Tag Archives: Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park

The Spirits of the Season Return to Cincinnati Playhouse, A CHRSTIMAS CAROL Comes to Life Nov. 27-Dec. 29


Britney Nicole Simpson as Ghost of Christmas Past and Bruce Cromer as Ebenezer Scrooge. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

(CINCINNATI) — The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s joyous, time-honored celebration of the true meaning of the holidays returns for its 29th season as First Financial Bank presents Charles Dickens’ A CHRISTMAS CAROL. The beloved, iconic story will be performed Nov. 27 through Dec. 29 in the Playhouse’s Robert S. Marx Theatre. (Opening night is Nov. 29.)

More than 630,000 people have enjoyed the timeless classic at the Playhouse over the past 28 years. An immediate hit when Dickens wrote it in 1843, A CHRISTMAS CAROL is often credited for revitalizing the celebration of Christmas as we know it today.

“Thousands of families return each year to the Playhouse to make A CHRISTMAS CAROL a part of their holiday traditions,” explains Blake Robison, artistic director. “The enduring message of A CHRISTMAS CAROL helps to make it one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each season and a perfect way to introduce children to the joys of live theatre.”

Adapted by Howard Dallin, Dickens’ narrative comes to vivid life with spectacular effects and hundreds of costumes that illuminate Ebenezer Scrooge’s time-traversing pilgrimage with the spirits one magical Christmas Eve. From his kind-hearted sister Fan and first love Belle to his generous employer Fezziwig and humble clerk Bob Cratchit, Scrooge is repeatedly shown the saving grace of love and concern for humanity.

Bruce Cromer returns to fill Ebenezer Scrooge’s miserly shoes this season for the 15th time, the longest run among the four actors who have played the role, and his son, Charlie, returns for a second season to portray Scrooge as a young adult. Michael Evan Haney is the director of the production.

All show times for A CHRISTMAS CAROL are at 2 p.m. for matinees and 7 p.m. for evening performances to accommodate families with children. Please note the earlier curtain time. There will be no performances on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and selected weeknights in early December.

Prices for A CHRISTMAS CAROL start at $35 for the Nov. 27 preview performance and at $40 for all other performances depending on seat location. Tickets for children and teens are $50, $45 or $30 depending on seat location. Prices are subject to change. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show. In addition to calling the Box Office at 513-421-3888, tickets can also be purchased by visiting the Playhouse website at www.cincyplay.com.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is suitable for all general audiences, including children ages 5 and older. Due to the full-length nature of the show, children younger than 5 cannot be admitted.

A CHRISTMAS CAROL will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8. There is a sensory-friendly performance on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

(in speaking order)

Bruce Cromer (Ebenezer Scrooge); Nick Rose (Mr. Cupp/Percy/Rich Man at Fezziwig’s);
Taha Mandviwala (Mr. Sosser/Topper/Man with Shoe Shine/Guest at Fezziwig’s); Ryan Wesley Gilreath (Bob Cratchit/Schoolmaster Oxlip); Daniel Petzold (Fred); Greg Procaccino (Jacob Marley/Old Joe); Britney Nicole Simpson (Ghost of Christmas Past/Mrs. Peake); Benjamin Sheffer (Boy Scrooge/Boy at Fezziwig’s/Bootblack/Streets); Ari Elizabeth Johnson (Fan/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Douglas Rees (Mr. Fezziwig/Ghost of Christmas Present); Annie Fitzpatrick (Mrs. Fezziwig/Patience/Streets); Nicolás Acosta (Dick Wilkins/Streets); Jo Garcia-Reger (Mary [Scrubwoman at Fezziwig’s]/Caroler/Streets); Charlie Cromer (Young and Mature Scrooge/Ghost of Christmas Future); Sara Masterson (Belle/Catherine Margaret); Joshua Carandang (Constable at Fezziwig’s/Man with Pipe/Caroler/Streets); Kelly Mengelkoch (Mrs. Cratchit/Laundress/Streets); Teancom Thacker (Peter Cratchit/Gregory/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Ashlynn Isabel Hezlep (Belinda Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Mia Goodlett (Martha Cratchit/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Roshan Chitnis (Tiny Tim); Julia Gomez (Rose/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Caroler/Streets; Stephen Tait (Ignorance/Matthew/Apprentice at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Teagan Farmer (Want/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Shonita Joshi (Mrs. Dilber/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Ethan Graham Roeder (Undertaker/Caroler/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Sabian Swan (George/Charles/Rich Son at Fezziwig’s/Streets); Deja Elliott (Poulteress/Guest at Fezziwig’s/Streets)

