The 2023-2024 Season will feature two world premieres, beloved classics, and Shakespeare greats.
CINCINNATI (March 8, 2023 @ 12:15pm) – Cincinnati Shakespeare Company (CSC) announced the titles of their 2023-2024 30th Anniversary Season today. The season features Shakespeare greats, classic comedies, fresh adaptations, and world premieres. Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips said “this season represents several exciting and new projects we have been working on for years as well as beloved Shakespeare productions that our audience always requests. I think we have something for everyone to connect with in this season, our 30th!”
The 30th Anniversary Season will begin early this year with a special event production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde playing August 4 – 20, 2023. Brian said “after the smashing success of the 2022-2023 Season production of the World Premiere of ‘The Rewards of Being Frank’ by Alice Scovell- now currently playing Off-Broadway in NYC with our partner New York Classical Theatre- we knew it was the perfect moment to bring back one of the most beloved comedies of all time. And it will give the new audiences who just discovered Wilde’s characters in ‘Rewards’ a chance to see the original story upon which it was based!” To add to the excitement, audiences will be thrilled to know that many of the cast members from ‘The Rewards of Being Frank’ will return to reprise their roles and play the same characters, as they were 7 years prior! “This is an exclusive chance for Cincinnati audiences to not only have been the first to experience the World Premiere but now have a chance to see the play upon which it was based. These type of production pairings are something that CSC is particularly adept at offering. We are thrilled to welcome back some of the New York artists to join our Ensemble this summer!” This show will be a “season special” and is not part of the Subscription package but Subscribers do receive a discount on tickets. Single tickets to “The Importance of Being Earnest” are now on sale.
The fall continues with another partnership, this time with Merrimack Repertory Theatre in Lowell, MA to present the world premiere of “Gaslight” by Steven Dietz, based on the play “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton. This Victorian era story gave rise to the concept of “gaslighting” another person, a type of physiological manipulation that has become so prevalent in its modern use that it was Merrian Webster’s 2022 Word of the Year. This thriller will play in Cincinnati September 8 – 24, 2023 before the entire production, cast, and crew transfer to Lowell, MA, near Boston, for a run there as a part of this rolling world premiere. Merrimack Repertory Theater (MRT) will celebrate 43 years this season as the Merrimack Valley’s professional theatre. Under the leadership of the Nancy L. Donahue Executive Artistic Director Courtney Sale, MRT strives to fulfill its mission to “create remarkable new and contemporary plays that bring joy to our art form while engaging, entertaining and enriching our community.” The playwright, Steven Dietz has long been one of America’s most prolific and widely produced playwrights including regional premieres here in Cincinnati at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and Cincinnati Shakespeare Company.
Following “Gaslight,” CSC is proud to present another world premiere, commissioned by CSC called “Wrecking Ball,” a new comedy by Zina Camblin October 13-28, 2023. Brian said, “this project represents another incredible milestone for CSC and our strategic goals. ‘Wrecking Ball’ is a commission in our emerging New Works program and we are so pleased to have been able to engage Cincinnati native and graduate of Cincinnati’s School for the Creative and Performing Arts, Zina Camblin and to present her first Cincinnati professional production!” Zina Camblin’s play, “And Her Hair Went With Her”, was produced at several Equity theaters across the country, and was featured at the Tribeca Theatre Festival and Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. She has developed and sold several television pilots, working with networks such as NBC and Warner Bros. Zina spent two seasons writing for BET’s “Let’s Stay Together,” which was produced by Queen Latifah. Camblin is a staff writer for Hulu’s series “Wu Tang: An American Saga.”
In November, CSC will bring back an audience favorite, Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” playing November 10 to December 2, 2023. This will be directed by CSC Director of Education Candice Handy and features Angelique Archer as Puck. The production will have a midwinter’s twist and take place in a frozen world with comedic characters, lovers, and fairies perfect for the whole family as the holiday season is getting started! And for the 18th 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 7 – 30, 2023 directed by Jeremy Dubin.
First up in 2024 is an American classic, “The Amen Corner” by James Baldwin January 26 – February 11, 2024. Published in 1954, this was James Baldwin’s first play. A female pastor of a Harlem church in 1954, grapples with issues of racism and poverty, and the role of the church in the lives of Black Americans. This production will be directed by CSC Director of Education Candice Handy and will feature Torie Wiggins as Margaret.
Up next in the season are two back-to-back Shakespeare greats. The first will be the tragedy thriller “Julius Caesar” March 1 – 23, 2024 directed by Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips. This production will feature Barry Mulholland as Julius Caesar. Exploring themes of power and politics, this production will be set in a contemporary crime-riddled Rome. Following that is the beloved Shakespeare comedy “Much Ado About Nothing” April 12 – May 5, 2024. This production will be directed by Jeremy Dubin with Kelly Mengelkoch as Beatrice. Set in a resplendent Elizabethan world, audiences will once again discover the humor and wit that make this rom com one for the ages!
