"The Nether" by Jennifer Haley, at Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, Pa., in 2017. (Photo by Bob Rush)

Dobama Theatre Announces 2018-19 Season of All Female Playwrights

The Cleveland theatre’s season features six local premieres.

CLEVELAND: Dobama Theatre has announced its 2018-19 season, featuring six regional, Midwest, or Cleveland premieres by female playwrights.

“The time was overdue to intentionally champion the work of women who write for the stage, and to program these plays with central female characters in a single season,” artistic director Nathan Motta said in a statement. “The moment to unveil a slate of these productions is now, particularly in the wake of the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. The play is the thing—we want to make sure we’re telling important stories and producing high-quality scripts.”

The season will open with the Ohio premiere of Dominique Morisseau’s Sunset Baby (Sept. 7-30). The play follows a tough, independent woman in Brooklyn who is visited by her father, a former revolutionary in the black liberation movement, who wants to mend their broken relationship. Justin Emeka will direct this story about family, survival, and the nature of liberation.

Next up will be the Midwest premiere of John (Oct. 19-Nov. 11), by Annie Baker. A troubled young couple struggling to stay together stop at a bed and breakfast in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania filled with toys, figurines, and Victorian kitsch. Nathan Motta will direct.

Following will be the regional premiere of Ella Enchanted: The Musical (Nov. 30-Dec. 30), by Karen Zacarías with music by Deborah Wicks La Puma. Motta will direct this story of the strong-willed Ella attempting to outwit her evil stepmother, escape hungry ogres, and hold on to her best friend while trying to get rid of her curse of obedience.

The season will continue with the Cleveland premiere of Alice Birch’s Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again. (Jan. 25-Feb. 17, 2019). The play comprises a group of vignettes asking how to revolutionize language, relationships, work, and life in general. Sarah Elizabeth Wansley will direct.

Up next will be the Cleveland premiere of The Nether (March 8-31, 2019), by Jennifer Haley. The play follows a young detective who uncovers a disturbing brand of entertainment which triggers an investigation into the darkest corners of the imagination. Shannon Sindelar will direct.

Rounding out the season will be the regional premiere of This (April 26-May 26, 2019), by Melissa James Gibson. Motta will direct this witty, unromantic comedy about the uncertain steps of a circle of friends backing their way into middle age.

Dobama’s season will also include various offerings from the Playwrights’ GYM, Dobama’s professional playwriting unit, the 10th season of the Dobama Emerging Actors Program (DEAP), and the 41st Annual Marilyn Bianchi Kids’ Playwriting Festival.

Dobama Theatre was founded in 1959. It produces contemporary work by both established and up-and-coming playwrights.