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Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati Announce Reset 2020-2021 Seasons Due to Covid-19 Challenges

Seasons to start later with a smaller slate of shows

PIP_logoCINCINNATI – Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati today issued a joint announcement that they will delay the start of their 2020-21 seasons due to the complex challenges around continuing live performances. All three theatres plan to kick off their revised seasons this winter with a smaller slate of rearranged, rescheduled or new shows.

In addition to the current ban on mass gatherings in Ohio, the nonprofit theatres must finalize viable plans to play to lower audience capacities for social distancing, communicate with theatre’s professional unions (such as Actors Equity) about performing safely and put numerous, new safety protocols in place.

With so many of the same challenges and the cross-over between audiences, the artistic leaders of the three organizations – Blake Robison (Playhouse), Brian Isaac Phillips (CSC) and D. Lynn Meyers (ETC) – indicated that they are working together to present consistent opening plans and safety guidelines.

The three leaders also announced that COVID-19 safety measures – including intense cleaning, longer runs to accommodate social distancing and other protocols – will be in place when the theatres open, but specifics will be announced closer to opening dates since the overall situation and guidelines from the state of Ohio and the CDC could change. They noted that further adjustments to their schedules could become necessary to ensure the safety of patrons, artists and staff, which is of the utmost importance.

All three organizations will reach out directly to their own patrons regarding procedures and options for 2020-21 tickets already purchased.  Additional tickets will go on sale later in the fall.

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park brings a new, smaller version of A CHRISTMAS CAROL to celebrate the holidays, followed by seven productions in 2021.

The Playhouse will open its revised season on December 1 with a new, one-person adaptation of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Two actors will share the role and alternate performances on the existing set, which audiences will recognize, with new lighting and costuming. This would have been the 30th anniversary of the Playhouse’s annual holiday favorite. Artistic Director Blake Robison directs the one-person show.

“This is the most viable way for us to provide cheer and hope this holiday season,” said Mr. Robison. “For safety, we are starting off with the smallest cast shows and building up from there through the spring. The acting, sets, costumes and overall artistry will be at the same level that Playhouse audiences always enjoy.”

The beloved version of the Playhouse’s annual holiday production will return in 2021 if it is safe to do a large-cast show by that time.

A seven-show season will follow A CHRISTMAS CAROL, beginning in January. The Marx Theatre season features four productions: the previously announced world premiere of THE WEST END by Keith Josef Adkins, STEEL MAGNOLIAS and Agatha Christie’s MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS. Newly added to the season is SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY by Jocelyn Bioh, a biting comedy that explores the universal challenges of teenage girlhood and all the drama that comes with it. The Rosenthal Shelterhouse Season consists of BECOMING DR. RUTH, LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL and INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP.

A detailed line-up of the 2020-21 season is included below and available at cincyplay.com. In addition, the Playhouse is planning both virtual and outdoor interactive theatrical experiences for late summer/early fall as part of its Off the Grid series and is working on virtual education and outreach programs for schools. Details on these programs will be announced later.

CSC_logoCincinnati Shakespeare Company hopes to reopen with the annual holiday favorite EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD followed by a spring filled with beloved Shakespeare titles, and to close the season with the return of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE!

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will return in late November with the much-loved holiday tradition EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!). “This show, which has run at Cincinnati Shakespeare Company for over a decade, will be a wonderful way to welcome back our patrons, who we have greatly missed during this time,” said Brian Isaac Phillips, CSC Producing Artistic Director.

Then, beginning in 2021, CSC will present a rearranged slate of Shakespeare titles back to back to return the company to its roots.  First up in January will be the much-awaited production of HAMLET featuring Sara Clark portraying a reverse gendered Hamlet. This will be followed by a romantic and traditional production of ROMEO AND JULIET opening in March and a slapstick production of THE COMEDY OF ERRORS inspired by vintage Las Vegas opening in April.

And then, to close the season, CSC will reprise the production that was halted only weeks into the performance of Kate Hamill’s adaptation of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE.  “This show had already become the most popular production in Cincinnati Shakespeare Company history before the unfortunate closure. We think it will be very fitting for us to close this triumphant new season with the return of this much loved and very jubilant production” said Mr. Phillips.

