Cincinnati Playhouse to Present PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, 3/8-4/5

Cincinnati Playhouse to Present PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, 3/8-4/5

Romance is in the air at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park as Jane Austen's masterpiece PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, adapted for the stage by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan, comes to life on the Robert S. Marx Theatre stage March 8 to April 5.

"Austen fans will appreciate the size and scope of this production," says Artistic Director Blake Robison, who is directing the Playhouse production. "It's epic. It includes all of the fun, secondary characters that make the story such a pleasure."

While the full-scale production is lavish, the story itself is simple: Girl meets boy. Girl loathes boy. Girl and boy fall in love. But for the headstrong and independent Elizabeth Bennet and the arrogant but noble Mr. Darcy, the journey to happily ever after is far from effortless. As they navigate the rocky road of manners and matrimony, audiences, too, will fall in love with the wit, warmth and wisdom of Austen's timeless tale.

Robison knows how easy it is to be swept under Austen's spell. "I adore Austen's world. It's filled with manners and propriety, but within that world, people are exposed for their ridiculousness," he says. "The story is a satire of the marriage market and an exploration of true love. What could be more fun than that?"

It's easy to understand why generations of readers (and now theatregoers) get wrapped up in the love lives of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE'S main characters. "At its core, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is about the true nature of love," says Robison. "This is my third production of this script. My one constant has been Kate Cook, the extraordinary actress who plays Elizabeth Bennet (and who appeared as Ana in last season's Playhouse production of THE BOOK CLUB PLAY). For me, she captures Lizzie's intelligence and vulnerability."

Audiences will also be enchanted by the beautiful designs being created for the show by the Playhouse's extraordinary production team. That includes more than 40 costumes, 13 wigs and at least 15 bonnets designed by Bill Black, whose work was last seen at the Playhouse in THE THREE MUSKETEERS. Props artisans are building a pianoforte and wiring a chandelier with 32 individual flicker candles that can be "lit" during the show's prelude.

One of the most striking aspects of the set by Joe Tilford (who has designed more than 30 productions at the Playhouse, including AS YOU LIKE IT, AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS and BLUES FOR AN ALABAMA SKY), is its wall of 39 salon-style paintings, so pervasive in homes of the period. In a unique collaboration, the works Playhouse audiences will see onstage include 12 paintings being reproduced from originals in the collections of the Cincinnati Art Museum and The Taft Museum of Art.

In addition to Kate Cook as Elizabeth Bennet, the cast for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE features Alan Dronek as Mr. Wickham, Loren Dunn as Mr. Darcy, John Feltch as Mr. Bennet, Annie Fitzpatrick as Lady Lucas/Mrs. Gardiner, Kate Goehring as Mrs. Bennet, Jared Joplin as Fitzwilliam/Mr. Denny, Lindsey Kyler as Lydia Bennet, Matt Leisy as Mr. Bingley, Deanne Lorette as Lady Catherine de Bourgh, Gracyn Mix as Miss Caroline Bingley, Barry Mulholland as Sir William Lucas/Mr. Gardiner, Kevin Orton as Mr. Collins, Elizabeth Sargent as Charlotte Lucas/Mrs. Reynolds, Shayna Schmidt as Mary Bennet/Anne de Bourgh, Britian Seibert as Kitty Bennet/Georgiana Darcy, Katya Stepanov as Jane Bennet, and Meggy Hai Trang, Chelsea D. Harrison, Jon Kovach, Rico Reid, Sam Rueff and Justin Weaks as soldiers, maids, party guests and townspeople. In addition to Joe Tilford and Bill Black, the creative team also includes lighting designer Kevin Rigdon, sound designer Joe Payne, vocal/dialect coach Jack Greenman and choreographer Dee Anne Bryll. Andrea L. Shell is the stage manager, and Becky Merold is the second stage manager.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE is sponsored by Leading Ladies. Johnson Investment Counsel is the design sponsor, and Atkins & Pearce is the artist sponsor (Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy). The production honors the support of Keith and Terry Lemmerman.

Tickets for PRIDE AND PREJUDICE range from $30 to $80, depending on seat location. Prices are subject to change, and patrons are encouraged to buy early for the best seats at the best prices. Teen and student tickets are $25 each. Previews are at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 8; 2 p.m.

Sunday, March 9; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11; and 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12. The official opening night is Thursday, March 13, at 8 p.m.

Performances take place at 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturdays, and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sundays.

In honor of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE'S British lineage, Playhouse audiences are invited to indulge in a classic afternoon tea by BonBonerie, which will be served before each 4 p.m. Saturday matinee. The cost is $20 per person, and space is limited; to make a reservation, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888.

Free post-show Meet the Artists programs that allow audiences to interact with cast members and others associated with the production will be offered at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 16; 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26; 2 p.m. Sunday, March 30; and 8 p.m. Thursday, April 3.

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE will be audio described for those with visual impairments at 4 p.m. Saturday, March 29, and signed for persons with hearing impairments at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 30. The Playhouse is fully accessible. Audio enhancement receivers, large print programs and complete wheelchair access are available.

Tickets to PRIDE AND PREJUDICE are on sale now. For more information, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208) or visit www.cincyplay.com. Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

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