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CPH Reimagines Iconic Horror Story, MARY SHELLEY’S FRANKENSTEIN

Posted October 21, 2023 in Press Releases

Mary Shelley’s shocking classic novel, Frankenstein, adapted by David Catlin receives new life at Cleveland Play House.

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House presents a reimagined adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, a haunting and highly theatrical adaptation of the classic horror story. Just in time for Halloween, this sensual, poetic adaptation by David Catlin runs October 21 through November 12 in the Outcalt Theatre, located in the heart of Playhouse Square. Directed by Michael Barakiva, the production features Josh Bates, Madeline Calais, Ellen Grace Diehl, Gavin Michaels, and Kayodè Soyemi. Tickets are available exclusively

While a vicious storm rages outside an old villa in Switzerland, a teenage Mary Shelley accepts the challenge to tell a terrifying tale. Casting her friends as characters, she soon gives life to one of literature’s greatest creations. And as the story travels from the North Pole to Victor Frankenstein’s infamous lab, the line between fact and fiction begins to blur. This adventurous adaptation illuminates the real-life “monsters” that haunted Mary’s greatest work, bringing what’s buried back to life.

Interim Artistic Director Mark Cuddy says, “A landmark novel written by a teenager afraid to place her name on it sparked over two centuries of scholarship and interpretations.” Cuddy says, “The nameless creature cobbled together and brought to life by the character of Victor Frankenstein in Mary Shelley’s novel has assumed the moniker of his tortured scientist creator in the mind of the general public.”

Born in 1797, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Shelley was the English novelist who penned the Gothic story, Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus. Shelley was the daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin, both writers and radical political thinkers; her mother died giving birth to her. She met Percy Bysshe Shelley, declared her love to him, and eloped to Europe while he was still married. She endured a lifelong conflict with her father who, though he preached “free love,” was unhappy when Mary practiced it. Mary almost died of a miscarriage and the result of that traumatic event is what led Mary to write the story of Frankenstein. She later had four children; unfortunately, only one of them survived to adulthood and outlived her. Shelley first shared her story about Victor Frankenstein with several friends on a dark and stormy night in the summer of 1816. Throughout her lifetime, she penned several other novels, including Valperga (1823), The Last Man (1826), The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck (1830), Lodore (1835), and Falkner (1837), and a travel book, History of a Six Weeks' Tour (1817).

Critics have called Frankenstein an allegory, a fable, an epistolary novel, and even an autobiography. The story centers on Victor Frankenstein, a young scientist who creates a sapient creature in an unorthodox scientific experiment. Shelley started writing the story when she was 18, and the first edition was published anonymously in London in 1818, when she was 20. Her name first appeared in the second edition, which was published in Paris in 1821. The investigative book, Graphing Jane Austen: The Evolutionary Basis of Literary Meaning, describes Frankenstein’s creature as a composite of whole body parts grafted together from cadavers and reanimated by the use of electricity; however, this description is not consistent with Shelley's work. The use of electricity and the cobbled-together image of a man-made monster were most likely the result of the James Whale 1931 cult film, Frankenstein, which was adapted from Peggy Webling’s 1927 play.

This adaptation of the novel was written by David Catlin, an ensemble member of Chicago’s notable Lookingglass Theatre Company. A story of a female protagonist, a horror story, and story about grief and loneliness, this Catlin investigates several themes and ideologies including, what makes us human, female intuition, our need to be loved, and the dangers of playing God with life and death. Catlin’s story centers around Mary Shelley telling the tale of a misunderstood monster to some of the men who “haunted” her real life, including Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

Playwright David Catlin says, “Mary Shelley holds up our desire to play God, to usurp the natural order. When we were younger, we turned clouds into camels and castles and steamships.” Catlin says, “We played with stuffed animals, dolls, with G.I. Joes, bringing them to vivid life — determining whom they loved, how they died, and if they were reborn. We created whole universes with Legos and Transformers. Our imaginations pushed beyond the boundaries of possibility. We made the impossible — like wee young gods.”

Catlin’s adaptation premiered in Chicago in 2019 and has played regionally, including at the McCarter Theatre in New Jersey.

