Cleveland Stage Alliance – Reviews and Previews

Eric Fancher – Founder/Administrator/ Webmaster/"CSA Presents" Co-Producer


July 2017

City of Angels at Beck Center for the Arts


city of angels beck

Beck Center for the Arts
Professional Theatre
Runs through August 13th
City of Angels is a very unique musical comedy that offers a clever tribute to 1940’s film noir. The production is bolstered by exemplary work by the esteemed artistic team, which provides music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by David Zippel, and book by Larry Gelbart. The plot and storyline are quite complicated at it unravels, because it includes almost all of the conventions of film noir all rolled up into one. The plots of twists and turns within would make House of Cards look like Reading Rainbow.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 When Stine ( charming Jamie Koeth) embarks to faithfully adapt his novel into a screenplay, he discovers the difficulty of maintaining his artistic integrity against Hollywood movie moguls, particularly mogul Irwin S. Irving (played by exuberant Greg Violand). Each character in the life of Stine is mirrored by the film adaptation that is literally happening side by side on stage. Stine’s detective book hero is Stone (played with silver fox finesse by Rob Albrecht). As the line separating fantasy from reality is blurred, Stine must find a way to produce a happy ending, over characters that seem to take on a life of their own.
This cast is top-notch. Jamie Koeth plays Stine with wonderful character and vocal range. From a struggling playwright to a more confident story-teller, his arc is engaging and entertaining. Rob Albrecht as Stone is a master of suave and 40’s detective realness. His slick performance, and vocal power, brings the film noir essence to perfection. And when they both meet at the end of Act One, their duet will definitely inspire you and boost sales at concessions due to excitement. Greg Violand provides a fantastic obnoxious hot mess of greed and lust in delivering mogul Irwin S. Irving and Buddy.
(and the fact that Mr. Violand learned this role during tech week is remarkable).
Two other stand out performances can be found with Brian Altman as singer Jimmy Powers. Powers appears in both sides of the stage action, as he should, especially aided by the velvet voiced Altman. He creates so much charm and vocal schmaltz on stage you literally might need a lobster bib to keep yourself dry. Carlos Cruz handles the roles of Detective Munoz and Pancho Vargas with adept skill and energy to make these characters filled with life, instead of storyline fodder.
THE WOMEN! This production is filled with fabulous talented women. Leslie Andrews is on fire and I don’t want to put her out. Whether she is Gabby, Stine’s wife or Bobbi, Stone’s former girlfriend, she is bringing everything to the table.  Brittni Shambaugh Addison needs three names to contain her vivacious talent. Her acting skills are incredibly refined and focused. Her vocals blend melodic joy and layered resonance both in Donna, Buddy’s secretary, and Oolie, Stone’s Girl Friday. Sonia Perez brings us some decadent diva realness and Susan Lucci perfection. Her delivery of one liners could protect us from any foreboding nuclear attack. As Carla, Buddy’s wife, or Alaura, Femme Fatale and Iron Lung Vanna White, she is fierce and fun. The beautiful Madeline Krucek completes this collection of Candle Party perfection. Her vocals are lush, her looks divine and her characters are well drawn and executed.
Throughout this journey is the Angel 4. Kind of like the Charlie’s Angels of the piece. Appearing to open the show and set the mood, and then saving scene changes from being boring and routine, to accented concert moments of vitality and blended vocal gold. The Angels are Robert Pierce, Erin Niebuhr, Brianna O’Boyle, and Steven Huynh.
As this production is filled with talent that any production team would probably want to throw themselves into the colored ball room of Chuckie Cheese to celebrate, the show itself has a journey all its own to overcome. It probably takes a while for the audience to understand what is actually going on. If you aren’t familiar with the film noir voiceovers and essence of what this brilliant musical is poking fun at, you wont get it until later in the show. For example, the opening of the show offers the fantastic vocal blend of the Angel 4, but the number is longer than it probably needs to be, and the choreography doesn’t come across as confident as it should. Maybe just focusing on the superior vocals might have been more effective. After that, the musical starts slowly rolling down the hill and gathers artistic and audience enthusiasm it goes. When the beginning of Act Two begins, the show is in full motion and connected with the audience, who is still fired up from the Act One finale. So in the end, it is probably a 50/50 chance that audience members will go out and tell people to see this show. I don’t know if it has that power on its own. For myself, I would recommend it because it is a unique production, that is hardly ever produced because it is that challenging. But the Beck and Spence took it on, and eventually won.
Director Scott Spence and his creative team have invented a fascinating design to bring this musical to life. As the show opens, we see the famous Hollywood sign split into three sections of stage. A clever addition to this iconic look, is that each section can be used with projections. This enables each separate scene to be enhanced with clever and visually exciting backdrops. And the final reveal, which I will not reveal, is a fabulous and triumphant ending scenario. So just like Oprah, “Everybody gets a Bravo!”. Set Design by Jordan Janota gets a Bravo, Projection Design by Adam Zeek gets a Bravo, and Lighting Design by Trad A (no period) Burns gets a Bravo!
Once again, the Musical Direction by Larry Goodpaster is luscious and inspiring. His first class assemblage of musicians provide a stunning musical backscape. Choreographer Martin Cespedes provides era perfect movement to enhance the 40’s atmosphere. Costume era realness/fierceness provided by Aimee Kluiber. Her costumes complimenting the woman with grand design and fit.
CSA – Kevin
July 7 – August 13

