Tag Archives: Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

ETC Announces Winner of Fourth Annual PLAY/WRITE Collegiate Playwriting Competition

ETC_logoENSEMBLE THEATRE CINCINNATI ANNOUNCES WINNER OF FOURTH ANNUAL
PLAY/WRITE: THE JACKIE DEMALINE REGIONAL COLLEGIATE PLAYWRITING COMPETITION

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) is pleased to announce the winner of the fourth annual PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition. The annual collegiate competition nurtures local aspiring dramatists who are helping to shape the future of American theatre and provides a $2,500 juried cash award to support the early work and career of each winner along with staged professional readings of their scripts.

The winner of this year’s prize is Steven Strafford (Ohio University) for his play The Match Game, which will receive a full-length staged professional reading on July 31, 2022, at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati.

Judges found Strafford’s The Match Game very well constructed, humorous, and highly entertaining all while navigating some heavier topics as a diagnosis of cancer, the loss of trust, and family dysfunction. The panel would also like to recognize the following playwrights with Honorable Mentions in this year’s competition:  Both Hands by Joyce Evelyn Deaton (Northern Kentucky University), The Heat by David Schwartz (University of Cincinnati), and The End of the World by Baxter Whitehead (Miami University).

About the Competition
The competition commemorates the life and work of writer, critic, and theatre enthusiast, Jackie Demaline. A passionate arts advocate, Ms. Demaline served as an important catalyst for change in the theater community and was an entertainment writer and editor for numerous publications. Her legacy lives on through this competition, providing professional development for emerging writers, amplifying new voices and perspectives, and kick-starting arts careers. 

About the Play
The Match Game by Steven Strafford

Steph has cancer, but that’s the least of her problems today. Her estranged father, who may or may not have dementia, has come to live with her. Her suspicious mom, her gay brother and his sweet, young, and somewhat dim-witted boyfriend, her absent father, and her precocious daughter will all be in attendance at an ad-hoc birthday party, complete with the set of a regional production of a Broadway musical. Can Steph navigate her family to get what she wants, or maybe more importantly, what she needs? 

About the Playwright
Steven Strafford is a Brooklyn-born playwright and actor. He is the author of the award-winning solo play, Methtacular!, which he has performed across the country in LORT theaters, universities, and LGBTQ+ spaces and which was recorded at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater in 2019. His soon-to-be-published play Small Jokes About Monsters won the New American Voices Contest in 2016, was a semi-finalist for The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, and won the 2022 Ready-To-Publish Award from SETC and StageRights. Small Jokes About Monsters had productions in Houston at Landing Theatre, (nominated for Outstanding New Play, Houston Theater Awards), Chicago at 16th Street Theater, and in Sioux City at The Lamb Theater. His play Greater Illinois was a semifinalist in the 2021 O’Neill National Playwrights Conference and a finalist for the Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. The play also received a workshop with Tantrum East in NYC. His short play Use Your Noodles was produced at Middlesex College, Ohio University, and Colby College. Methtacular! will be included in a forthcoming anthology of solo plays from Opus Books. His essay, “College Dreams,” was published in the book, The Anatomy of Silence.

Performance Information
The reading will take place on Sunday, July 31, 2022, at 2:00 pm at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati. Registration is required for this free event and can be reserved online at www.ensemblecincinnati.org or by calling (513) 421-3555.

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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.

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2022-2023 Season Announced by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

ETC_logo

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati ANNOUNCES 2022-2023 season

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the region’s premiere theatre, is delighted to announce its 2022-2023 Season, which features a Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, a Tony-nominated comedy, a witty and honest story of connection, and the world premiere dramedy of a reimagined classic. Along with this compelling lineup, next season also features the return of one of ETC’s swinging and toe-tapping holiday musicals.

“It’s time we get back to thriving,” explains Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “The 2022-2023 Season is about thriving after we have spent so long trying to survive. So much has changed for all of us over the past two years that I feel we need these shows to demonstrate our ability and tenacity to move forward. Each of these plays brings to life essential stories for this essential time.”

