Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati Announces 2019-2020 Otto M. Budig Family Foundation Season

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(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the region’s premiere theatre, is delighted to announce its 2019-2020 Season, which features a five-time Tony Award-winning musical, a raucous rom-com with a sweet sixth-sense, an urgent and gripping drama about breaking a sinister cycle, a snapshot of an unsung scientific heroine, and a close-up of a forty-year, age-defying friendship. Along with this compelling lineup, next season also features the return of ETC’s very first original holiday musical, plus a seventh (and explicit) show offering for those who are looking for some not-so-family-friendly entertainment.

“I always choose a season for Ensemble that specifically addresses the needs of our community, our neighborhood, our nation. In looking at the state of our world right now, I believe reconciliation and kindness are two elements that are needed and those themes resonate throughout each of our 2019-2020 selections. I am particularly thrilled to welcome Fun Home to our stage finally, as it’s an essential piece of theatre and sets the tone for the rest of the plays that follow in our season,” explains Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers.

“Additionally, six of the seven plays this season are coincidentally written by women. These are fierce, bold, and empowering voices that I am honored to present on our stage and which represent not only the very best in contemporary theatre, but also appeal to the breadth and depth of the universal human experience. I am equally pleased to have The Frog Princess on our stage again after a 12-year hiatus and to continue our long-standing relationship with local writing team Joe McDonough and David Kisor,” she adds.

About the Plays
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opens its 34th year with a regional premiere hailed as one of Broadway’s most original musicals. Winner of 5 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Fun Home (music by Jeanine Tesori, book & lyrics by Lisa Kron, based on the graphic novel by Alison Bechdel) is the groundbreaking story inspired by the best-selling graphic memoir, August 31–September 28, 2019. Alison’s father, Bruce, was an enigmatic, brilliant man whose secrets defined her family and her life. Bruce taught high school English, ran the family’s funeral home business, and was obsessed with restoring their old house. When he dies unexpectedly, Alison digs deeply into her memories to explore and unravel the mysteries of her childhood and the surprising secrets that shaped her life.

With the academic year in full swing, ETC takes lousy language to school with a limited 2-week engagement, Sex and Education by Lissa Levin, October 15-26, 2019. Meet Joe Marks, a graduating basketball star whose college scholarship is suddenly in jeopardy when his poorly-written, sexually explicit note to his girlfriend is confiscated during a final exam. Meet Miss Edwards, his jaded public high school English teacher on her last day of teaching. With nothing to lose and resentment from years of disinterested students, she assigns him the task of turning the purloined letter into a polished, persuasive essay. A scintillating romp and hilarious lesson for all in life, sex, sports, and grammar, this special performance event also offers an alternative to the holiday production for subscribers or may be added on to full season subscriptions. Recommended for mature audiences.

Jumping into the holiday season, ETC revives the very first of its unique holiday musicals, The Frog Princess, with book by Joseph McDonough and music and lyrics by David Kisor, December 4–January 4, 2020. Prince Ivan’s father has declared that it is time for his sons to marry, but when Ivan discovers his bride-to-be is actually a frog, he is toad-ally disappointed. Vasilisa is more than your typical hoppy-go- lucky frog, though…she’s a kindhearted princess under a curse! When the villainous Old Bones takes Vasilisa to a far-away land, Ivan sets out to save her, discovering along his journey that love sees beyond outside appearances. With a revitalized script and score, this modern, musical spin on the famous Russian fairy tale celebrates the beauty within each of us. The Frog Princess is suitable for all ages.

For those wishing for a little luck (and even a little romance) in the new year, ETC presents the regional premiere comedy Fortune by Deborah Zoe Laufer, January 18–February 15, 2020. Maude, aka Madame Rosa, is not your average fortune teller. A true clairvoyant with a bluntness that won’t quit, she often scares her customers away with the truth of what their futures hold. However, when love-hungry accountant Jeremy stumbles into her parlor with death in his imminent future, Maude tells a little white lie triggering supernatural consequences and changing both their destinies. In hilarious rom-com style, Fortune sweetly affirms the benefits of the unpredictability of life.

Next, the work of MacArthur Fellow (aka Genius Grant recipient) Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67, Skeleton Crew) returns to the ETC stage. Nya, an inner-city public high school teacher, is committed to her students but desperate to give her only son, Omari, opportunities they’ll never have. But when an explosive incident at his prestigious private school threatens to get him expelled, will all her efforts be lost? A compelling, must-see portrait of parenthood, education, and the experience of young black men in America, Pipeline, March 7–April 4, 2020, brings an urgent conversation powerfully to the forefront. This is the deeply moving story of a mother’s fight to give her son a future—without turning her back on the community that made him who he is.

In the spring, ETC travels to London, 1952. Pioneering British biophysicist Rosalind Franklin’s DNA discovery leads to the Nobel Prize—not for her, but for three men: Francis Crick, James Dewey Watson, and Maurice Wilkins. Masterfully weaving the thriller-like twists and tension in the competitive chase to map the DNA molecule and based on the true story, Photograph 51 by Anna Ziegler, April 18–May 16, 2020, is a riveting and moving portrait of one of the great female scientists and the pivotal—yet often-overlooked—role she played in the biggest breakthrough of the 20th century.

ETC’s 2019-2020 Season closes with a snapshot in 20th Century Blues by Susan Miller, May 30–June 27, 2020. An impromptu behind-bars snapshot taken during a 1970s protest lockup sparks an eccentric, four-decade friendship. Every year, photographer Danny and her friends reunite to take a new photo showcasing their changing (and aging) selves. When Danny is offered a TED Talk career retrospective at MoMA, the ritual that has been the glue holding the women together for 40 years is now also what may tear them apart. The images unearth secrets and force the women to question who they are in this close-up on art, aging, and audacious friendship by two-time Obie Award winner Susan Miller.

Subscriptions On Sale Now
Subscriptions to the 2019-2020 Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati season are on sale now. 5-Show Preview subscriptions are $164 (excludes holiday production); Regular and FlexPass subscriptions range from $220 to $266.

Student Subscription Options
ETC will continue its deeply discounted subscription options for students, with packages just $100 for Teen Scene subscribers (exclusively for ages 13-19 on the second Sunday matinee, includes meal) and just $125 for Student subscriptions (available any day of the week with valid student I.D.). 

Single Tickets On Sale July 22, 2019
All single tickets for the 2019-2020 Season go on sale to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, July 22, 2019. Subscribers, however, may start making exchanges, purchasing additional tickets, or reserving their FlexPass dates during Subscriber-Only Days, July 15-21, 2019.

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Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is supported, in part, by the generosity of community contributions to the ArtsWave Campaign.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is a professional theatre dedicated to producing world and regional premieres of works that often explore compelling social issues. We fulfill our mission through our stage productions and educational outreach programs that enlighten, enliven, enrich and inspire our audiences.

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