Rob Karma Robinson in "Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing," a play by Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, in its premiere at Martha's Vineyard Playhouse last year. The play will be part of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park's new season. (Photo by MJ Bruder Munafo)

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park Slates New Comedies, Returning Favorites

Season to include world premieres by Karen Zacarías and Lauren Gunderson, revivals of ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ and ‘The Secret Garden,’ and a new play about Satchel Paige.

CINCINNATI, OHIO: Artistic director Blake Robison has announced the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s 2015–16 season, the theatre’s 56th and his fourth as artistic director. It will unfold in the Playhouse’s two theatres, the Robert S. Marx Theatre mainstage, and the more intimate Thompson Shelterhouse.

The season kicks off in the Marx with a revival of the beloved musical The Secret Garden (Sept. 5–Oct. 3), Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon’s adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tale of childhood and redemption. It will be directed by Tony nominee Marcia Milgrim Dodge.

Next, in the Shelterhouse, is a staging of Laura Eason’s edgy romantic drama Sex with Strangers (Sept. 26–Oct. 25), to be directed by KJ Sanchez.

Artistic director Robison will next direct Dana Yeaton’s memory play about an Ohio man recalling the flood of 1937, Mad River Rising (Oct. 17–Nov. 14), on the Marx stage. The show will feature music by singer/songwriter Anais Mitchell.

Over at the Shelterhouse, Randal Myler and Dan Wheetman’s sultry revue Low Down Dirty Blues runs Nov. 7–Dec. 20, featuring the music of Muddy Waters, Ma Rainey, Sophie Tucker, Howlin’ Wolf, Pearl Bailey and more.

The new year kicks off with two world-premiere comedies, the first in the Marx, the second in the Shelterhouse. Karen Zacarías’s Native Gardens (Jan. 23–Feb. 21, 2016) tells of feuding neighbors, and will be directed by a.d. Robison. Meanwhile, Lauren Gunderson’s The Revolutionists (Feb. 5–Mar. 6, 2016) tells the story of the French Revolution from the point of view of the ladies. It will be directed by Eleanor Holdridge.

The Marx next hails the return after 20 years of one of the playhouse’s most beloved chestnuts, Christopher Sergel’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s iconic coming-of-age tale To Kill a Mockingbird (Mar. 5–Apr. 3, 2016), directed this time out by Eric Ting.

Terrence McNally’s drama about a family facing a crisis, Mothers and Sons runs next at the Shelterhouse (Mar. 19–Apr. 17, 2016), in a production to be directed by Timothy Douglas.

A drama about the end of the Negro Leagues, Satchel Paige and the Kansas City Swing, is next at the Marx (Apr. 23–May 21, 2016). Written by Fly creators Trey Ellis and Ricardo Khan, it will be directed by Khan; though not billed as a musical, it is described as “jazz-infused.”

Closing out the season in the Shelterhouse is another returning playhouse favorite, Theresa Rebeck’s comedy Bad Dates (Apr. 30–June 12, 2016), to be directed by Michael Evan Haney.

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