Cleveland Public Theatre’s 2017/2018 Season

Cleveland Public Theatre Announces the 2017/2018 Season 


“The playwrights of the 2017/2018 season are bold leaders of thought and action. They are taking a stand. From the surreal vision of Lisa Langford wrestling with race, gender and how we grapple with our own desires and sense of self, to Leila Buck’s groundbreaking, hilarious and heart-wrenching exploration of immigration and prejudice, to Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm’s look at one family’s struggle to escape the slavery of slavery’s past, these are plays that stretch the imagination as they delight and challenge. And CPT is following their lead and taking a stand, once again programming a season with a majority of playwrights of color—almost unheard of among non-culturally specific theatres—women playwrights and works that expand the vision of what theatre can be.”

-Raymond Bobgan, CPT EXECUTIVE Artistic Director

Explore CPT’s 2017/2018 Season in this article by Theatre Communications Group.

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WKYC Interviews Raymond Bobgan in Feature About the 2017/2018 Season

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“We need these stories, and we especially need them right now so that we can continue to build consciousness and compassion in our community… Connecting to each other in new ways is the whole purpose of theatre, so that we can connect to each other and understand ourselves better.”

-Raymond Bobgan, CPT’s Executive Artistic Director

Cleveland Public Theatre’s 2017/2018 SEason


One Night Only. Saturday, September 9, 2017; Cleveland Public Theatre, various locations; 7:00pm; Tickets $165 ($95 is tax-deductible).

Cleveland Public Theatre’s annual fundraising extravaganza transforms the CPT campus into a labyrinth of theatre, dance, visual and performance art in every corner. Ticket is all-inclusive with fabulous local food and complimentary drinks served all night long. A feast for the eyes, mind, appetite and imagination—proceeds benefit CPT’s groundbreaking artistic work and life-changing education programs.


Previews October 5 – 7 & 12. Runs October 13 – 28. Gordon Square Theatre.
Written by Eric Coble, 2016/2017 Nord Family Foundation Catapult Fellow. Directed by Craig J. George.

Andrew is throwing a party for old Grandad Claxon’s 150th birthday as a last-ditch effort to finally get the higher-ups to notice him. His plan for promotion might just work since Grandad is the company’s founding father. If only Andrew’s wife would stop losing jobs and their daughter would stop blogging, while neighbors desperately flood into their home because of nearby rampages and plumbing explosions. And did we mention the Guatemalan Flu that makes house pets spontaneously combust? The Family Claxon is an insane romp into the absurdity of life in our communally duct-taped home. World Premiere.

Obras en Evolución! A Festival of New Play Readings

Runs October 5 – 7. James Levin Theatre.
Created and directed by Teatro Público de Cleveland Ensemble Members.

Be a part of the development of new material and future Teatro Público de Cleveland work! / ¡Sé parte de el proceso de selección de obras y posibles futuros proyectos del Teatro Público de Cleveland!

Now in its fifth year, Teatro Público de Cleveland launches a workshop series of new scripts and scenes created by local Latino artists. This series will feature 10-minute plays and showings of material in a staged reading format. Plays performed in English and Spanish, with English supertitles. New Play Development.


Previews October 26 – 28 & November 2. Runs November 3 – 18. James Levin Theatre.
Written by Lisa Langford. Directed by Jimmie Woody.

Set in Cleveland, The Art of Longing follows the lives of six “third-shift” people—those who guard and take care while the rest of us sleep. The characters’ secrets mask deeply held yearnings that manifest in fantastical abilities and anatomical switch-ups. Race, gender and the nature of art are at the focal point of this theatrical experiment. The Art of Longing fashions a world where dreams and reality interpenetrate each other. World Premiere.


Runs November 2 – 5, Gordon Square Theatre.
Created and performed by the men of Y-Haven, a branch of the Greater Cleveland YMCA. Directed by Adam Seeholzer. The one weekend only production at CPT is followed by a community-wide tour.

