Raucous New Comedy PUFFS Brings Its Magic to Know Theatre

KTC_PuffsPosterEver feel like you’re not the hero of your own story?

By Matt Cox

November 22nd – December 21st 

Friends, Magic, England… This is Not the Story You’re Thinking of. 

Fresh off its triumphant Off-Broadway debut comes this raucous new comedy about seven eventful years at a certain school of magic and magic. From November 22 – December 21, Know Theatre is proud to bring Cincinnati our version of the uncensored, unexpected flipside of the fantasy world you only THINK you know so well.

Puffs follows the adventures of a trio of friends, three “Puffs,” as they study magic at school of male magic and female magic, concurrent with a certain boy wizard and his friends. Through their wacky adventures, they encounter characters like “The Death Buddies,” “Blondo Malfoy,” “The Headmaster,” “Professor McG,” “A Certain Potions Teacher,” and of course, the evil “Mr. Voldy”!

Magic, sports, and a battle against evil collide in a hilarious new play for anyone who’s ever felt like they weren’t the hero of their story.

Puffs is directed by Know Theatre Producing Artistic Director Andrew Hungerford. Here’s what he had to say about why the Know just couldn’t resist bringing this smash-hit new play to Cincinnati audiences this season: 

Puffs is the story of what happens when your dreams come true, but not in the way you thought they would. Using pop culture fantasies of the 80’s and 90’s as a jumping off point, it takes flight as a story of friendship, adventure, and magic. Rising above satire, it’s a delightfully satisfying play with a big silly heart at its core.

Puffs is a play for everyone who ever wanted someone to tell them, “yer a wizard;” everyone who felt the power of Grayskull; everyone who thought they could bear that ring to the fires whence it came; everyone who knew the force would be with them; everyone who has ever dreamt of a larger world beyond the everyday, and thought about what might happen if they were able to step through that wardrobe into a place where magic is real. It’s a perfect way to close out 2019.

Puffs features a script that offers tons of opportunities for improvisation, so be prepared for each night of this five week run to offer something new. To navigate this comedic adventure, Know has assembled a crack team of actors who will bring this boisterous, unpredictable and magical world to life.

Ben Dudley returns to the MainStage after his 2015 starring role in Joe Zettlemaier’s All Childish Things, as well as many adventures in our episodic theatre program Serials! and our annual celebration of live arts, the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.

He’ll play new-student-in-town Wayne Hopkins, an otherwise normal, run of the mill, pop-culture-obsessed kid. Thrust into a magical world from decidedly non-magical origins in New Mexico, he thinks he just might be destined for something great… when he’s sorted into the Puffs! But, just because you’re an underdog doesn’t mean you can’t become the hero…right?

Brandon Burton also makes his return to the Know as Wayne’s new pal, Oliver Rivers. Last seen at the Know as the hilarious Castle Guard in Marian, or The True Tale of Robin Hood and Islington & Lord Rat Speaker in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, this time he plays a whiz-kid who excelled in the non-magical world, suddenly forced to cope with being extremely below average as a wizard.

Regular Know fans will recognize SCPA alum Maliyah Gramata-Jones from 2018’s RED BIKE or 2012’s The Afghan Women’s Writing Project. This time, she gets to sink her teeth into the role of Megan Jones, the Puff-Who-Would-Be-Snake. Will she ever find a reason to embrace the lovable Puff inside? Or will she finally convince her schoolmates that she belongs with the “cool” kids over with Blondo Malfoy? 

Bringing to life the rest of this enchanted environment is a cast of comic and improv sorcerers including Andrew Ian Adams, Merritt Beischel, Brianna Bernard, Maggie Cramer, Jared Earland, Elizabeth Chinn Molloy, Jordan Trovillion, and Know Theatre’s own Producer of Irregular Programming, Chris Wesselman. 

Follow their adventures as the otherwise entirely un-noteworthy Puffs house tries to stop losing every competition to the Braves… and the Smarts. And the Snakes.

If only the Puffs and their de facto leader Cedric could find their confidence and figure out how to take first place… Okay, that’s perhaps shooting too high; how about second place? No? Okay, third! Yeah, THIRD OR NOTHING!

Will the Puffs ever rise above the lowest rung on the ladder? Will Cedric survive Year 4? Will Wayne overcome his non-magical past to become not just an adequate wizard but maybe even the hero? To find out, grab your broom and wand and badger your way to Puffs, running November 21st – December 25th, only at Your Theatrical Playground.

Cast in Alphabetical Order

  • Andrew Ian Adams – Cedric/Mr. Voldy
  • Merritt Beischel – Narrator
  • Brianna Bernard – Sally Perks
  • Brandon Burton – Oliver Rivers
  • Maggie Cramer – Leanne, etc
  • Ben Dudley – Wayne Hopkins
  • Jared Earland – Ernie Mac etc
  • Maliyah Gramata-Jones – Megan Jones
  • Elizabeth Chinn Molloy – Hannah etc
  • Jordan Trovillion – Susie Bones, etc
  • Chris Wessleman – J Finch, etc

Production Team

  • Director & Lighting Designer: Andrew Hungerford
  • Scenic designer: Baron E. Pugh
  • Costume Designer: Noelle Wedig-Johnston
  • Sound Designer: Douglas Borntrager
  • Props Designer & Scenic Charge: Kayla Williams
  • Stage Manager: Meghan Winter
  • Technical Director: Henry Bateman

Calendar Listing

Puffs, or seven increasingly eventful years at a certain school of magic & magic by Matt Cox


  • 8:00 pm   Nov 22, 23;  27, 29, 30; Dec 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21
  • 3:00 pm   Nov 24; Dec 1, 8, 15

Where: Know Theatre of Cincinnati. 1120 Jackson Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202. In historic Over-the-Rhine.


  • $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 $10.00.

Tickets can be purchased by visiting knowtheatre.com or calling 513.300.5669 

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.

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