Cincinnati Shakespeare Company Presents the American Classic TROUBLE IN MIND by Alice Childress

CSC_Trouble in Mind

Candice Handy i TROUBLE IN MIND. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

This 1955 play about power and race in the theater is a darkly comedic classic in the making.

Cincinnati, May 11, 2023 – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company presents Trouble in Mind by Alice Childress, on stage from May 12 through June 3. Childress’ American Classic portrays a “play-within-a-play,” taking audiences behind the curtain in this trailblazing backstage story of egos, attitudes, sexism, and racism.  Trouble in Mind is directed by Torie Wiggins and features Candice Handy as Wiletta. The cast of nine features Cincinnati fan-favorites Joneal Joplin, Justin McCombs, Courtney Lucien, Cary Davenport, Brandon Burton, Warren Jackson, Matthew Lewis Johnson, and Brianna Miller.

This production is generously sponsored by Monteverdi Tuscany and Blank Rome and the design is sponsored by Judge Mark and Sue Ann Painter and Marcie and Jim Kinney. ArtsWave is also generously supporting the production by hosting a signature Flow event at the performance of Trouble in Mind on May 31. Flow: an African American Arts Experience presented by ArtsWave, offers quarterly performances and experiences by renowned Black artists and ensembles from around the country whose work is unique and exciting. This series is designed to attract a highly diverse, culturally adventurous audience and create a shared and elevated appreciation for artists of color. Flow complements and expands the region’s existing inventory of multicultural experiences offered by local arts organizations.

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 theater. 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.

Alice Childress is an American playwright, actress, and novelist, celebrated for her “stories that posited the enduring optimism of Black Americans.”1 She was born October 12, 1916 and grew up in Harlem, New York. In the 1940s, she studied drama in the America Negro Theatre (ANT). Acting with the theatre company for a little over a decade, her talent and fame flourished, leading her to perform on Broadway with ANT’s Anna Lucasta, a play which “became the longest-running all-Black play in Broadway history.”2 Childress described her work as, “attempts to interpret the ‘ordinary’ because they are not ordinary. Each human is uniquely different. Like snowflakes, the human pattern is never cast twice. We are uncommonly and marvelously intricate in thought and action, our problems are most complex and, too often, silently borne.”3 Alice Childress wrote Trouble in Mind, her first full-length play, in 1955. It was produced at Greenwich Mews Theatre and was set for Broadway. It would have been the first play by a Black woman on Broadway, however, Childress pulled the play upon refusing to continually edit and change the play’s ending, as she was pressured to do at the time. Decades later, Trouble in Mind, was revived, finding its way back in the spotlight in the early 2000s and finally premiering on Broadway in 2021 at the Roundabout Theatre Company.

The Artistic Team for Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s production of Trouble in Mind is led by Director Torie Wiggins and features Scenic Designers Shannon Robert and Matthew Leckenbusch; Costume Designer Daryl Harris; Lighting Designer and Assistant Lighting Designer Jessica Drayton and Charlie Raschke, respectively; Sound Designer Robert Carlton Stimmel; and Properties Designer Kara Eble Trusty.

Trouble in Mind runs from May 12 – June 3, 2023. Performances of Trouble in Mind are on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, with two Sunday matinees on May 21st and May 28th at 2:00 PM. CSC offers performances with accessibility resources. Live Audio Descriptions are available on Friday, May 19, and there is a Sign Language Interpreted performance on Friday, June 2.

Tickets are on sale now. Discounts are available for students, seniors, local residents, and community partners, as access to all is important to CSC. Each performance night has a limited number of $14 “Access” tickets.  These can be purchased in advance by going online or calling the Box Office.  And starting 1 hour before each performance, any unreserved tickets may be available as a discounted Rush Ticket to anyone, not just students. These tickets are only $12 and could be located anywhere in the house, depending on that evening’s availability. These cannot be reserved more than 1 hour before a show and must be purchased in person in the Box Office. 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 go online at

Saturday June 3 is a special event called REVEL and Rise. This Gala and Benefit Performance of Trouble in Mind supports Shakespeare and the Classics for all at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company. Supporter tickets include complimentary valet, festive libations and dinner-by-the-bite throughout the Otto M. Budig Theater, tickets to the closing night performance of “Trouble in Mind,” dessert intermission, raffle, and other surprises throughout the evening. Benefactor tickets include everything at the Supporter level plus 10 raffle tickets and recognition night of the event. Champion tickets include everything at the Supporter level plus 20 raffle tickets, premium seating, and recognition night of the event. At REVEL, CSC honors an individual without whom Cincinnati Shakespeare Company would not exist with the annual Globe Award. This year, CSC is proud to honor a true philanthropist, a civic-minded heart, and a dear friend: Richard Westheimer.  Tickets for this fundraiser start at $250. Visit online here for ticket levels and benefits. Tickets will available for purchase until Friday, May 26th.  Please contact our Development Team with any questions by emailing

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is located at The Otto M. Budig Theater at 1195 Elm Street in OTR, adjacent to Washington Park.  Many parking spaces are available on the street and in nearby lots and garages- for more information, visit

CSC also offers Valet Parking for every performance! Make reservations for $25 in advance when purchasing tickets, or visit Purchasing in advance guarantees a spot.  Valet is available right at the corner of 12th and Elm Street in front of the theater and begins approx. 1.5 hours before a performance. Cars can be picked up for up to one hour following a performance. (After one hour, you will need to arrange pick up with the valet service directly.) After purchasing, the valet will have your name on the list— it’s that easy!

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company’s 2022-23 Season is generously presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation; along with our Education Season Sponsor, Debby and Jim Mason; and our Operating Support Partners, The Ohio Arts Council, The Robert and Adele Schiff Family Foundation, Rosemary and Mark Schlachter, The National Endowment for the Arts with Arts Midwest, The Shubert Foundation, Lightborne, and the tens of thousands of people who give generously to the ArtsWave Community Campaign.


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!

Alice Childress Biography References

1 Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopedia. “Alice Childress”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 8 Oct. 2022, Accessed 19 April 2023.

2 Woodman, Sue (September 14, 1994), “A testimonial to black America” (obituary of Alice Childress), The Guardian.

3 Busby, Margaret, “Alice Childress”, Daughters of Africa: An International Anthology of Words and Writings by Women of African Descent, Vintage, 1993, p. 279.


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