About the Plays

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opens its 37th year with the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Sweat by Lynn Nottage, September 17–October 9, 2022. This powerful drama takes us to the forgotten heart of America, where old friends come together at their favorite bar as they struggle to survive a fraying economy. For decades, they’ve shared secrets and laughs on the factory floor, but now layoffs pit them against one another as inequities of race and class fan the flames. Based on the playwright’s extensive research and interviews with real residents of Reading, Pennsylvania, Sweat is a topical reflection of the present and poignant outcome of America’s economic decline. MacArthur Genius and two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner Lynn Nottage infuses this searing script with her trademark mix of compassion, humor, and suspense. It’s explosive drama, made in America.

For the holidays, ETC will present the return of The Dancing Princesses with book by Joseph McDonough and lyrics and music by David Kisor, November 30–December 30, 2022. From the creators of last season’s hit Cinderella comes a whimsical adaptation of the classic fairy tale about a kingdom where an enchanting mystery is afoot! Wanting the best for his daughters, an overprotective king locks the castle doors each night. Yet, each morning, the princesses’ shoes have been curiously worn to tatters. Keen to cobble together the mystery of the frayed footwear, the king resorts to drastic measures of royal proportions. This is the heartfelt and humorous story of five uniquely different princesses who embark upon a journey of the imagination that explores the universal quest for understanding, acceptance, and love. The Dancing Princesses is suitable for all ages.

It’s out with the old and in with the new (sort of) as ETC presents the regional premiere comedy Grand Horizons by Bess Wohl, January 14–February 5, 2023. Over a quiet dinner for two, Bill and Nancy serenely decide to divorce after fifty years of marriage. While Nancy feels liberated and Bill seems unfazed, their adult sons Brian and Ben don’t exactly take it well. As the “kids” descend on the Grand Horizons senior living community to mediate, everything they thought they knew about their parents comes crashing down. Bess Wohl’s Tony-nominated comedy is a hilarious, heartbreaking commentary on marriage, family, and the wisdom that comes with age—or not. Bursting with all the joy and pathos of everyday life, Grand Horizons is theatre at its most enjoyable and familiar.

Deeply felt and gorgeously imagined by Tony Award winner Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time), Morning Sun will run February 25–March 19, 2023 in its first regional premiere production following its successful New York debut. In Greenwich Village a generation or so ago, the city is alive. Joni Mitchell sings, friends and lovers come and go, and the regulars change at the White Horse Tavern. As 50 years pass, one woman’s life is revealed in all its complexity, mystery, and possibility in this enthralling regional premiere drama about mothers and daughters, beginnings and endings in New York City.

Next, ETC is thrilled to present the commissioned world premiere of Who All Over There? by Torie Wiggins, April 8–30, 2023. Things aren’t always black and white—especially when it comes to relationships. When Dean, a young professional, and Danya, an aspiring singer, go on a refreshingly candid first date, they keep it real about the dynamics of a potential interracial relationship. As they grow comfortable nestled in the cocoon of their budding love, the real world brings a whirlwind of inflammatory race relations, opinionated family and friends, and troublesome pasts. Can love truly be colorblind? This updated remix of the critically acclaimed classic Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner shines a light on what happens when cultures clash in the name of love.

ETC’s 2022-2023 Season closes with the poignant regional premiere dramedy Maytag Virgin by Audrey Cefaly, May 27–June 18, 2023. Good fences make good neighbors, right? But what about clotheslines? And do appliances even belong inside the house? When the unflappable Jack Key moves in next door to the endearingly neurotic Lizzy Nash, sparks fly. Over time, neighborly nagging softens, and a deeper connection emerges between the two high school teachers. As the leaves turn yellow and the months march on, kept secrets shake loose, and the pair finds themselves facing the same question: How do you know when you’re ready to live, and love, again?

Subscriptions On Sale Now
Subscriptions to the 2022-2023 Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati season are on sale now. 5-Show Preview subscriptions are $164 (excludes holiday production); Regular and FlexPass subscriptions range from $244 to $266. ETC will continue its deeply discounted subscription options for students, with packages just $100 for Teen Scene subscribers and just $125 for Student subscriptions. 

Single Tickets On Sale August 8, 2022
All single tickets for the 2022-2023 Season go on sale to the general public starting at 10:00 a.m. on Monday, August 8, 2022.

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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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TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS Quick Review

TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS presented by Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati through June 25. I attended the opening night performance.

