Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Announces 2020-2021 Season Featuring THE WIZARD OF OZ, a Brand-New Sherlock Holmes Mystery and a World Premiere Set in 1941 Cincinnati

Season features musicals, comedies, multiple premieres and new work 

CINCINNATI –Artistic Director Blake Robison announced Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s 2020-21 season today, which features much-loved music, cherished stories, heartfelt humor, U.S and world premieres and two Cincinnati stories.

“From the extravagant, family-friendly production of The Wizard of Oz to Pressure – the U.S. premiere of a gripping and true World War II story – the new season showcases the range, scale and diversity of the Playhouse,” says Robison. “I’m especially proud to bring the world premiere of The West End to our mainstage. Keith Josef Adkins is a major American playwright and a Cincinnati native. We commissioned him to write about our city, and his new play shines a light on a transformative chapter in local history.”

The 2020-21 season includes:

  • MUCH-LOVED MUSIC: Go over the rainbow in The Wizard of Oz, an extravagant musical adaptation of the 1939 classic film; and witness Billie Holiday, one of the greatest jazz singers of all time, in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill.
  • CINCINNATI TALES: Step back in time to 1941 for The West End, an authentically Cincinnati story and world premiere drama; and reunite with a Queen City icon in Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical, back by popular demand.
  • PLAYHOUSE PREMIERES: Don’t miss the U.S. debut of Pressure, the gripping true story about forecasting the weather for the D-Day invasion; and set out on a thrilling, world premiere adventure in Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Mystery.
  • CHERISHED STORIES AND STORYTELLERS: Catch all the best gossip at Truvy’s Salon in Steel Magnolias; and experience best-selling author Cheryl Strayed’s uplifting insight in a heartfelt adaptation of Tiny Beautiful Things.
  • HEARTWARMING HILARITY: Watch the Irish-Catholic O’Sheas navigate a series of humorous family mishaps in Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help; and see a reclusive amateur botanist become a new-age, YouTube messiah in the world premiere of Rooted.

Presented by Schueler Group
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Rosenthal Family Foundation


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By L. Frank Baum
With Music and Lyrics of the MGM motion picture score by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg
Background Music by Herbert Stothart
Book Adaptation by John Kane from the motion picture screenplay
Directed by Blake Robison
Aug. 29 – Oct. 4, 2020

We’re off to see the wizard! Dorothy and Toto find themselves over the rainbow, where they travel the Yellow Brick Road to the city of Oz alongside new friends Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Adapted from the 1939 movie and featuring all of the film’s familiar songs, this extravagant musical will make you fall in love all over again with Dorothy’s enchanting story.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Keith Josef Adkins
Directed by Playhouse Associate Artist Nicole A. Watson
Oct. 17 – Nov. 14, 2020

It’s 1941 in Cincinnati’s West End, and African Americans migrate from the Deep South to forge new lives. At the same time, German residents face growing hostility on the brink of World War II, and Grace houses people of both backgrounds in her row house. But when a stranger arrives, she must confront her secretive past. This world premiere drama shines a light on a transformative chapter of Cincinnati history.


Cast of 2019’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

First Financial Bank presents
By Charles Dickens
Adapted by Howard Dallin
Directed by Michael Evan Haney
Nov. 25-Dec. 27, 2020
A CHRISTMAS CAROL is not part of the season subscription, but subscribers get early access and special discounts on tickets.

Faithful storytelling and spellbinding stage magic bring to life Ebenezer Scrooge’s time-traveling journey with the spirits one magical Christmas Eve. Returning for its 30th anniversary season, the heartwarming message helps to make the show one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each season.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Moe & Jack Rouse and Randolph Wadsworth present
By David Haig
Directed by Blake Robison
Jan. 23 – Feb. 21, 2021

D-Day. June 1944. Allied military personnel have everything in place for the biggest military invasion ever known, but will the weather be on their side? As the fates of thousands of men hang in the balance, a Scottish meteorologist must advise General Eisenhower on the uncertain weather forecast for that day. This gripping true story makes its U.S. premiere at the Playhouse after a critically acclaimed run in London’s West End.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Leading Ladies presents
By Roger Harling
Directed by Laura Gordon
March 6 – April 4, 2021

