April 9 – May 7, 2022
(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (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, which has been revamped since it last appeared on ETC’s stage in 2010. Rooted in the lived experience of Black women in America, these productions narrate powerful stories of the battle for equity and equality. Playing back-to-back April 9-May 7, 2022, I Shall Not Be Moved is directed by Torie Wiggins and Your Negro Tour Guide is directed by Jeff Griffin.
The riveting play I Shall Not Be Moved is by Cincinnati native and emerging young playwright Isaiah Reaves, who drew inspiration from his grandmother’s diaries for this new work. This one-woman show thrillingly recounts the story of Reaves’s grandmother, nationally recognized Civil Rights pioneer Betty Daniels Rosemond, and her 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 updated one-woman stage adaptation of Your Negro Tour Guide 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 they happen to be.
Please note: These productions are performed back-to-back with one intermission in between. No additional ticket is required.
“I am both personally and professional grateful to have an opportunity at Ensemble to bring these two playwrights together and their vision of what was and what can be for our country and our world,” says Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “I have the utmost respect for what Kathy Y. Wilson has done in her career to enhance our vision, to strengthen the connections between people, and to call it the way it is. She’s uncompromising, and that’s what I always want Ensemble to be. Isaiah Reaves is an inspiration. It’s amazing how he wrote his grandmother’s story using her words and his influence as a young Black man in this world. Having these shows to look forward to during the dark days of the pandemic always kept light shining at ETC.”
About the Cast
Samantha Russell (Betty, I Shall Not Be Moved) was a member of the 2016–2017 Professional Acting Apprenticeship Program at Ensemble Theatre, where she was last seen in the streamed reading of I Shall Not Be Moved in 2021, as well as The Dancing Princesses, Cinderella: After Ever After, and ANTIGONE (born against). Some of her other credits include Coretta Scott King and the Fight for Freedom, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati; The Color Purple, Cincinnati Black Theatre Company; and Marian: Or The True Tale of Robin Hood, Know Theatre of Cincinnati. Samantha holds a master’s in acting from The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, England, where she currently resides. She is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati where she received a bachelor’s in sociology, a bachelor’s in marketing, and an associate’s degree in business.
Torie Wiggins (Tour Guide, Your Negro Tour Guide) is a multi-hyphenate artist whose Cincinnati theatre credits include Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and Harry and the Thief, Know Theatre of Cincinnati; Mame, Crowns, and The Revolutionists, Human Race Theatre Company; To Kill a Mockingbird, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; To Kill a Mockingbird, Oliver Twist, A Raisin in the Sun, Fences, and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; and Twilight: Los Angeles 1992 by Anna Deveare Smith, Diogenes Theatre Company. Torie’s Ensemble Theatre credits include The Mountaintop, Violet, Alice in Wonderland, Around the World in 80 Days, Cinderella, Cinderella: After Ever After, and His Eye is on The Sparrow. Her directing credits include We Are Proud to Present… and Good Kids, Miami University’s Department of Theatre; Dreamgirls and Proof, The Carnegie Theater; and Blues for an Alabama Sky, Falcon Theatre.
Production team: Brian c. Mehring (Resident Scenic and Lighting Designer), Daryl L. Harris (Costume Designer), Derek A. Graham (Sound Designer), Becca Schall (Video Designer), Nigel Mask (Wig Designer), Shannon Rae Lutz (Properties Curator & Design Assistant), and Jack Murphy (Technical Director). Production Stage Manager is Margot Whitney. Assistant Stage Manager is Lexi Muller.
COVID-19 Safety Information
For full health and safety policy information, visit our website at www.ensemblecincinnati.org/health-safety.
Performances Tuesday-Thursday at 7:30 pm; Friday & Saturday at 8:00 pm; Saturday & Sunday at 2:00 pm. Performances vary. A complete calendar of performances is available www.ensemblecincinnati.org.
Tickets start at $35 for adults; student tickets are $28; and children are $24. Half-Price Rush Tickets: All remaining tickets for the current day’s performance(s) are available two hours prior to each show time for half-price (discount only applies to adult tickets) when purchasing by phone or in person. $15 Student Rush Tickets: Students may purchase up to two $15 student rush tickets two hours prior to show time with valid student I.D. Available in person only.
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.