At the helm of the CPH production is celebrated director Michael Barakiva, who recently served as co-director of Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure. The play operates on several layers of reality. For this production, Barakiva aims for three different levels of experience: reality (Mary and her friends), the “tingling” (when they’re sort of lingering between reality and storytelling and the two are starting to blur), and “the ride” (when they’re fully immersed in their roles and the storytelling). The design element will work together to create the kind of expressionistic magic that only live theatre can provide — and all of this in the intimate Outcalt Theatre, with audience members surrounding the action.

Cuddy says, “The collective talent and intellect of playwright, director, and creative artists have been ‘stitched’ together for a one-of-a-kind ‘creature.’ It lives and breathes onstage not only from their sparks of imagination, but also from your heartbeat.”

The design team includes scenic and costume design by Lex Liang, lighting design by Jakyung C. Seo, sound design by Sharath Patel, and wig design by Jason Hayes. Additional creative team members include: John Godbout (stage manager), Derek A. Graham (music composer), Casey Venema (intimacy direction), Kenya Woods (movement and choreography), José Pérez IV (fight choreography), Craig Joseph (dramaturgy), Shunté Lofton (assistant director), and Matthew Koenig (dialect coach).

This production contains sexual innuendo and banter; images of horror and death; stylized murder; stylized physical and sexual intimacy of many varieties; discussions of infant death; presentation of blood and corpses; drug usage; gunshots and other loud noises; smoke, fog, and strobe effects.

Running from October 21 through November 12, 2023, in Playhouse Square’s Outcalt Theatre, evening performances of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein are held Wednesday through Saturday at 7:30 PM; and on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM. Matinee performances are held on Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 PM. Additionally, an evening performance will be held on Sunday, October 22 at 6:30 PM.

Tickets start at $30. Student tickets are $15 (valid student ID required). Ohio Direction/EBT cardholders receive $5 admission to any performance (up to eight tickets). Military personnel and their immediate families receive 50% off tickets. Seniors may receive $10 off tickets. Groups of 20+ can save up to 30% on their purchase. Single tickets can be purchased by calling 216.241.6000. All tickets can be purchased by visiting

KeyBank is the 2023-2024 season sponsor for Cleveland Play House.

Cleveland Play House’s 2023-2024 season also includes Karamu House’s Black Nativity (Dec. 1 – 16, 2023), The Play That Goes Wrong (Feb. 10 – Mar. 3, 2024), Middletown (Feb. 21 – Mar. 2, 2024), Amadeus (Apr. 6 – 28, 2024), and In the Heights (May 11 – Jun. 9, 2024).


JOSH BATES (Dr. John Polidori, Henry Clerval) is a Southern California native who received his BFA in Acting from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Sic ‘Em Bears. He was recently seen in CWRU/CPH’s The Tempest, The Liar, and Everybody and has spent time working as a professional musician in the Nashville area. @joshbaetes

MADELINE CALAIS-KING (Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, Elizabeth Lavenza) received her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree (summa cum laude) in Acting from the University of Houston's School of Theatre & Dance. Madeline had the immense pleasure of appearing in two world premieres this past summer which include 10CHILDREN’s Watching Butterflies (written by Eric Schmiedl) and Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival’s Hamlet 50/50 (adapted by Vanessa Morosco and Peter Simon Hilton). Other notable companies Calais has worked with include the American Shakespeare Center, the Illinois Shakespeare Festival and Red Bull Theater in New York City.

ELLEN GRACE DIEHL (Claire Clairmont, Mother) is an actor, teacher, and choreographer. Previous MFA credits: Cliton (The Liar), Love (Everybody). Other credits: Louise (Gypsy), Gigi (Gigi), Sophie (Mamma Mia), Sandy (Grease), and Ariel (The Little Mermaid).

VICTORIA ALEV DUFFY (U/S Madeline Calais-King, Ellen Grace Diehl) is elated to be a part of Mary Shelley's Frakenstein at Cleveland Play House. Past CPH credits: The Tempest, Watching Butterflies, The Liar, Everybody and Passage. Fordham Theatre credits include The Most Massive Woman Wins, Machinal, DIMES: A New Musical, and more. @vickduff

DYLAN IRELAND (U/S Kayodè Soyemi) hails from High Point, North Carolina and is excited to enter his third and final year of graduate school with CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. Credits include: The Liar, Passage, The Tempest, and Everybody.

