Ensemble Theatre announces its fall-winter season
The stage may be dark, but the Ensemble Theatre company is busily preparing for its 2012–13 season—its 33rd consecutive season performing for Cleveland audiences, and the 2nd season in its new home in the former Coventry School.
As in previous years, Celeste Cosentino, Ensemble’s artistic director, has chosen plays that explore the fundamentals of the human experience.
The upcoming season begins on Friday, Sept. 28 with "The Normal Heart" by Larry Kramer. Winner of several Tony awards, "The Normal Heart" unfolds like a political thriller as a tight-knit group of friends refuses to let doctors, politicians, and the media hide the truth about the AIDS epidemic behind a wall of silence.
More than 25 years after it was written, this unflinching and unforgettable look at the sexual politics of New York City during this health crisis remain a powerful evening of live theater. "The Normal Heart" runs through Oct. 21.
The unexpectedly funny "Miracle and Wonder" heralds the holiday season. Opening on Nov. 15, "Miracle and Wonder" will be a world premiere. The play is about an obsessive-compulsive kindergarten teacher who receives some disturbing news. This may not sound funny, but then local playwright Jonathan Wilhelm throws in some Bette Davis movies, mistaken identities, Midrashic parables, and why Jesus is having a really bad day . . . and the laughs are sure to follow. The play runs through Dec. 2.
For its third production of the season, Ensemble will present to Cleveland audiences the masterful work of Charles Smith, recipient of the 2004 Jeff Award for Best New Work for "Free Man of Color." This season’s production of Smith’s "The Gospel According to James" is set in 1930 and based on real events. James Cameron and Mary Ball emerge as the sole survivors of racial crimes in Marion, Ind. Teenagers when the crimes occurred, they recall those events and discover that their remembrances of that day differ, even though their experiences were the same. "Gospel" opens Jan. 25 and runs through Feb. 17.
Celebrating a successful inaugural year in 2012, and entering into its second season, The Colombi New Plays Festival will again offer an opportunity for local playwrights to see their work produced. From scripts developed in Ensemble’s Stage Wrights workshop, which meets weekly, three plays are chosen for production. They will run from March 7 through March 24. The scripts have been selected and will be announced in the next few weeks—stay tuned.
To conclude its ambitious 2012–13 season, Ensemble will present Eugene O’Neill’s great American classic, "The Iceman Cometh," currently playing a sold-out run at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. This epic play brings the audience into Harry Hope’s saloon, where a ragtag band of drunks and dreamers awaits the arrival of Hickey, the charismatic traveling salesman whose presence always means a good time. But when a newly sober Hickey comes on the scene, and attempts to fix the lives of his old drinking buddies, the results are at once comic and heartbreaking, and threaten to shatter the illusions that fuel their lives.
For more information about Ensemble’s forthcoming season, and to purchase tickets, call the box office at 216-321-2930 or visit www.ensemble-theatre.org.
Jewel Moulthrop, Cleveland Heights resident, is a member of the FutureHeights Board of Directors and a frequent contributor to the Heights Observer.