Category Archives: Press Releases

NEW WORKS Streams FREE Feb. 25-28 & March 5-7

CB_New Works 2021Five world-premiere, contemporary ballets recorded at the Aronoff Center

Cincinnati Ballet’s The Kaplan New Works Series shifts to an innovative, digital experience, streaming FREE, Feb. 25-28 and March 5-7. Audiences can look forward to thought-provoking new work that reflects this unprecedented moment in time. Cincinnati Ballet’s Resident Choreographer Jennifer Archibald and choreographers Dana Genshaft and Helen Pickett will share their personal perspectives through movement. The digital program also features choreography from Cincinnati Ballet Principal Dancer Melissa Gelfin De-Poli and Corps de Ballet Dancer Taylor Carrasco. New Works was recorded at the Aronoff Center’s Jarson-Kaplan Theater with multiple cameras for an immersive digital experience, following strict health and safety protocols.

What the choreographers say inspired their pieces for New Works:

Jennifer Archibald, Pursuit:
“It’s a play on power. It’s a play on the fearlessness and the sexual power of the madams of the 19th century. A lot of the madams of the 19th century had some of the highest wages of American women at that time. A lot of them funded irrigation and roadbuilding projects, and they provided their employees with healthcare. They were these brazenly public women. Even if you didn’t agree with their life choices, they were able to gain power and control of their womanhood and moved through society in this non-apologetic way.”

Taylor Carrasco, Regards:
“I decided to go the gay, queer route because that is how I identify and there have been a lot of voices like mine that have not been heard. Luckily, I’ve been given a platform. So, when I was thinking about how I wanted to explain that voice, I started gravitating towards Broadway music, because when I thought about, it is an art form that has a lot of gay men involved in it, but if you look at the subject matter of a lot of Broadway works, they’re not extremely inclusive of gays. You’re probably not going to be lead male unless you’re strong and masculine and fawning after a beautiful woman. I wanted to give people like me a space to feel like themselves.”

Melissa Gelfin De-Poli, Ain’t I a Woman:
“I am exploring the voice of intersection — intersections of equality for the voices of minority groups. Humans whose voices have been silenced, whose being has been hushed because of gender, race, religion. But more importantly, I hope to address ‘the how’ — how can we put away the blocks of judgment between us and race as one.”

Dana Genshaft, Wunderkammer:
“My piece is about fantasy. Fantasy is the bridge our minds make when it is reaching for ‘knowing.’ When we don’t know, we often create fantasies to make sense of the world. This piece is about acceptance of the things that are unknown, strange or don’t fit into society, that somehow don’t have a place in the logical, ‘real’ world.”

Helen Pickett, BALANCE:
“BALANCE is a journey solo, a dive into the continual negotiation of life’s on and off balance, physically and emotionally. What do we choose to carry or relinquish? In the solo, there is a chair and the image of the world printed on a carpet. Is that carpet the small/interior world, and the room, the large/exterior world? Or vice versa? How can we move fluidly between both worlds? When we DO find our balance, we dance our way through life.”

WHO: Cincinnati Ballet
WHAT: The Kaplan New Works Series
WHEN: February 25-28 & March 5-7
*Video link will be available at beginning at 8 pm, Thursday, February 25 through 11:59 pm, Sunday,
February 28 and again beginning at 8 pm Friday, March 5 through 11:59 pm, Sunday, March 7.

About Cincinnati Ballet
Since 1963, Cincinnati Ballet has been the cornerstone professional ballet company of the region, presenting a bold and adventurous array of classical, full-length ballets and contemporary works, regularly with live orchestral accompaniment. Under the artistic direction of Victoria Morgan, Cincinnati Ballet has become a creative force within the larger dance community, commissioning world premiere works and exploring unique collaborations with artists as diverse as Grammy winning guitarist Peter Frampton and popular, Ohio-based band Over the Rhine. With a mission to enrich, expand, and excel in the art of dance through performance, a high-caliber academy, and impactful education and outreach in local to global communities, Cincinnati Ballet reaches beyond the stage in programs that allow every person in the region to be part of the continued evolution of dance. To that end, Cincinnati Ballet presents exhilarating performances, provides extensive education and community engagement programs, and offers top-level professional ballet training at Cincinnati Ballet Otto M. Budig Academy.

Cincinnati Ballet 2020-2021 Season Sponsors: Rhonda & Larry A. Sheakley, Margaret and Michael Valentine, ArtsWave, Mercy Health, Louise Dieterle Nippert Musical Arts Fund, Ohio Arts Council, Frisch’s, The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation

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Falcon Theatre to Produce THE AGITATORS as On-demand Theater/Film Project

FT_The Agitators promo

Elliott Young as Frederick Douglass & Cat Cook as Susan B. Anthony. Photo by Kristy Rucker.

