Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Announces the 2022-2023 Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater

CSC_logoCINCINNATI – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) announced the titles of their 2022-2023 Season today. This announcement featured members of CSC’s Artistic Visionary Circle: Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips; Associate Artistic Director, Crystian Wiltshire; and Director of Education, Candice Handy. The season features Shakespeare greats, classic comedies, fresh adaptations, and both world and regional premieres. All productions will feature Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Resident Company of Actors.

Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips says, “in our 2022-2023 season, I am excited to share compelling stories that will feed the dialogue with our audiences.”

The 2022-2023 Season opens with a Shakespeare play that has not be seen on the stage at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for almost 15 years: “King Lear” playing September 9 – October 1, 2022 featuring ensemble veteran Jim Hopkins as the beleaguered king. Jim is currently appearing onstage at CSC as Claudius in “Hamlet.” Brian Isaac Phillips will direct this production and intends to set in a contemporary world of capitalistic power inspired by HBO’s hit series “Succession.” Brian shares, “in Shakespeare’s day when the plague shut down theaters, Shakespeare wrote King Lear. Well, a plague shut down our theater and we are going to come back by staging King Lear!

Just in time for the Halloween season, will be the World Premiere of “The Living Dead” by Cincinnati playwright Isaiah Reaves, inspired by the film by George A. Romero and John A. Russo playing October 14 – 29, 2022. “The Living Dead” will feature ensemble favorites Darnell Pierre Benjamin as Ben and Crystian Wiltshire as Tommy and will be directed by Brian Isaac Phillips. Managing Director Maddie Regan notes, “this project represents an incredible milestone for CSC and our strategic goals. The Living Dead is the first commission in our emerging New Works program to be fully produced in our mainstage season. We commissioned Isaiah to write this piece during the pandemic, have supported its development through virtual workshops, and now we are thrilled to be producing it on our mainstage!” For further access, audiences will be able to listen to a streamlined version that will play on the radio in partnership with WVXU for Halloween. This is the next of a growing installation of radio dramas produced by CSC since 2020. Access to all of CSC’s audio plays is available through the listening library on their website. 

A regional premiere adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women” by Kate Hamill follows for the start of the holiday season from November 11 – December 3, 2022 directed by Visiting Associate Artist Jemma Levy. Jemma recently directed CSC’s production of “Miss Holmes.” This comes after the recent success of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice” at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Brian says, “we are proud to have brought Kate Hamill to Cincinnati, especially considering her status as one of the most produced living playwrights in the United States. If raving audiences from Kate’s hit adaptation of Pride and Prejudice are any indication, we know that Cincinnati audiences will love Little Women.”

For the 16th time this Christmas season, “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez will continue to delight audiences with its brand of irreverent pop culture holiday humor from December 8 – 31, 2022 featuring Candice Handy, Geoffrey Warren Barnes II, and Justin McCombs directed by Jeremy Dubin.

In 2023, the season continues with a magnificent new feat: Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is going to the Big Apple! In partnership with New York Classical Theatre, CSC presents the world premiere of a new play by Alice Scovell titled “The Rewards of Being Frank” playing January 27 – February 18, 2023 directed by Stephen Burdman, New York Classical Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director. Brian celebrates, “we are very excited about this project! This new play is the sequel to the beloved Oscar Wilde play The Importance of Being Earnest. The show will open here in Cincinnati before transferring to New York City for a limited Off-Broadway run.”

Up next in the season are two back-to-back Shakespeare comedies. The first is “The Taming of the Shrew” directed by Jemma Levy March 3 – 25, 2023. This production reframes the story for modern audiences in an unexpected reimagining featuring Sara Mackie as Katherine. Then, playing April 7 – 29, 2023 will one of Shakespeare’s most popular romantic comedies, “As You Like It” getting an all-new Brit-pop musical twist with original music by CSC’s frequent musical collaborator Cary Davenport.  This production will feature a fresh adaptation by Director Brant Russell and Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips with ensemble powerhouse Courtney Lucien as Rosalind. Courtney recently appeared as Juliet in CSC’s 2021 production of “Romeo and Juliet.”

Coming to Cincinnati from recent revivals on Broadway and London’s National Theatre, CSC closes its mainstage season with Alice Childress’ inspiring comedy “Trouble in Mind” directed by Associate Artistic Director Crystian Wiltshire and featuring Candice Handy playing May 12- June 3, 2023. “Trouble in Mind is a play written 60 years ago that feels like it was made for this day and this moment. The play addresses issues of racism in the Broadway of yesteryear, and these are still some of the same problems we struggle to overcome today,” notes Crystian. “The story is a perfect example of how classical theatre is an art form that helps us transform into the best version of ourselves. Alice Childress refused to compromise her comedy when it first had a shot at Broadway. And that is exactly the spirit with which CSC will produce Trouble in Mind to close our 22/23 season.”

