Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is proud to present the world premiere of Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies). The production is onstage from October 20 - November 10, 2018, in CPT's James Levin Theatre.

In this hot mess musical, a group of close friends struggles to navigate the tragedies of life. Guided by poor decision-making and way too much alcohol, these buddies try anything to find happiness while the ties of friendship fray. This dark musical comedy is a celebration of the not-so-happy ways in which we persevere, grow, and change-whether we want to or not. Cheers!

According to CPT's Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan: "In the theatre, we use the word 'proud' a lot, but there's no better word for me to describe my feelings as we move to open this brand new musical. I am so proud of Cleveland Public Theatre's commitment to women artists, and I'm so proud of these two brave women who have shared their stories in such a candid way with such original voices."

Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies) was developed as part of the Nord Family Foundation Catapult Fellowship which included showings in CPT's Entry Point new play festival, and Test Flight, CPT's workshop production series. Melissa Crum and Caitlin Lewins were both Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellows and completed the Theatre Creation and Directing Classes taught by Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director.

About CPT's New Play Development
CPT is a leader in providing platforms for new work and emerging artists locally and nationally. Nurturing artists whose work goes beyond conventional theatre in style and content, New Play Development at CPT seeks to create extraordinary new works of theatre. Our nationally recognized approach is a blend of structure and customization, supporting artists at various points in their creative process. Rigor and joy are at the core of the process, leading to risk, surprise, delight, and discovery as we deepen the ongoing work of our craft-to explore the human condition while championing consciousness and compassion.

CPT has led the community in producing new plays by local and nationally recognized playwrights. In just the past 12 years, CPT produced 118 staged readings and showcases, 114 workshop productions, and 50 full productions of world premieres-in addition to hundreds of community-created plays read, workshopped, and performed through our education and community programs.

About Catapult
Catapult is the most extensive of CPT's development programs and is intended to move projects from early to mid-development phase to being "production-ready." Each process is customized to the work. Projects may receive a series of readings, significant rehearsal time, and workshop productions. Artists selected for Catapult receive funding support through the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship.

CAST and CREW of Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies)
The cast includes Melissa Crum, Madelyn Hayes, Caitlin Lewins, Joshua McElroy, Matt O'Shea, and Jerry Tucker.

Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies) was written and composed by Melissa Crum & Caitlin Lewins, 2016/2017 Nord Family Foundation Catapult Fellows, and is directed by Matthew Wright. The creative production team includes Raymond Bobgan - Producer; Buck McDaniel, 2018/2019 Kulas Theatre Composer Fellow - Music Director, Orchestrator, Arranger; Sarah Lynne Bailey - Stage Manager; Aaron Benson - Scenic Designer; Benjamin Gantose - Lighting Designer; Nina Rossi - Choreographer; Cyrus Taylor - Sound Designer; Jaclyn Vogel - Costume Designer; John Karkosiak - Guitar; Chris Demarco - Bass; Evan Mitchell - Percussion.

Research and development collaborators include Ashley Aquilla, Sean Booker, Luke Brett, Chennelle Bryant-Harris, Roderick S. Caldwell III, Chelsea Jordan Cannon, Sara Chapman, Craig J. George, Brenton Sullivan, and Jonathan Walker White. Arrangements by Melissa Crum & Caitlin Lewins, Buck McDaniel, Tim Moon, and Jake Briggs.

Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies) previews October 20 & 25. Press Night is Friday, October 26 and the show runs through November 10. Performances are Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Monday nights at 7:00pm in CPT's James Levin Theatre, located at 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102, in the heart of the Gordon Square Arts District.

Tickets are $15-35. Students/Seniors receive $5 off on Friday and Saturday nights. Previews, Thursdays, and Mondays are $15.

PURCHASE TICKETS at or call the CPT Box Office at 216.631.2727 ext. 501. Group discounts are available-call the Box Office to inquire. (Reserve early! - CPT never charges any ticket fees, ever.)

The James Levin Theatre is ADA compliant, featuring a patron elevator and an all gender, wheelchair accessible restroom.

Every Friday is Free Beer Friday at CPT. Mingle with the artists after the show and discuss the performance in a lively, social atmosphere-your drinks are on CPT.

