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A gentle children’s book with an apparent hidden message — a black rabbit marries a white rabbit! — stirs the passions of a segregationist State Senator and a no-nonsense State Librarian in 1959 Montgomery, Alabama, just as the civil rights movement is flowering. Another story of childhood friends — an African-American man and a white woman, reunited in adulthood in Montgomery that same year — provides private counterpoint to the public events of the play.

“Dynamic! Rich! Impressive! Cleverly crafted! Articulate! Razor-sharp!”
-Salt Lake Tribune

“A real-life controversy about a children’s book from 1959 is the basis for a new play with freshly relevant themes.” - American Theatre

SEPTEMBER 7th-30th.
MAINSTAGE Theatre
OHIO PREMIERE
Fridays & Saturdays @8pm.
Sundays @2pm.


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Escaping a turbulent past, Adam Trask is determined to make a new start in California’s Salinas Valley. Adam and his wife, Cathy, settle on a beautiful farm, and soon Cathy gives birth to twins Caleb and Aron. But family history, sibling rivalry, and the impending danger of World War I will threaten their little piece of paradise. EAST OF EDEN is an American epic, grand in scope yet deeply personal, that asks if it is possible to escape the mistakes of previous generations.

OCTOBER 19 - NOVEMBER 11
MAINSTAGE Theatre
NORTHEAST OHIO PREMIERE
Fridays & Saturdays @8pm.
Sundays @2pm

 

“Rich in symbolism and substance…a significant achievement…” - Chicago Tribune. 

"... probably the best of John Steinbeck's novels." - The New York Times Book Review


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Adapted from the classic adventure novel by the French writer Jules Verne, published in 1873, Phileas Fogg of London and his newly employed French valet Passepartout attempt to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on a £20,000 wager: New friends, strange acquaintances, and careful planning could be the only way...Though this was only possible if nothing would hinder his success? Did we mention that there is a warrant out for his arrest?

WORLD PREMIERE adapted by Shahrazad Theatre Company 
 produced in association with Ensemble Theatre
Directed by August Scarpelli
NOVEMBER 30th - DECEMBER 16th
PlayGround Theater

A new interactive and theatrical adaptation of the Jules Verne Classic for the whole family!

Fridays & Saturdays@7pm. Saturday @2pm
Sundays @2pm

 


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A Raisin in the Sun was the first play written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, as well as the first with a black director, Mr. Lloyd Richards. Set on Chicago’s South Side, the plot revolves around the divergent dreams and conflicts within three generations of the Younger family: son Walter Lee, his wife Ruth, his sister Beneatha, his son Travis, and matriarch Lena. When her deceased husband’s insurance money comes through, Mama Lena dreams of moving to a new home and a better neighborhood in Chicago. Walter Lee, a chauffeur, has other plans: buying a liquor store and being his own man. Beneatha dreams of medical school. The tensions and prejudice they face form this seminal American drama. The Younger family’s heroic struggle to retain dignity in a harsh and changing world is a searing and timeless document of hope and inspiration.

JANUARY 25 - FEBRUARY 17
MainStage Theater
Fridays & Saturdays @8pm.
Sundays @2pm.

"Pivotal play in the history of the American Black theatre." - Newsweek
"A milestone in the American Theatre." - Ebony
NY Drama Critics Circle Best Play 1959.

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We look forward to seeing you in our audience!


Previously at Ensemble Theatre: 

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"This play is not about my mother and me," begins the character of Lisa. But, of course, it is about her mother, and her mother's extraordinary ability to heal a changing neighborhood despite her inability to heal herself. In this "solo show with people in it," Kron asks the provocative question: "Do we create our own illness?" The answers she gets are much more complicated than she bargained for as the play spins dangerously out of control into riotously funny and unexpected territory.  Directed by Ensemble Executive Artistic Director Celeste Cosentino

September 29th | October 22nd
MAINSTAGETheatre

"Ensemble offers infectiously endearing WELL"
-Bob Abelman, Cleveland Jewish News


 Written in 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill, this iconic piece of expressionist drama is a searing social commentary on the divide between the rich and poor. Yank, an unthinking laborer, embarks on a search for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the wealthy. His journey from the bowels of a transatlantic ocean liner to the wealthy neighborhoods of New York society serve as a metaphor for the struggle between the working man and the industrial complex found at the heart of the play.  Directed by the award winning Ian Wolfgang Hinz. 

"The subject here is the same ancient one that always was and always will be the one subject for drama, and that is man and his struggle with his own fate. The struggle used to be with the GODS, but is now with himself, his own past, his attempt to 'belong'. "
-(O' Neill)

November 17th | December 10th
MAINSTAGETheatre


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This play (with music) tells the story of a world-weary and disenchanted Aviator whose sputtering plane strands him in the Sahara Desert and a mysterious, regal "little man" who appears and asks him to "Please, sir, draw me a sheep." During their two weeks together in the desert, the Little Prince tells the Aviator about his adventures through the galaxy, how he met the Lamplighter and the Businessman and the Geographer, and about his strained relationship with a very special flower on his own tiny planet. The Little Prince talks to everyone he meets: a garden of roses, the Snake and a Fox who wishes to be tamed. From each he gains a unique insight which he shares with the Aviator: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly." "What is essential is invisible to the eye." At length, both the "little man" and the Aviator must go home—each with a new understanding of how to laugh, cry, and love again. Directed by Brittni Shambaugh Addison. 

"A multilayered tale that awakens the child tucked insideall of us." 
-Cape Cod Times

December 1st | December 17th.
PlaygroundTheatre


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In the first part of Tony Kushner's epic, set in 1980's New York City, a gay man is abandoned by his lover when he contracts the AIDS virus, and a closeted Mormon lawyer's marriage to his pill-popping wife stalls. America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.  Directed by Celeste Cosentino.
*Winner of The Pulitzer Prize in Drama

January 5th | January 28th.
MAINSTAGETheatre.


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A powerful story of a convict returning from a brief prison stay to resume his position as the neighborhood kingpin. In the New York Times, Stephen Holden wrote “Jelly Belly offers an unremittingly bleak portrait of inner-city life and the enormous pressure on working-class black men to be gangsters.” The Chicago Defender wrote “Employing gritty poetry of the streets, Smith introduces us to Jelly Belly, who attempts to regain the service of Kenny, a former drug runner who has gone straight. Kenny is torn between the hope of prosperity through hard work shared with his friend Mike, or the opportunistic life of a drug pusher Jelly Belly offers.”  
Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz.  

“Jelly Belly offers an unremittingly bleak portrait of inner-city life and the enormous pressure on
working-class black men to
be gangsters.” -New York Times

February 9th | February 25th.
MAINSTAGETheatre.


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2018 COLOMBI NEW PLAY FESTIVAL PRODUCTION - MAMA / MOON 

By Tom Frattare  Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz

A play about the unlikely friendship between “Mama" Cass Elliot — of the Mamas and the Papas - and Keith Moon, original drummer of The Who.  The sweetest, heavyset singer of all time and the wildest, womanizing, party animal in Rock 'n Roll. Together. For one night. What could possibly go wrong?

March 9th | March 25th
MAINSTAGETHEATRE