8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays

3pm Sundays

$12-$31 Reserved Seating(216) 521-2540

Order Tickets Online
Beck Center For The Arts
17801 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107

Next to Normal at CAMEO

next to normal cameoThere are some beautiful things happening in Medina right now. One of them is the CAMEO Production of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal. This musical examines a family in crisis, as they experience mental issues that permeate and destroy a typical “normal” family. From the outside, a picturesque family portrait, on the inside, a turbulent bi-polar cloud of pain.

What is remarkable about this production is the production design. Director Colin McCord, and his talented designers, have decided to set this piece in the round. A truly original and dynamic choice, seeing that there has been 100 productions of Next to Normal over the last few years. This is a welcome visual. Along with set design, comes a brilliant Lighting and Scenic Design from Michael Sferro, Ed Schmuhl and Dale Seeds. As you sit awaiting the impending destruction ahead, you are met with a floor design that is awash in a deep blue. Pictures on the floor representing not fully formed faces. The combination transports you to a Picasso Blue Period that is fabulous. Most of the audience may not even know they are already being transported. Blinds surround the main stage area, representing the ability to see through or close off emotions, and our ability to deal with them.


Lights up and we meet Diana ( a stunning Kirsten Forshew). Her performance is wonderful, and she meets the demands of the vocal power necessary to tell this fractured tale with confidence. There is nothing better than a stirring and fabulous belt. At the start of Act Two,  Forshew has self-actualized into a force of nature. Tucker Boggs, as Gabe, has one of the most amazing voices I have heard in a long time. He turned in a solid performance, and his vocal versatility will provide quite a career for him. His dramatic unexpected entrances were played to perfection. Dan Polk, as Dan, no, that is the truth, brings a visceral vulnerability. He is aided by strong vocals and a likable presence. And, when he is seated in his chair at the end, you must be a zombie if your heart is not aching for him. Adam Vigneault brings his doctoral charm in full swag as Doctor Madden. A reserved textured performance that is certainly a needed balance to the characters swirling around him.


But when it comes to totally nailing a character and providing a fully fleshed out performance, my accolades go to the impressive performance of Meredith Stout as Natalie. Every part of this actors performance was fantastic. From the moment she enters, every scene, every vocal, she is emulating everything that is happening within her, and around her. She is a complete stand out. And her partner in crime, Benson H. Anderson, brings his own fierce characterization to the psychotic dance floor. His understated performance was grand. His relationship with Natalie was spot on. His voice divine. The two of them were incredibly rewarding to watch, and remember.


This is a good production. As a cast, when they are all on and every burner is fired up, it is magic. The closing song Light was incredible and a beautiful vocal event. But there are things that could have elevated this production to another level.

When the show began, and Diana’s mic was off, I wanted to throw a shoe through one of the blinds. This can’t happen. It takes minutes to recover from that, and to be honest, I didn’t even know she had a fantastic voice until the song I Miss The Mountains, because her softer notes and dialogue couldn’t be heard.