Michael Evan Haney (Director); James Leonard Joy (Set Designer); David Murin (Costume Designer); Kirk Bookman (Lighting Designer); David B. Smith (Sound Designer/Composer); Steve O’Shea (Lighting Contractor); Cindy Witherspoon (Costume Coordinator); Rebecca N. Childs (Music Director); Dee Anne Bryll (Choreographer); Stephanie Klapper, CSA (Casting Director); Andrea L. Shell (Stage Manager); Jenifer Morrow (Second Stage Manager)

A CHRISTMAS CAROL is presented by First Financial Bank. The design sponsor and artist sponsor/Ghosts is Ohio National Financial Services. Artist sponsor/Ebenezer Scrooge is AAA/Provident Travel. Artist sponsor/Tiny Tim is Bahl & Gaynor.  Additional support is provided by The Stona Fitch Family.

The Robert S. Marx Theatre Season is presented by Schueler Group. 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 and the National Endowment for the Arts.

# # #


Saturday, Nov. 23, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Join the Playhouse and Hoxworth Blood Center for our 24th annual blood drive! Donors will receive a voucher for half-price tickets for select performances of A Christmas Carol and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story. You’ll also leave knowing that you provided life-giving support to those in need, saving up to three lives with your single donation.
For an appointment, visit www.hoxworth.org/groups/playhouse. Appointment times are limited, so you are strongly encouraged to reserve your spot in advance.

Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m.
This performance is specifically for individuals on the autism spectrum or with other disabilities that create sensory sensitivities. The Playhouse removes sensory challenges and provides various accommodations to address needs by making technical adjustments to the production (such as sound modifications and removing fog, haze and certain kinds of lighting). Offstage accommodations are also available.

Recommended for first-grade and older students and adults. Tickets cost $15 per person. Companion seats can also be purchased. To reserve tickets for this special performance, please contact Valerie Perez at 513-977-2028, or valerie.perez@cincyplay.com. To read about accommodations, modifications and our philosophy surrounding the event, visit our blog.

Help a neighbor in need by participating in the Playhouse’s annual Cratchit Family Food Drive to support the Freestore Foodbank. To donate, simply bring a nonperishable food or personal care item to the Playhouse when you come for a performance in November or December and place it in one of the barrels located near the Box Office. Food items that are always in demand include canned meat products; canned vegetables; fruits and soups; peanut butter; and macaroni and cheese. Personal care items include soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste, feminine hygiene products and disposable diapers. Please, no glass items.



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THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT presented Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park through Nov. 16. I attended the opening night performance. 

PIP_The Lifespan of a Fact promo1

JuCoby Johnson as Jim Fingal, Kate Rigg as Emily Penrose & David Whalen as John D’Agata. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

At what point does literary license become libel?

This argument is central to the plot of the thought-provoking play THE LIFESPAN OF A FACT running through Nov. 16 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

LIFESPAN follows the extreme and laugh out loud funny pursuit of the truth by young and over-achieving fact-checker Jim Fingal (JuCoby Johnson). Actor David Whalen (author Paul Sheldon in last season’s MISERY) returns as John D’Agata, a talented and respected old school wordsmith who argues the truth of his writing is not beholden to fact. Literally caught between the two is magazine editor Emily Penrose (Kate Rigg) who’s love for the written word is tempered by the realities of the struggling print industry in our online, click-obsessed, social media dominated world.

Director Wendy C. Goldberg displays a deft hand with her talented cast in tackling a show that is essentially three people talking…a lot. The humor of the script and the humanity of the three characters is brought to the forefront. It is not three people arguing to be right, but three individuals trying to do the best work they can.