A detailed line-up of the 2020-21 season is included below and available at cincyshakes.com. In addition, the Cincinnati Shakespeare Company will continue to present its robust Education and Outreach programs in person and online in the schools and communities of the tri-state including FREE Shakespeare in the Park this summer.

ETC_new_logo_bannerEnsemble Theatre Cincinnati will continue annual community partnerships this winter and plans to open its 2020-21 Season in January with four productions.

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati will start a four-show season in January, reprising its production of the 2018 Obie Award-winning play PIPELINE by Dominique Morisseau, acclaimed MacArthur “Genius” Grant playwright. Having played a few performances to rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, the show was abruptly suspended the day after it opened this past March as a result of the ban on mass gatherings.

Due to safety precautions for audiences and performers alike, ETC’s previously announced holiday production, SLEEPING BEAUTY, will no longer be included in the upcoming season given its large cast size and singing format. ETC plans to return to its non-traditional fairy tale musicals in 2021 provided large-cast shows are possible by that time.

ETC had been preparing to share the remainder of its 2020-2021 Season this past spring, an announcement which was also delayed in the wake of the pandemic. In the coming weeks, ETC hopes to share the other three productions that will comprise its rearranged upcoming season and which will embrace the spirit of social consciousness that is the organization’s hallmark.

In addition, ETC will continue to adapt its programming wherever possible to be available online, including offering digital versions of its celebrated annual special event Expectations of Christmas along with its general audition call, Meals 4 Monologues, both in December.

All three organizations are supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund them with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

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CINCINNATI PLAYHOUSE IN THE PARK 2020-21 REVISED SEASON
Presented by Schueler Group and Heidelberg Distributing Co.
Season Sponsor of New Work: Rosenthal Family Foundation

 MARX THEATRE:

First Financial Bank presents
A CHRISTMAS CAROL
By Charles Dickens
December 1 – 27, 2020

In an intimate tour de force, one actor takes the stage to tell the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.

THE WEST END
By Keith Josef Adkins
January 16 – February 14, 2021

Set in 1941 in Cincinnati’s West End, this world premiere drama shines a light on a transformative chapter of local history.

Leading Ladies present
STEEL MAGNOLIAS
By Robert Harling
February 27 – March 28, 2021

With beloved characters, heartwarming dialogue and snappy repartee, Steel Magnolias revels in the power and grace of female friendship.

Moe & Jack Rouse and Randolph Wadsworth present
SCHOOL GIRLS; OR, THE AFRICAN MEAN GIRLS PLAY
By Jocelyn Bioh
April 10 – May 9, 2021

This biting comedy explores the universal challenges of teenage girlhood and all the drama that comes with it.

Agatha Christie’s
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
Adapted by Ken Ludwig
May 22 – June 20, 2021

Whodunit? Detective Hercule Poirot is determined to find out in this masterpiece from the world’s most popular mystery writer.

 ROSENTHAL SHELTERHOUSE THEATRE:

The Jewish Foundation of Cincinnati presents
BECOMING DR. RUTH
By Mark St. Germain
January 9 – March 9, 2021

This heartwarming portrait is a humorous and illuminating one-woman show about America’s favorite sex therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer.

LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL
By Lanie Robertson
March 20 – May 16, 2021

Featuring over a dozen jazz standards, Billie Holiday tells the story of her life through music with honesty and a touch of salty humor.

Johnson Investment Counsel & Clark Schaefer Hackett present
INCIDENT AT OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP

By Katie Forgette
May 29 – July 25, 2021

It’s 1973, and the Irish-Catholic O’Shea family muddles through a series of hilarious mishaps that jeopardizes their reputation — and their souls.

CINCINNATI SHAKESPEARE COMPANY 2020-21 REVISED SEASON

Season Sponsored by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation and The John Bridgeland, Crilley, Long, and Mason Families Honoring James R. Bridgeland Jr.

EVERY CHRISTMAS STORY EVER TOLD (AND THEN SOME!)
by Michael Carleton, James FitzGerald, and John K. Alvarez
November 19 – December 27, 2020

CSC’s holiday smash hit is back again for another season of holiday hilarity as we send up everything from Dickens to Dr. Seuss for 90+ minutes of high-octane jollity and frivolity.

William Shakespeare’s
HAMLET
January 15 – February 21, 2021

This much awaited production of the greatest play in the English language finally opens at CSC.  Featuring Sara Clark in the title role.

