February 10 - March 10, 2024 , Allen Theatre
written by Henry Lewis, Henry Shields, and Jonathan Sayer
directed by Melissa Rain Anderson
Run time: Act I: 70 minutes • Intermission: 15 minutes • Act II: 40 minutes
Advisory: Mild profanity; mild sexual innuendo; comic portrayals of violence, injury, and murder; brief discussions of infidelity and suicide; gunshots; a woman running around in underwear. Recommended for ages 12+
Get ready for a night of mishaps, mischief, and madcap mania! It’s the opening night of the Cornley Drama Society’s newest production, “The Murder at Haversham Manor,” and things have quickly gone from bad…to utterly disastrous. The troupe’s ambitious 1920s whodunit has everything you never want in a show: falling props, collapsing scenery, an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything…including their lines. How will this eager ensemble battle against all of the disastrous odds? Will they make it to the final curtain call? An international hit that’s equal parts Monty Python and Sherlock Holmes – The Play That Goes Wrong is full of hilarious perfection.
Welcome to Inside CPH for The Play That Goes Wrong. Click the icons and verbs below for some ideas on how you can engage more deeply with the themes and ideas of the play beyond the performance.
Special THANKS to our Productions Partners for our 2023-24 Season!
Our partners include:
It’s been said that there’s a very fine line between laughter and tears. Can you think of a time in your life when things went so horribly and disastrously wrong that it transitioned from being a tragedy into being a comedy? How did you respond?
The characters in this play are evidence of the old saying, “The show must go on.” Can you think of a time in your life where you bravely persisted and showed courage, endurance, or stamina in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds? What happened? Did your fortitude payoff?
Are you easily embarrassed? If so, what kinds of things embarrass you? If not, what tools or tactics do you use to keep yourself from feeling shy, embarrassed, or ashamed? How might you overcome embarrassment or help someone else do the same?
How on earth do you make a play like this?
While the origins of things going wrong as a comedic “clownish” performance style can be traced back through mime, Commedia dell’arte, medieval court jesters, and fools of ancient Roman and Greek Theatre, the origin of this play is its own fascinating tale.
The Mischief Theatre Company has figured out the secret sauce to putting together theatre that is meant to fall apart. The company has a handsome oeuvre of productions with their signature brand of things going wrong in only the most hilarious ways. The company just closed an intentionally catastrophic run of Peter Pan Goes Wrong, and currently running off-broadway in NYC is their production of Mind Mangler: A Night of Tragic Illusion.
[If you’ve got a yearning for a pictorial history of the company, check out this gallery, where artist Harry Venning has composed a comic strip timeline, “A Short History of Mischief.”]
To put it briefly: the genius minds of this comic company began as an improv group in Britain that devised the beginnings of this production - formerly, A Murder before Christmas. They went on to debut a more developed production at an international fringe festival of theatre works. Meanwhile, the company produced Peter Pan Goes Wrong and it instantly took off, securing a well-sold run in London and earning a TV-broadcast of the play. From there, the company’s work has blown up internationally, touring the US, Australia, and the UK and expanding their oeuvre to TEN productions. As a company, they’ve managed to turn a nightmarish scenario into a crave-able feast of entertainment.
In a show like this, the set becomes a featured, riotous character. Original set designer for The Play that Goes Wrong, Nigel Hook, went on the record with the Broadway Box to share some insights and secrets of the set design.
Keep the laughs rolling!
Here in Cleveland, we are fortunate to have an array of options for those looking to keep the comedy coming. On your next free night, skip the streaming and check out the live comics and improvisational performers who are keeping audiences in stitches and rolling in the aisles (It’s a chaotically good time).
Check out any of the following spots around Cleveland:
AND if your heart went aflutter at the mention of Duran Duran during the show, here’s some exciting news for you: Duran Duran is coming to Blossom Music Center this September!
If you’re interested in the development processes of new works (*check out the LEARN section) make sure to check out the New Ground Theatre Festival in June here at CPH or the many pieces being mounted for the Border Light Fringe Festival across Cleveland.
Take a spill with style (and safety)!
