Know's 2009-10 Season Features 'Angels in America'

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Know Theatre of Cincinnati announced its 2009-10 season at tonight’s opening performance of Noah Haidle’s Vigils, the final show of the current season. Know undertook an ambitious six-show season for 2008-09, attempting to present several productions in rotating repertory. But the economy took its toll, even with significantly lowered ticket prices thanks to a generous grant from the Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation. The rep schedule was abandoned early this year, and one of the productions, Mr. Marmalade, another play by Haidle, was reduced to a one-night reading. 

But Know Artistic Director Jason Bruffy isn't being timid with the edgy company’s 12th season, even though the plan is for five rather than six shows. (The cancellation of Mr. Marmalade means that 2008-09 offered five productions.) The shows Bruffy has selected are in keeping with Know’s mission to bring fresh, provocative works to its theater at 1120 Jackson St. in Over-the-Rhine.—-

Here’s the lineup:

Boom by Peter Sinn Nachtreib (mid-October), a doomsday comedy that follows a man’s efforts to repopulate the earth after the end of the world. Nachtrieb’s play Hunter Gatherers was honored by the American Theatre Critics Association.

• Bruffy hasn't yet selected Know’s 2009 holiday show, but it will no doubt be as wildly offbeat as last year’s A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant.

• Adding Machine: A Musical (February 2010), a new work based on Elmer Rice’s 1923 play, The Adding Machine, created by Jason Loewith and Joshua Schmidt. Rice’s play was ahead of its time, portraying an accountant who becomes a killer when he's replaced by a mechanical adding machine. Following the show’s 2008 premiere in Chicago, it had a much-praised off-Broadway production.

• The biggest news for Know’s upcoming season is the March/April 2010 presentation of Cincinnati’s first fully mounted staging of Tony Kushner’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Angels in America. The seven-hour play in two parts (Millennium Approaches and Perestroika) deals with themes of sexuality, politics and religion by chronicling the relationships of two couples, one straight and one gay; they'll be presented in repertory. The two plays from 1992 and 1993 (both also won Tony Awards for the year’s best Broadway play) are broadly accepted as the most important theatrical works of the late 20th century.

“It’s about time” was how Bruffy launched into his comments to me earlier in the week when he told me about this ambitious undertaking.

“Twenty years after its original workshop, Angels in America remains poignant and important," he says. "Even in the midst of the illnesses and repressed feelings that the characters share, this piece exudes hope. We are so thrilled and proud to bring (to Cincinnati) the first professional performance of Angels in America and are especially excited about producing Perestroika, which is less often seen onstage.”

Bruffy maintains that Know excels in productions that are studio theater with amazing special effects, and he envisions Angels as the embodiment of that approach. Although Kushner’s massive two-part script has been much praised for the past two decades, its only local production has been at UC’s College-Conservatory of Music (Millennium in 1998 and Perestroika in 1999) in addition to two presentations of Millennium by Falcon Theatre (2005) and last month at Xavier University. The national tour of the show in 1995 and 1996 didn't come to Cincinnati.

LGBT Theatre Festival closes the season, overlapping with Angels in America during March and April. A similar festival — presenting works with themes of importance to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered — ceased operations in Columbus two years ago.

“Know Theatre is known for giving voice to a diverse spectrum of performers and audiences," Bruffy says. "We feel a sense of duty to give this community a chance to express themselves and be entertained by a festival created for LGBT works.”

• Know has announced that the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival will be June 1-13, 2010), the seventh annual staging of this creative event.

For more information about Know Theatre, go to

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