William Shakespeare’s
ROMEO AND JULIET
March 5 – April 11, 2021

William Shakespeare’s timeless tale of two star-crossed lovers and the feuding families who tear them apart, on stage in all of its everlasting grandeur.

William Shakespeare’s
THE COMEDY OF ERRORS
April 23 – May 23, 2021

Shakespeare’s silliest, screwiest, and slapstickiest comedy! Inspired by golden era Las Vegas, this music filled production will be packed with cool cats, rat packs, showgirls, wise guys, and more.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
By Kate Hamill, adapted from the novel by Jane Austen
June 4 – July 3, 2021

One of the single most beloved stories of all time returns in a fresh new adaptation which critics are calling “delightfully different,” “fizzy and festive,” and “unlike any adaptation of Jane Austen one has seen before.”

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ETC Announces Finalists of Second Annual PLAY/WRITE: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition

ETC_new_logo_bannerClick here to watch the full reading of the winner TO SAINTS AND STARS by Jordan Ramirez Puckett. Available for 24 hours only.

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati is excited to announce the three finalists of the second annual PLAY/write: The Jackie Demaline Regional Collegiate Playwriting Competition, held in memory of writer, critic, and arts advocate, Jackie Demaline. The three finalists include To Saints and Stars by Jordan Ramirez Puckett, The Black Boy in Pink by Isaiah Mikel-Reaves, and M’s Republic by Peyton Wright. A brief virtual excerpt of the finalists’ submissions will be showcased online June 16-18, 2020. The winner of the competition will be announced on June 22, 2020, followed by a full reading of their script to be showcased online for only 24 hours.

A reading of the winning submission was originally scheduled to be performed as a part of ETC’s Studio Series the first week of May to coincide with Jackie Demaline’s birthday. However, with COVID restrictions enacted shortly after the submission deadline, ETC was forced to delay these performances until arrangements could be made to adapt this presentation to a digital format and to include excerpts of the finalists’ pieces. ETC is honored to share these emerging young voices as they begin their professional and/or post-academic careers.

About the Plays

M’s Republic
By Peyton Wright
Through the lessons of Plato’s Republic, M’s Republic explores the life of high school student Mia, her boyfriend and classmates, and her teacher, and how the diversion of good intentions leads to their downfall.
Click here to watch the excerpt.

To Saints and Stars
By Jordan Ramirez Puckett
To Saints and Stars explores the intersection between science and faith. It follows lifelong best friends Sofía, a NASA astronaut, and Zoe, the wife of a Greek Orthodox priest. Their lives are changed forever when Zoe becomes pregnant with her first child and Sofía is chosen for the first manned mission to Mars.
Click here to watch the excerpt.

The Black Boy in Pink
By Isaiah Mikel-Reaves
The Black Boy in Pink tells the story of Wyatt, a Black, gay male sex-worker who hustles against the backdrop of 1959 Cincinnati, Ohio. As his life becomes entangled with the legacy of a wealthy, white family, will Wyatt be able to love himself in a world that doesn’t love him?
Click here to watch the excerpt.

About the Playwrights
Peyton Wright (Playwright) is a rising junior at Xavier University where she is a candidate for a BA in Theatre, as well as pursuing a minor in Deaf Studies. Her recent performance history on the Xavier Theatre stage consists of Urinetown: The Musical, Company, and Chicago. She has also fulfilled many roles backstage and is an employee of Xavier’s scene shop. At her alma mater, Presentation Academy in Louisville, Kentucky, she had opportunities to explore theatre through performance, writing, and directing. 

Jordan Ramirez Puckett (Playwright) is a Chicana playwright and lighting designer based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She often writes about being caught between two identities and our intrinsic desire for human connection, no matter how brief. She most recently participated in the 2018-2019 Playwrights Realm Scratchpad Series. Her work has also been produced and/or developed by 2Cents Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, Custom Made Theatre Company, Goodman Theatre, Harold Clurman Laboratory Theatre Company, Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, National Winter Playwrights Retreat, Playwrights Center of San Francisco, and San Francisco Playhouse, among others. Her plays include To Saints and Stars, A Driving Beat, Las Pajaritas, Restore, and Inevitable. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the former Associate Artistic Director at San Francisco Playhouse.  She recently graduated with her MFA in playwriting from Ohio University.