There are no musical vamps written in this show. The scene changes should be a break neck speed, so there is no emotional rest. Especially in Act One, it felt like the applause was being led during unneeded black outs, instead of fade outs and ups. And when the stage crew member came out and took the table off out of nowhere, there went my other shoe. Why? Actors did every change before and after that. The stakes have to be higher for everyone involved. Except for Stout and Anderson, I felt everyone could have gone deeper. Diction is imperative in the round. Also, when Polk sang the words Hooray, it reminded me that every word doesn’t have to be sung like a concert. Also, physically lighten up. Lighten up and be medicated. That is the best advice I ever got.

Incredibly talented Musical Director Tom Bonezzi leads a fine orchestra to bring this tale to light. Sometimes muffled by Sound balance issues, he leads a fierce group of young musicians.

Katie Peyton Costumed to perfection. Allen Redmon provided the Sound Design.


I say Bravo for CAMEO for tackling this immense musical journey. I feel it takes your theatre to another level, and for that, you should be very, very proud. Mr. McCord should be proud as well. For one so young to tackle this beast. But also, remember, to push your actors as far as you possibly can. When you get to the edge of a cliff, it is the edge, but when you look up, the view is amazing.

CSA – Kevin

Photo Credit: Steve Sedlock

July 14 – July 30

8pm Thursday (7/27 only)
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays

4pm Sunday

$15-$20 General Admission

(330) 636-3400

Order Tickets Online
The Medina Performing Arts Center
851 Weymouth Road
Medina, OH 44256





8 Students Selected from Over 800 Candidates


CLEVELAND, OH (July 18, 2017) – The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program today announced its Class of 2020.  The four women and four men represent eight different undergraduate programs from across the United States.

“After seeing a record number of candidates in New York, Chicago and here in Cleveland with outreaches in Atlanta and Washington, DC,” says Donald Carrier, Interim Director of CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program, “we are thrilled to welcome a new group of talented, dynamic, curious, and collaborative young artists who will grow and thrive here in Cleveland, supported by our two great institutions: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House.”

Both institutions are excited to welcome this dynamic new class that will continue the strong tradition the program has established over the course of the past 22 years.

”On the audition tour, we met incredible young artists and are thrilled to be welcoming a unique and promising class,” says Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Laura Kepley, “I am confident that with the excellent training in the CWRU/CPH studios and by working side-by-side with top professionals on Cleveland Play House mainstage productions these talented young theatre makers will make a significant impact on the future of American theatre.” 


Jerrold Scott, ChairCWRU Department of Theatersays, “As the Department of Theater at CWRU enters our third decade in partnership with Cleveland Play House, it’s very exciting to welcome the Class of 2020.  Every class brings new insights and opportunities, and we look forward to working with them to develop their skills and artistry as the new generation of actors we have helped to nurture.


CWRU/CPH MFA Program Class of 2020

Alex Brightwell is beyond thrilled to be joining the CWRU/CPH MFA program!  He was born in West Virginia and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina.  In 2012 Alex graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program and has since continued living and working in Minneapolis, appearing onstage at Yellow Tree Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre, Public Theater of Minnesota, the Strange Capers, and the Guthrie.  Alex looks forward to life and theater in Cleveland, and could use suggestions of local bookstores and coffee shops to fulfill his penchant for reading and caffeine.


Conor Canning was born and raised in Alford, Massachusetts and is a 2016 graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in Political Economy with a minor in Theater and Performance Studies. While at Georgetown, Conor acted with the University’s Theater Department as well the student-run organizations, Nomadic Theatre and the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society. Notable past roles include Joe Cooper in Killer Joe, George Deever in All my Sons, Stacey Kinsella in The Metal Children, Eduardo in Happy and Angelo in Measure for Measure. Outside of acting his interests include reading, playing soccer and supporting the New York Mets and Liverpool Football Club. Conor is very excited to move to Cleveland and begin the next phase of his education.


Kacey Connolly originally hails from Indiana but has spent the past 6 years living in New York City. She received a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, with a concentration in The Actor’s Artistic Agency within the Creative Process. She explored the question of what it means to be an artist in a collaborative paradigm where one does not also act as the curator. When she isn’t pondering such lofty questions, Kasey can be found oogling every dog she passes on the street, trying to incorporate tap dance into Shakespeare plays, and working on her yoga practice.


