Living Small Creates Big Laughs Beginning May 4

PIP_Tiny Houses promo

Promotional photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

World-premiere comedy TINY HOUSES explores what happens when our world begins to shrink

CINCINNATI—Can tiny equal happy? World-premiere comedy TINY HOUSES explores this question beginning May 4 in the Shelterhouse Theatre as four young adults attempt to build a 200-square foot home. With support from The Rosenthal Family Foundation, season sponsor of new work, the play runs through June 2. Opening night is May 9.

Finding meaning through minimalism is easier said than done, as the characters in TINY HOUSES learn through a series of amusingly awkward missteps in their attempt to build a tiny house, which is constructed on stage over the course of the play.

“Whenever possible in the theatre, I like to see actors actually doing a thing instead of making a gesture toward doing the thing,” explains award-winning playwright Chelsea Marcantel. “Live theatre is the one entertainment avenue in which we really have the capacity to still be impressed and awed…to see an unexpected thing happening in real time in the same room we’re in, that’s truly wonderful.”

With witty dialogue, colloquial language and references to digital behaviors and lifestyles, the play centers around Bodhi and Cath, a couple who has recently uprooted their lives, moving from New York to Oregon. They plan to build and move into a tiny house together in the backyard of Bodhi’s friend, Ollie, who makes a living selling haunted dolls on eBay. Bodhi’s childhood sweetheart, Jeyne, a YouTube star, and Jeremiah, a level-headed construction consultant, round out the millennial cast of characters.

“I think there’s a real millennial spirit around what qualifies as work for the characters. They’re all disillusioned with white-collar “real” jobs — sitting in an office 40 hours a week pushing paper and not really making or moving anything that feels tangible,” said Marcantel. “There’s a glorification and yearning for manual labor, for meaningful work, that I think a lot of people of this generation feel. There’s also the constant consultation of and comparison to people on social media and the internet that’s a brand-new twist for millennials.”

In 2018, Marcantel received the M. Elizabeth Osborn New Play Award from the American Theatre Critics Association for her contemporary comedy, Airness. The award recognizes notable, emerging playwrights, and it is presented at the Humana Festival of New Plays. Marcantel was also recently inducted as a member of the Kilroys, a collective of playwrights, performers, producers and directors who advocate for the voices of female, trans and non-binary playwrights.

TINY HOUSES is a co-production with Cleveland Play House and will be directed by Cleveland Play House’s Artistic Director Laura Kepley, who grew up in Cincinnati.

For more information on TINY HOUSES, click here.



The Production Sponsor is Sue Friedlander. Design Sponsors is Jeb and Nirvani Head. Artist Sponsor is Mossbarger, Deimling and Moler Financial Strategies Group of Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC. The Season Sponsor and Season Design Sponsors are Heidelberg Distributing Company and Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant Family Fund. The Season Sponsor of New Work is The Rosenthal Family Foundation.

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.


Michael Doherty (Ollie); Kate Eastman (Cath); Peter Hargrave (Bodhi); James Holloway (Jeremiah); Nandita Shenoy (Jevne)


Chelsea Marcantel (Playwright); Laura Kepley (Director) Arnulfo Maldonado (Set Designer); Amy Clark (Costume Designer); Elizabeth Mak (Lighting Designer); Daniel Perelstein (Sound Designer); Paul Davis, CSA, Calleri Casting (Casting Director); Jenifer Morrow (Production Stage Manager).Co-produced with Cleveland Play House.


TINY HOUSES is suitable for adults and teenage audiences. The play contains some strong adult language, alcohol use, hipster slang and low-key millennial malaise.

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. An additional matinee takes place at 1 p.m. on May 29. 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 $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for teens are available for all performances and are $30.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting the Playhouse website at or by calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888 or 800-582-3208 toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. For TDD (Telecommunications Device for the Deaf) access, call 513-345-2248. The Playhouse is fully accessible.


May 4, 8 p.m. | May 5, 7 p.m. | May 7, 7:30 p.m. | May 8, 7:30 p.m.
Be among the first to see the show before opening night and save! Preview performance tickets are discounted and begin at just $35.

May 9, 7:30 p.m.
Share the excitement of Thursday opening nights with a lively post-show cast party with complimentary hors d’oeuvres by Vonderhaar’s Catering.

May 12, 2 p.m. | May 19, 2 p.m. | May 22, 7:30 p.m. | May 30, 7:30 p.m.
Stay after select performances for a behind-the-scenes discussion with the cast and crew of TINY HOUSES.

Friday, May 31, 6:30 p.m.
The fifth annual Playhouse Pride event is hosted by program co-chairs Jim Conway and Julia Wesselkemper. This festive evening includes pre- and post-show music, refreshments and a celebration of inclusion. A portion of the proceeds benefits Safe and Supported, a nonprofit that works to prevent and end LGBTQIA youth homelessness in Hamilton County.
The full PRIDE package includes the following:

  • Pre-show cocktail reception with open bar in the Rosenthal Plaza at 6:30 p.m.
  • Performance of Tiny Houses in the Shelterhouse Theatre at 8 p.m. in Center or Side A (seating based on availability)
  • Post-show reception with music and open bar in the Rosenthal Plaza
  • Cost: $90 per person (or $35 upgrade with a subscription ticket)


The Playhouse is fully accessible. Large print programs and hearing enhancement receivers are available upon request.

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