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CPH Premieres New Play Commissions Inspired by Cleveland Artwork

Posted February 2, 2021 in Press Releases

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House plays matchmaker with the next installment of Theatre Thursday: The Art of Connection on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 7:00 pm. Hosted by Artistic Director Laura Kepley, the February edition features four short plays commissioned by CPH and written by Philip Dawkins, Crystal Finn, Nandita Shenoy, and Lloyd Suh. Each play is inspired by artwork seen around Cleveland. Tickets to Theatre Thursday are Pay What You Can starting at $5 and are available at

Artistic Director Laura Kepley states, “February Theatre Thursday will be a fun, interactive, and art-filled evening that will break-up pandemic routines and give audience members the opportunity to meet new people while trying something different. Part game night, part playmaking, part art appreciation class, February Theatre Thursday will not be your ordinary Zoom gathering! Shy folks, don’t worry; the night is only as interactive as you want to make it.”

Theatre Thursday: The Art of Connection will be a fun, unique night that explores the love affair between theatre and visual art. Four short comedic plays receive world premiere performances — each being inspired by a specific work of art that can be seen throughout Greater Cleveland. The plays will explore the theme of “connection.” Audience members will have a chance to make new connections by working together virtually in small groups to read the plays aloud and uncover the creative couplings. To play along, audience members will have the opportunity to download, print, and/or read the scripts in advance of the event.

With Theatre Thursday: The Art of Connection, CPH welcomes back four incredible artists: Philip Dawkins (playwright, CPH CARE Monologues), Crystal Finn (actor, Fairfield, Rich Girl; writer/performer, Becoming Liv Ullmann), Nandita Shenoy (actor, Tiny Houses), and Lloyd Suh (playwright, CPH CARE Monologues and the 2017 Roe Green Award Recipient for The Chinese Lady).

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

Additional funding for Theatre Thursday: The Art of Connection is provided by Bank of America and the John P. Murphy Foundation.

PHILIP DAWKINS is a Chicago playwright and educator whose plays include Failure: A Love Story, Le Switch, The Homosexuals, The Burn, Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches the Musical (with composer David Mallamud), Spamtown USA, The Gentleman Caller, Charm, Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living, and The Happiest Place on Earth. Philip has taught playwriting at his alma mater, Loyola University Chicago, as well as Northwestern University, Victory Gardens Theater, and the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

CRYSTAL FINN is an actor and writer. She was last seen at Cleveland Play House in Fairfield by Eric Coble, directed by Laura Kepley, and before that in Rich Girl by Tory Stewart. She also performed her one woman show Becoming Liv Ullmann at CPH’s New Ground Theater Festival, where it was chosen as one of the “Top Ten Performances of the Year” by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Crystal’s play The Faire was produced Off-Broadway with Fault Line Theater company in 2014. She recently was a semi-finalist for the biennial play commission from Clubbed Thumb, where she is an affiliated artist. As an actor Crystal has originated roles in over twenty world premiere plays, including most recently Plano by Will Arbery, also with Clubbed Thumb.

NANDITA SHENOY is a New York-based writer-actor. Most recently, her Rage Play, produced by Flux Theatre Ensemble, was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic and subsequently named to the 2020 Kilroys List. Another play Washer/Dryer received its world premiere at LA’s East West Players and received an Off-Broadway production in which she also starred. Her first full-length, Lyme Park: An Austonian Romance of an Indian Nature, was produced by the Hegira in Washington, DC. Her play Satisfaction recently completed a developmental run at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Other plays: Marrying Nandini, By Popular Demand, Rules of Engagement, You Are Here, and A More Perfect Date. She won the 2014 Father Hamblin Award in Playwriting for her commissioned one-act, Safe Haven, and a 2018 Mellon Creative Research Fellowship at the University of Washington School of Drama in partnership with Ma-Yi Theater Company. She is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the Dorset Theatre Festival’s Women Artists Working group, and the Dramatists Guild. Nandita holds a BA in English literature from Yale University.

LLOYD SUH is the author ofThe Chinese Lady, Charles Francis Chan Jr.s Exotic Oriental Murder Mystery,American Hwangap,The Wong Kids in the Secret of the Space Chupacabra Go!, Jesus in India, and others, produced with Ma-Yi, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Magic Theatre, NAATCO, Children’s Theatre Company, ArtsEmerson, Milwaukee Rep, Denver Center, Guthrie with Mu Performing Arts, and others, including internationally at the Cultural Center of the Philippines and with PCPA in Seoul, Korea. He has received support from the NEA and Arena Stage, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, NYFA, NYSCA, the Helen Merrill Award, the Lilah Kan Red Socks Award, the Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, the Horton Foote Prize, and the Guggenheim Fellowship. An alum of Youngblood and the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, he served from 2005-2010 as Artistic Director of Second Generation and Co-Director of the Ma-Yi Writers Lab. He is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists, served from 2011-20 as Director of Artistic Programs at The Lark, and was elected in 2016 to the Dramatists Guild Council.

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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