Comfort Dolo was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and raised in friendly Fridley, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN back in 2014 with double majors in Honors Theatre and Communication Studies. Since graduating, she has been performing around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Favorite credits include: To Kill a Mockingbird (The Guthrie Theatre), TOUCH, a remake of the 1984 Emmy Award winning film project (Illusion Theatre), and various commercials ranging from the Minnesota State Lottery to hand modeling for KeyBank.  She is a big fan of theatre for social justice, the German language, and gummy bears!


Gregory James is a Buffalo, NY native with a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University at Buffalo.  He is overjoyed to be joining CWRU and Cleveland Play House for his graduate studies. Gregory has been living in Los Angeles for the past six years where he has worked as an actor, writer, and director. Recent credits include John in Summer and Smoke, and Jack in Hound of the Baskervilles with the Actors Co-Op Hollywood. Gregory was also a resident member of the Whitefire Theatre for two years appearing in numerous Seasonal and Hollywood Shorts.

Abdul Seidu is very excited to join the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House Family. Abdul grew up in the Cleveland area and is glad to represent his home town. He received his undergraduate degree at Kent State University where he also competed in Track & Field. Abdul realized his passion for acting in his teenage years and is thrilled to be accepted at such a prestigious MFA program. He is ready to pursue all the teachings that the program has to offer and is humbled to be an ambassador of the CWRU/CPH name.

Courtney Stennett is a native of Eagle, Idaho. She graduated with her BFA in Performance from Baylor University and has since been living and working in Chicago. Favorite recent professional credits include Agnes of God with Aleatoric Theatre, A Little Princess with Windy City Music Theatre, and Seminar with Spartan Theatre Company. Courtney enjoys membership in the League of Chicago Theatres Young Professionals Circle and is on the board of Voice of the City Theatre which is an arts alliance group connecting the community to theatre. She could not be more thrilled for this next adventure in Cleveland!


Elisabeth Yancey hails from eight different states reaching all four corners of the U.S. She is a recent graduate of Wellesley College where she received a B.A. in Theatre Studies. She holds a certificate of classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and a certificate of literature from Cambridge University. Elisabeth has worked with Wellesley Repertory Theatre, ACT 1 Nashville, and the Wellesley Shakespeare Society. She is currently embarking on an adventure to Bali where she will receive her 200-hour yoga teaching certification. Elisabeth is thrilled to join the CWRU/CPH class of 2020!



Since 1996, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with Cleveland Play House. Every two years, eight actors are chosen from the hundreds who audition nationwide to join this rigorous three-year conservatory program. The CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program admits committed and bold young artists who possess a love of language, empathy for the human experience, a vivid imagination and the desire to develop the necessary physical and vocal skills for a successful and sustained career in the ever-evolving performing arts scene. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff. Program graduates include Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Buried Child), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once – Tony Award Nomination), AJ Cedeno (Z: The Beginning of Everything), Tom Degnan (Limitless), and Stephen Michael Spencer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).



Recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. It 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 CPH productions. Today, Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

Kristin Netzband
Audience Development & Public Relations Manager
Cleveland Play House
1901 E. 13th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH  44114

ENSEMBLE THEATRE prepares to open its 38th consecutive Season! -WE THE PEOPLE- FEAR NOT!


By Lisa Kron (Writer of the books and lyrics for FUN HOME).  
Directed by Celeste Cosentino
September 29th-October22nd
MainStage Theater

“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. 

Featuring Lara Mielcarek*as Lisa (*Courtesy of Actors’ Equity Assocication).

“Hilarious, delightful and joyously alive!” -Michael Kuchwara, A.P.

“Wise and funny and utterly winning! Truly a beautiful play.” -Michael Feingold, Village Voice
A drama of depth, infectious humor and great humanity. Riveting.” -Michael Sommers, The Star-Ledger
“Sly, good-natured and brutally deceptive, The revelations are both graceful and awkward, subtle and obvious, elegant and confusing. Like life.” -Linda Winer, Newsday

by Eugene O’Neill 
Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz

November 17th-December 10th
MainStage Theater

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.

“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)

By Rick Cummins & John Scoullar
from the book by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Directed by Brittni Shambaugh Addison
December 1st-December 17th
PlayGround Theater

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. 