GAVIN MICHAELS (Percy Bysshe Shelley, Victor Frankenstein, and Others) is from wonderfully rainy Seattle, Washington. His stage credits include Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, Orlando in As You Like It (BPA), Ferdinand in The Tempest, Hamlet in Hamlet (Kentwood Players), Dorante in The Liar and most recently as Caliban in The Tempest (CWRU). He has also worked with John Leguizamo at the Guthrie Theatre to workshop his new play, Our Hood, as well as play Borrachio in a workshop of Tanta Bulla, y pa que? a bilingual adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing. His film credits include the school-shooter Derek in the short film Diabolos, Carl in the sci-fi drama The House, and Danny in the quirky comedy Danny Doom (Amazon Prime). He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Communication and Rhetoric from the University of Washington.

ALFREDO RUIZ (U/S Josh Bates, Gavin Michaels) has CPH credits in The Tempest and The Liar, is from Miami, and currently a 3rd year grad actor at the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. Alfredo recently starred in the award winning short film, ‘Til Death. He was nominated for Best Actor at the Indie Short Fest in LA. He spent the majority of his time in Miami working in immersive regional theatre and releasing critically acclaimed works of indie film. Regional credits include: 7 Deadly Sins (Miami New Drama/Winner of the Drama League Award), Wynwood Stories (Juggerknot Theatre Co.).

KAYODÈ SOYEMI (Lord Byron, Creature, and Others) is making his CPH debut. A first-generation Nigerian-American actor, writer and producer that calls Atlanta, GA his home away from home. He’s a graduate of the MFA Acting program at Yale where in addition to performing, he served as Producing Artistic Director at Yale Cabaret, and was a Jerome L. Greene and a Connecticut Artist Fellow. Soyemi is known for playing characters that require extraordinary emotional and physical dexterity, and is so glad to be bringing Mary Shelley’s iconic creature to life through his own cultural lens. Regional: The Light, Pass Over (Chester Theatre Co.) A Raisin in the Sun (Dallas Theater Center) Father Comes Home from the Wars (Actor’s Express) Everybody Black, We’ve Come to Believe (Humana Festival) The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (Actors Theatre). TV/FILM: Run the World (Lionsgate/Starz), Lizardians, Dr. Birds Advice for Sad Poets, Blackface.

DAVID CATLIN (Playwright) is a founding member of Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre Company. Other adaptations include Lookingglass Alice, Moby Dick, Midsummer Night’s Daydream, Icarus, and the idiot. Catlin’s regional writing and/or directing credits include Indianapolis Repertory, Northlight Theatre, Alliance Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Arena Stage, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Denver Center for The Performing Arts, Arden Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Getty Villa, and Adrienne Arsht Center. He will direct Moby Dick at St Louis Rep (February 2024). He is also an Artistic Associate with Actors Gymnasium and serves as Head of Undergraduate Acting at Northwestern University.

MICHAEL BARAKIVA (Director) is thrilled to return to CPH after co-directing last year's Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure. An Armenian/Israeli-American director and writer based in NYC, Barakiva's third YA novel, Keepers of the Stones and Stars, will be on bookshelves in May 2024. Regional: Primary Stages, Ensemble Studio Theater, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Syracuse Stage, and TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, as well as the Hangar Theatre, where he served as Artistic Director. His novels One Man Guy and its stand-alone sequel Hold My Hand, received numerous accolades and awards. Barakiva serves as the Founding Artistic Director of The Upstart Creatures, a NYC-based company which creates community through theatre, food, and social justice and the Leadership Initiative Project ( He has presented at the International University Theatre Festival at UNAM, Mexico City and led workshops at the International Puppet Theatre Sofia, Bulgaria. Barakiva is the recipient of three Drama League Fellowships, the Killian Directing Fellowship at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Granada Artist-in-Residence at UC Davis and was the primary coach on an episode of MTV’s Made. Education: The Juilliard School, Vassar College.

