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CPH Welcomes Audiences Back Home for 2021-22 Season

Posted June 25, 2021 in Press Releases

CPH’s dynamic 106th consecutive season will include two world premieres, two reimagined classics, one tour-de-force solo show, and a commitment to amplify stories written by artists of color.

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Laura Kepley announced today the 2021-2022 mainstage season lineup of plays for the Tony Award recipient’s 106th consecutive season. Launching in October 2021, the productions for CPH’s dynamic five-play in-person season will start small and grow in size and scale as the season progresses. The plays include: an uplifting solo show with music, a world premiere family friendly holiday musical, a swashbuckling classic filled with camaraderie and adventure, an ancient tale burning with contemporary relevance, and a world premiere family drama. With a commitment to sharing diverse and entertaining stories with Northeast Ohio audiences, CPH’s 2021-22 season will include works from Brian Quijada, Jason Michael Webb, Lelund Durond Thompson, Catherine Bush, Emily Mann, and Charly Evon Simpson.

CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley says, “The feel of next season is that of a Homecoming – old friends and new friends coming together in the theatre, reuniting, and rejoicing. Part ritual, part party!” Kepley says, “The guiding artistic vision for next season is to tell life affirming stories that promote and foster resilience, healing, belonging, and joy. Together, we will process the grief, pain, loss, division, and isolation of this past year. The stories and experiences will remind us of our shared humanity and that we are not alone.”

The anticipated announcement arrives after 15 months of producing and presenting virtual programming to audiences of all ages around the world. Laura Kepley says, “The season will include programming that will uplift hope, possibilities, justice, and pathways to recovery and renewal. These past 15 months have been challenging to say the least, but I am so proud to say the Cleveland Play House never went dark. We kept the metaphoric lights on, creating over 47 hours of virtual theatrical programming and delivering support to our school communities through remote programs and academic learning pods that served over 450 children every day during the pandemic.”

With the success of CPH’s 2020-21 virtual programming reaching audiences around the world, the theatre company plans to provide digitally accessible performances and programming throughout the season.

To learn more about Cleveland Play House’s 2021-2022 mainstage season, visit www.clevelandplayhouse.com.

HEALTH & SAFETY MEASURES

In light of the COVID-19 restrictions placed on Ohio performance venues in 2020 being lifted recently, all in-person performances produced by Cleveland Play House in the Allen, Outcalt and Helen Theatres will play to full capacity. Kepley says, “The health and safety of our audiences, performers, crew, and staff are our topmost priorities. We will be closely following and adhering to all national, state, and local guidelines as well as those put forth by our producing partners and unions.”

CPH staff will be working closely with partners at Playhouse Square to update audiences on the health and safety measures being put in place before, during, and after CPH performances.

LIGHTS UP! ON CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

On June 15, CPH announced the Lights Up! on Cleveland Play House, a $5 Million fundraising initiative to support equity, access, flexibility, safety and innovation. The campaign seeks community support to sustain and enhance the institution’s core commitment to producing inspiring theatre and educational programming, while incorporating the lessons learned in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and heightened social justice awareness.

The campaign will help obtain vital funding that will enable CPH to creatively deliver thought-provoking, necessary and urgent theatrical productions and education programming, while also offering accessibility to diverse audiences throughout Northeast Ohio. Lights Up! will provide CPH the resources for talent acquisition and offer rigorous and robust equity, diversity and inclusion training for staff and board members.

COMMITMENT TO ANTI-RACISM AND INCLUSION

For more than a century, Cleveland Play House has served the Northeast Ohio community and addressed urgent social issues through artistic and educational programming. CPH acknowledges several events within the last year have prompted CPH staff and board to take a closer look at institutional systems, policies, and procedures as they pertain to anti-racism and equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). CPH is committed to developing and implementing comprehensive EDI action plans that better reflect and serve the CPH family and the community.

CPH plans to create a cross-departmental Equitable Artistic Practices Team that will promote and maintain a joyful, collaborative, inclusive, and anti-racist culture for artistic processes. Kepley says, “CPH will be widening the circle of collaborators, intentionally creating more opportunities for emerging and established artists of color from our local community and from across the country.” Cultural consultants will be hired for all productions and culturally specific dramaturgs will be contracted for new play processes. Inclusive casting processes will be instituted for local artists of color and the onstage racial demographics of performers will be reflective of the community.