“A multilayered tale that awakens the child tucked inside all of us.” -Cape Cod Times
“There aren’t many plays in New York or anywhere else that can hold the attention of both children and serious adult theatre patrons the way this play can.” -Baton Rouge Advocate

by Tony Kushner 
Directed by Celeste Cosentino
January 5th-January 28th
MainStage Theater

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.

*Winner of The Pulitzer Prize in Drama 
“A victory for theater, for the transforming power of the imagination to turn devastation into beauty. ANGELS IN AMERICA is a monumental achievement, the work of a defiantly theatrical imagination that has no parallel on television or in the movies..” -Jeremy Gerard, Variety
“Something rare, dangerous and harrowing … a roman candle hurled into a drawing room …” -Nicholas de Jongh, London Evening Standard

“An epic theatrical fever dream …” -Variety

by Charles Smith
Directed by Ian Wolfgang Hinz
February 9th-February 25th.
MainStage Theater
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.”
Titles of WORLD PREMIERE(s) TBA. March 2018.  
Stay Tuned for more information on a revamping of our new play initiatives!  
by Tony Kushner 
Directed by Celeste Cosentino
April 27th-May 20th
MainStage Theater

In the second part, the plague of AIDS worsens, relationships fall apart as new ones form, and unexpected friendships take form. 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.

“A vast miraculous play … provocative, witty and deeply upsetting … a searching and radical rethinking of American political drama … PERESTROIKA is not only a stunning resolution of the rending human drama of MILLENIUM APPROACHES, but also a true millennial work of art, uplifting, hugely comic and pantheistically religious in a very American style.” -Frank Rich, New York Times

“Playful and profound, extravagantly theatrical and deeply spiritual, witty and compassionate, furious and incredibly smart … It’s impossible to imagine anyone captivated by the beginning not wanting — needing — to go back for the end.” -Linda Winer, Newsday
MainStage shows tickets are $12-$25
TheatreCLE or PlayGround Theatre shows are $15 (unless otherwise posted).  
Single tickets will go on sale soon!
​Please Note that shows, dates and times are subject to change! Always check our website for updates!  
SEASON PASSES are on sale now!  $65-$185. 
Ensemble Season passes are FLEX TICKET PACKAGES that can be used in any combination for any production!  
Visit our website for more information! Or Click Below!
Buy a season pass by August 31st and we will throw-in TWO FREE TICKETS for you to give to a friend who is new to Ensemble! 
Introduce new audiences to Ensemble Theatre!  
CLICK HERE to buy a season pass or visit to purchase online! 
Call 216-321-2930 or email for more information! 
Ensemble Theatre is located at 2843 Washington Blvd. Cleveland Hts., OH 44118.  In the heart of Coventry Village! 
We look forward to seeing you in our audience!  
Some exciting news for the Playground Theater!
Ensemble is proud to support the next generation of Cleveland Theater artists by welcoming Cleveland’s newest theatre company, Shahrazad Theatre Company (STC), to the PlayGround theater. STC’s inaugural production will be a new adaptation of The Caucasian Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht, running October 27th through November 12th
A divided post-war village shares the story of Grusha, a woman who is given an abandoned and noble child whom she chooses to raise. Suddenly the child’s mother decides she wants him back and Grusha is put on trial. In this “golden age”, law and justice will be tested, what might it take to bend it?
STC is co-Founded by Ensemble staff members Kyle Huff, Kayla Davis, and August Scarpelli. Ensemble will serve as fiscal agent and mentor organization for STC’s inaugural season in residence. For more info, look for their Facebook and Twitter pages, coming soon!  

2843 Washington Blvd.  Cleveland Hts., OH 441118

BOOM goes Cleveland Public Theatre’s Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan

Cleveland, OH—Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is proud to announce that Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, welcomes Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director to its prestigious board of directors. Raymond joins five other new members from around the country including Will Davis, artistic director, American Theatre Company, Chicago, IL; Jamie Herlich, director of development, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA; Benita Hofstetter Koman, executive director, The Roy Cockrum Foundation, Reedville, VA; Johamy Morales, education director, Creede Repertory Theatre, Creede, CO; and Randy Reyes, artistic director, Mu Performing Arts, St. Paul, MN.