To close the season, CSC will present the hilarious “The Play That Goes Wrong” by By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields playing May 24 – June 16, 2024. This ensemble comedy about a fledging community theater group trying (unsuccessfully) to put on a play will remind audiences of CSC’s 2018 smash hit “Noises Off” and will be a wonderful way to end the season! This Olivier Award-wining play has wowed audiences from London to Broadway and around the country.
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 2023-2024 season, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is excited to bring “The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare directed by Justin McCombs and featuring Elizabeth Molloy to neighborhoods throughout the tristate region July 14 – September 3, 2023. 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. As always, admission is FREE and no advance RSVP or tickets are required.
In another community partnership, CSC is proud to be collaborating with University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (UC CCM) to present “Let the Right One In” by Jack Thorne, based on the novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist playing October 19-28, 2023 at the University of Cincinnati. Jack Thorne is best known for writing the stage play “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” and the television program “His Dark Materials.” This dark and visceral coming-of-age vampire love story, based on the acclaimed novel and film, will be directed by CSC Producing Artistic Director Brian Isaac Phillips. The cast will feature four members of the CSC Resident Ensemble as guest artists of UC CCM alongside UC CCM Acting students. This production will take place at the Patricia Corbett Theater on the UC campus and information and tickets will be available through their Box Office. More details will be announced in the future.
Throughout the 2023-2024 30th Anniversary Season, CSC will also create opportunities for patrons and donors to make their personal mark at CSC by donating to the 30th Anniversary Endowment Campaign. From Glass Medallions, to seat plaques, to named spaces, everyone will have a chance to honor a loved one or express their personal commitment to CSC by helping to ensure the ongoing growth and vibrancy of the organization for the next 30 years.
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company continues to offer audiences great value with subscriptions consisting of flexible tickets that can be used in any combination for all of the seven mainstage performances. Subscription packages of seven tickets start at $266. 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.
With the exception of “The Importance of Being Earnest” which is on sale now, the rest of the single tickets for all shows at CSC go on sale May 1, 2023, but the recommended way to get the best price and priority seat selection is by becoming a Subscriber! Single tickets range from $14-$74. 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. An additional option for ticket buyers is CSC’s Rush Ticket program. Starting one hour before each performance, any unreserved tickets are available for $12 to anyone. 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 2023-2024 Season at The Otto M. Budig Theater is as follows:
Kelly Mengelkoch as Gwendolen Fairfax in “The Importance of Being Earnest” by Oscar Wilde directed by Brian Isaac Phillips. Photo by Mikki Schaffner
The Importance of Being Earnest
By Oscar Wilde
August 4 – 20, 2023*
Previews August 2 and 3
Avoiding an unwanted social engagement? Two bachelors have found way out! Gallivanting under the false identity of “Earnest,” “bunburying” is the perfect solution to avoiding one’s duties and responsibilities by claiming to have appointments to see a fictitious person. But their convoluted schemes of trivial deception and disguise become the delights of fools when they fall for two women who only love men named Earnest. Are romantic engagements possible if they avoid their true identity? Farcical fun abounds in one of the funniest comedies in the English language, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, dubiously dubbed “A Trivial Comedy for Serious People.”
*Not part of the mainstage subscription package.
Cast from the world premiere of “Gaslight” by Steven Dietz, based on “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton directed by Courtney Sale. Produced in Partnership with Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
By Steven Dietz
Based on “Angel Street” by Patrick Hamilton
September 8 – 24, 2023
Previews September 6 and 7
The sanctity of marriage is threatened when sanity is at stake. Strange things start to happen to the newlyweds Bella and Jack in this turn of the century Victorian thriller as their seemingly perfect marriage devolves into something sinister. Why is the attic door locked? Whose footsteps wander the halls at night? And is that gaslight flickering… or not? Bella’s reality is twisted, forcing her to question both the truth and her husband’s intentions in this haunting thriller based on the acclaimed play and classic film and the story that gave rise to 2022’s word of the year: Gaslight.
Darnell Pierre Benjamin in the world premiere of “Wrecking Ball” by Zina Camblin. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
A New Comedy
By Zina Camblin
October 13 – 28, 2023
Previews October 11 and 12
A Hollywood writers’ room becomes tense when drama spills beyond scripts and screens into the real world. A team of screenwriters get together to adapt a beloved, yet controversial, classic play for a new television series, but production halts when a shocking truth is revealed. The “Wrecking Ball” demolishes the pristine façade of Hollywood, and this cast of characters must find a way to rebuild in this caustic contemporary comedy that will have you talking the whole ride home.
