Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Brings Stephen King Thriller to Marx Theatre Sept. 1

PIP_Misery promo

Barbara Chisholm as Annie Wilkes. Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Best-selling MISERY comes to life with dark humor and edge-of-your-seat suspense

CINCINNATI – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will begin the 2018-2019 season with an adaptation of the Stephen King thriller MISERY in the Marx Theatre on Sept. 1. The production will run through Sept. 29, with opening night on Sept. 6.

Written by the celebrated screenwriter William Goldman, screenwriter of both the film and play adaptations, and directed by Playhouse’s artistic director Blake Robison, true-life becomes stranger than fiction when an acclaimed romance novelist, Paul Sheldon, wakes up in the home of his “Number One Fan.” This spine-tingling stage adaptation of Stephen King’s best-selling novel benefits from the immediacy of the theatre and traps you in a tense cat-and-mouse game that will grip you until the very end.

The Marx Theatre lends an intimate setting for the tightly packed, darkly humorous adaptation of the world-renowned novel. Working with Broadway’s best team for stage combat and effects, the most riveting moments of the book and film will be recreated on stage in a thrilling but not gruesome way.

“The Marx is perfect for this sort of intimate, psychological standoff,” says Robison. “The proximity between actor and audience heightens the tension. You’ll feel that you’re right there in the room with them. The novel’s descriptive passages about the house and the environment are translated into scenic design. Lighting and sound create dramatic tension. You can feel it all around you. Like the film, our stage version places full focus on the characters. Their tense psychological dance is the heart of MISERY.”

MISERY stars Barbara Chisholm as the deranged Annie Wilkes and David Whalen as the captive Paul Sheldon. Chisholm was last seen at the Playhouse portraying Erma Bombeck in the hit comedy, Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End in 2017, and audiences will recognize Whalen from his charismatic role as Ned Alleyn in last season’s Shakespeare in Love and as Dan Needham in A Prayer for Owen Meany.

“Barbara and Dave are two of my favorite actors,” says Robison. “This play will allow our audiences to see the incredible range that they have. If you saw Erma Bombeck, you know that Barbara can be chipper and playful. Annie spends much of the play that way, until we see her dark side emerge. Likewise, we’ve seen David as a swashbuckling leading man in Shakespeare in Love, but now he’ll be stuck in a bed for much of the play.”

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ohio’s only two-time Tony Award-winning theatre, boasts productions that are both nationally recognized and locally crafted. The 2018-2019 season includes productions featuring actors, directors, and designers who regularly work on and off Broadway and at other leading professional theatres across the country. All productions are presented at the Playhouse’s iconic Eden Park setting.

Barbara Chisholm (Annie Wilkes); David Whalen (Paul Sheldon); Kenneth Early (Buster)

Blake Robison (Director/Artistic Director); Paul Shortt (Set Designer); Kathleen Geldard (Costume Designer); Xavier Pierce (Lighting Designer); Matthew M. Nielson (Sound Designer/Composer); Sordelet Ink: Rick Sordelet and Christian Kelly-Sordelet (Fight Choreographers/Special Effects Coordinators); Jenifer Morrow (Production Stage Manager); Brooke Redler (Second Stage Manager)

To purchase tickets or 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 Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

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. Individual tickets start at just $35. Tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances are priced at just $10 for college students with a valid school ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for children and teens are available for all productions and are $30 to $45, depending on show and seat location.

The Playhouse begins its page-to-stage book club series this season with a deep dive into Stephen King’s suspense-filled novel, Misery.

Participants are invited to attend two special discussion events:

  • At the first discussion on Aug. 27, we’ll talk about the book and the film: the plot and characters, the overarching themes, how you might imagine it translates to a theatrical setting and even the challenges you see in adapting the story.
  • Our second discussion will take place on Sept. 24, after you’ve seen the play, to discuss what excited and surprised you, and to learn from a member of the production team how they approached the show.

Playhouse book club events take place at 7 p.m. at The Mercantile Library, located at 414 Walnut St., #1100. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required by calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888.

Fridays, Sept. 7, 14, 21 and 28 | 6:30 p.m. at the Playhouse | Cost: $35

Join us before Friday evening performances of MISERY for a special bourbon tasting accompanied by a three-course meal catered by The Littlefield. Cost does not include a ticket to the show. Reservations are required by the Monday before the tasting and can be made through the Box Office at 513-421-3888 or online at

Thursday, Sept. 13 | 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in Mt. Adams | Cost: $10

As part of our Off the Grid Bar Series, The Stephen King Murder Mystery Pub Crawl will engage teams of participants in an interactive mystery inspired by the works of Stephen King. The event is a combination of performance, trivia and board game. Register by calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888.

Saturday, Sept. 22 | 10 a.m. – noon at the Playhouse | Cost: $50
Do you have a suspenseful, thrilling story that’s begging to be written? In this adult enrichment workshop, learn the fundamentals of crafting a gripping, fictional story that will keep your readers on the edge of their seat. Registration for this event is required by calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888 or by registering online at

Production Co-Sponsors are JRA and BHDP Architecture. Artist Sponsor is Wesbanco. The Robert S. Marx Theatre Season is presented by Schueler Group. Season Sponsor of New Work is The Rosenthal Family Foundation and Marx Theatre Season Design Sponsor is Macy’s.

The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. 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.

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


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