For forty-five years, they agitated the nation and each other. They met in the 1840s as young abolitionists, full of hopes and sharing a common purpose. They became cultural and historical icons. They were Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. Their tempestuous decades-long  friendship is the subject of playwright Mat Smart’s THE AGITATORS, currently in production at Falcon Theatre as a special theater-for-film presentation. The production will be available for on-demand streaming from March 12 – 20, 2021.

This project has been more than a year in the making. Originally scheduled as the fourth production of Falcon’s 2019-2020 season, the play was mere days from opening last March when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the theater to shelve the project temporarily. Out of concern for cast, crew, and audience safety, Falcon Artistic Director Ted Weil and production director Darnell Benjamin agreed to push the production to the 2020-2021 season. Weil and Benjamin ultimately opted to produce the play as Falcon’s second theater-for-film project. This past October, the theater filmed a similar venture for Sean Devine’s play Daisy.

Anthony and Douglass found a common cause in the abolition of slavery, though each came at the subject from a different standpoint. She was white, a Quaker. He was black, an escaped slave. Both used their gifts as writers and orators, along with their shared passion for equality to forge an unlikely friendship. Slavery ended after the Civil War, and the two focused on what they hoped would be universal suffrage. Their friendship and alliance became strained with the proposal of the 15th Amendment, which would grant voting rights to black men, but not to women of either race.

Playwright Smart sees the story of the pair as timely for 21st Century America. “The distance between people in this country seems to be growing greater and greater,” Smart says. “And something that is so inspiring to me about Susan and Frederick was their ability to have a healthy, hard dialogue with the people they disagreed with…with the people who hated them. So I hope a lesson we can take from them is how we can better listen to people who believe different things than we believe, and how we may better agitate the people who disagree with us to change their thinking. Or vice versa.”

Details for streaming the presentation will appear soon on Falcon’s website ( and on Falcon’s Facebook and Instagram (@falcontheatrenky) pages.

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Walnut Hills High School Theatre Department Brings Light and Hope Through Music in SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD

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Sunny Dighe & Sophia Cotton-Riker. Photo courtesy of Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Cincinnati, OH – Following up it’s virtual productions of Hamlet and The Virtual Theatre Festival earlier in the fall, The Walnut Hills High School Theatre Department is back on its stage and on your screen with their senior high musical, Songs For a New World.

The show will be livestreamed from the Walnut Hills auditorium March 4-6, @ 7 p.m.

“We had hoped to be welcoming back small live audiences by this point, but unfortunately, that is not reality yet,” says director Mike Sherman.  “Still, we’re giving you as close to a live theatre experience as possible with being able to watch the show in your home live as it happens on stage in real time.”

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Ella Vaughn & Nadyaa Betts. Photos courtesy of Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Songs For a New World, by esteemed Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County), is a song cycle of 16 independent stories told entirely through song.  From immigrants sailing to the new world, to a kid growing up in Brooklyn with dreams of becoming a basketball star, to a couple taking a second chance at love, the songs span a diverse cast of characters throughout different periods of space and time. Whether dramatic, tragic, or comedic;  all of the stories and songs in the show are tied together by the common themes of change, love, hope, and resolve.

This production and the entire WHHS Theatre Season is graciously sponsored by the Walnut Hills High School Class of 1964 Performing Arts Fund.

For tickets:

WHHS_Songs For a New World1

Diana Hutchinson, Gabe Donnelly, Ella Vaughn, & Olivia Busche, Photo courtesy of Mikki Schaffner Photography.

Featuring cast members Katie Berich, Nadyaa Betts, Maya Busche, Olivia Busche, Lily Canter, Lily Clark, Sophia Cotton-Riker, Sunny Dighe, Gabe Donnelly, Kyra Doty, Avery Frank, Jack Giglia, Chloe Goodman, Clare Graff, Diana Hutchinson, Lily Jones, Adeleigh Karoutchi, Isabella Lachey, Josie Leanza, Lizzy Reber, Ella Vaughn, and Anika Vockell.

  • Directed by Mike Sherman
  • Music Director: Steve Goers
  • Choreographer: Maggie Perrino
  • Student Choreographer: Lily Jones
  • Orchestra Conductor: Rick Canter
  • Technical Director: Helen A. Raymond-Goers
  • Scenic Designer: Ella Knellinger
  • Stage Manager: Sarah Mansfield
  • Assistant Stage Manager: Jamiera Jones and Lucia Johns
  • Costume Designer: Sadie Gray
  • Lighting Designer: JP Oberst
  • Makeup Designer: Laurel Price
  • Props Designer: Keziah Wilkins
  • Sound Designer: John Arora

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OTR Film Fest’s CELEBRATION OF INCLUSION Bringing Star-studded Lineup to Cincinnati Living Rooms

OTRFF_21_march_Newsletter_1920x1080-blk copyCINCINNATI, Ohio (Feb. 23, 2021) – The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD and the nation’s only diversity film festival led by the disability community, will host a special evening of connection, community and culture at 6:30 p.m. on March 11.