We were fortunate enough to have the skill and expertise of Jason Paul Tate to help our talented actors execute the variety of stunts and physical comedy bits. Out of sheer fear that we may inspire the younger masses to do these kinds of stunts with unmitigated reckless abandon, we thought we’d share with you some of the secrets and safety tips behind some of these hilarious physical comedy stunts.
Just below is a fun and accessible resource by the highly acclaimed clown, actor, teacher, director, and more, Jeff Dieffenbacher! In his video tutorials, Jeff shows beginning performers the way to build up their physical comedy skill sets. It should be noted that In these videos, Jeff starts slow building up strength and coordination, uses a padded surface, and has plenty of space all around him before working on any of these moves.
Take a watch, maybe try some for yourself (SAFELY of course), and have fun building your own stories through physical comedy.
If you're looking for other inspiration take a look at any of these legends: Buster Keaton, Benny HIll, Lucille Ball, The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges, Charlie Chaplin, or Laurel and Hardy.
We found this amazing blog: Comedy for Animators. In addition to its copious posts and tutorials, it features tags on the left side as you scroll down the page. Click on any one of the names and there will be information about the person and supplemental videos of their work. It’s great fun, and worth a watch!
(Jonathan, Charles Haversham) is thrilled to be making his CPH Debut! He has worked with such choreographers as Ellenore Scott, Lorin Latarro, Matthew Stephens, Joseph Pizzi, Robert Bianca, Laurieann Gibson, and members of Alvin Ailey and Complexions Contemporary Ballet. Select Credits: Broadway: Mr. Saturday Night, starring Billy Crystal (Associate more
(Stage Crew/Ensemble, U/S Max) is a Southern California native who received his BFA in Acting from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Sic ‘Em Bears. He has performed in venues all over the country and was most recently seen in Cleveland Play House's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, CWRU/CPH's The Tempest, and more
(U/S Sandra, Annie) is a proud member of the MFA Acting class of 2024 and is delighted to be a part of this production. Previous CPH credits include: Claire Clairmont, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein; Ariel, The Tempest; Cliton, The Liar. Other credits include Oklahoma! (Ado Annie) and Carousel (Louise) at more
(Chris, Inspector Carter) (he/him) is an east coast-based actor and writer. He previously appeared at CPH as Ollie in Chelsea Marcantel's Tiny Houses. He has appeared in over 50 theatrical productions across the country, including at 59E59, Guthrie Theater, Berkeley Repertory Theatre (Theater Bay Area Award), Utah Shakespeare Festival, more
(Sandra, Florence Colleymoore) (she/her) is elated to be a part of The Play That Goes Wrong at the Cleveland Play House. Past CPH credits: The Tempest, Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Watching Butterflies, The Liar, Everybody and Passage. Fordham Theatre credits include The Most Massive Woman Wins, Machinal, DIMES: A more
(Stage Crew/Ensemble) is a newcomer in the professional theatre scene. She was previously an actor, crew member, or stage manager in high school, community theatre, college, or Shakespearean fundraising productions with Great Lakes Theater. You may have last seen her in a dark corner, running the lights and sound more
(Robert, Thomas Colleymoore) is an actor/writer/director who holds a BFA from The University of Oklahoma. His previous professional credits include Miss Evers' Boys: The National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa; The Play That Goes Wrong, A Raisin In The Sun: Utah Shakespeare Festival; Clue, Dallas Theatre Center; An more
(Trevor) is entering his third and final year of his MFA Acting program for the CWRU/CPH Program. Ireland recently made his CPH debut as Lord Byron and The Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Coming from North Carolina, Ireland received a BA in theater performance from the University of North more
(U/S Chris, Jonathan) (he/him) is excited to be making his “day-boo” with CPH. Recent work includes Trouble in Mind, When We Were Young and Unafraid, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Sleepy Hollow as Ichabod Crane. Working for three seasons with Oberlin Summer Theater Festival appeared in Measure for Measure, more
(U/S Robert, Trevor) (he/him) is delighted to be a part of his first show at Cleveland Play House! Having lived in New York City through 2020, he appeared on Lincoln Center’s NYPL stage in SONGBOOK: Songs of Braver and Dean. While in NYC, he also won Best Actor at more