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David Whalen as John D’Agata. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Todd Rosenthal’s clever, two-sided set believable takes us from a New York skyscraper to suburban Las Vegas. It was also a wise move to not utilize the entire play area available.

There are some now-expected generational jokes and the fact-checking debate does briefly stall the forward momentum of the play, but on the other side is one of the most profound moments I’ve experienced in a theater. A perfect example of the power of the written word from the “pen” of a talented writer.


Kate Rigg as Emily Penrose & JuCoby Johnson as Jim Fingal. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.

Nowadays any yahoo can start a blog and become a media influencer. The internet is full of people eager to nitpick and point out minuscule failings (like how did D’Agata’s elderly mother, who needed a walker to get around, manage to get herself up and down the stairs without a bedroom or bathroom on the first floor?).

But none can duplicate the investment of the opening night audience in those closing minutes of this play or the thoughtful discussion that follows after the stage goes dark.

My rating: 4.75 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.

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A CHRISTMAS CAROL Runs Nov. 27-Dec. 29

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Nov. 27-Dec. 29
Marx Theatre [Eden Park]

Directed by Michael Evan Haney

The Playhouse’s version of A Christmas Carol combines faithful storytelling with spellbinding stage magic to bring to life its familiar story of a sinner given one last chance at redemption by four persuasive ghosts. Ebenezer Scrooge undergoes a miraculous Christmas Eve transformation as he views with new eyes his past, present and the possibilities of the future. As he witnesses all those who have improved his life — his first love Belle, his kindhearted employer Fezziwig, his nephew Fred and his heartily abused clerk Bob Cratchit — he realizes that it’s never too late to change his miserly ways. A Christmas Carol’s heartwarming message, hundreds of costumes and thrilling special effects help to make the show one of the Playhouse’s most popular productions each year. Suitable for all general audiences, including children ages 5 and older. Due to the full-length nature of the show, children younger than 5 cannot be admitted. 

  • Wed, Nov. 27 at 7pm
  • Fri, Nov. 29 at 7pm
  • Sat-Sun, Nov. 30-Dec. 1 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Thu-Fri, Dec. 5-6 at 7pm
  • Sat, Nov. 7 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Sun, Nov. 8 at 2pm
  • Thu-Fri, Nov. 12-13 at 7pm
  • Sat-Sun, Nov. 14-15 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Fri, Nov. 17-20 at 7pm
  • Sat-Sun, Nov. 21-22 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Mon, Nov. 23 at 7pm
  • Thu, Nov. 26 at 7pm
  • Fri-Sat, Nov. 27-28 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Sun, Nov. 29 at 2pm

Official page |

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2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS Runs Nov. 9-Jan 5

PIP_Two Pianos Four Hands promo

Promotional photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Nov. 9-Jan 5
Shelterhouse Theatre [Eden Park]

Directed by Thomas Frey

Cast: Jefferson McDonald as Ted & Matthew McGloin as Richard

Piano wizardry and laugh-out-loud comedy come together to tell the story of Richard and Ted’s life-long pursuit of becoming concert pianist superstars. They work tirelessly to master legendary music from Beethoven and Bach to Billy Joel, enduring endless practice, stage fright and agonizing competition along the way. Two performers tickle the ivories (and your funny bone) while portraying dozens of characters like their naïve childhood selves, the eccentric piano teachers who guide them and the demanding parents who push them. Laughter and music abound in this riotous show about Richard and Ted’s humbling quest for musical greatness. Suitable for audiences ages 12 and up. Richard and Ted’s passionate quest for musical stardom includes mild adult language and other mature themes, which are often addressed through the characters’ angsty, teenage versions of themselves.