The Y-Haven Theatre Project is a nineteen-year partnership between Cleveland Public Theatre and Y-Haven, a transitional housing facility for homeless men recovering from substance abuse and mental health challenges. Since 1998, CPT and Y-Haven, a branch of the Greater Cleveland YMCA, have annually collaborated to create an original theatre production, performed by the men and based on their life stories.

The LouSh Sisters get hard for the holidays

(yippie-kai-yay mother-loushers)

Previews November 24 – 25 & 30. Runs December 1 – 23. Gordon Square Theatre.
Created by Liz Conway, Michael Seevers, Jr. and Beth Wood. Directed by Beth Wood.

This holiday season, the infamous sisters are BACK! This time, taking matters into their own hands… wink wink. Join Holly and Jolly Loush (aka The Loush Sisters) for their deeply anticipated return to the stage in a bawdy, boozy, over-the-top holiday cabaret. Fueled by song, sidekicks and a hefty dose of “holiday cheer,” The Loush Sisters battle villains and attempt to avert disaster in this radical satirization of America’s favorite holiday classic… Die Hard. World Premiere.


January 18 – 20. CPT Campus, multiple venues.
Featuring work by various Northeast Ohio artists.

Grab a pass and step into a festival-like atmosphere of raw art-in-progress. Entry Point is a platform for artists to develop their work in the early stages of creation, then share that work with the public in a festival forum. Entry Point activities include staged readings, works-in-progress, open rehearsals, guest panel discussions and facilitated feedback between artists and audience after every showing. New Play Development.


Runs January 24 – 28. Gordon Square Theatre.
Conceived and led by Michael Rohd. Created by Sojourn Theatre and collaborators.
Presenting Sponsor: United Way of Greater Cleveland.

How do we tackle poverty in America? In our community? Over the course of 90 minutes, audiences listen, explore and ultimately decide how to spend $1,000 cash from that evening’s box office sales. An experiment in dialogue, collective decision-making, shared responsibility and the potential for art to transform our world, How to End Poverty in 90 Minutes (with 119 people you may or may not know) is spectacularly eclectic in form, often delightful and occasionally uncomfortable. The production engages audiences alongside community experts, blending adventurous theatricality with real time, task-based connective encounters amidst strangers. Regional Premiere.


Previews February 8 – 10 & 15. Runs February 16 – March 3. James Levin Theatre.
Written by Leila Buck. Directed and developed by Tamilla Woodard. Developed in collaboration with Varín Ayala, Monte Bezell, Osh Ghanimah, Ahmad Maksoud, Jens Rasmussen, Imran Sheikh, Andrew Aaron Valdez, Tamilla Woodard and Rasha Zamamiri.

You are invited into the live studio audience of American Dreams, where you will decide which of three contestants will receive the ultimate prize: citizenship in “the greatest nation on earth.” Weaving playful audience engagement with up-to-the-moment questions about immigration and more, this participatory performance explores how we navigate between fear, security and freedom; who and what we choose to believe—and how those choices come to shape who we are. World Premiere.


Previews February 22. Runs February 23 – March 10. Gordon Square Theatre.
A play by Caridad Svich. Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez.

Based on the award-winning, nationally best-selling novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, this true life story reveals the beauty of courage, sisterhood, and community resistance to injustice. In the dictatorial regime of General Trujillo in the Dominican Republic, four sisters—code-named “the butterflies”—rise up against all odds, sacrificing everything to bring equality and democracy to their country. Regional Premiere.
Regional Premiere.


Previews March 29 – 31 & April 5. Runs April 6 – 21. Gordon Square Theatre.
Written by Tearrance Arvelle Chisholm. Directed by Jennifer L. Nelson.

Lynchburg, Virginia. The former site of a thriving cotton mill is now an impoverished neighborhood. Deeply affected by recent killings of young black men like himself, Ruffrino, a 14-year-old “militant,” incites riots at school and online. More and more at odds with his mother and grandfather, the boy’s anger grows beyond containment while the family home literally sinks into the cotton field and no one seems to notice but him. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere.

