INTO THE BREECHES! Kicks Off Season at CPH

Cleveland Play House opens its 2019-2020 season with the celebratory, heart-felt comedy Into The Breeches! written by George Brant. Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley, the uplifting, laugh-out-loud comedy runs from September 14th through October 6th in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square. The cast includes Comfort Dolo, Peggy Roeder, Brian Sills, Tina Stafford, Courtney Stennett, Nisi Sturgis, Jeff Talbott, and Elisabeth A. Yancey. Tickets range from $25-$97 and can be purchased by phone at 216.241.6000 or online at clevelandplayhouse.com. Major support for Into The Breeches! is provided by Cleveland Cliffs Foundation, John P. Murphy Foundation, and Zinner & Co.

Cleveland Play House has never missed a season in the 104 years since its founding, including during World War II when more than 50 of its staff members, artists, students, and volunteers were called to serve in the Armed Forces. It is this real-life story of grit and determination that inspired George Brant to write Into The Breeches!, a new comedy about coming together in the face of insurmountable odds.

"We Can Do It!" So said Rosie the Riveter, and so say the women of Cleveland, Ohio, in this vibrant new comedy! It's 1942, and the leading men of the Oberon Play House are fighting overseas. With "The Show Must Go On!" as their battle cry, a band of passionate, yet inexperienced, performers rally together to produce the Oberon's season opener, an all-female version of Shakespeare's ambitious Henry IV and Henry V. Will their production be a victory on the home front or a target for rotten tomatoes? A hilarious and moving story about what happens when we're all in it together.

Director Laura Kepley says, "The play is hilarious, heartwarming and inspirational as we watch the characters persevere in the face of daunting challenges." She adds, "This is a classic underdog story about a group of seemingly mismatched people who come together and triumph over impossible odds." Kepley also shares, "Into The Breeches! reminds us of our shared purpose and values as Americans and the incredible common good that can be achieved when we work together."

Into The Breeches! was originally commissioned by Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island. Following its premiere, the play was produced at Chautauqua Theatre Company also under the direction of CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. The play has also been produced at St. Louis Shakespeare Festival, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Northlight Theatre (Chicago), and New Stage Theatre (Jackson, MS). Ms. Kepley will be directing the piece at Asolo Repertory Theatre (Florida) in February 2020. Aspects of Into The Breeches! were inspired by research Playwright George Brant found in the CPH archives housed at Case Western Reserve University's Kelvin Smith Library.

the CREATIVE TEAM

George Brant (Playwright) locally produced plays include Grounded (CPH, Dobama), Marie and Rosetta (CPH), Grizzly Mama (Dobama), Salvage (none too fragile), and Elephant's Graveyard (Parma Senior High School). Other plays include Tender Age, The Mourners' Bench, Three Voyages of the Lobotomobile, One Hand Clapping, Any Other Name, Night of the Mime, and Dark Room. His work has been produced internationally by such companies as The Public Theater, the Atlantic Theater Company, Trinity Repertory Company, Alley Theatre, City Theatre, London's Gate Theatre, Page 73, Studio Theatre, and the Traverse Theatre, among others. His scripts have been awarded a Lucille Lortel Award, an Edgerton Foundation New Play Award, the Smith Prize, the Keene Prize for Literature, an NNPN Rolling World Premiere, a Scotsman Fringe First Award, an Off-West End Theatre Award, three Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Awards, a Creative Workforce Fellowship and the Theatre Netto Festival Grand Prize. Brant has received writing fellowships from the O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, the McCarter Theatre Center, the MacDowell Colony, the Hermitage Artist Retreat, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program and the Blue Mountain Center, as well as commissions from the Metropolitan Opera, Trinity Repertory and Dobama Theatre. George received his MFA in Writing from the James A. Michener Center for Writers at UT-Austin and is a member of the Dramatists Guild and is published by Samuel French, Oberon Books, and Smith & Kraus. He is proud to call Cleveland home.

LAURA KEPLEY (Director) became Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House in 2013 and has directed numerous CPH mainstage productions including Tiny Houses (world premiere, also at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park); Sweat; The Diary of Anne Frank; Shakespeare in Love; The Crucible; Steel Magnolias; The Good Peaches (world premiere); Fairfield (world premiere); How I Learned to Drive (also at Syracuse Stage); The Little Foxes; Venus in Fur; Good People (also at Syracuse Stage); A Carol for Cleveland (world premiere); In the Next Room, or the vibrator play; My Name is Asher Lev and CPH readings of Roe Green Award-winning plays Tiny Houses; The Chinese Lady; Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976; Marjorie Prime and Daphne's Dive. She joined CPH in 2010, having arrived from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island where she was Resident Director and Artistic Associate for four seasons and Interim Director of the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Directing Program for one. She has also directed for The Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Chautauqua Theater Company, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Contemporary American Theatre Festival, and The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, among others. A native Ohioan, Laura received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her Master of Fine Arts from Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is a Drama League Fellow and a recipient of the 2009-2011 National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors.