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CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE
2021-2022 MAINSTAGE SEASON

Where Did We Sit On The Bus?
by Brian Quijada
Directed by Matt Dickson
Oct 23 – Nov 14, 2021
Allen Theatre

During a third grade lesson on the Civil Rights movement and Rosa Parks, a Latino boy raises his hand to ask, “Where did we sit on the bus?” His teacher can’t answer the question. This autobiographical solo show follows that kid from his childhood to adulthood as he explores his family’s history, his identity as a first generation American, and what the world will be like for his future children. Featuring live music that brings together Latin beats, hip-hop, and looping, Where Did We Sit on the Bus is a high energy, tour-de-force theatrical experience that examines what it means to be Latino in America.

“The 90-minute performance is as funny as it is poignant: expertly crafted, deftly poetic, and unabashedly authentic. You'll laugh, cry, cheer-your only regret will be that you didn't get to do it longer." – Chicago Reader

“An explosion of energy, raw emotion and irresistible storytelling.” – Chicago Sun Times

***

Light It Up!
A New Holiday Musical
by Jason Michael Webb and Lelund Durond Thompson
Directed by Christopher Windom
World Premiere
Nov 27 – Dec 22, 2021
Allen Theatre

For the holidays, we’ll be bringing you a brand new, family friendly musical set in Cleveland! When the annual downtown Christmas tree lighting ceremony takes an unexpected turn, an array of Clevelanders step forward to keep the spirit of the season alive. Light It Up! illuminates the power of love, kindness, and each person’s ability to make every day brighter. This world premiere musical features original pop, rock, gospel, and jazz holiday tunes and new arrangements of Christmas favorites by Tony-award winning composer Jason Michael Webb. Light It Up! is a celebration of family, friends, community, and connection.

***

The Three Musketeers
Adapted by Catherine Bush from the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas
Directed by Laura Kepley
Feb 5 – 27, 2022
Allen Theatre

Get ready for exhilarating action that will have you cheering “All for One and One for All!”! The Three Musketeers, an adventurous tale of brave friends fighting injustice, is jam-packed with secret plots, treacherous spies, dazzling swordplay, and sweeping romance. This fast, fun, and fresh production directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley and designed by Lex Liang will feature a diverse cast and combat styles from around the globe.

“It’s hard to beat for nonstop action.” – New York Times

“Adapter Catherine Bush has streamlined and tweaked the plot of the 1884 novel by Alexandre Dumas. Her storytelling is crystal clear, though, as she gallops through the story’s swirl of intrigues.” – Orlando Sentinel

***

Antigone
Freely adapted by Emily Mann from the play by Sophocles
Directed by Lauren Keating
Mar 5 – 27, 2022
Outcalt Theatre

An epic tragedy reimagined. In a dystopian near future, a war-torn nation struggles for peace and unity. The newly appointed leader, Creon, stands for law and order. But her niece Antigone kneels for justice. Neither will yield and a fatal battle of wills rages. Pushed to extremes, who will bend and who will break? This high-stakes timeless tale burns with contemporary relevance, as age and youth clash over the future of their country.

CPH’s 2020 production of Antigone was in its second week of rehearsal when it had to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Featuring Mariah Burks as Antigone and Vanessa Morosco as Creon, CPH is pleased to bring this production back to the intimate Outcalt Theatre for the 2021-22 season.

***

I’m Back Now
by Charly Evon Simpson
World Premiere
Apr 30 – May 22, 2022
Allen Theatre

Inspired by Cleveland’s past, present, and future, I’m Back Now is a loving and tender family drama that transcends time and space. Sara journeys to Cleveland to meet her birth mother, Elle, and discovers that they are descendants of Sara Lucy Bagby, the last person ever prosecuted under the Fugitive Slave Act. Traveling through time from the 1860s to today, the play weaves together the lives of three generations of one Cleveland family. This play was commissioned by Cleveland Play House in 2020 through the Roe Green Fund for New American Plays.

***

Additional events and programming to be announced in the fall include CPH’s annual New Ground Theatre Festival, as well as a production of William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, performed by the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program Class of 2022.

TICKETING & PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Performances for the 2021-22 mainstage season run Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 pm, Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 pm, and select Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. (Titles, dates, and times are subject to change.) To guarantee seats to all productions, audiences are encouraged to become a CPH Subscriber. Subscribers save up to 30% off individual ticket prices and receive benefits, discounts, and perks throughout the season. Full and flexible season packages begin at just $120. Subscription sales begin August 15. Single tickets for all mainstage productions go on sale September 1. For more information about purchasing a subscription or to receive more information, visit www.clevelandplayhouse.com/subscribe.

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