Test Flight

March 22 – April 21. James Levin Theatre.
A 5-week play development series featuring works-in-progress by local and national artists.

Test Flight is a multi-week series that showcases new work on its way to full production. Test Flight provides both local and national/international artists with the keys to the theatre and the opportunity to co-produce original works-in-progress. The series encourages risk-taking and an entrepreneurial spirit towards creating new work while offering artists a structured support system, activating an art-focused environment. New Play Development.


May 5, 6:30 – 10:00pm. St. John’s Episcopal Church in Ohio City.
A Beacon of Freedom. A Convening of Community. A Celebration of Hope.

Now in its fifth year, Station Hope is a jubilant community event that celebrates Cleveland’s social justice history and explores contemporary struggles for freedom and equity. Engage with over 250 artists as they envision, interrogate and seek out hope on the grounds of Cleveland’s first authenticated Underground Railroad site, St. John’s Episcopal Church. Audiences explore the historic properties while viewing works of theatre, music, storytelling and dance inspired by the most important issues of our time.

danceworks 2018

Runs May 17 – June 16. Gordon Square Theatre.
Featuring Northeast Ohio choreographers.

Every year, Cleveland Public Theatre welcomes Northeast Ohio’s most adventurous contemporary dance companies to the Gordon Square Theatre stage for five weeks of single and double bill performances.


In addition to the Entry Point festival and Test Flight series detailed above, an ongoing fellowship program throughout the 2017/2018 season, Catapult, is intended to help artists move their projects to a “production ready” stage through multiple readings, rehearsal time at CPT, workshop productions and/or invitational showings. Catapult playwrights and creators will be awarded a Nord Family Foundation Fellowship and play an active role in the life of the theatre while they are developing their work.

And, as always, The Dark Room open mic for playwrights continues the second Tuesday of every month (7:30pm at The Church at CPT), pairing playwrights with actors to perform (mostly) cold readings of scripts-in-progress in a fun, low-risk atmosphere.


Cleveland Public Theatre’s box office is located at 6415 Detroit Ave., Cleveland, OH 44102, and unless otherwise noted, all performances take place in venues inside the CPT campus.

Cleveland Public Theatre’s campus is comprised of two primary venues—the historic Gordon Square Theatre and James Levin Theatre. Both mainstage venues are fully ADA compliant, featuring a newly installed patron elevator and the addition of all gender, wheelchair accessible restrooms.

In addition to CPT’s primary spaces, the campus includes three auxiliary venues, the Storefront Studio, The Church at CPT and Parish Hall, the latter two of which are located on the east end of the CPT campus. Due to the historic nature of The Church and Parish Hall, these venues are not ADA compliant at this time.

Unless otherwise noted, shows at the Gordon Square Theatre begin at 7:30 pm and shows at the James Levin Theatre and other venues begin at 7 pm. For special venues and event times, check the website for details.

Single tickets are $12 – 30, with premium pricing for CPT’s holiday show and other special events. Student and senior discounts are available for Friday and Saturday nights. For more information, go to or call the CPT box office at 216-631-2727 ext. 501.


Cleveland Public Theatre’s audience engagement initiatives seek to provide opportunities for our patrons to engage in meaningful pre- and post-show activities, towards enriching the audience experience and brokering connections between audience members and the art presented on our stages.

FREE BEER FRIDAY – Every Friday at CPT is “Free Beer Friday.” Audience members are invited to mingle with the artists after the show and discuss the performance in a lively, social atmosphere—your drinks are on CPT.

AUDIENCE INTERACTION – At CPT we believe everyone is an artist, and our audience interaction installations invite audience members to engage with ideas surrounding the show by participating in hands-on lobby installations that visually and powerfully transform the space for select shows.

POST-SHOW ENGAGEMENT – Curated panels, artist talks and other post-show enrichment invites CPT audience members to deepen their experience.