LEX LIANG (Scenic & Costume Designer) is delighted to be back at CPH where he previously designed the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty (CD), Shakespeare in Love (SD/CD), Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville (CD), The Three Musketeers (CD), The Little Foxes (SD/CD) and many others. Int’l/Nat’l Tours/NYC/Off-B’way: 100+ productions, including the recent world premiere of Judy Gold’s Yes, I Can Say That!. Other recent work includes the world premieres of Emma, Mr. Holland’s Opus, The Tattooed Lady, and May We All. Regional: Actor’s Theatre Louisville, Alliance Theatre, Asolo, Cincinnati Playhouse, Dallas Theatre Center, Denver Center, Geva, Guthrie, La Jolla, Long Wharf, Paper Mill Playhouse, Pasadena Playhouse, Playmaker’s Rep, Portland Center Stage, St. Louis Rep, Syracuse Stage, and The Old Globe. Liang is the founder and principal of LDC Design Associates, the experiential event design and production company in NYC. Recent: Absolut Vodka, Operation Smile, Johnson & Johnson, Ubuntu Pathways, Invesco, The Tony Awards Gala, NYFW, NYWFF, William Hill, and others.

JAKYUNG C. SEO (Lighting Designer) (she/her) has designed more than 100 productions at Steppenwolf, Congo Square Theatre, Contemporary American Theatre Company in Ohio, HEAR theatre, and Lodestone Theatre. International: Face at Edinburgh, BINARI at Avignon Off Festival, Theatre Laboratory Elizabeth Czerczuk, Sibiu International Theatre Festival, Busan International Performing Arts Festival, and What We Want Is for Thrust Dance Company, which she was awarded for at the International Dance Festival in Saitama, Japan. Seo is Co-artistic director of Global Women Performing Arts Festival. She has taught lighting design workshops in Thailand, Singapore, and South Korea; and Professor of Lighting Design and a Coordinator of BFA and MFA design, Technology and Production at Kent State University.

SHARATH PATEL (Sound Designer & Soundscape Creator) (he/him) is an Oregon based designer who works internationally focusing on experimental, commercial, academic, political, and socially conscious theatre. Recent designs: The Alley Theatre, Alliance Theatre, A.C.T., Dallas Theater Center, Portland Center Stage, TheatreWorks of Silicon Valley, Indiana Rep, Asolo Rep, American Rep, Seattle Rep, Artists Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Cal Shakes, Alabama Shakes, Theatrical Outfit, Seattle Children’s Theatre, Tantrum Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Arena Stage, Hypokrit Theatre Company, Geffen Playhouse, East West Players, Theatrical Outfit. Additional work in New York City, San Francisco, L.A., D.C., Boston, Norfolk, Raleigh, Aspen, India, France, England, Germany, Romania, Vietnam. Affiliations: USA829 IATSE, Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association, Arts Envoy for the U.S. Department of State, National Respondent for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, Resident Artists at Artists Rep. BFA: Ohio University. MFA: Yale School of Drama.

DEREK A. GRAHAM (Composer) makes his Cleveland Play House debut! Credits: Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help (Asolo Repertory Theatre); In Every Generation (TheatreWorks Silicon Valley); Toni Stone (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre/Alliance Theatre); Protocol (Portland Center Stage); The Chinese Lady (Artists Repertory Theatre). Cleveland: What We Look Like; Kill Move Paradise; Skeleton Crew; Wakey, Wakey; and An Octaroon all with Dobama Theatre. Education: MFA in Sound Design from Ohio University. BA in Music with an emphasis in Sound Recording Technology from Elizabeth City State University.

JASON HAYES (Wig Designer) is a 2016 & 2017 Drama Desk Award Nominee for Outstanding Wig & Hair Design for his work on The Legend of Georgia McBride and The View Upstairs. He was Hair Supervisor for The Present starring Cate Blanchett. His Broadway Theatrical design credits include Casa Valentina, The Realistic Jones's, Spring Awakening, Blithe Spirit, 13 The Musical, and Radio City Christmas Spectacular for 10 years. Film/TV: I Mordecai, The Rise of Hollywood, The Mysteries of Laura, Smash, Hostages, 30 Rock, Mercy, Gossip Girl, SNL, Transamerica, Camp, The Savages, and Party Monster among others. Clients: Cate Blanchett, RuPaul, Angelica Huston, Debra Messing, Toni Colette, Felicity Huffman, Jennifer Hudson, Liza Minelli, Sean Hayes, Megan Fox, Mary Stuart Masterson, Cherry Jones, Angela Lansbury, Laura Linney, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Macauley Culkin.

