Following a 2007 world premiere at California's TheatreWorks, the Cincinnati production features original cast members Lianne Marie Dobbs (Emma) and Timothy Gulan (Mr. Knightley), who reprise their roles for Playhouse audiences. An official opening has been set for Sept. 4.
Running through Oct. 3 in the Playhouse's Marx Theatre, Emma will move to the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis Oct. 8-Nov. 2.
Press notes for the Cincinnati engagement read: "Emma firmly believes herself to be a most talented matchmaker and chooses her hapless and easily influenced friend Harriet as her next endeavor. Yet despite Emma's obsession with romance, she remains clueless about her own feelings and the true desires of those around her. Her matchmaking mischief leads to countless comic complications and a little heartache but ultimately ends in true love."
TheatreWorks founding artistic director Robert Kelley returns to direct Emma, that features Kevin Barber (Servant), Ron Burrage (Butler/Minister/Citizen of Highbury), Richert Easley ( Mr. Woodhouse), Suzanne Grodner (Miss Bates), Julie Hanson (Jane Fairfax/Citizen of Highbury), Brian Herndon (Mr. Elton/Citizen of Highbury), Jeremy Larson (Servant), Erin Maguire (Mrs. Elton/Mrs. Churchill/Citizen of Highbury), Dani Marcus (Harriet Smith), Sherry McCamley (Mrs. Bates/Housekeeper/Citizen of Highbury), Lauren Noll (Servant), Alex Organ (Robert Martin/Servant/Citizen of Highbury), Travis Poelle (Frank Churchill/Citizen of Highbury), Jolin Polasek (Servant), Christianne Tisdale (Mrs. Weston) and Kurt Zischke (Mr. Weston).
Designing Emma are John Ezell (set design), Fumiko Bielefeldt (costume design), Dennis Parichy (lighting design), Michael Miceli (sound design) and Laura Bergquist (music director). Gordon, who penned book, music and lyrics for Emma, earned a Tony nomination for the score of Jane Eyre. His works for the stage also include the forthcoming musicals The Front and Daddy-Long-Legs, as well as Greetings From Venice Beach, Daddy Long Legs and The Magnificent Ambersons. He has written for artists including Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Alanis Morrisette, Smokey Robinson and Dionne Warwick.
The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park season also includes Love Song (Oct. 21-Nov. 21), A Christmas Carol (Dec. 4-30), Travels of Angelica (Jan. 20-Feb. 20, 2009) and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (April 21-May 22, 2009) in the Marx Theatre.
Productions for the Shelterhouse theatre include Durango (Sept. 20-Oct. 19), I Love You, You're Perfect… (Nov. 1-Dec. 31), Black Bird (Feb. 7-March 8, 2009), Last Train to Nibroc (March 28-April 26, 2009) and Marry Me a Little (May 9-June 14, 2009).
Tickets for Emma, priced $28-$59, are available by phoning (513) 421-3888, or by visiting CincyPlay.