Cleveland Play House Announces 13th Annual New Ground Theatre Festival

Article Pixel

Cleveland Play House Announces 13th Annual New Ground Theatre Festival

Cleveland Play House (CPH) is proud to announce the inspiring works for the 13th Annual New Ground Theatre Festival (NGTF). The New Ground Theatre Festival provides the opportunity for playwrights to develop and showcase their work, while offering Cleveland audiences the opportunity to see these remarkable new plays come to life. The Festival will run from May 11th - May 19th.

This year's Festival will feature Hi, Are You Single?, about the highs and lows of navigating the gay dating scene with cerebral palsy, written and performed by Parma, OH native Ryan Haddad. NGTF will also include The Nolan Williams Project, where the incredible 100-year history of a family owned soul food establishment is uncovered when a real estate developer attempts to buy them out. The Nolan Williams Project is written and composed by Nolan Williams, Jr.-an acclaimed voice in musical theatre, with a libretto by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Nikkole Salter. .

NGTF is under the leadership of CPH Artistic Director, Laura Kepley. "This year's festival will bring diverse, thrilling, and unexpected stories to light." says Kepley. "Ryan Haddad is an utterly charming story teller who will have audiences howling with laughter one minute and wiping away tears the next. It's wonderful to welcome him back to his hometown and get his perspective on the dating scene both locally and across the country. Those who were lucky enough to hear Nolan Williams' incredible score during NGTF 2017 (and those who didn't ) won't want to miss this year as his music combines with a hot off the presses script by one of the most captivating playwrights of our time, Nikkole Salter. And of course we will soon be announcing this year's Roe Green award winning playwright who will be in residence to develop a new play. Spring at CPH is the time for planting seeds of new projects and delighting in watching other work bloom."

CPH's Associate Artistic Director, Robert Barry Fleming (also Directing The Nolan Williams Project) adds, "NGTF is place where relationships are created, conversations sparked, and where we aspire to inspire empathy with visceral and mind-expanding entertainment."

The New Ground Theatre Festival would not be possible without the generous support of Honorary Producer Roe Green. NGTF will include the seventh annual Roe Green Award, which enables CPH to bring a leading American playwright to Cleveland to develop a new play, including a free conversation with the playwright, and a public reading of the script. This year's recipient of the Roe Green Award will be announced at a later date.

2018 New Ground Theatre Festival Productions/Readings

Hi, Are You Single?

Written and Performed by Ryan J. Haddad

Directed by Laura Savia
May 17-May 19, 2018 • 7:30 p.m. • The Helen

Do you have a high sex drive? Ryan does. He also has cerebral palsy. No, those things are not mutually exclusive. Join writer/performer and Parma, OH native Ryan J. Haddad on a roller coaster through New York's gay dating scene, where the highs are high and the lows are lonely. Hi, Are You Single? is an examination of intimacy, rejection, and judgment. But also Grindr, fabulous drag queens, and go-go dancers. Please bring an attractive male friend with you. For Mature Audiences

The Nolan Williams Project

Book by Nikkole Salter, Original Story, Lyrics and Music by Nolan Williams, Jr.

Directed by Robert Barry Fleming
Saturday May 19, 2018 • 5:00 p.m. • Allen Theatre

An up-and-coming Philadelphia real estate developer attempts to buy out a beloved family-owned soul food establishment. But as he's taken through the restaurant's incredible 100-year history, past and present entwine, and the tale emerges of the escaped southern migrants who risked everything to build and celebrate their new life up north through cooking. A hit concert presentation at the 2017 New Ground Theatre Festival, The Nolan Williams Project returns to Cleveland for its next developmental step: combining the music with a script by Pulitzer Prize nominated playwright Nikkole Salter.

CPH THEATRE academy commissioned performance

Also debuting during the festival will be the world premiere of The Starkweather-South High School Physics Club First Annual End-of-Year-Lock-In, or Ghost Party by Diana Grisanti. The piece was commissioned by CPH and will be performed by members of the inaugural CPH Theatre Academy Teen Performance Ensemble, ages 13-17.

The Starkweather-South High School Physics Club First Annual End-of-Year-Lock-In, or Ghost Party

By Diana Grisanti

Directed by Brittni Shambaugh Addison

May 12 - 13, 2018 • Allen Theatre

Featuring CPH Theatre Academy Teen Performance Ensemble

World Premiere commissioned by Cleveland Play House

"Phones off; friends on!" When their annual end-of-year trip to Cedar Point is cancelled for mysterious reasons, the six teens of the Starkweather-South High School Physics Club settle for an overnight lock-in at their school. But, this seemingly lame sleepover soon morphs into a night to remember! Friendships are tested. Secrets are revealed. Spontaneous dance parties emerge. And, the school's resident ghost roams the halls. A brand new comedic-drama about the bonds of friendship and having the courage to be yourself.

New Ground Theatre Festival Schedule

Friday, May 11th

7:30 p.m. The Royale

Saturday, May 12th

2:30p.m. The Royale

7:30p.m. The Starkweather-South High School Physics Club First Annual End-of-Year-Lock-In, or Ghost Party

7:30p.m. The Royale

Sunday, May 13th

2:00p.m. The Starkweather-South High School Physics Club First Annual End-of-Year-Lock-In, or Ghost Party

2:30p.m. The Royale with Talkback

Tuesday, May 15th

7:00p.m. The Royale with Talkback

Wednesday, May 16th

7:30p.m. The Royale

Thursday, May 17th

7:30 p.m. The Royale

7:30 p.m. Hi, Are You Single? with Talkback

Friday, May 18th

7:30 p.m. The Royale

7:30 p.m. Hi, Are You Single? with Talkback

Saturday, May 19th

Time TBD: Roe Green Award Reading with Playwright Q&A

2:30 p.m. The Royale

5:00 p.m. The Nolan Williams Project

7:30 p.m. The Royale

7:30 p.m. Hi, Are You Single? with Talkback

FREE InsideCPH Events for New Ground Theatre Festival accompanying this schedule will be announced shortly.

Ticket Information

CPH's New Ground Theatre Festival will be performed in the Cleveland Play House's home theatres at Playhouse Square. Ticket prices range from $10-20 and will be available at or 216-241-6000 for purchase on March 15th.

ABOUT Cleveland Play House

Cleveland Play House, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences across Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Related Articles View More Cleveland Stories   Shows

More Hot Stories For You