The Design Team for Into The Breeches! includes: scenic design by Robert Mark Morgan (Sweat, The Diary of Anne Frank, All the Way, A Christmas Story); costume design by Angela Calin; lighting design by Michael Boll (Native Gardens, The Invisible Hand, A Christmas Story); and sound design by Jane Shaw (Sweat, The Royale, The Diary of Anne Frank, Shakespeare in Love, All the Way, Grounded). Additional creative team members include Kevin Inouye (Fight Choreographer), Thom Jones (Voice, Speech and Text Coach), Rachel Lerner-Ley (Dramaturg), John Godbout (Production Stage Manager), and Kyra Button (Assistant Stage Manager).

The Acting Company

The cast of Into The Breeches! includes many veteran CPH artists:

Peggy Roeder (appearing as Winifred Snow) earned her Equity Union Card at Cleveland Play House four decades ago. CPH credits: Butterflies Are Free, The Removalists, Hamlet, In Fashion, and others. Regional: Steppenwolf, Goodman, Mark Taper Forum, Asolo Rep, Atlantic Theatre Co., among many others. Film/TV: Groundhog Day, Road To Perdition, Were the World Mine, Stranger Than Fiction, "Star Trek: DS9," and "Law & Order".

Brian Sills (appearing as Stuart Lasker) CPH credits: Fairfield and Around The World In 80 Days. National US Tour: The Lion King (original cast). Regional: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chautauqua Theatre Company, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Asolo Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Clarence Brown Theatre. Film: Bikini Moon, Baby On Board, Nothing Like The Holidays, Rocky Marciano. TV: "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Elementary," "Blue Bloods," "Crashing," "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt," and "Mr. Robot."

Tina Stafford (appearing as Celeste Fielding) CPH credits: Shakespeare in Love (Queen Elizabeth/The Nurse). Tours: Once and Jolson. Regional: Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep, Paper Mill Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Goodspeed Musicals, La Jolla Playhouse, Denver Center, Westport Country Playhouse, Cape Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, the Maine, Texas and Utah Shakespeare Festivals.

Nisi Sturgis (appearing as Maggie Dalton) CPH credits: In the Next Room, or the vibrator play as Mrs. Giving, and as 14 different characters in Ken Ludwig's Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. Regional: Denver Center, The Old Globe, Shakespeare Theatre NJ, Idaho Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Berkeley Rep., and Seattle Rep. Broadway: The Woman in 39 Steps. TV: June Thompson on HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

Jeff Talbott (appearing as Ellsworth Snow) will be appearing in the CPH production of A Christmas Story as Adult Ralph/Narrator for the seventh season this fall. Broadway: Sly Fox, Fortune's Fool. Regional: Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Paper Mill Playhouse, Actor's Theatre of Louisville, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Film: Julie & Julia. TV: "The Blacklist," "Orange is the New Black," "Unforgettable," "Boardwalk Empire," "The Sopranos," and others.

The cast will also feature students from the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA class of 2020 making their professional stage debut.

COMFORT DOLO (appearing as Ida Green) is a third-year CWRU/CPH MFA candidate and has appeared in the CWRU/CPH productions of Hay Fever (Sorel Bliss), The Seagull (Sorin) and Fifth of July (Shirley). Regional: To Kill a Mockingbird at The Guthrie Theatre (Minneapolis).

COURTNEY STENNETT (appearing as June Bennett) is a third-year CWRU/CPH MFA candidate and has appeared in the CWRU/CPH productions of Hay Fever (Judith Bliss), The Seagull (Masha), and Fifth of July (Sally Friedman). Regional: One Man, Two Guvnors; A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Agent 355 (Chautauqua Theatre Company). International: Call of the Void at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

ELISABETH A. YANCEY (appearing as Grace Richards) is a third-year CWRU/CPH MFA candidate and has appeared in the CWRU/CPH productions of Hay Fever, The Seagull, and Fifth of July. International: Call of the Void at Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

To kick off the production run for Into The Breeches!, CPH will host a Blue Star Military Appreciation Night at the Saturday, September 14th 7:30PM performance. Active duty and veteran members of the military and their families will gather to celebrate and be recognized for their service. The evening includes a special $20 ticket price for military families, lobby entertainment, and live dramaturgy. CPH is a proud Blue Star Theatre and offers military members a 50% discount on tickets to any performance throughout the season. Military members interested in attending the event can contact the Box Office by calling 216.241.6000 and use the promo code: MIL20 to receive the discount.

Tickets range from $25-$97, with $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under the age of 25 (valid student ID required). Young Professional discounts are available with our YP-CPH Membership. Ohio Direction/EBT cardholders receive $5 admission to any performance (for up to 8 tickets). Single tickets can be purchase by calling the Box Office at 216.241.6000 or by visiting clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10 or more can save up to 30% off single ticket prices by contacting CPH Groups Sales at 216.400.7011. Subscriptions are still available at the best low rates with amazing perks. Subscribe today and save up to 30%, with flexible small packages available, by calling the CPH Subscription Office at 216.640.8800 or by visiting clevelandplayhouse.com/subscribe.



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