Melissa is Cleveland-based performer, director, writer, and educator. She currently holds a position as a Staff Teaching Artist with Playhouse Square and is passionate about arts education and its role within our growing community. Recently, Melissa served as Education Associate at Dobama Theatre, and has been a Teaching Artist with Cleveland Play House, Great Lakes Theater, The Musical Theatre Project, and Cleveland Public Theatre's Brick City Theatre Program. Melissa received the 2016/2017 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship through Cleveland Public Theatre, where she and co-writer Caitlin Lewins developed Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies). Melissa completed the 2013/2014 Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellowship at Cleveland Public Theatre where she directed The Drowning Girls. Cleveland Stage Credits include 44 Plays For 44 Presidents, Air Waves (Part Three of the Elements Cycle), Conni's Avant Garde Restaurant, The Loush Sisters DO the Nutcracker, Earth Plays (Part Two of the Elements Cycle), Tender Napalm, Two Plays by Gao Xingjian (CPT), and Loki and Lucy (Talespinner Children's Theatre). Melissa has directed locally at Dobama Theatre (Peter and the Starcatcher; remount, production by Nathan Motta), Talespinner Children's Theatre (The Crocodile, The Cobra, and the Girl Down the Well), True North Cultural Arts (Falling), and CPT (The Drowning Girls, The Waters-A Nord Fellowship Reading, Style is The Answer to Everything-A Nord Fellowship Reading). Crum has also directed and co-created several short works at CPT including: Bags of Air which appeared in Air Waves (Part Three of the Elements Cycle), The Natural Order of Things which appeared in Earth Plays (Part Two of the Elements Cycle), and Seppuku (Big Box '10). Melissa studied Directing Devised Theatre and Theatre Creation under the tutelage of Raymond Bobgan, and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Cleveland State University.


Caitlin Lewins is a performer, writer, director, designer/crafter, and musician. Caitlin was awarded a 2016/2017 Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship, culminating in the World Premiere of Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies), a dark musical comedy co-written and co-composed with Melissa Crum. Caitlin joined the CPT staff in the fall of 2013 as Story Connector, became New Play Associate in the summer of 2014, and transitioned into her current role in 2017. Caitlin completed the 2013/2014 Joan Yellen Horvitz Director Fellowship which culminated in the production Left in Ink which she conceived, directed, and co-created. Previously at CPT, Caitlin co-directed (with Dan Kilbane) and music directed 44 Plays For 44 Presidents and created The Cleveland Line Dance as a part of Light the Lights, Ol' Moses CLE! (A Wild Holiday Romp). Caitlin line produced Entry Point (A New Play Development Program), four Road to Hope events in the Spring of 2016, line produced The Santaland Diaries at Playhouse Square and the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Reading Series, directed Canon Fodder-a Nord Fellowship Reading, music directed Frankenstein's Wake, and assistant directed/contributed to The Loush Sisters Love Dick'ns: Great Expectations. Caitlin co-created and directed Edison and Ford which appeared in Air Waves (Part Three of the Elements Cycle) and completed her third year in Raymond Bobgan's Directing/Theatre Creation class. In the 2012/2013 season, Caitlin was Stage Manager/Assistant Director to Raymond Bobgan for Rusted Heart Broadcast and made her writing/directing debut at CPT with The Environmented in Earth Plays (Part Two of the Elements Cycle). Recent/favorite performances include Everything is Okay (and other helpful lies) (Entry Point 2018, Test Flight 2018); Light the Lights, Ol' Moses CLE! (A Wild Holiday Romp); Red Ash Mosaic (workshop); She's Wearing White...; Air Waves (Part Three of the Elements Cycle); Earth Plays (Part Two of the Elements Cycle); Bird Behind the Curtain (Big Box 2013); 13 Most American Dreams; Grizzly Mama; and The New Century. Caitlin is a graduate of Baldwin Wallace College, where she studied Theatre, Philosophy, and Music.

ABOUT Matthew Wright, DIRECTOR

Previously at CPT, Matthew directed Mr. Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Spirits to Enforce, and Iphigenia 2.0, and appeared in There Is a Happiness That Morning Is. Matthew's work as a professional actor and director has been seen across the country at theatres such as La Jolla Playhouse, Studio Arena of Buffalo, The Clarence Brown Company, New Theater, Actor's Playhouse, Caldwell Theatre, Florida Stage, Florida Studio Theatre, Coconut Grove, Great Lakes Theater, The Cleveland Play House, Dobama Theatre, Cleveland Public Theatre, and Beck Center for the Arts. In 1997 he won the Carbonnel Award for Best Actor (Miami area) for his portrayal of Prior Walter in Angels in America. More recently, he's been cited by the Cleveland Critics Circle Awards for Superior Achievement in Directing in 2014 for Spirits to Enforce (CPT), and again in 2017 for Hand to God at Dobama Theatre. He was also cited by the Cleveland Critics Circle Awards for Superior Achievement as an Actor in 2013 for There Is a Happiness That Morning Is (CPT), and for Superior Achievement as an Actor in A Musical in 2016 for Ruthless at Beck Center for the Arts. A founding company member of Oberlin Summer Theater Festival, Matthew has appeared in numerous productions with the company since 2009. Upcoming projects include playing a cold, enigmatic mastermind in The Nether at Cleveland's Dobama Theatre this spring. He has been a member of Actors' Equity Association since 1988.

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