Angelique Archer as Puck in William Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” directed by Candice Handy. Photo by Mikki Schaffner
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
November 10 – December 2, 2023
Previews November 8 and 9
Love is magic and mayhem. Two young lovers flee to the forest, hoping to find solace from the laws of the city, but feuding fairies have other ideas, throwing love triangles, potions, a troupe of bumbling thespians, and a donkey head into the mix. With a midwinter twist, A Midsummer Night’s Dream brings whimsical warmth and adventures to this classically summer tale perfect for the whole family.
Geoffrey Warren Barnes II in “Every Christmas Story Ever Told (And Then Some!)” by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez directed by Jeremy Dubin. Photo by Mikki Schaffner
Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some!)
By Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez
December 7 – 30, 2023*
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 favorite “Beloved Holiday Classics” including pop culture favorites like It’s a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, Charlie Brown and more! Add in topical references that always 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.
*Not part of the mainstage subscription package.
Torie Wiggins as Margaret in “The Amen Corner” by James Baldwin directed by Candice Handy. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
The Amen Corner
By James Baldwin
January 26 – February 11, 2024
Previews January 24 and 25
In a small, God-fearing church on a street corner in Harlem, devout pastor Margaret Anderson is confronted with her complicated past. Her estranged husband returns provoking conflict in her family putting their son at a crossroads. Will Margaret find forgiveness? Will the congregation accept the complexities of life? Or will both remain unyielding in their religious convictions? James Baldwin’s scalding and exultant masterpiece of the modern American theatre, proves it is faith and the love we have for our community that sees us through.
Barry Mulholland as Caesar in William Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar” directed by Brian Isaac Phillips. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
March 1 – 23, 2024
Previews February 28 and 29
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. The cutthroat world of Roman politics is exposed when the ambitious, yet oblivious, Julius Caesar becomes the target for assassination. To add insult to injury, it’s his trusted associates who are conspiring. Their actions set off a chain of events, plunging Rome into a civil war. Taking a contemporary view of this ferocious tale of power and loyalty, these infamous characters face the consequences of betrayal and the brutal nature of tyranny.
Kelly Mengelkoch as Beatrice in William Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” directed by Jeremy Dubin. Photo by Mikki Schaffner
Much Ado About Nothing
April 12 – May 5, 2024
Previews April 10 and 11
No romantic comedy is complete without a couple of lovers, their group of scheming friends, and a destination wedding. Hero and Claudio may have found their other half, but their friends, the two fiery, and staunchly single, Beatrice and Benedick, can’t stand each other. Good thing the other wedding guests are on hand to trick the hapless couple into falling hopelessly in love. You’re invited to this witty rom com complete with rumors, enemies-to-lovers, and saucy gossip. And if Beatrice and Benedick both believe “it’s not me, it’s you,” maybe it is Much Ado About Nothing.
Candice Handy in “The Play That Goes Wrong” by Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer, and Henry Shields directed by Brian Isaac Phillips. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
The Play That Goes Wrong
By Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer & Henry Shields
May 24 – June 16, 2024
Previews May 22 and 23
It’s Opening Night at the Cornley University’s newest production, The Murder at Haversham Manor and the stakes have never been higher. But none of the on-stage drama is in the script! The theater is filled with accident-prone actors, a corpse that can’t play dead to save his life, and a knocked-out knock out of a leading lady. When all goes wrong, can this theater company make it to Opening Night and bring down the house (in a good way)? In this fantastic, farcical, fiasco of a show and Off-Broadway and West End comedic hit, the age-old adage is true: “the show must go wrong!” oops sorry, we mean “the show must go on!”
FREE Shakespeare in the Park 2023 (Free Admission)
Elizabeth Chinn Molloy as Dromio in 2023 FREE Shakespeare in the Park tour of “The Comedy of Errors” directed by Justin McCombs. Photo by Mikki Schaffner.
The Comedy of Errors
July 14 – September 3, 2023
A family separated in a shipwreck reunites when two sets of identical twins find themselves in the same place at the same time with the same face decades later. The only problem is that they don’t know what’s in front of them. What follows is a series of mistaken identity, love triangles, and misadventure. Have a laugh at the errors of comedy in The Comedy of Errors, this farcical and fun story perfect for the whole family!
Collaboration with UC CCM (Tickets Available from UC only)
Let the Right One In
By Jack Thorne
Based on the novel and film by John Ajvide Lindqvist
October 19-28, 2023*
12-year-old Oskar yearns for violent revenge of the bullies who torment him, collecting newspaper clippings of the recent string of local murders as solace. Though an outcast at school, he soon finds a friend with the arrival of Eli, a mysterious girl who only leaves her house at night. Sensing in each other a kindred spirit, the two become devoted friends. What Oskar doesn’t know is that Eli has been a teenager for a very long time. An enchanting, brutal vampire myth and coming-of-age love story adapted from the bestselling novel and award-winning film, Let the Right One In.
*Not part of the mainstage subscription package.
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, CSC 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. CSC is generously supported by ArtsWave, the region’s primary source for arts funding. Cincinnati Shakespeare Company is proud to be Cincinnati’s Stage for the Classics!