The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park marks the 10th anniversary of the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Prize with a production of the new play, Coyote on the Fence by Bruce Graham, beginning Jan. 27.
After two previews, the play will open Jan. 29, running through Feb. 22.
The Rosenthal New Play Prize recognizes new American theatre with a fully-staged professional premiere as part of the Playhouse's subscription series. The Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director Ed Stern chooses each year's winner.
Lois and Richard Rosenthal, a Cinnicinati couple, endow the prize. According to spokesperson John Bruggen, "It was their idea to bring new theatrical voices to the stage."
The prize also includes residency for the playwright during the performance duration. Several prize winners have continued to other productions and prizes. Last year's winner, Keith Glover's In Walked Ed received a nomination for the 1997 Pulitzer Prize. 1993's recipeint, Scotland Road by Jeffrey Hatcher, will open in New York at Primary Stages in mid January.
Coyote on a Fence tells the story of two men, John Brennan and Bobby Reyburn, on death row in a Southern prison. Brennan, a serious writer, may have only been doing society a favor in his killing. Reyburn, illiterate, but likeable, is a member of the Aryan Nation and accused of a horrible crime.
Graham's other work includes Early One Evening at the Rainbow Bar & Grille, Minor Demons, and Burkie, as well as the current animated film, Anastasia.
Stern will direct. The cast includes Christopher McHale as John Brennan; Jordan Matter as Bobby Reyburn; Connie Nelson as Shawna DuChamps; and Anderson Matthews as Sam Fried.
Coyote on a Fence is designed by Paul Shortt (set), Gordon DeVinney (costumes), Dan Kotlowitz (lighting), and David B. Smith (sound). Suann Pollock is the stage manager.
For tickets ($20 for previews, otherwise $27-$34), call the Playhouse box office at (513) 421-3888 or toll-free in Ohio, (800) 582 3208.
-- By Christine Ehren