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Cleveland Play House Announces Virtual Programming For 2020-2021 Theatre Season

Posted September 17, 2020 in Press Releases

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House is excited to announce that its 2020-2021 theatrical season will include a series of virtual performances, programs, and special events. Amid the health, safety, and economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, Cleveland Play House (CPH) will provide engaging, inspiring, and entertaining programming during its 105th consecutive season of serving the Northeast Ohio community.

CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley says, “Since the pandemic began, we have been wrestling with the safety and economic challenges posed by this crisis. We are committed to meeting this moment with creativity, resilience, and compassion for the wellness of our community. We will resume in-person programming when it is safe and possible to do so.” Kepley continues to say, “In the meantime, in this digital season we will bring you the same passion and purpose that appears on our stages, but in the form of unique, interactive stories, events, and experiences. CPH is not going dark—we are going online! This will be a first for Cleveland Play House; but as America’s first regional theatre, I am confident that, if we band together we can rise to this challenge.”

CPH will continue to follow the directives of Governor DeWine and the guidance of the Ohio Department of Health and Centers for Disease Control to determine when a return to in-theatre performances will become possible. CPH Managing Director Kevin Moore says, “CPH has faced many challenges in its 105 years, always rising to the occasion with innovation and resilience. Our virtual 105th season is the latest example of our dedication to building a better community through theatre.”

Patrons who previously registered for the 2020-21 CPH Subscription Season will have their “in-person” subscription applied to the first six CPH productions that are able to be produced in the Allen, Outcalt, or Helen theatre venues at Playhouse Square. The 2020-21 CPH Virtual Season will feature Theatre Thursday, an exciting new program held on the third Thursday of each month from September through April; a series of “One-Night Only” special events, beginning with CLUEbaret: A Comedic Musical Cabaret in October; New Ground Theatre Festival 2021 in the spring; and much more!

CPH Board Chair Anne Marie Warren states, “My heart is so full to know we’ll be getting back to our stages—albeit virtually. We’re looking forward to this new journey and it’s a great opportunity for our Board to come together and support the theatre through community partnerships and sponsorship opportunities.”

Patrons can view and stream our digital online programming via computer, laptop, Smart TV, tablet, or on a smartphone. Also new for Season 105, patrons can purchase a CPH Digital Pass which will provide “all access” to an array of CPH’s artistic digital offerings. Passes are now on sale at www.clevelandplayhouse.com/subscribe.

CPH is proud to announce today that KeyBank will be the Presenting Sponsor for 2020-21 CPH Virtual Season. Managing Director Kevin Moore says, “We are incredibly grateful to the leadership of KeyBank for their long-standing support of Cleveland Play House’s mission and core values.”

NEW BEGINNINGS

CPH welcomes acclaimed theatre-maker Stori Ayers to Cleveland Play House as the 2020-21 Artistic Directing Fellow. As part of the fellowship, Ayers will partner with Artistic Director Laura Kepley to plan and produce CPH’s virtual season as well as the 2021-22 theatrical season. Ayers will co-host Theatre Thursday and CPH audiences will see her directing work throughout the virtual season.

Stori Ayers is a New York-based actress, director, and co-founder of [RARE] Lotus Productions. She is currently a writing assistant to Dominique Morisseau and Adjunct Professor of Theater at Penn State University. Originally from Washington, DC., Ayers is an original cast member and producer of Morisseau’s Blood at the Root, winner of the Graham F. Smith Peace Foundation Prize for its promotion of human rights. She recently played Regina, childhood best friend of Tiffany Haddish, on the TBS hit series The Last O.G., starring Tracey Morgan. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity, holds a B.A. from Mary Baldwin University, an M.F.A. in Acting from Penn State University, and is the former Executive Assistant to playwrights Dominique Morisseau and Katori Hall.

Kepley says, “I have been a fan and admirer of Stori for the past two years, ever since I met her at Chautauqua Theatre Company. She wears many artistic hats very well and leadership is definitely one of them. As CPH and Cleveland navigate the twin pandemics of racism and COVID-19, it is very meaningful to welcome a true future leader who will be part of the rebuilding of our organization, the community we serve, and the larger theatrical field.”

CPH’s Artistic Directing Fellowship for Women was created in 2017 to provide mentorship, insight, and meaningful experience to established female-identifying theatre-makers with leadership ambitions. Currently, over 75% of artistic directors of regional theatres across the country are men. This fellowship seeks to address the current and historical gender inequities in institutional executive leadership in the regional theatre industry. As one of the few female artistic leaders in the country, Kepley says, “This fellowship was born from critical need. There are incredibly few opportunities for aspiring female leaders to gain the training, skills and connections that will create pathways to artistic leadership.”

Part of Ayers’ fellowship will also include supporting the visioning and implementation of more equitable artistic practices at CPH as the institution moves forward on its journey to becoming an anti-racist organization. Ayers shares, “I feel called to action. We are in the midst of a double pandemic where we’re simultaneously confronting the appalling swell of racism and trauma that has gripped our country, while also grappling with the ongoing loss and anxiety related to COVID-19.” Ayers says, “The double pandemic has created a unique opportunity where I can work with an institution as it serves its communities needs and aids in the healing process of the city. I also get to be on the ground and participate in the visioning and rebuilding of a more equitable and just organization.” Ayers began her fellowship in August 2020.

COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM

On May 29, Cleveland Play House released a Statement of Solidarity to stand in solidarity with the grieving Black communities of Cleveland, Augusta, Louisville, and Minneapolis. The CPH Executive Leadership shared, “Statements are important, but action is required to truly stand in solidarity with our Black communities.” On June 24, CPH released an Acknowledgement Statement sharing, “CPH acknowledges systemic racism exists within our institution. CPH is committing to the necessary work of rebuilding internally and beginning from a space with equity leading the way.”

Artistic Director Laura Kepley says, “These past five months dealing with the uncertainty and fear brought on by the COVID global pandemic have put an incredible amount of stress on all of us. The pandemic of racism has been laid bare and has shook America to the core. During our 105th season, we will have the opportunity to begin to rebuild from a place of equity, diversity and inclusion.” To read the full Solidarity Statement and Acknowledgement Statement, please visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com/solidarity-statement.

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE 2020-21 THEATRE SEASON

Presenting Sponsor, KeyBank

THEATRE THURSDAY

Theatre Thursday is a new LIVE interactive virtual program focusing on CPH’s core values of artistry, community, and life-long learning, presented on the third Thursday of each month, hosted by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley and CPH Artistic Directing Fellow Stori Ayers. Theatre Thursday is a monthly interactive virtual event which will allow audiences to experience the artistry of CPH, connect directly with the makers of our work, and converse with staff and other audience members about the impact of our artistic work in our beloved community. Theatre Thursday is for CPH fans and anyone interested in learning more about the work of America’s first regional theatre – onstage, backstage, in the classroom and in the community.

Dates and times:

Thursday, September 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm – Virtual Launch Party!

Thursday, October 15, 2020 at 7:00 pm – Ohio Votes

Thursday, November 19, 2020 at 7:00 pm – Healing and Dealing with CPH CARE

Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm – Holiday Movie Night

Thursday, January 21, 2021 at 7:00 pm – Open Mic Night

Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm

Registration for Theatre Thursday is required in advance. Viewing access is “Pay What You Can,” starting at $5. All events are live streamed via ZOOM and can be viewed on a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For more information about Theatre Thursday, please visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com/theatre-thursday.

SPECIAL EVENTS

CLUEbaret: A Comedic Musical Cabaret

Saturday, October 10, 2020 at 7:30 pm

ONE NIGHT ONLY! The incredible cast of CPH’s box-office hit Clue: A New Comedy reunites in a hilarious musical broadcast to perform their favorite showtunes from Broadway musicals. Join us for a raucous night of singing, laughs, and hijinx!

Directed by Casey Hushion (Resident Director of Broadway productions of Mean Girls and Disney’s Aladdin), the CLUEbaret cast features: Mariah Burks (CPH’s Shakespeare in Love, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee), John Treacy Egan (Broadway’s My Fair Lady, Little Mermaid), Donna English (Broadway’s Nice Work If You Can Get It), Kathy Fitzgerald (Broadway’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Wicked), Eleasha Gamble (Fiasco Theatre’s Into the Woods), Josh Innerst (CPH’s Ken Ludwig’s Sherwood), Michael Kostroff (Broadway’s Les Miserables; HBO’s The Wire), Alex Mandell (Broadway’s The Play That Goes Wrong, Hand to God), Mark Price (Broadway’s Mary Poppins, All Shook Up), Graham Stevens (Broadway’s In Transit), and Elisabeth Yancey (CPH’s Into the Breeches!).

CLUEbaret is generously sponsored by Cleveland Cliffs. All proceeds will benefit Cleveland Play House artistic and educational programs. Registration for CLUEbaret is required in advance. Viewing access is $25 price per household. The event will be broadcast online and can be viewed on a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. For more information about CLUEbaret, please visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com/cluebaret.

Additional special events will be presented in December 2020, February 2021, and April 2021. Details coming soon.

NEW GROUND THEATRE FESTIVAL 2021

Honorary Producer, Roe Green

New Ground Theatre Festival 2021, CPH’s annual celebration of new works, will highlight Cleveland-inspired stories written by five playwrights commissioned through the Roe Green Fund for New American Plays. This season’s festival presented in May 2021 will include commissions by George Brant (CPH’s Into The Breeches!, Marie and Rosetta, Grounded), Vichet Chum, Jessica Dickey, Chelsea Marcantel (CPH’s Tiny Houses) and Charly Evon Simpson. For more information about New Ground Theatre Festival, please visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com/ngtf.

TICKETING INFORMATION

Single tickets for the 2020-21 Virtual Theatre Season range from $5-$50. Patrons can purchase viewing tickets exclusively by visiting www.clevelandplayhouse.com. CPH Digital Pass Subscriptions are now available ranging between $150-$225. Subscribers receive premium access to artistic programming and special events throughout the virtual season. Passes are available exclusively by visiting www.clevelandplayhouse.com/subscribe.

ABOUT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. To learn more, visit: www.clevelandplayhouse.com.

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