americUS Comes to Cincinnati Playhouse

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The award-winning, multi-cultural performance ensemble Universes will bring its groundbreaking style of live storytelling to Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park with the world premiere of americUS. With support from The Rosenthal Family Foundation, this infusion of slam poetry, music, dance and theatre runs from Feb. 1 through March 8, with opening night on Feb. 6 at the Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre.

The Universes ensemble originated in The Bronx in 1995, inspired by the urban music and poetry scene that took over New York City in the '90s. Having performed off-Broadway, internationally and at major stages across the country, Universes has been praised by critics for their singular and unforgettable performance style. The production of americUS, which was commissioned by the Playhouse, brings Universes to Cincinnati for the first time.

"When I first saw Universes perform, I was simply blown away by their performance style, the variety of what they do, and the depth of feeling and thought that they can engender within the audience," says Blake Robison, artistic director. "This show promises to be unlike anything seen before on Playhouse stages."

An unfiltered, honest portrait of contemporary America, americUS is directed by Joan Herrington, who has worked with Universes in past productions, and will feature an ensemble cast including Universes' co-founders Steven Sapp and Mildred Ruiz-Sapp as well as Gamal Chasten and Asia Mark.

"americUS is an exploration of what it means to be in America at this time - what our joys are, what our challenges are and how we find our way in the midst of some very crazy days," says Herrington. "Everything Universes does has contemporary relevance and this piece is no different."

Sapp and Ruiz-Sapp are excited to engage with the community and hope that audiences take something away and feel empowered to open a dialogue about the issues presented in the show.

"It's exciting because it's a new audience, it's new grounds to walk through, new people to meet and interact with," says Ruiz-Sapp. "We're going to walk into it like we've been there before, like it's family, like these are the people that we're living with and the people that are us. No differences, no barriers, no boundaries, no borders."

For more information on americUS, visit

CAST: Gamal Chasten, Asia Mark, Mildred Ruiz-Sapp and Steven Sapp

PRODUCTION: Joan Herrington (Director); Misha Kachman (Set/Costume Designer); Mike Durst (Lighting Designer); Broken Chord (Sound Designers)

TICKETS: To purchase tickets or 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 Call 513-345-2248 for Telecommunications Device for the Deaf accessibility.

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