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CPH Brings Chills, Thrills, and Holiday Cheer to Holiday Movie Night

Posted December 17, 2020 in Press Releases

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House celebrates the joy of the season in the next installment of Theatre Thursday: Holiday Movie Night on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 7:00 pm. Hosted by Artistic Director Laura Kepley, the December edition includes a special screening of original short films by commissioned artists, including: Will Van Dyke, Christopher Gerson, Tarah Flanagan, D.M. Pulley, Jeff Talbott, and Jimmie Woody. Tickets to Theatre Thursday are Pay What You Can starting at $5 and are available at

Artistic Director Laura Kepley states, “December Theatre Thursday will be all the fun of a Hollywood premiere…without having to leave your couch!” Kepley says, “This summer, CPH commissioned a talented array of local and national artists to create three brand new films for the holidays made especially for CPH and the Cleveland community. Now, we invite you to join us for the very first public viewing of these movies and to hear from the filmmakers! It will be a merry, bright, and festive evening for the entire family filled with music, animation, plenty of laughs, and a surprise or two.”

The holiday films include: a heartwarming musical, THE 64 KEYS; a holiday ghost story, THE CHRISTMAS HOUSE; and a special tribute to being “HOME” FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Special guests to December’s Theatre Thursday include filmmakers Jeff Talbott, Will Van Dyke, D.M. Pulley, Jimmie Woody, Sequoia Bostick, and performers Logan Dior Williams and Isaiah Young.

The event will also feature images from the CPH Festival of Trees of seasons past.

The CPH Annual Holiday Toy Drive is now virtual. Friends and supporters may make a financial donation to the Toy Drive by visiting CPH’s Education Department will provide toys to students enrolled in the Cleveland Metropolitan School District throughout December.

KeyBank is Presenting Sponsor of the 2020-21 Theatre Season at Cleveland Play House.

Additional funding for Holiday Movie Night is provided by K&D, LSC Service Corporation, Medical Mutual of Ohio, and Cathy Lincoln.



Written by Jeff Talbott and Will Van Dyke

Featuring Kate Baldwin, Graham Rowat and their son Colin

A heartwarming tale of a kid, their beloved Christmas gift, and the joy of family and music. Inspired by a true story.

Talbott appeared as Adult Ralph in CPH’s annual holiday production, A Christmas Story, from 2013 through 2019, as well as Ellsworth Snow in CPH’s 2019 production of Into the Breeches!.


Written by D.M. Pulley

Directed by Jimmie Woody

Illustrations by Sequoia Bostick

Music by Obediya Jones-Darrell

Featuring Logan Dior Williams, Isaiah Young, and Tina D. Stump

Every neighborhood has a house different from the rest. On Christmas Eve, a brother and sister take a journey inside and discover the secrets within.

Woody appeared as Brucie in CPH’s 2018 production of Sweat as well as Paul in the 2013 production of 8.


Written by and featuring

Christopher Gerson and Tarah Flanagan

Facing their first ever holiday together at home, long-time married couple, and regional theatre actors Christopher Gerson and Tarah Flanagan reach out to friends and family to hear about their holiday traditions and what “home” means to them.

Gerson played the Old Man in CPH’s production of A Christmas Story from 2014 through 2019. Flanagan appeared in CPH’s 2019 productions of An Iliad and Every Brilliant Thing.



JEFF TALBOTT (creator, writer, performer) is best known to CPH audiences for ushering in the holiday season as Ralph in A Christmas Story and as Ellsworth Snow in Into the Breeches!. As a writer, his play The Submission was the inaugural recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Award and was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater. It went on to receive the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award for New American Play and was published and licensed by Samuel French. He has been a finalist for the O’Neill Center’s Playwriting Conference five times, and with writing partner Will Van Dyke, a finalist for the Fred Ebb Award in 2019. Their musicals have also been part of the NAMT Fall Festival, Goodspeed Musicals Johnny Mercer Colony and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat. Works include: The Gravedigger’s Lullaby (off-Broadway), the play i (Pioneer Theatre Company), Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors (Montclair State University), A Public Education (Out of Box Theatre), as well as Joseph Cook, Three Rules for the Dragon, How to Build a City, Elliot, All the Stars in the Midnight Sky and The Messenger, which is slated to have a world premiere production at Pioneer Theatre Company in the fall of 2021. His musicals, written with Will Van Dyke, include Imagine Harry, Wintersong, Seven Broken Hearts, The Circle and the Wheel (commissioned by Grove Entertainment and Barbara Whitman Productions) and Ten Brave Seconds. They have released an EP of “A View of the River”; and the singles “A New Year” (featuring Annaleigh Ashford), “I Hate to Love You” (featuring Daniel Quadrino), and “Take Me to the Party” (featuring Wesley Taylor). Jeff graduated with honors from the Yale School of Drama.