“I have a deep respect for the individuals on the TCG Board. They have a keen sense of mission and understand the possibilities within theatre, and they’re also smart business people who are true leaders in the field. I was immensely honored to be selected to serve alongside them—leaders who are stewarding the strategy for tomorrow’s theatre. But it’s also about CPT and the recognition of what this organization has accomplished in the last decade,” says Raymond Bobgan.

“Each new class of TCG board members brings a wealth of personal and professional perspective to help manifest our vision of a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “We are committed to building a diverse board, considering a range of factors, including geography, organization size, personal identity, expertise, and job function within the field.”

“Now more than ever TCG is essential for the American theatre,” said Kevin Moriarty, board chair, TCG. “With TCG’s support and inspiration, theatre-makers are coming together to create a culture of greater equity, diversity, and inclusion, advocate for the centrality of theatre in our national dialogue, and cultivate resources to secure a sustainable future for theatres throughout our country and beyond. I’m proud to join with the staff and board of TCG to fulfill its ambitious plans for the future.”

Kevin Moriarty , artistic director of Dallas Theater Center, Dallas, TX, returns for his second term as board chair, joining a slate of officers that includes: vice chair Kathryn M. Lipuma, executive director, Writers Theatre, Glencoe, IL; secretary Larissa FastHorse , playwright and choreographer, Santa Monica, CA; and treasurer Tim Jennings, executive director; The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada. Rebecca Hopkins, managing director of Florida Studio Theatre, returns as the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) liaison.

Returning board members include: Christopher Acebo, associate artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare

Festival, Ashland, OR; Sarah Bellamy, co-artistic director, Penumbra Theatre Company, St Paul, MN; Joseph P. Benincasa, president and CEO, The Actors Fund, New York, NY; Kristen Coury, founder and producing artistic director, Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples, FL; Joshua Dachs, president, Fisher Dachs Associates Theatre Planning and Design, New York, NY; Teresa Eyring, executive director, Theatre Communications Group, New York, NY; Derek Goldman, co-founding director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; Director, Playwright/Adapter, Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; Susan Hilferty, costume and set designer, New York, NY; Marshall Jones III , producing artistic director, Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick, NJ; Max Leventhal , owner’s representative, The Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, GA; Eileen J. Morris , artistic director, The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX; Lisa Portes, director and educator, Chicago, IL; Meghan Pressman, managing director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC; Heather Randall, actor, producer, trustee at New York Theatre Workshop, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA; Francine T. Reynolds, artistic director; New Stage Theatre, Jackson, MS; Ellen Richard, executive director, Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA; Blake Robison, artistic director; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH; Eric Rosen, artistic director, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, MO; Michael S. Rosenberg, managing director, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA; Nikkole Salter, actress, playwright, educator, and arts advocate, Bloomfield, NJ; Tim Sanford, artistic director, Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY; John Douglas Thompson, actor, New York, NY; Robert P. Warren, president, The William & Eva Fox Foundation, Bethesda, MD; and Shana C. Waterman, head of television, Universal based, One Race TV, Los Angeles, CA.

Members of TCG’s board serve three two-year terms. Board officers serve terms of one-year, concurrent with the fiscal year of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Learn more about the TCG Board here:


For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre.


Raymond Bobgan specializes in working through an ensemble process to create new performances that are bold, multilayered and highly physical. Raymond’s work has been seen in Romania, Brazil, Denmark, Serbia, Turkey, The United Kingdom and Canada. Under his leadership, CPT has eliminated significant debt, run consistent operating surpluses and completed a $7 million capital campaign. This financial advancement was a result of mission-focused programming including a strong emphasis on supporting new works and local artists, a bold aesthetic vision and CPT’s educational and engagement programs. For CPT, Raymond initiated the STEP program, a job training theatre program for low-income teens, Y-Haven Theatre Project which engages homeless men in writing and performing theatre, and Teatro Publico de Cleveland. Raymond was the first theatre artist to receive a Cleveland Arts Prize in 2014. In 2015 Raymond received Equality Ohio’s Ally Award and more recently received the 2017 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He currently serves on the National New Play Network Executive Committee and The Gordon Square Arts District Cleveland Improvement Corporation Board.

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