JOSÉ PÉREZ IV (Fight Director) is a Pittsburgh-based fight and intimacy director, playwright, and actor. He is resident fight and intimacy director of Pittsburgh Public Theater, where his credits include Billy Strayhorn: Something to Live For produced by Billy Porter; A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Harlem; and Robin Hood. Regional: Dracula: A Feminist Revenge Fantasy at Actors Theatre of Louisville. His play Very Berry Dead (Semifinalist 46th Bay Area Playwrights Festival) received its world premiere at Saginaw Valley State University. NYC: Times Square Arts Center, HERE Arts Center, Joe’s Pub, The Ohio Theater, and Theater for the New City. He is a graduate of NYU Tisch’s Experimental Theatre Wing, the University of Pittsburgh’s MFA Performance Pedagogy program, and member of the Society of American Fight Directors since 2009.

CASEY VENEMA (Intimacy Director) (she/her) is a freelance intimacy director and theatre artist focused on creating environments of consent and crafting impactful moments of staged intimacy. She is an alumna of Bucknell University- where she graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Theatre and Film and Media Studies- and a student of Theatrical Intimacy Education (TIE) and Intimacy Directors and Coordinators (IDC). Venema is the resident intimacy choreographer for Dobama Theatre and has also worked as an intimacy professional for Cain Park, Karamu House, and Seat of the Pants Theatre.

KENYA WOODS (Movement Coach and Choreographer), a native of Cleveland, Ohio holds more than 30 years of experience in dance performance, choreography, teaching, and leadership. She holds a degree in Dance from Tennessee State University and is certified in Lester Horton Pedagogy, the official technique taught at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center. Her additional dance credits include Dance New Amsterdam and North Coast Ballet Theater. Woods is the recipient of the Hildegarde and Elbert Baker Visiting Scholar in the Humanities at CWRU where she is also currently serving as faculty teaching dance in the MFA Theater of Arts Program.

MATT KOENIG (Dialect Coach) is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Baldwin-Wallace University. He has dialect coached at Great Lakes Theater, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Florida Studio Theatre, Oregon Cabaret Theatre, La Mirada/McCoy Rigby Entertainment, and others. He coaches students of all levels and professionals in audition preparation, accent modification, and public speaking. He is certified in Knight-Thompson Speechwork and is currently pursuing his certification in Fitzmaurice Voicework. MFA: UC. Irvine.

CRAIG JOSEPH (Dramaturg) is Literary Director of CPH and served as dramaturg for CPH’s The Three Musketeers. He is the Artistic Director of Seat of the Pants, an ensemble-based, process-driven theatre company that performs throughout Northeast Ohio. A freelance actor and director, he has worked at Writers Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Resonance Works, Dobama, Karamu House, Ensemble Theatre, Canton Symphony, and Akron Symphony, among others. Joseph is a Certified Teacher of the Michael Chekhov Technique through the Great Lakes Michael Consortium and a proud founding member of The Greenhouse.

SHUNTÉ LOFTON (Assistant Director) is a graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre and Dance and is thrilled to be on this next journey. CPH credits include: F (Passage), Death (Everybody), Lucrece (The Liar), and Prospera (The Tempest). Favorite credits: Ophelia (Hamlet) and Princess of France (Love’s Labour’s Lost) with the American Shakespeare Center and Constance (King John) with Colorado Shakespeare Festival. She is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.

JOHN GODBOUT (Stage Manager) was Cleveland Play House's resident stage manager from 2001 to 2008 and returned to CPH in the fall of 2011. Recently credits: A New Brain at Barrington Stage Company. Other regional: North Shore Music Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre, The Weston Playhouse, Berkshire Theatre Festival, Arkansas Repertory Theatre, Northern Stage, Seaside Music Theatre, and Porthouse Theatre.