Isaiah Mikel-Reaves (Playwright) is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, Isaiah 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, and many others. Isaiah has been awarded the Iowa Arts Fellowship and a Cincinnati CityBeat Critics Pick. He will continue his education in pursuit of an MFA at the esteemed University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop in the fall.

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2019-2020 Season Presenting Sponsor is the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. Additional support provided PNC.

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 of 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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Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati Presents ETC SUMMER STOCK-AT-A-DISTANCE

ETC_new_logo_bannerA Digital Summer Theatre Camp for Youth, July 6-24

(Cincinnati, OH) Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC) is proud to present ETC Summer Stock-at-a-Distance, an exciting summer program that offers three weeks of theatre camp for youth all from the comfort of home. Featuring workshops taught by the same incredible talent that grace the ETC stage each season, participants will learn from the very best in Cincinnati. ETC theatre camps include Jr. Summer Stock-at-a-Distance for youth ages 7-15 years old from July 6-17, 2020, High School Summer Stock-at-a-Distance for youth ages 13-18 years old from July 20-24, 2020, and Technical Theatre Intensive-at-a-Distance for youth ages 13-18 years old from July 13-17, 2020. No audition necessary, space is limited.

The safety of our students, family, and friends is always our number one priority. With many unknowns right now regarding COVID, after much consideration and discussion, our 2020 summer camps will be fully digital. The camp day is structured to ensure participants are active and moving while still following instruction through a screen.

Although the learning platform may have shifted, the goals are still the same. We aim to provide premiere training. We aim for our students to leave our camp, from the Junior acting camp to the High School technical theatre camp, armed with an arsenal of tools: a voiceover reel, acting on-camera experience, set design/dressing, a collaborative attitude, and a one-of-a-kind experience.

Jr. Summer Stock-at-a-Distance (ages 7-15) is a two-week digital camp with classes taught by professional teaching artists and culminating in a full production of an age-appropriate one-act play. A fun and educational environment where young actors learn good theatre habits, etiquette, techniques and skills needed for quality performance. Workshops include improv, auditions, acting, and more. Students will leave with wonderful memories, acting for the camera experience, an audition package, and short film creation experience. This summer’s performance will be of the fun and virtual play Brief Interviews with Internet Cats by Patrick Greene. The camp runs July 6-10 and
July 13-17 from 9:00am-5:00pm, with online performances on July 17 at 7:00pm and July 18 at 2:00pm.

High School Summer Stock-at-a-Distance (ages 13-18) is a one-week digital training camp for serious actors with the intent to continue in the craft of acting. Participants will take classes and workshops taught by professional teaching artists in improv, acting, audition techniques, script analysis, dialects, movement, and more! Students will leave with the beginnings of a voice-over reel, self-tape audition package, unforgettable memories, and advanced acting skills. Rehearsals in the afternoon will work to culminate in a virtual showcase for family and friends.

The camp runs July 20-24 from 9:00am-5:00pm, with an online showcase on July 24 at 5:00pm.

Technical Theatre Intensive-at-a-Distance (ages 13-18) is a one-week digital training camp where participants will explore the technical areas of theatre and stage craft through professional instruction. Mornings will be filled with classes on various topics like careers in technical theatre, script analysis for technicians, stage management, and set dressing. Those involved will attend lab sessions on topics such a set design, puppetry, and costumes. Students will gain practical experience working with the Junior camp actors on the full production of Brief Interviews with Internet Cats by Patrick Greene! The camp runs July 13-17 from 9:00am-5:00pm, with online performances on July 17 at 7:00pm and July 18 at 2:00pm. 

Registration
Register online at https://form.jotform.com/etceducation/etc-summer-stock-registration-2020. For more information, contact Lauren Carr, Director of Education, at lcarr@ensemblecincinnati.org or (513) 421-3555 x2110.

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2019-2020 Season Presenting Sponsor is the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation. Additional support provided PNC.

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 of 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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PIPELINE and PHOTOGRAPH 51 Cancelled at Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

ETC_new_logo_bannerAs the devastating global pandemic continues to unfurl and impact communities near and far, ETC’s leadership and staff have been charting a responsible, viable way forward for when the curtain will rise again. In the meantime, we have adapted many of our programs to share digitally and stay connected with our audiences and we hope you’ll visit us online right now.

