World Premiere Comedy Takes Root at Cincinnati Playhouse Feb. 12


Photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

ROOTED by Deborah Zoe Laufer is the third world premiere of 2021-22 season

CINCINNATI (Jan.24, 2022) — A warm-hearted world-premiere comedy about people, plants and the idiosyncrasies of both opens in the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre this February. ROOTED, commissioned by the Playhouse and presented with support from the Rosenthal Family, begins in previews Feb. 12 and runs through March 20. (Official opening night is Feb. 17.)

ROOTED is a follow-up to playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer’s acclaimed Be Here Now production. It tells the story of the reclusive and eccentric Emery Harris — a botanist who has lived in a treehouse for more than a decade and records her amateur research on YouTube. Unaware that she’s gained a large and devoted following due to her reclusive lifestyle, she learns that her YouTube subscribers elected her as their new-age messiah.

“Deborah Laufer returns to the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre with a quick-witted comedy showcasing her signature balance of comedic dialogue and lovable characters,” said Blake Robison, producing artistic director. “Audiences will relate to the entertaining story about living your truth, finding your people and being yourself.”

The production features a highly innovative stage design by Se Hyun Oh that brings audiences into Emery’s world of plants and botanical experiments. Her treehouse is full of plant life and greenery, built around a giant oak tree that stretches so high characters can only enter if they climb a ladder and enter through a hatch.

The story embodies feelings around isolation that are particularly resonant today,” Laufer explained. “Emery has literally put herself up a tree to escape other humans. She’s surrounded herself with plants to feel safe. The play is very alive with the longing for connection, the fear of connection and what it takes to truly make that connection.”

Tarah Flanagan (Emery Harris), Emily Kratter (Luanne), Tasha Lawrence (Hazel)

Deborah Zoe Laufer (Playwright), Noah Himmelstein (Director), Se Hyun Oh (Set Designer), Gordon DeVinney (Costume Designer), David Lander (Lighting Designer), Megumi Katayama (Sound Designer and Composer), Betsy Rosen (Puppetry Consultant), Stephanie Klapper, CSA (Casting Director), Andrea L. Shell (Stage Manager), Tenley Pitonzo (Assistant Stage Manager)

To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit For patrons who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled, dial 711 to connect to the Box Office via Ohio Relay Services.

Performances on Tuesdays through Saturdays will begin at 7:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. There is one Wednesday matinee at 1 p.m. on February 23.

Individual tickets start at just $35. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for teens are available for all productions and are $30 to $45, depending on show and seat location. There will be four post-show meet-the-artist discussions during the run. Details are on the website.

ADVISORY: Rooted introduces you to memorable human characters named Emery, Hazel and Luanne – and memorable plants named Mabel, Cynthia and Gerald, among others. While the plants don’t use strong adult language and explore mature themes like mental health, the humans do, so we recommend that human audience members be at least 14 years or older to attend.

MEET THE ARTISTS Stay after select performances for a behind-the-scenes discussion with the cast and crew:

  • Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.
  • Feb. 27 at 2 p.m.
  • Mar. 2 at 7:30 p.m.
  • Mar. 10 at 7:30 p.m.

All patrons must present either proof of vaccination or negative Covid PCR or Abbott ID Now test to attend a performance. Additionally, face masks covering the nose and mouth must be worn at all times, in all areas of the Playhouse building — including while seated during the performance. Visit the Health & Safety page for details.

Production Sponsor is The Geiler Company. Additional support provided by The Harold and Mimi Steinburg Charitable Trust and the Greater Cincinnati Foundation. Season Sponsor is Heidelberg Distributing Company. Season Sponsor of New Work is the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of more than 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.

The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs, and complete wheelchair access are available.


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