A tight-knit group of six Louisiana women gather regularly to bond, dish and offer advice on everything from motherhood and marriage to tragedy and loss. As they find their lives and relationships tested, their bonds with one another only strengthen. Written with heartwarming dialogue and snappy repartee, Steel Magnolias revels in the power and grace of female friendship.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Ken Ludwig’s
Sponsored by U.S. Bank
April 17 – May 16, 2021

Sherlock Holmes is back in a world premiere mystery! The King of Bohemia enlists Holmes and Dr. Watson to resolve a matter that could lead to catastrophe. The game’s afoot when Irene Adler — the only woman to ever outsmart Holmes — arrives on the scene. But the investigation takes a terrifying turn that leads to the phenomenally brilliant and extremely dangerous Professor James Moriarty.

Presented by Heidelberg Distributing Co.
Season Sponsor of New Work: The Rosenthal Family Foundation


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Based on the Book by Cheryl Strayed
Adapted for the Stage by Nia Vardalos
Directed by Brendon Fox
Sponsored by Digi and Mike Schueler
Sept. 12 – Oct 25, 2020

How do we become un-stuck? What’s this love thing all about anyway? In her book Tiny Beautiful Things, Cheryl Strayed (author of Wild) tackled these questions and more as the anonymous advice columnist Dear Sugar. This poignant adaptation brings to life some of the column’s real-life letters and heartfelt, empathetic responses. Tiny Beautiful Things is at once cathartic and uplifting.


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

By Katie Forgette
Nov. 7, 2020 – Jan. 3, 2021

The O’Sheas are just like any other family in their town in 1973: middle-class, Irish, Catholic and determined to avoid public ridicule. With dry yet affectionate humor, 19-year-old Linda O’Shea narrates the most turbulent day of her life when a series of hilarious mishaps jeopardizes the family’s reputation. Whether you’ve grown up Catholic or you simply can relate to the craziness of family, this new comedy will leave you in stitches.

By Lanie Robertson
Directed by Kenneth Roberson
Sponsored by Jennifer and Woody Taft
Jan. 16 – March 7, 2021

In one of her last and most intimate performances, Billie Holiday — known as Lady Day — tells the story of her life through her music with heartfelt honesty and a touch of salty humor. This captivating and moving play with music features over a dozen jazz standards like “God Bless the Child,” “Strange Fruit” and “When a Woman Loves a Man.”

By Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Noah Himmelstein
Sponsored by The Geiler Company
March 20 – April 25, 2021

People can be so weird, which is why Emery Harris has lived alone for over a decade. Her only connection to the outside world is through her YouTube channel where she documents research on plants and has garnered several thousand followers. When strangers begin gathering near her home, she learns she’s been unwittingly elected as her followers’ new-age messiah. This quirky world premiere comedy studies the power of plants and the idiosyncrasies of people.


Susan Haefner in the 2014 Playhouse production of TENDERLY: THE ROSEMARY CLOONEY MUSICAL. Photo by Sandy Underwood.

Clark Schaefer Hackett and Johnson Investment Counsel present
Based on the life of Rosemary Clooney
By Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman
Directed by Eleanor Holdridge
May 8 – June 27, 2021

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND! America’s favorite girl singer comes home again in this exhilarating and inspiring musical biography. Rosemary Clooney’s journey starts with her Cincinnati childhood and rise to Hollywood stardom and continues beyond battles with depression to a triumphant comeback. Through it all, she topped the charts for nearly five decades with signature songs like “Come On-A My House,” “Mambo Italiano,” “Sisters” and more. Tenderly offers a remarkably personal and poignant picture of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend.


Subscriptions to the 2020-21 Playhouse season are available now in a variety of packages.

Prices range from $157.50 to $420 for the five-show Marx Theatre season; $157.50 to $405 for the five-show Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre season; and $280 to $732.50 for the full 10-show combination series.

The popular Build Your Own subscription allows patrons to create their own season of four to nine shows. Once again this season, all price options are available in the lower level of the Marx Theatre. The Playhouse offers two-, three-, six- and nine-month payment plans for subscribers. Some restrictions apply.

A student Build Your Own package allows full-time students to pick as few as four shows and as many as all 10 for just $15 per show.

Subscriptions 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.

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.


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