ETC_Tiny Beautful Things2

Kearston Hawkins-Johnson* as Letter Writer #2, Taha Mandviwala* as Letter Writer #3, Michael G. Bath* as Letter Writer #1 & Kelly Mengelkoch* as Sugar. Photo. by Ryan Kurtz

Kelly Mengelkoch is excellent as “Sugar,” giving a layered and emotionally true performance as the online advice columnist. Providing her with great support as the various online “submitters” are Michael G. Bath, Kearston Hawkins-Johnson and Taha Mandviwala. As the requests for advice cover a variety of topics, I think each audience member will be impacted differently by these stories depending upon how they relate to their individual life experiences. Personally, I found the letter from a grieving father (Mr. Bath) to be especially well-performed and touching. This 80-minute intermission less performance reminds us to find and appreciate the tiny beautiful things in our lives.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Click here for more information on the production.

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ETC Closes 2021-2022 Season with Regional Premiere Dramedy TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS

ETC_Tiny Beautiful Things logoMay 28 – June 25, 2022

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) closes its 2021-2022 Season with the regional premiere drama Tiny Beautiful Things. Based on the acclaimed book by Cheryl Strayed (author of the best-selling book Wild), this story was brilliantly adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos, the Academy Award-nominated writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding. A funny and deeply touching exploration of resilience, Variety calls Tiny Beautiful Things “a theatrical hug in turbulent times.” Playing May 28–June 25, 2022. Directed by D. Lynn Meyers.­­

Tiny Beautiful Things follows a writer as she takes over the unpaid, anonymous position of an advice columnist named Sugar. At first unsure of herself, she finds a way to weave her own life experiences together to help those seeking guidance. This captivating and uplifting play is about reaching out when you’re stuck, recovering when you’re broken, and finding the courage to ask the questions that are hardest to answer.

“The reason I felt compelled to include Tiny Beautiful Things in the season is that we are all lacking connection. We were forced into separation the last couple of years to keep each other safe, but it also did a lot to pull us apart,” says Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “The Dear Sugar columns and all these other outlets that are there for us to connect with strangers might just help us to reconnect with those we love and care about. This show allows us to reach out to each other and say we’re in it together, as cliché as it sounds. Tiny Beautiful Things celebrates our uniqueness, but also our universal need to connect with another human, to open our hearts to listening, and to share that which we can give as best we can.”

About the Cast

Connan Morrissey (Sugar) returns to Ensemble Theatre having last appeared in Pipeline (2020) and A Doll’s House, Part 2. Her previous credits include roles in new and classical plays at Arena Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Asolo Theatre Center, Folger Theatre, Virginia Stage Company, Round House Theatre, Olney Theatre Center, Clarence Brown Theatre, PlayMakers Repertory, Capital Repertory, North Carolina Stage Company, Vermont Stage Company, and Peterborough Players. Some of her other work experiences include performance coaching for executives at Deloitte, PWC, Unilever, and Fifth Third Bank and the care and transport of family members throughout Cincinnati. Connan has an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Michael G. Bath (Letter Writer #1) was last seen at Ensemble in Cinderella, as well as The Frog Princess, Fly By Night, The Dancing Princesses, The Legend of Georgia McBride, Sleeping Beauty, and Hands on a Hardbody, among countless others. Other regional credits include Superior Donuts with Clifton Players and Angels in America at Know Theatre. Michael has also performed with Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, the Performance Gallery, Showboat Majestic, and Stage First Cincinnati. 

Kearston Hawkins-Johnson (Letter Writer #2) makes their Ensemble Theatre debut with this production. Some of their previous credits include The Snowy Day and Other Stories, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company; Dragon Play and Susan Swayne and the Bewildered Bride, Know Theatre of Cincinnati; and various films and audio dramas. Kearston is also a multidisciplinary artist whose practice includes photography and filmmaking. They received a BFA in Acting from Northern Kentucky University with additional training at Howard University.

