musical is Dan R. Winters, co-director of one of Know’s most popular shows of all time, 2017’s smash-hit Neverwhere.

Dan brings a love of physical theatre and a sense of playful experimentation to the stage that are a fantastic match for this stirring look at a tumultuous moment in our history – one that looks increasingly like today.

Join us as we dive into the mystery and music of WHISPER HOUSE, running July 27 – August 19  – only at Cincinnati’s Theatrical Playground. 


  • Kelly Mengelkoch* as Lily
  • Adam Tran as Yasuhiro
  • Erin Ward as Female Ghost
  • Cary Davenport as Male Ghost
  • And introducing Andrew Ramos as Christopher

*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.

Production Team

  • Director – Dan R. Winters
  • Music Director – Erin McCamley
  • Scenic & Lighting Designer – Andrew J. Hungerford
  • Scenic Charge & Prop Designer – Sarah Beth Hall
  • Costume Designer – Noelle Johnston
  • Sound Designer – Douglas Borntrager

WHISPER HOUSE is made possible with the generous support of Marilyn Scripps
Season Design sponsorship provided by Travis McElroy

Calendar Listing

  • WHISPER HOUSE by Duncan Sheik and Kyle Jarrow
  • 8:00 pm  July 27, 28; August 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 18
    3:00 pm  July 29*; August 5, 12, 19
    *A pre-show brunch is available on this date with purchase of $35 “Brunch + Show” tickets in advance. Deadline for brunch reservation is April 23. Brunch provided by Water Tower Fine Wines.
  • Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202 in historic Over-the-Rhine.
  • Tickets:
    • $25 regular price tickets
    • $35 “Living Wage” tickets, supporting working artists in Cincinnati
    • $15 Rush tickets at the door 10 minutes prior to curtain (when available).
    • FREE walk-up tickets are available on Wednesdays, as part of Know’s Welcome Experiment. Advance reservations to Welcome Experiment performances are $5.00.
    • Tickets can be purchased by visiting 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.

# # #


Leave a comment

Filed under Press Releases

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.