A Celebration of Inclusion in Film & Media,” a virtual experience, will feature celebrity appearances, comedy, musical performances, inspirational speakers and VIP packages with chef-curated dinners and custom gift bags.

The lineup of Hollywood stars and changemakers include:

  • Lea DeLaria from “Orange is the New Black”
  • Sammi Haney from “Netflix’s Raising Dion”
  • Ryan Niemiller, comedian and former contestant on “America’s Got Talent”
  • Valarie Kaur, filmmaker, civil rights lawyer and Sikh activist
  • Mat Fraser from “CripTales” and “American Horror Story”
  • Rickey Alexander Wilson from “Best Summer Ever”
  • Deirdre Lovejoy from “Netflix’s Raising Dion” and “The Wire”

Plus, musical performances by:

  • Indigo Girls
  • Sweet Honey in the Rock

“As we look to heal, rebuild, perhaps return to some level of normalcy or begin anew after this past year, many of us are seeing life through a new lens,” said Molly Lyons, festival director. “That’s what this virtual experience is all about: celebrating our shared humanity and discovering new perspectives.”

We’ve partnered with our friends at EXPO to offer attendees various levels of participation in the evening’s activities, from standard access ($30) to VIP experiential packages. Tickets are available at and an access link will be emailed to ticket holders closer to the date.

Each VIP package supports local chefs through Oakley Kitchen Food Hall, as well as artists with disabilities and Happen Inc. Breadwinners who designed art for t-shirts, bags and stickers included in the gift bags.

The event will also reveal the 2021 festival’s theme and announce two new festival awards in collaboration with the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center and the Harriet Beecher Stowe House.

Produced by Kate Siahaan-Rigg – actor, stand-up comic and writer based in New York City – and Alyson Palmer – producer, director, activist, community organizer and singer/songwriter for BETTY – the night is sure to be full of laughter, discovery and celebration. The festival thanks its Leadership Committee, Marketing Committee, LADD’s Board of Directors and sponsors for making this event possible.

About Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival
The Over-the-Rhine International Film Festival, organized by LADD, was founded by the Saul Schottenstein Foundation B and is presented by the Edwards Initiative, formerly Financial Independence Project. The festival, set to return July 8-11, 2021, showcases stories that celebrate the human spirit by providing a platform for audiences to see through another’s eyes. The festival also aims to spotlight the Queen City and its role in reframing how we see disability in the entertainment industry’s ongoing discussion of diversity. Learn more at

About LADD
Guided by the belief that every person has ability and value, LADD empowers adults with developmental disabilities to live, work, and connect. Founded in 1975, the Cincinnati non-profit now supports more than 600 individuals through housing, employment and meaningful community engagement programs. Learn more at

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Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati Commissions I SHALL NOT BE MOVED, the Captivating Story of Betty Daniels Rosemond

ETC_logoSTREAMING ON DEMAND April 19-May 2, 2021

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) is thrilled to announce the commission of I Shall Not Be Moved, the riveting new script-in-development by Cincinnati native and emerging young playwright Isaiah Reaves. This one-woman play 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 by streaming a reading of the show’s first draft, available on demand April 19-May 2, 2021.

As described by Woody Keown, Jr. of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, “Rosemond’s life is one of courage, clarity, and action,” which will inspire cross-generational audiences in our region and beyond. Directed by Torie Wiggins.

ETC will host a live discussion with playwright Isaiah Reaves on February 25, 2021 at 7:00 pm as part of its free livestream series Meet the Artists, and will be available through the theatre’s social media channels and website.

“It is an honor to bring I Shall Not Be Moved to life and what an extraordinary joy to have two generations together crafting this remarkable story,” says Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “This honest, direct story demands to be told and we are thrilled make that possible. We look forward to presenting its world premiere on our stage when it’s complete and when we are once again able to welcome audiences in person. We anticipate collaborations with community partners as well as extensive, accompanying educational programs that will further bring this vital story to life.” 

About the Playwright
Isaiah Reaves (Playwright) is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, he graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2020. His plays have been staged and read by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at Lincoln Center, Vintage Soul Productions of Connecticut, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and many others. Isaiah is a semi-finalist for the Ucross and The Blank Theatre Future of Playwriting Prize, a 2020 finalist of the Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, an Iowa Arts Fellow, and a recipient of Cincinnati CityBeat Critic’s Pick. He is currently in pursuit of an MFA at the historic University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.

Performance Information
This virtual reading can be rented through ETC on Demand, the theatre’s new digital streaming platform. Tickets are $10 for one 48-hour rental or $60 for a subscription to all upcoming virtual content (excluding benefit readings) through June 2021. ETC On Demand will be able to be accessed through the theatre’s main website. Subscribers can contact the box office Monday through Friday, 9:00 am until 5:00 pm for more information.


2020-2021 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.

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