KITTY WEN (Production Assistant) is grateful to be return with Cleveland Play House, having stage managed the family theatre tour of Teddy Bear Mountain and serve as assistant stage manager for The Great Leap and Becoming Dr. Ruth. She recently completed her Disney College Program and Dobama Theatre Stage Management internship. Previous stage management credits include Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Karamu House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Ohio City Theatre Project, Baldwin Wallace, Independence Theatre, Cain Park, and Cassidy Theatre, among others. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin Wallace.

KARIE KOPPEL (Casting Director) Off-Broadway: Upcoming ‘Til Death, Queens Girl In The World, Eve Ensler’s Fruit Trilogy, The Gentleman Caller, The Boy Who Danced On Air, and Mother of Invention. Regional: Denver Center Theatre, Geva Theatre, Cape Playhouse, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Arena Stage, The Magic Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Northern Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Bucks County Playhouse, and Alabama Shakespeare Festival. National Tours: Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, Middletown. Film: The Empath, The House of Usher, The Visit, and Smashing. TV: Walter Winchell, The Vote, Charles M Russell, Across The Pacific. Koppel is also the Director of Casting for GFour Productions.

MARK CUDDY (Interim Artistic Director) served as Artistic Director of Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY for 27 years. He led Geva through a renaissance of artistic and institutional growth with a diverse repertory, topflight artists, wide-reaching educational programs and a commitment to new play development. Cuddy is a founding member of the Board of Directors for the Rochester Fringe Festival that just concluded its fourth year, and served on the Board of Directors of the only national service organization for non-profit theatres, Theatre Communications Group. As a director, Cuddy is known for his productions of musicals, contemporary comedies and premieres. He also directed the CPH/Geva co-production of Clybourne Park. His Geva productions include Once, The Humans, Ring of Fire, Good People, To Kill a Mockingbird, You Can't Take it With You, Superior Donuts, A Midsummer Night’s Dream co-directed with Skip Greer, and Company, as well as his adaptation of A Christmas Carol with music and lyrics by Gregg Coffin. Among his many other Geva credits are The Music Man, Sweeney Todd, Fences, Five Course Love, A Christmas Story, and Pride and Prejudice (co-adaptor), and the world premieres of Convenience (musical) by Gregg Coffin, Theophilus North by Matthew Burnett from Thornton Wilder (also at Arena Stage), Splitting Infinity by Jamie Pachino, Famous Orpheus by Oyamo (choreography by Garth Fagan), House and Garden by Alan Ayckbourn (East Coast premiere), and That Was Then (American premiere). Cuddy has also served as Artistic Director of Sacramento Theatre Company, Producing Director of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and on the directing staff of the Denver Center Theatre Company. He has served on the review panels for the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York State Council on the Arts. He received his B.A. in Theatre/Honors from the University of Massachusetts where he was a Commonwealth Scholar.

RACHEL L. FINK (Managing Director) is thrilled to be returning home to Northeast Ohio after 25 years. Her childhood was filled with fundamental and rich Cleveland arts experiences — and it was at Heights High (Go Tigers!) that Fink’s passion for arts access, social justice, and inclusive, equitable practices was ignited. She carried those values with her as she enrolled at Case Western Reserve University, where an astute professor introduced her to the field of arts administration, and she hasn’t turned back since. The experience at CWRU led to an internship at Cleveland Play House, followed by earning an MFA in theater management at the Yale School of Drama (now the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale). After graduate school, Fink ventured west to Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California, where she founded and grew the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre into a nationally-recognized learning hub which centered theatre as an essential education and engagement tool for all ages, providing direct service and support to more than 300 theatres and 2,000 artists across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, Fink served as the executive director of the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois. Producing highlights include Plantation! by Kevin Douglas and directed by David Schwimmer; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written and directed by David Catlin; Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by J. Nicole Brooks (holiday radio broadcast in partnership with local NPR affiliate, WBEZ); Steadfast Tin Soldier, written and directed by Mary Zimmerman; and Lookingglass Alice, written and directed by David Catlin. Fink has held professional distinctions including co-leading the Professional Association of Chicago Theatres; and serving as a Fellow at the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago/Harris School of Public Policy; as the US delegate for the British Council’s Cultural Leadership International Programme; as a member of the American Express/Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders inaugural class; and as a 2016 artEquity facilitator cohort member.


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,


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