  • In preview, Sat, Nov. 9 at 8pm & Sun, Nov. 10 at 7pm
  • In preview, Tue-Wed, Nov. 12-13 at 7:30pm
  • Thu, Nov. 14 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Nov. 15 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 16 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 17 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Thu, Nov. 19-21 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Nov. 22 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 23 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Nov. 24 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue-Wed, Nov. 26-27 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Nov. 29 at 8pm
  • Sat, Nov. 30 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 1 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Tue, Dec. 3 at 7:30pm
  • Wed, Dec. 4 at 1pm & 7:30pm
  • Thu, Dec. 5 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Dec. 6 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 7 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 8 at 2pm
  • Tue-Thu, Dec. 10-12 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Dec. 13 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 14 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 15 at 2pm
  • Tue-Thu, Dec. 17-19 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Dec. 20 at 8pm
  • Sat, Dec. 21 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 22 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Mon, Dec. 23 at 7:30pm
  • Thu, Dec. 26 at 7:30pm
  • Fri-Sat, Dec. 27-28 at 8pm
  • Sun, Dec. 29 at 2pm & 7pm
  • Mon, Dec. 30 at 7:30pm
  • Thu, Jan. 2 at 7:30pm
  • Fri, Jan. 3 at 8pm
  • Sat, Jan. 4 at 4pm & 8pm
  • Sun, Jan 5 at 2pm

Official page |

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2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS Will Tickle the Ivories and Funny Bone

PIP_Two Pianos Four Hands promo

Promotional photo by Tony Arrasmith/Arrasmith & Associates.

Award-winning musical comedy begins Nov. 9 in the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre

CINCINNATI – Two pianists’ quest for larger-than-life dreams takes the stage in 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS, beginning on Nov. 9 in the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre. Audiences are invited to experience the side-splitting musical comedy through Jan. 5, with opening night on Nov. 14.

The show, which has been called “tears-streaming-down-your-face-funny” by the Ottawa Sun, tells the story of playwrights and performers Ted Dykstra and Richard Greenblatt, who shared a childhood dream of growing up to be superstar concert pianists. In the two-person show, we meet semi-autobiographical characters Ted and Richard. In a series of short, rapid-fire scenes, Ted and Richard transform into parents, teachers, coaches and even themselves at various ages. Memories of their music careers come to life onstage, from touching arguments with Richard’s father (who once fancied himself a bit of a pianist as well) to side-splitting glimpses of the characters that helped instruct Ted and Richard at the piano.

At the heart of this production is two men with comedic chemistry telling the story of all our childhood dreams of being a movie star, astronaut, or NFL-quarterback. The musicians bring relatable nostalgia to life as they work to master everything from Bach and Beethoven to Billy Joel.

“Part of what makes 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS so enduring is that in addition to being incredibly entertaining, audiences see themselves in it whether or not they ever wanted to play the piano,” says Tom Frey, who serves as both director and music director for Playhouse’s production.

2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS has been produced on five continents in over 4,000 productions during its 24-year history. The production inspires audiences to think about their passions and reminds us all not to give up on our dreams.

“As a director, I love to watch the audience take in a play and see what seems to resonate with them,” says Frey. “2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS delivers more moments of connection than almost any play I’ve worked on.”

For more information on 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS, visit cincyplay.com.

Matthew McGloin (Richard); Jefferson McDonald (Ted)

Tom Frey (Director and Music Director); Steve Lucas (Scenic Designer); James Sale (Lighting Designer); Dale Brown (Casting Director); Brooke Redler (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 www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

Performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, at 8 p.m. Fridays, 4 and 8 p.m. Saturdays and 2 and 7 p.m. Sundays. Individual tickets start at just $35. Tickets to all 7 p.m. Sunday performances are priced at just $10 for college students with a valid school ID. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show for all other performances. Discounted ticket prices for children and teens are available for all productions and are $30 to $50, depending on show and seat location. 2 PIANOS, 4 HANDS is suitable for ages 12 and up.

Production Sponsors are The Carol Ann and Ralph Haile, Jr./ U.S. Bank Foundation. The Steinway Piano Sponsor is the Willis Music Company. The design sponsor is Bartlett Wealth Management. Artist sponsor is provided by BHDP. The Daley Family Foundation is an honorary producer. Season Sponsor is Heidelberg Distributing Company. Season Sponsor of New Work is the Rosenthal Family Foundation.

The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 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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