The season also marks a special anniversary for CSC as they celebrate Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips in his 20th season of artistic direction, vision, and leadership. Among his many accomplishments as the artistic leader of CSC, Phillips guided the company’s completion of Shakespeare’s 38-play canon, making Cincinnati Shakespeare Company one of the first five theaters to reach this milestone. Managing Director Maddie Regan says, “Brian’s commitment to looking at Shakespeare and the Classics in fresh new ways has made CSC a valued part of the lives of thousands of Cincinnatians over the past 20 years. His passion for excellence on the mainstage is only matched by his devotion CSC’s education program. Brian’s largest contribution to the region is adding a gem to the Queen City’s crown through the completion of The Otto M. Budig Theater, a $17MM project in the heart of our City.” Brian’s leadership of CSC has made the company a vibrant addition to the classical corridor of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and the overall cultural fabric of Cincinnati.

No season would be complete at the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company without its centerpiece of community engagement programming: FREE Shakespeare in the Park! The true kickoff of its 2022-2023 season, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is excited to bring the comedy “Twelfth Night” by William Shakespeare to neighborhoods throughout the tristate region. Reaching over 10,000 community members across more than 50 venues each summer, this production will delight audience members of all ages with its take on shipwrecks, love, and mistaken identity this summer. The entire performance schedule will be available online this spring.

On its mainstage, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues to offer audiences great value with subscriptions consisting of flexible tickets that can be used in any combination for any performance. Subscription packages of seven tickets start at $271. All subscriptions are currently on sale and may be purchased through the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company website, http://www.cincyshakes.com, or box office by calling 513-381-BARD (2273) ext. 1.

Single tickets for all shows go on sale May 1, 2022, but the recommended way to get the best price and priority seat selection is by becoming a subscriber! Single tickets range from $14-$70. CSC offers discounted tickets for students, seniors, local residents, and community partners. CSC is continuing its Access ticket program which debuted in 2020 and has been very well received by ticket buyers. This program features $14 tickets in the Upper Gallery of CSC’s mainstage that can be purchased in advance by going online or calling the Box Office. A final option for ticket buyers is CSC’s Rush Ticket program. Starting 1 hour before each performance, any unreserved tickets are available for $12. These seats may be located anywhere in the house depending on availability at the given performance. Visa, Discover, MasterCard, and American Express are accepted. Ticketing fees may apply. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or visit www.cincyshakes.com.

The 2022-2023 Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater is as follows: 

CSC_King Ler

Jim Hopkins as King Lear. Ddirected by Brian Isaac Phillips. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

William Shakespeare’s
King Lear
Previews September 7 and 8
September 9October 1, 2022

Lear claims “nothing will come of nothing,” but Shakespeare’s tragedy reveals madness will come in the face of chaotic plights. In contemporary Europe, a familial dynasty divides when an aging patriarch splits his estate between two wicked daughters and casts out the third – the only one who truly loves him. As Lear and the status quo devolve into madness, the whole family faces the brutal truth of family dynamics, loyalty, and the existence of justice. 

CSC_Living Dead

Crystian Wiltshire as Tommy. Directed by Brian Isaac Phillips. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

The Living Dead
by Isaiah Reaves, inspired by the film by George A. Romero and John A. Russo
Previews October 12 and 13
October 1429, 2022

When a zombie apocalypse ravages the world, a band of strangers seek refuge in an abandoned house, forcing the group to work together to see the light of day. However, individualism, egos, and power struggles expose the horrifying nature of survival. A new vision of contemporary horror inspired by the cult classic, Isaiah Reaves’ The Living Dead makes its world premiere in time for the Halloween season. 

Little Women
by Kate Hamill, adapted from the novel by Louisa May Alcott
Previews November 9 and 10
November 11 – December 3, 2022 

Louisa May Alcott’s treasured classic, Little Women tells the enduring story of the March family and their four daughters; romantic Meg, shy Beth, willful Amy, and of course, fiery and independent Jo.  Through the intertwining lives of the sisters, we see the familiar hardships, heartbreak, humor, and humility of these passionate and unique young women.  Little Women enchants new generations with the regional premiere of this new adaptation. 