WILL VAN DYKE (creator, composer) is a 2021 Grammy Award nominee for his work on the cast recording of the hit revival of Little Shop Of Horrors, for which he currently serves as the Music Supervisor/Orchestrator/Arranger. Will also orchestrated and arranged Pretty Woman on Broadway and continues to supervise worldwide. Other credits: Kinky Boots, Rent, The Addams Family, Grease, and Wicked. As a composer: i (Pioneer), The Gravedigger’s Lullaby (TACT), Straight (Acorn), Writing Kevin Taylor (Village), The Lion King Experience titles (Disney). Will also writes musicals with Jeff Talbott and has a band. For more info and music: or @wvdmusic.

KATE BALDWIN (performer) starred opposite both Bette Midler and Bernadette Peters in the 2017 Tony-winning revival of Hello Dolly!, garnering accolades for her sparkling humor and soaring voice. She was nominated for the 2017 Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Awards for her performance as Irene Molloy. Her starring role in the 2009 Broadway revival of Yip Harburg’s and Burton Lane’s hit classic musical Finian’s Rainbow drew Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations, and put her on the map as “a real musical theatre star” (New York Post). She received a Drama Desk Award nomination for her role as Jen in Keen Company’s 20th Anniversary revival of Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald’s John & Jen. She starred as Sandra Bloom in Big Fish on Broadway and earned accolades and a Drama Desk Award nomination for her work as Leslie Lyntonn Benedict in Giant at The Public Theater. Off Broadway, she drew raves in Songbird (59E59) and a Lortel Award nomination for her work in Superhero (Second Stage).  Kate’s new show titled How Did You Get This Number? features signature songs from her acclaimed performances in Finian’s Rainbow, Giant, Big Fish, and Hello Dolly! Hailed as “the redheaded firecracker” (Stephen Holden,New York Times), she tells the story of how each song became a part of her life and what it means to her. More from writers like Stephen Sondheim, Kander & Ebb, Jerry Herman and long-time friend and collaborator Georgia Stitt fill the program with gorgeous music and expert storytelling.

GRAHAM ROWAT (performer) appeared on Broadway in Steve Martin’s Meteor Shower, Sunset Boulevard (2017), Mamma Mia, Guys and Dolls, LoveMusik, Dracula, Beauty and the Beast. Off-Broadway: The Blue Flower (Second Stage), The Boys in the Band (Transport Group), The Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center Theater). National Tours: Irving Berlin's White Christmas (San Francisco, Detroit, Toronto), Les Misérables (US and China). Regional: Constellations, Bells Are Ringing, A Little Night Music (Berkshire Theatre Group), Arcadia (Yale Rep), A Funny Thing…Forum (Two River Theater, Williamstown Theatre Festival). TV: Evil, Madam Secretary, Elementary, The Good Wife, Law & Order: SVU. Recordings: LoveMusik (Broadway Cast Recording), Life Begins at 8:40, Sweet Bye and Bye (PS Classics). @grahamny


D.M. PULLEY (writer) lives in Northeast Ohio with her husband, two children, and a dog named Hobo. Before becoming a full-time writer, she worked as a Professional Engineer rehabbing historic structures and conducting forensic investigations of building failures. Pulley's structural survey of a vacant building in Cleveland inspired her debut novel, The Dead Key, the winner of the 2014 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. Since then, Pulley has sold over a half a million books worldwide, and her work has been translated into eight different languages. Pulley's historical thrillers shine a light into the darker side of life in the Midwest during the twentieth century, when cities like Detroit and Cleveland struggled to survive. Her latest novel, No One’s Home, unravels the disturbing history of an old mansion plagued by family secrets, financial ruin, and murder. The abandoned buildings, haunted houses, and buried past of the Rust Belt continue to inspire her work. Learn more at

JIMMIE WOODY (director) last appeared at CPH as Brucie in Sweat and Paul in 8. He recently performed in Breakout Session and a workshop production of his one-man show Tale of a Geminirising at Cleveland Public Theatre. New York: Hollis in Hollis Mugley’s Only Wish (Joseph Papp Public Theater), directed by Robert Ohara, Pozzo in Waiting for Godot at The Oscar Hammerstein Theatre, The Spaniard in Cymbeline at New Shakespeare Festival, and Azdak in The Caucasian Chalk Circle (LaMama ETC), directed by Andrei Serban. Additional credits: Cholly in The Bluest Eye (Karamu House), Macbeth in Voodoo Macbeth (Ensemble Theatre), Julio in The Motherf**ker with the Hat (Dobama Theatre), William in Lobby Hero, and Booth in Topdog/Underdog (The Beck Center for the Arts). Jimmie directed and performed the role of Dionysus in Cleveland Public Theatre’s production of The Bacchae of Euripides, translated by Wole Soyinka. Jimmie received his M.F.A. in acting from Columbia University.

