For more than six decades, theater fans have flocked to the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. But for its 2022-2023 season, we might suggest a temporary name change: the Playhouse “All Over Town.”
With construction of its new state-of-the-art Rouse Theatre in its final phase (and the longtime Marx mainstage being demolished), fall productions will happen at venues across Greater Cincinnati: the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center downtown, the Carnegie Theatre in Covington and the Warsaw Federal Incline Theater in Price Hill.
"With our robust schedule of fall events, we’re deepening our roots in the community like never before," says Playhouse Producing Artistic Director Blake Robison in a release. “The stages may be different, but the quality of artistry and the innovative spirit of our community events remain the same.”
All in all, the Playhouse’s upcoming season will offer eight shows, including the Rouse Theatre’s grand opening in March 2023 with the legendary musical A Chorus Line. Also on tap are an Agatha Christie mystery, a play from August Wilson’s Century Cycle and two world premieres.
Here’s the rundown, in chronological order, of the shows and a few other events:
Haunted Corn Maze (Oct. 7-30, 2022): An “Off-the-Grid” immersive Playhouse event presented on Friday and Saturday evenings at Burger Farm & Garden Center (7849 Main St., Newtown) will offer chilling stories and festive frights for participants wandering through a maze.
Frida … A Self Portrait (Oct. 15-Nov. 6, 2022): A solo show at Covington’s Carnegie Theatre about Frida Kahlo, the iconic Mexican painter. Performed by the script’s writer, Vanessa Severo, the show will be the first production staged by Joanie Schultz, the Playhouse’s new associate artistic director.
The Lion (Nov. 12-Dec. 4, 2022): An exclusive Playhouse production presented at the Incline Theater in Price Hill about a singer-songwriter who shares the story of his family through monologues and original songs.
Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig’s Holiday Party (Dec. 14-16, 2022): Held at The Phoenix (812 Race St., Downtown), this “Off-the-Grid” event will be three evenings offering a Dickens of a good time, inspired by A Christmas Carol (in place of the Playhouse’s longtime popular holiday offering, which won't be happening this year). It will be a Victorian-era celebration with beverages, a buffet, a puppet show, parlor games and more.
A Chorus Line (March 11-April 14, 2023): The brand-new Rouse mainstage will debut with a production of the legendary Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit about 17 dancers competing to perform in a new Broadway show. Full of beloved musical numbers, the show culminates in one of the all-time great pieces of choreography, “One.”
The Chinese Lady (March 25-April 30, 2023): On the Rosenthal Shelterhouse stage. Set in 1834, it’s the true story of young Afong Moy, likely the first Chinese woman to arrive in the America. Lloyd Suh’s script is a darkly poetic yet whimsical story of how she performed as a living exhibit for many decades.
Seven Guitars (April 22-May 14, 2023): It’s another of August Wilson’s Century Cycle of plays focused on African American life across the decades of the 20th Century. This Tony Award-winning tale, set in 1948, is about a group of longtime friends who mourn for Floyd “Schoolboy” Barton, a gifted guitarist whose unexpected death has deeply affected each of them. The show, staged at the Rouse Theatre, features live Blues and Wilson’s powerful lyrical dialogue.
Origin Story (May 20-June 25, 2023): This world premiere is a heartfelt comedy about twentysomething Margaret, trying to get by while working two jobs and yearning for more. Nathan Alan Davis’s script features endearing characters and unexpected turns as she confronts life’s biggest questions.
Shane (Jun 3-25, 2023): A world premiere on the Rouse stage. The Playhouse joined with the legendary Guthrie Theater in Minnesota to commission playwright Karen Zacarias’s theatrical adaptation of one of the greatest Westerns ever. Set in 1889, it’s the story of a mysterious ex-gunfighter, a man with a dangerous past.
“From our grand opening production of A Chorus Line to exciting world premieres and new work, the 2022-2023 season embodies the very best of American theater and celebrates the rich diversity of our world," says the Playhouse's Robison. "Our new facility will serve the entire Cincinnati arts and culture community. We are eager to open our doors, share resources and highlight the work of so many outstanding artists.”The Playhouse’s new mainstage, the Rouse Theatre, has been designed as an up-to-date production facility offering a full array of modern theater technology. It will enhance the Playhouse’s ability to attract top talent — actors, directors and designers. There also will be an increased potential for co-productions with other theaters (such as Shane with the Guthrie) and for tryouts of Broadway-bound productions.
Accommodating audiences has also is a priority, offering increased accessibility, comfortable seating and more legroom, as well as excellent stage views and improved entrances, exits and parking.
Subscriptions to the upcoming season are available at cincyplay.com. The Rouse Theatre season subscription package will include Murder on the Orient Express. Seating in the new Rouse Theatre will begin in the spring following the renewal process for current subscribers.
The Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre package includes Frida…A Self Portrait and The Lion. The “Build Your Own Series” packages allow a minimum of three shows from either theater. Individual tickets for fall 2022 productions likely will on sale this summer. Individual tickets for the Rouse and Rosenthal stages will go on sale sometime in the winter.