CSC_Every Christmas Story 2022

Geoffrey Warren Barnes II. Directed by Jeremy Dubin. Photo by Mikki Schaffne

Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)
by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez
December 8-31, 2022 

CSC’s holiday smash hit Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!) is back again for another season of holiday hilarity! What begins as another annual production of A Christmas Carol, soon devolves into a slightly irreverent look at all of our “beloved holiday classics” including pop culture favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, Charlie Brown, and more! Add in topical references that keep this annual tradition fresh and fun as we send up everything from Dickens to Dr. Seuss for 90+ minutes of high-octane jollity and frivolity. 

CSC_The Rewards of Being Frank

Kelly Mengelkoch as Gwendolyn. Directed by Stephen Burdman. Photo by Mikki Schaffner

The Rewards of Being Frank
by Alice Scovell
Previews January 25 and 26
January 27 – February 18, 2023

Oscar Wilde’s much-loved comic masterpiece “The Importance of Being Earnest” finally receives an uproarious sequel in this world premiere.  Shenanigans ensue when lovebirds Earnest and Cecily and Jack and Gwendolyn are revisited 7 years after their nuptials.  As the young couples are on the search for a new schoolmaster to instruct their children, they must avoid the pitfalls of mistaken identity, monetary mischief, and a timeless struggle over cucumber sandwiches. Do not miss this exciting new tour-de-FARCE that will instruct you on the “The Rewards of Being Frank.” This rolling world premiere hits Cincinnati stages before transferring to its Off-Broadway run as a co-production with New York Classical Theatre.

CSC_Taming of the Shrew

Sara Mackie as Katherine. Directed by Jemma Levy. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

William Shakespeare’s
The Taming of the Shrew
Previews March 1 and 2
March 325, 2023

Beloved and beautiful, Bianca has everything a girl could want—except a husband. Unfortunately for her, Bianca’s overbearing parents prevent her happily-ever-after because her headstrong, ahead-of-her-times sister, Katherine, refuses to get married first. To convince her otherwise, Bianca’s suitors enlist the help of money-hungry Petruchio to woo her sister under the promise of a hefty dowry. But Katherine’s feminist hijinks result in a series of hilarious attempts to tame the “shrew” in this unexpected reimagining. 

CSC_As You Like It

Courtney Lucien as Rosalind. Directed by Brant Russell. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

William Shakespeare’s
As You Like It
Previews April 5 and 6
April 729, 2023 

Banished by her dodgy uncle, Rosalind flees the city for the Forest of Arden, disguising herself as a man attempting to hide among the locals. It is not too long before she befriends a rag-tag group of exiles and bumps into her also-on-the-run crush, Orlando. The attraction is mutual, but will Rosalind reveal her true identity or kick him to the curb? As if! Don’t miss this Brit-pop musical romp through Shakespeare’s comedy, set in the 1990s featuring an original collection of songs that will make you want to burn a CD!

CSC_Trouble in Mind

Candice Handy as Wiletta Mayer. Directed by Crystian Wiltshire. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Trouble in Mind
by Alice Childress
Previews May 10 and 11
May 12 – June 3, 2023

Get a glimpse behind the scenes of 1950s Broadway! Wiletta Mayer, a talented Black actor, is confronted with the decision to compromise her values when cast in the starring role of a “progressive” play by a newly integrated theatre. As the show goes on, the curtains open, revealing a trailblazing backstage story of egos and attitudes, and an insightful and darkly comedic look at who we are and who we want to be. First staged over 60 years ago, Trouble in Mind is considered the masterpiece of actor and playwright Alice Childress.

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About Cincinnati Shakespeare Company:
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is a professional theatre company dedicated to bringing Shakespeare and the classics to life for all.  In the summer of 2017, the theater relocated to the Otto M. Budig Theater, a brand new facility in the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati. CSC’s repertoire is composed of the works of William Shakespeare, literary adaptations, world premieres, and contemporary classics. CSC performs on a Small Professional Theatre contract with the Actors’ Equity Association. Cincinnati Shakespeare is a member of Theater Communications Group and Shakespeare Theatre Association. Each year, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s Education and Outreach Programs reach more than 50,000 young people and community members by meeting audiences where they are. This includes sharing programming in schools, parks, community centers, and hosting educational matinees of mainstage productions. In 2015, CSC was proud to become one of the first five theaters in the United States to “Complete the Canon” by producing all 38 plays by William Shakespeare. CSC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, and all donations are tax-deductible.  Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s stage for the Classics!

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