(Dennis, Perkins, Fight Captain) (he/him) is thrilled to be making his CPH debut. He recently appeared as Motl in Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Off-Broadway, directed by Joel Grey. Favorite credits include: Wicked (Boq, Broadway/Tour), Laughter on the 23rd Floor (Lucas), Pride and Prejudice (Mary Bennet/Mr. Bingley), Little more
(U/S Dennis) 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 Caliban in The Tempest (CWRU). He has also worked with more
(Max, Cecil Haversham, Arthur the Gardener ) is currently a third year graduate actor at the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. You may have seen his pants rip in one of his three performances as understudy for Victor Frankenstein in CPH’s Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein directed by Michael Barakiva. While pursuing more
(Annie) CPH debut! Off Broadway: Bernie and Mikey’s Trip to the Moon (Strangemen/59E59), Regional: Gardens of Anuncia, Little Women, Thinking Shakespeare LOVE!, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Measure for Measure,Twelfth Night, Knots (The Old Globe), Romeo and Juliet (Opera Western Reserve), The School for Wives (Extant Arts), The Snow Queen more
(Playwrights) Henry, Henry, and Jonathan met while training at The London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). All core members of Mischief Theatre, they had already worked in comedy together for several years before they started out as a writing team. The three’s first piece was THE more
(Director) (she/her) is happy to be making her Cleveland Play House debut. Selected credits include: the Regional Premiere of The Play that Goes Wrong and The Wolves at The Repertory Theater of St. Louis; Macbeth, Big River and The Cocoanuts at Utah Shakespeare Festival; A Christmas Carol at Denver more
(Fight and Stunt Director) (he/him) is a bicoastal director, choreographer, and performer. Recent New York City credits include Watch Night at PACNYC and Il Tabarro at Onsite Opera Company. Other NY credits include the Public, Met Opera, BAM, Are Nova, Rattlestick Playwright’s Theatre and Classic Stage Company. Recent regional more
(Scenic Designer) (He/Him) is extremely excited to work with Cleveland Play House for the first time and revisiting The Play That Goes Wrong to discover even more new things to go awry. As a freelance set designer, his work has been seen regionally in New York at Syracuse more
(Costume Designer) (she/her) is thrilled to be making her debut with Cleveland Play House. Select regional credits include the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Great Lakes Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, and Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Lauren more
(Lighting Designer) (he/him) is professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he is the head of the lighting program. He has designed productions at various regional theatres in the country such as South Coast Repertory, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Portland Center Stage, and more
(Original Music and Sound Design) Broadway: Slave Play (Tony nominations for Best Score and Best Sound Design of a Play), The Nap, Bronx Bombers, and A Time to Kill. Off-Broadway: Privacy (The Public Theater), Bootycandy (Playwrights Horizons), Feeding the Dragon (Primary Stages), Top Secret (New York Theatre Workshop) and more
(Wig Designer) At CPH: Clue. On Broadway: Prayer for the French Republic, Appropriate, Purlie Victorious, Good Night, Oscar, Sweeney Todd…, Ohio State Murders, & Juliet, Kimberly Akimbo, Topdog/Underdog, How I Learned to Drive, American Buffalo, Jagged Little Pill, Frankie and Johnny in the Claire de Lune, Gettin' the Band more
(Stage Manager) was Cleveland Play House's resident stage manager from 2001 to 2008 and returned to CPH in the fall of 2011. "Most recently, John stage managed A New Brain at Barrington Stage Company. John has also stage managed at North Shore Music Theatre, Capital Repertory Theatre, The more
(Assistant Stage Manager) is grateful to be return with Cleveland Play House. CPH credits included Teddy Bear Mountain(SM), The Great Leap(ASM)and Becoming Dr. Ruth(ASM), Mary Shelley's Frankenstein(PA). Previous stage management credits include Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Cain Park, Karamu House, Cleveland Public Theatre, Ohio City Theatre Project, Baldwin Wallace, Independence more
MEET RACHEL FINK, CPH’S NEW MANAGING DIRECTOR! By Craig Joseph, Literary Director What are you looking forward to as you return to Cleveland...Read the full story
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