In March, we shared our intention to reopen Pipeline later this spring and present Photograph 51 shortly thereafter; we also announced the cancellation of 20th Century Blues. Like many of our arts peers, ETC has had to make extraordinarily challenging choices in response to this rapidly evolving crisis. After thorough consideration, we have made the heart-wrenching decision to cancel the remainder of our 2019-2020 Season and to put our efforts into rebuilding a strong, meaningful season for our audiences and artists for the fall. It remains our hope, though, to share one or more of these shows someday with you if possible.

Your Unused Ticket Options
Below are your options as a current ticket holder. For your convenience, you may complete quick online instructions for how to handle your unused tickets. Alternatively, you may contact our box office and leave us a message; we will return your call within 24-48 hours.

Online Instructions

Call Box Office: 513.421-3555 M-F, 10am-5pm

Convert your ticket(s) into a fully tax-deductible donation
Donate the cost of your ticket(s) in place of requesting a refund. Your generosity will help to ensure ETC’s future by offsetting some of the lost revenue incurred from having to cancel more than a third of our season. ETC will, of course, honor any refund requests.

Credit the cost of your ticket(s) to your account
This credit may be applied towards any future ticket or subscription package. This will help us remain financially stable as we resiliently plan for another compelling season.

Consider a subscription, gift voucher, or contribution
It’s admittedly awkward to ask for your help at the very time we can’t actually fulfill our mission, but such is the tenuous predicament in which we find ourselves. For anyone financially able to, we humbly request you subscribe for next season, purchase gift vouchers, and/or make a tax-deductible gift. If ever there were a time to subscribe, renew your donation, or make your first contribution, now is that time and truly anything helps.

Join us online
We invite you to participate in digitally-adapted free programs, such as: our weekly Meet the Artists live series where guests answer your questions on-air; our crowd-sourced Prelude-at-a-Distance, a choose your own adventure-style script and performance; and weekly audition tips, plus much, much more!

With your help, ETC will emerge from these challenges to become stronger than ever. All of us at the theatre—staff, board, artists, and volunteers—appreciate you immensely. Thank you for considering our requests. We wish you and your loved ones good health.

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Update Regarding COVID-19 from Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati

ETC_new_logo_bannerThe word “ensemble” is not simply in the name of our organization—it sincerely means that our patrons, our staff, our artists, all of us are essential parts of our Theatre, and so I want to give you an update on ETC’s plans as we navigate this uncharted territory.

A week ago today, we opened a beautiful production of PIPELINE, which was met with a sold-out house, a standing ovation, and overwhelmingly positive reviews from audiences and critics alike. It was, therefore, with much sadness that we made the difficult decision to suspend performances in the best interest of our patrons moments before the Governor wisely announced the mandate limiting mass gatherings.

We were also set to announce our 2020-2021 Season this evening. This, too, regretfully has been postponed. I have chosen some great shows, however, our organization must focus on the remainder of the current season before finalizing next year’s selections. Our Backstage @ETC annual fundraiser on April 3 has also been canceled for the moment, but we hope to bring it back at a later date; we will all need the wonderful spirit and the income the event generates.

Our intention is to reopen PIPELINE later this spring and present PHOTOGRAPH 51 shortly thereafter, paying attention to expert and government advice during this rapidly changing situation and making adjustments as necessary. Both of these shows speak strongly to our mission of producing socially-conscious work and we feel they are vital to share with our audiences.

As a result of these postponements, we must unfortunately cancel 20TH CENTURY BLUES as the closing show of the current season. Please know as soon as we can begin to reschedule your tickets, we will—we miss you! We ask for your patience during this time until we are more confident this plan will succeed. We are on pause, but we will continue.

Canceling and postponing shows puts many artists, employees, and ETC itself in an immediate and challenging financial predicament. However, for nearly 35 years, Ensemble has taken the road less traveled. We stayed in Over-the-Rhine when it was not what most considered a smart choice. After the unrest of April 2001, we stayed open by presenting Hedwig and the Angry Inch, one of the most unusual survival stories in theatre history. We built an audience of subscribers and completed the renovation and expansion of our space to proudly encompass 40% of the 1100 block of Vine Street. We did all of this with your help. You have made this possible.

Be well, and take care of yourself and others. We can’t wait to reopen our doors and we look forward to welcoming you back.

Sincerely,
D. Lynn Meyers
Producing Artistic Director

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