Cincinnati Playhouse to Launch New Play Reading Series 1/27

The Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park will launch a reading series of new works by playwrights with Cincinnati connections. Readings will take place on Monday evenings beginning Jan. 27 and continuing through Feb. 17.

"New plays are the life blood of theatre," says Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison. "We have a number of successful playwrights who were born and raised in the Cincinnati area. I'm personally excited to hear from them how their early years growing up here influenced the works we're going to read."

The Playhouse invited a small group of authors to submit plays for consideration, and Associate Artist Timothy Douglas made the final selections. Each playwright will be in attendance for his or her reading.

"In my ongoing and prolific engagement within the American theatre, I find it remarkable just how many successful playwrights there are who hail from Cincinnati and yet are rarely produced here," Douglas says. "It is with elation that I'm able to introduce some of their works to Playhouse audiences in a dialogue with new works by nationally emerging playwrights."
The new play reading schedule includes:

Jan. 27: THE ETIQUETTE OF VIGILANCE, by Robert O'Hara. Inspired by A Raisin in the Sun, THE ETIQUETTE OF VIGILANCE picks up 50 years after Travis and his parents became the first black family to integrate Chicago's Clybourne Park neighborhood. Now, Lorraine, his daughter and the first member of her family to attend college, is struggling with the pressures of fulfilling her family's dream. THE ETIQUETTE OF VIGILANCE premiered as part of Steppenwolf's First Look Repertory of New Work in 2010. Robert O'Hara - winner of NAACP, Helen Hayes and Obie awards for directing and the Oppenheimer Award for Best New

American Play for playwriting - directed the 2006 Playhouse production of In the Continuum. He is a graduate of Walnut Hills High School who now resides in New York City.

Feb. 3: THE LIGHTNING TOUCH, by Joseph McDonough. In 1969, while the world is fixated on the Apollo moon landing, two strangers arrive at the Chicago motel where Erin O'Connell works with her blind Aunt Agnes. One of these men, Horace, might actually be a faith healer, and Erin wants him to make Agnes see again. But, for reasons he doesn't understand, Horace has recently lost his healing touch and now people have been suddenly dying after he lays his hands on them. Joe McDonough has a long history with The Playhouse, which premiered productions of his plays One, Stone My Heart and Travels of Angelica. He is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati who resides in Cincinnati.

Feb. 10: SAFE HOUSE, by Keith Josef-Adkins. In 1843 Kentucky, the Pedigrew family holds a unique place in their antebellum Southern community as free people of color. But while one brother has dreams of opening a shoe business and creating a successful life for his family, the other risks everything in an effort to help fugitive slaves escape to Liberia. SAFE HOUSE is based on the lives of Adkins' real-life ancestors and originally was commissioned by Atlanta's ALLIANCE THEATRE. Adkins, who was born in Cincinnati and is a graduate of Wright State University, is a former Duncanson Artist-in-Residence at the Taft Museum of Art who now lives in New York.

Feb. 17: BETTER, by Jessica Cohen. At the women's shelter where she volunteers, Cate is surrounded by the worst examples of domestic partnerships. But, when she begins to compare her own relationship with those she sees around her, she starts to question what she's been taught about socially accepted gender roles and healthy choices. Jessica Cohen is a Northern Kentucky native who recently earned her MFA in playwriting from New York's The New School for Drama.

All readings will take place at 7 p.m. in one of The Playhouse's rehearsal halls. The readings are free, but space is limited and advance reservations are required. To make a reservation, contact The Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888 (toll-free in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana at 800-582-3208). Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

The 2013-14 season is presented by The Otto M. Budig Family Foundation and Heidelberg Distributing Company. The season sponsor of new work is the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.

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