Ensemble Theatre Reveals Lineup For 2023-2024 Season

Learn more about the upcoming shows here!

By: May. 18, 2023
Ensemble Theatre Reveals Lineup For 2023-2024 Season

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati (ETC), the region's premiere theatre, is delighted to announce its 2023-2024 season, which features a Pulitzer Prize finalist, a world premiere comedy, an autobiographical tour-de-force, and the revival of a unique rock musical. Along with this compelling lineup, next season also features the world premiere holiday musical about Cincinnati's larger-than-life hippo heroine.

"Come together right now at ETC," says Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. "We live in a country that is shattered and fragmented in many ways, so it's time for us to come back together and share our thoughts and different views in a safe and welcoming place, such as Ensemble Theatre. The shows for the 2023-2024 season are deliberately diverse, deliberately open to your own interpretation. This season will present two world premieres, two musicals, and the opportunity to view life in America through many different lenses."

Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati opens its 38th year with the Pulitzer Prize finalist and Tony Award nominee What the Constitution Means to Me by Heidi Schreck, September 9-October 1, 2023. Fifteen-year-old Heidi earned her college tuition by winning constitutional debate competitions across the United States. In this hilarious, hopeful, and achingly human new play, she embodies her teenage self in order to trace the founding document's profound impact on not just her own life, but the past four generations of women in her family, starting with the first to set foot in America: a mail-order bride. This boundary-breaking play breathes new life into our Constitution and imagines how it will shape the next generation of Americans.

For the holidays, everyone's favorite hippo makes her musical debut in the world premiere of Fiona: The Musical from Cincinnati native Zina Camblin and ETC composer David Kisor, November 29-December 29, 2023. Based on the true story of the hippo that captured the world's heart, this story follows Fiona's journey from a premature baby to a larger-than-life heroine! When Fiona is born two months early at only 29 pounds, the odds are stacked against her. But when a determined team of zookeepers and doctors refuses to give up on the little hippo that could, the beautiful friendships that form might just give Fiona the strength she needs. This touching story reminds us of the power of perseverance, compassion, and never giving up on the underdogs-or underhippos!

Written and originally performed by playwriting legend August Wilson himself, ETC presents the regional premiere drama How I Learned What I Learned, which will run February 17-March 10, 2024. This autobiographical tour-de-force chronicles Wilson's days as a struggling young writer. In this intimate one-person play, experience his first jobs; his first loves; a stint in jail; his encounters with racism, violence, and music; and how the people of Pittsburgh's Hill District inspired his celebrated cycle of plays. Following his rise from a young poet to the literary giant we honor today, this timeless and heartfelt memoir charts one man's journey of self-discovery and what it means to be a Black artist in America.

Next, ETC is thrilled to present the commissioned world premiere of The Match Game by Steven Strafford, April 13-May 5, 2024. Steph has typical mid-life woes on her plate: a precocious daughter about to graduate high school and an absentee father who just moved in, who may or may not be faking dementia. Oh, and did we mention she has a little bit of cancer? Steph has ulterior motives for letting in her dad and a grand scheme to pull it off. When the family gathers for a birthday party with a hidden agenda, they're forced to confront the truths they've been too afraid to acknowledge. The 2022 winner of the Jackie Demaline playwriting competition, this world premiere comedy hilariously reflects on how families aren't always well matched.

ETC's 2023-2024 season closes with the regional musical revival of the fan favorite Hands on A Hardbody, taking the stage June 8-30, 2024. Based on the 1997 documentary film of the same name, Hands on a Hardbody garnered three Tony Award nominations and features a brilliant score from Amanda Green and Trey Anastasio (front man for the band Phish), along with a masterful story by Pulitzer Prize winner Doug Wright (I Am My Own Wife, Grey Gardens). For 10 hard-luck Texans, a new lease on life is so close they can touch it. Under a scorching sun for days on end, armed with nothing but hope, humor, and ambition, they'll fight to keep at least one hand on a brand-new truck in order to win it. Inspired by true events and infused with a "fresh roots-rock vibe," this is the hilarious, hard-fought contest where only one winner can drive away with the American dream. Featuring a catchy combination of blues, rock and roll, and country songs, this musical is a peek into the lives of everyday, ordinary Americans struggling to survive against the backdrop of a broken and beaten working middle class.


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