(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the region’s premiere theatre, is delighted to reopen its doors for a five-show 2021-2022 Season, reprising its production of the 2018 Obie Award-winning play Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau. Having played a few performances to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, the show was abruptly suspended the day after it opened in March of 2020 in response to COVID-19. In addition to Pipeline, ETC will present the following productions that embrace the spirit of social consciousness for which the organization is known: Cinderella, Queen, a double bill of I Shall Not Be Moved and Your Negro Tour Guide, and Tiny Beautiful Things. Season sponsor is the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.
“Diverse, inclusive, and fascinating. That’s how I would describe our 2021-2022 Season,” explains Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “It’s about triumph over trauma, which we are all experiencing in one way or another. I chose stories that really, genuinely matter and celebrate the tenacity we’ve all had to show to reopen. The most import thing for us was to reopen with Pipeline. The integrity of that show and the crucial need for that show today in our society demands itself on stage.”
About the Plays
The work of the acclaimed MacArthur “Genius” Grant playwright Dominique Morisseau (Detroit ’67, Skeleton Crew) returns to the stage to open Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati’s 2021-2022 Season with the reprising of Pipeline. 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, September 22–October 16, 2021, 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. Sponsored by the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.
For the holidays, ETC revives one of its most treasured family-friendly holiday musicals, Cinderella, with book by Joseph McDonough and music and lyrics by David Kisor, December 1–30, 2021. What do you get when you combine a nearsighted bookworm heroine, two fabulously self-absorbed stepsisters, one devilishly diva stepmother, along with a self-empowering Well-Wisher? A fun spin on the classic fairy tale that demonstrates being smart is true beauty! When the King pressures his romantically challenged son to choose a bride from hundreds of “applicants,” a cross-country tour of the kingdom ensues to reunite a missing sneaker—yes a sneaker!—with its rightful owner. Cinderella is suitable for all ages. Sponsored by the Schueler Group.
Next, ETC presents the new play that’s created quite a buzz, Queen by award-winning playwright Madhuri Shekar, January 26–February 26, 2022. PhD candidates Sanam and Ariel have spent the better part of the last decade exhaustively researching vanishing bee populations across the globe. Just as these close friends are about to publish a career-defining paper, Sanam stumbles upon an error in their calculations, which could cause catastrophic damage to their reputations, careers, and friendship. Now, Sanam is confronted with an impossible choice: look the other way or stand by her principles and accept the consequences?
ETC is thrilled to present two one-act productions with the newly commissioned world premiere of I Shall Not Be Moved followed by the return of Your Negro Tour Guide, playing back-to-back March 23-April 23, 2022. The riveting play I Shall Not Be Moved is by Cincinnati native and emerging young playwright Isaiah Reaves. This one-woman show thrillingly recounts the story of Reave’s grandmother, nationally recognized Civil Rights pioneer Betty Daniels Rosemond and her beautiful, horrifying, and trailblazing journey through the American South as one of the first Freedom Riders during the 1960s. Audiences far and wide will experience the internal conflicts and joys of a dark-skinned Black woman’s fearless battle for equity and equality.
The one-woman stage adaptation of Your Negro Tour Guide, which has been updated, draws heavily from columns and National Public Radio commentaries collected in Kathy Y. Wilson’s book, Your Negro Tour Guide: Truths in Black & White based on her former CityBeat column. Throwing a glaring light on misguided notions of natural black beauty, black homophobia, intra-racial bigotry, and other cultural stereotypes, this play allows us, once and for all, to laugh at every secret we’ve held against and sideways glance we’ve cast at “The Other,” whoever she happens to be.
Based on the acclaimed book by Cheryl Strayed (author of the best-selling Wild), Tiny Beautiful Things, May 18–June 18, 2022, is a funny and deeply touching exploration of resilience following the then-struggling writer as she took over the unpaid, anonymous position of an advice columnist named Sugar. At first unsure of herself, she finds a way to weave her own life experiences together to help those seeking guidance for obstacles large and small. Brilliantly adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, the Academy Award-nominated writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, this enrapturing and uplifting play surges with emotion and was described by Variety as “a theatrical hug in turbulent times.” Closing ETC’s 36th Season, Tiny Beautiful Things is about reaching out when you’re stuck, recovering when you’re broken, and finding the courage to ask the questions that are hardest to answer.
Subscriptions On Sale Now
Subscriptions to the 2021-2022 Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati season are on sale now. 4-Show Preview subscriptions are $145 (excludes holiday production); Regular and FlexPass subscriptions range from $223 to $245. ETC will continue its deeply discounted subscription options for students, with packages just $85 for Teen Scene subscribers and just $104 for Student subscriptions.
Single Tickets On Sale August 23, 2021
All single tickets for the 2021-2022 Season go on sale to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 23, 2021.
2021-2022 Season Presenting Sponsor is the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.
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 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 and the National Endowment for the Arts.
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.