SEQUOIA BOSTICK (art illustrations) is an illustrator, maker, and designer living in Cleveland, Ohio. After earning her BFA in Illustration from the Cleveland Institute of Art in 2014, she pursued a career as a resident teaching artist where she works with local youth to grow their visual art skills all while growing her own artistic practice as a multi-disciplinary freelancer. Bright colors, dream-like figures, cute and playful characters inhabit the stories she brings to life with both traditional and digital media. Sequoia’s work has been featured in Cleveland Scene Magazine, Vagabond Comics, ideastream, The CAN Journal, and The Plain Dealer. You can also find her work in Cleveland Botanical Gardens, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and Maelstrom Collaborative Arts.

LOGAN DIOR WILLIAMS (performer) has appeared in A Christmas Carol, Fences, Brownsville Song (b song for tray), Sugar Belle, The Hollow Image (A Daughter’s Trilogy), What if?, The Four Angels of Sixteenth Street, We Call Him George, What We Could Have Been, Tomorrow’s Dance, Juba (Song of Negroes), Journey to the New Star, and Children Without Faces. Regional: Great Lakes Theater, Karamu House, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Music Settlement, Cleveland Public Theatre, Aurora Community Theater, City of Cleveland Little Theater, Cleveland Institute of Music, and The University of Akron. Logan is an honor roll student at Wade Park Elementary School.

ISAIAH YOUNG (performer) is a Cleveland, Ohio native and an honor roll student that attends Dike School of the Arts, part of the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. His recent credits include Kinky Boots (Young Lola) at Baldwin Wallace University; Disney’s Aristocats (Thomas O’Malley) at Playhouse Square and Karamu House; What’s a Unicorn? with the 41st Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids Playwriting Festival at Dobama Theatre; Cleveland Public Theatre’s Martin Luther King Celebration at Cleveland Museum of Natural History; and various other performances.


TARAH FLANAGAN (creator, performer) is grateful to return to CPH as part of this year’s virtual season. CPH credits include Every Brilliant Thing and An Iliad. During the past nine months, Tarah has helped create digital content for Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, Alabama Shakespeare Festival and Great River Shakespeare Festival, where she also serves as Co-Associate Artistic Director. Recent credits include the world premiere of Buzz at Alabama Shakespeare Festival, directed by Carrie Preston, The Lady Demands Satisfaction at Gulfshore Playhouse, and Cymbeline at GRSF. Film/TV: Mother’s Book by Keith Joseph Atkins, FutureStates (PBS), As the World Turns, and Darwin the series, directed by Carrie Preston. Training: PCPA Theaterfest, Conservatory at Webster University (BFA), Alabama Shakespeare Festival (MFA). Tarah is a proud member of Actor’s Equity Association.

CHRISTOPHER GERSON (creator, performer) is an actor and filmmaker who has appeared on the CPH stage for several seasons as “the Old Man" in A Christmas Story. As a filmmaker, Chris has created video content for numerous organizations including: “Live@Sundance” as part of the Sundance Film Festival, Walt Disney Imagineering, AfroPunk, Color of Change, Trifecta, and Emerald Media and the Great River Shakespeare Festival. He was the lead editor forHappy Lucky Tofu Dragon Panda Good Time Fun Fun Show directed by Carrie Preston and Fort Greene directed by Jordan Thomas, and is the co-creator, producer, and editor of the award-winning web series Darwin. Chris has created video projections for the Hartford Symphony Orchestra’s “New World Visions” concert, and the off-Broadway production of The Little Prince at the Pearl Theatre. He recently directed and edited the short horror film, The Fool. As an actor, Chris has appeared in productions at The Alabama Shakespeare Festival, South Coast Repertory Theatre, The Pearl Theatre, Red Bull Theater, New Georges, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actor’s Theatre of Louisville, A Noise Within, The Folio Theatre, The Odyssey Theatre, The Actors Gang and the Pioneer Theatre. TV/Film: Mr. Robot, The Good Fight, Younger, Days of Our Lives, Chicago Hope, Fort Greene, The Language of Kickball. Check out Chris’s video blog on YouTube: @GersonLab


Registration for Theatre Thursday is required in advance. Viewing access is Pay What You Can starting at $5 per household. The event will be broadcast on ZOOM and can be viewed on a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Patrons can purchase viewing tickets exclusively by visiting

Theatre Thursday is a monthly interactive virtual event which allows 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. Events take place on the third Thursday of each month through April 2021. All events at 7:00 pm. For more information, please visit:

CPH Digital Pass Subscriptions are available starting at $75. Subscribers receive premium access to artistic programming and special events throughout the virtual season. Passes are available exclusively by visiting


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:


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