Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park has revealed the lineup of productions slated for its 2017-18 season, which will launch in September with the stage adaptation of Shakespeare in Love.
Also planned: the regional bow of Simon Stephens’ Tony-winning play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, as well as world premieres of Deborah Zoe Laufer’s Be Here Now and Allyson Currin’s Sooner/Later.
Details of the Marx Theatre season follow:
Shakespeare in Love
Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Blake Robison
The beloved, Oscar-winning film comes to life on stage in an extravagant production that’s both wildly funny and irresistibly romantic. Young Will Shakespeare has writer's block ... the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he's in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse—Viola. Against a bustling backdrop of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece, Romeo and Juliet.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
By Simon Stephens
Adapted from the novel by Mark Haddon
Directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge
October 14–November 11
Fifteen-year-old Christopher is acutely sensitive and highly intelligent, but he has trouble adapting socially. When he’s unfairly accused of murdering his neighbor’s dog, Christopher puts his analytical skills to work to clear his name. His investigation leads him on a sometimes frightening quest that unearths a second, more personal mystery.
Million Dollar Quartet
Book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux
Original Concept and Direction by Floyd Mutrux
Inspired by Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins
January 20–February 18, 2018
Million Dollar Quartet brings you inside the recording studio to relive the evening of December 4, 1956. In an extraordinary twist of fate, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley find themselves together at Sun Records in Memphis for what would be one of the greatest jam sessions in history. Step back in time to experience an irresistible tale of broken promises, secrets and celebrations.
Marie and Rosetta
By George Brandt
Directed by Neil Pepe
Celebrated for her fierce guitar playing and swinging gospel music, singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe became a veritable legend. Throughout the 1930s and 40s, Sister Rosetta performed gospel in the morning and swing music at the Cotton Club at night, to inevitably become a major influence on rock n’ roll’s earliest icons. This “play with music” chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare for a tour that would establish them as one of the great duet teams in musical history.
By Ken Ludwig
Adapted from the novel by Robert Louis Stevenson
Directed by Blake Robison
April 21–May 19
Set sail on the journey of a lifetime, complete with cutthroat pirates, a treasure map and a courageous boy entangled in a dangerous swashbuckling expedition. Jim Hawkins gets more than he bargained for when he embarks on a daring sea voyage to locate an island of buried riches. But with his fate sealed, he discovers not only gold and gems but also treachery and mutiny lurking around every corner.
The season also includes the Playhouse’s annual offering of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol (November 22–December 30, 2017).
The Thompson Shelterhouse season follows:
By Daniel Beaty
Directed by Nicole A. Watson
September 23–October 22, 2017
What happened to Mr. Joy? A Harlem community is shaken when Mr. Joy, a Chinese immigrant whose shoe repair shop has been a neighborhood pillar for decades, is the victim of sudden and violent attack. Through the lens of nine of Mr. Joy's customers – all brought to life by one actress – we learn the subtly profound and unassuming impact the shop owner has had on each of their lives.
An Evening With Groucho
Starring Frank Ferrante
November 4–December 17
Frank Ferrante recreates his acclaimed portrayal of legendary comedian Groucho Marx. This fast-paced 90 minutes of hilarity contains all of the best Groucho one-liners, anecdotes and songs. Ferrante portrays the young Groucho of stage and film and reacquaints us with the likes of brothers Harpo, Chico, Zeppo and Gummo, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Greta Garbo, MGM's Louis B. Mayer, and Marx foil Margaret Dumont.
Be Here Now
By Deborah Zoe Laufer
February 9–March 11, 2018
Two lost souls come together under most unusual circumstances in this deeply insightful and charmingly funny world premiere. Surrounded by painfully cheerful co-workers, Bari is deeply cynical and woefully underemployed working at a small-town fulfillment center. After an unexpected and unexplainable turn of events, Bari finds herself on an enlightening new path. When she meets Mike, a man who makes art out of garbage, it’s Bari’s turn to pull another out of the darkness. Be Here Now asks what we are willing to do for love and happiness and to create meaning in our lives.
By Allyson Currin
Directed by Wendy Goldberg
March 24–April 22
When teenage daughter Lexie helps her reluctant single mother Nora re-enter the dating scene, an unlikely suitor emerges in Griff – the guy at the coffee shop who inadvertently witnesses Nora’s string of unsuccessful dates. As choices collide with coincidences and longing mixes with reality, each character must face the complications that always arise in the search for intimacy and the closeness of family. This captivating world premiere with a metaphysical twist navigates the paths of romance, marriage and parenting while exploring the pains and pleasures of all three.
Murder for Two
Book and music by Joe Kinosian
Book and lyrics by Kellen Blair
Directed by Paul Mason Barnes
May 5–June 10
Who killed the great American novelist Arthur Whitney? Found dead in his isolated, rural mansion on the night of his surprise birthday party, every guest has a motive—their dirty little secrets the unwilling and barely veiled subject of the author’s bestsellers. Was the killer his loopy, scene-stealing widow? His overly curious niece? The too-friendly psychiatrist? Or the glamorous, but menacing, prima ballerina? One actor plays the overwhelmed detective while another takes on all of the suspects, creating a zany, musical comedy whodunit.
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