Taha Mandviwala (Letter Writer #3) makes his Ensemble Theatre debut with this production. He is a 2016 graduate from the University of Kentucky with a BA in Theatre, and he was a member of the 2016-2017 Bruce E. Coyle Acting Intern Company at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. His recent regional credits include The Taming of the Shrew and Witness for the Prosecution, Great Lakes Theater and Idaho Shakespeare Festival; Romeo and Juliet and Love’s Labour’s Lost, Santa Cruz Shakespeare Festival; and Shakespeare in LoveTreasure Island, and multiple seasons of A Christmas Carol, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Production team: Brian c. Mehring (Resident Scenic and Lighting Designer), Dana Rebecca Woods (Costume Designer), Matt Callahan (Sound Designer), Kelly Yurko (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.

Performance Information

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 at www.ensemblecincinnati.org.


Ticket Prices

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.

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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.

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ETC Presents Ten Chances to See ELEGIES FOR ANGELS, PUNKS AND RAGING QUEENS Beginning May 13, 2022

ETC_logo(Cincinnati, OH) During the observation of International AIDS Candlelight Memorial Day and annual Pride Celebrations, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) is proud to partner with Caracole to present Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens by Bill Russell and Janet Hood. This piece shares the stories of 31 people from all walks of life who are affected by HIV/AIDS. Free performances of Elegies at various locations and times across the city are made possible by American Rescue Plan funds from the City of Cincinnati, administered through ArtsWave.

A celebration of lives lost to AIDS, Elegies for Angels, Punks, and Raging Queens is told through free-verse monologues and songs with a blues, jazz, and rock score. Through the perspectives of both those who died and those they left behind, this piece offers a broad look at the impact of the AIDS crisis on individuals, families, and communities – stories sometimes forgotten with today’s commonplace treatment and prevention methods. They inspire hope and healing amid tragedy, as well as ACTION to continue reducing the spread of the virus and seeking a cure.

This essential piece of theatre brings renewed awareness and education about the spread of HIV. Data shared by Caracole shows Hamilton County among the 1.5% of US counties which accounted for over 50% of new HIV diagnoses in 2016 and 2017. At least 35% of new diagnoses in 2019 included needle use, and there was a 1,375% increase in HIV diagnoses for people who inject drugs from 2015-2019. The 2019 new diagnoses were also split nearly evenly between heterosexual transmission (34%), and homosexual transmission (35%). Like COVID-19, HIV does not discriminate, and is still spreading in our community.

This production contains strong language/adult content, including descriptions of violence, homophobia, adultery, and drug use, and discussion of sexual identity.

About our partner:
Caracole is Greater Cincinnati’s nonprofit devoted to positively changing lives in the fight against HIV/AIDS. For people living with HIV, we provide housing, case management, and pharmacy services to improve health and well-being. Our prevention services focus on outreach, testing, education, and harm reduction to help people reduce their risk for HIV. The work we do to end the HIV epidemic is central to a healthy community. Volunteer, donate or find out how we can help you or someone you love at caracole.org.

Performance Information:

Friday, May 13 at 7:00 pm
Xavier University Gallagher Student Center Theatre (Evanston), 3800 Victory Parkway, Cincinnati OH 45207

Saturday, May 14 at 3:00 pm
Hoffner Park (Northside), 4101 Hamilton Ave, Cincinnati OH 45223

Sunday, May 15 at 2:00 pm
Seasongood Pavilion (Eden Park), 1600 Art Museum Dr, Cincinnati OH 45202

Saturday, May 21 at 3:00 pm & 6:00 pm
ARCO (Price Hill), 3301 Price Ave, Cincinnati OH 45205

Sunday, May 22 at 2:00 pm
Burnet Woods Bandstand (Clifton), 3251 Brookline Ave, Cincinnati OH 45220

Saturday, June 4 at 2:00 pm
Stanbery Park (Mt. Washington), 2221 Oxford Ave, Cincinnati OH 45230

Sunday, June 5 at 2:00pm
Westwood Town Hall (Westwood), 3017 Harrison Ave, Cincinnati OH 45211

Saturday, June 18 at 6:00 pm
Mt Auburn Presbyterian Church (Mt Auburn), 103 W H Taft Rd, Cincinnati OH 45219

Sunday, June 26 at 2:00 pm
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (OTR), 1127 Vine St, Cincinnati OH 45202

Registration:
For more information or to register online, visit www.ensemblecincinnati.org or call (513) 421-3555. Free admission.

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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.

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