By Nikkole Salter.
Directed by Beth Wood.

October 27, 2022 - November 12, 2022

James Levin Theatre. 7:30pm, Thu/Fri/Sat and 2:00pm Sun, Oct 30 and Sun, Nov 6., Preview Oct 27. Opening Night is Oct 28.

EVERY TICKET is “Choose What You Pay” and can be purchased online, over the phone, and at the Box Office.

Click here for COVID-19 Safety Protocols.

Can a society legislate a change of heart? In Breakout Session (or Frogorse), a corporate training company is vying for a city contract for de-escalation and anti-bias training with Cleveland’s Police Department. When the white facilitator, presenting to Black and Latino police officers, tosses the approved curriculum out the window to ignite change her way, the session spirals in unexpected ways. Can a mantis shrimp and a crocodile teach us about building trust and the strength of vulnerability? Inspired by Cleveland’s Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice, Breakout Session (or Frogorse) was commissioned by Cleveland Public Theatre with funding from the National New Play Network (NNPN). Continued World Premiere.

Featuring: Joey Florez Jr., Joshua McElroy, Troian Soo, Tina D. Stump*, Nicole Sumlin*, Beth Wood

*Actor appears courtesy of Actors' Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

The James Levin Theatre is ADA-compliant featuring a patron elevator and an all-gender, wheelchair accessible restroom.

Breakout Session (or Frogorse) includes depictions and/or discussions of racism, bias, and violence. This production features characters who are Cleveland Division of Police officers wearing fake uniforms that include fake firearms. For details or additional content, please contact the Box Office at 216.631.2727 x501 or by emailing

The Creative Production Team Includes:

Producer - Raymond Bobgan
Director and Co - Video Designer - Beth Wood
Associate Director - Sheffia Randall
Scenic, Lighting, Co-Video Designer - Benjamin Gantose
Costume Design - Inda Blatch-Geib
Technical Director - Kirsten Nicole (Kix)
Composer & Sound Designer - Obediya Jones-Darrell
Stage Manager - Julie C. Okuley
Line Producer/COVID Safety Manager - Paige Conway
Assistant Stage Manager & Sound Operator - Solomon Dooley
Wardrobe Associate - Brielle McGrew

Remarkable Rating:


Nov. 10th – Join us  for a FREE post-show talk following the Thursday, November 10, 7:30pm performance of Breakout Session (Or Frogorse) as we explore the topic: “Why is Cleveland the Least Livable City for Black Women?” In this special talkback, patrons will be able to engage with Chinenye Nkemere and Bethany Studenic, founders of the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion firm Enlightened Solutions , as they lead this discussion. We’ll also learn about Project Noir, a podcast developed by the firm that features interviews with 450+ Black Women in Northeast Ohio about their experiences in the workplace, navigating healthcare systems, and within educational institutions.

Nov. 11th – Join us for a FREE post-show talk on Friday, November 11, following the 7:30pm performance as we explore the topic “Does EDI Training Work?” The talk will feature Evelyn Burnett, Co-Founder and CEO of Third Space Lab, and Cast Member Nicole Sumlin.

“Cleveland has a history of social change and promoting civil rights, yet we continue to face ongoing struggles with racism and inequity. Cleveland is a city that cares deeply about community, and we are experiencing a massive renaissance. However, this rebirth is happening in the midst of an awakening to the injustices that must still be rectified—an awakening rippling across our entire nation.”

-Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director

About The Playwright: Nikkole Salter

Nikkole Salter has written 8 full-length plays, has been commissioned by 6 institutions to create full-length works, has been produced on 3 continents in 5 countries, and has been published in 12 international publications. Her work has appeared in over 20 Off-Broadway, regional, and international theatres. The National Black Theatre production of her play Carnaval was nominated for 7 AUDELCO awards and won Best Ensemble Performance. Nikkole is a 2014 MAP Fund Grant recipient, a Eugene O’Neill Theater Center National Playwrights Conference semi-finalist, USA Fellowship nominee, and a two-time Playwrights of New York Fellowship nominee. In addition to Breakout Session, she is currently working on commissions from Woolly Mammoth, a musical with Neworks Productions, and is in development to write the television adaptation of Claude Brown’s New York Times Bestselling novel, Manchild in the Promised Land.

About the director: Beth wood

Beth Wood is a director of adventurous scripted work. She has been honored as a director of superior achievement by the Cleveland Critics Circle in 2016, 2015, and 2013, and has directed seven world premieres and eight regional premieres during her twelve-year tenure at CPT. In 2016, she was awarded a TCG Leadership U[niversity] Continuing Ed grant to research long-term new play development models across the country. She has been working with Nikkole Salter to develop Nikkole’s new play Breakout Session (or Frogorse) since 2017, a CPT commission supported by the National New Play Network, and directed the world premiere in February 2020 – which was shuttered in March 2020 due to Covid-19. Her CPT directing credits include Gloria by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Lines in the Dust by Nikkole Salter, the NNPN Rolling World Premiere of in a word by Lauren Yee, There Is a Happiness That Morning Is by Mickle Maher, Barbecue and Antebellum by Robert O’Hara, FEVER/DREAM by Sheila Callaghan, Why Torture is Wrong and the People Who Love Them by Christopher Durang, and BOOM by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb.

“Nikkole’s voice is both bold and subtle, laying out powerful truths and then layering in unexpected discoveries as her work unfolds. She guides audiences down the path of self- and social critique, until even long-held beliefs and biases begin unraveling.”

-Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director

About The Play

In 2017, CPT and nationally-renowned and award-winning playwright Nikkole Salter were awarded a National New Play Network (NNPN) Commission supporting the development of Breakout Session (or Frogorse), a new play inspired by Cleveland’s Consent Decree with the U.S. Department of Justice.

Breakout Session (or Frogorse) is born from an extensive research and interview process. Before setting pen to paper, Nikkole came to Cleveland to meet with community members, individuals working tirelessly in social justice, and the Policing Commission. She spent an hour and a half in conversation with the Mayor and Chief of Police.

Surprisingly, what Nikkole created is not a docu-drama, but rather an insightful (and, at times, funny) play with deeply human characters. Oh, yeah… and there’s also a bat, canary, crocodile, catfish, and a mantis shrimp.

To believe another’s perspective, there must be trust. Breakout Session (or Frogorse) asks how we can build two-way bridges of trust between us amidst systemic racism.

The meaning behind “Frogorse”

Breakout Session (or Frogorse) is about trusting the validity of perceptions and experiences that may be different from our own. In this popular optical illusion, do you see a frog or a horse? Both images appear, but to see the other, you must change your perspective.

Meet the mantis shrimp! The crustacean with remarkable eyes…

One of the characters you’ll meet in Breakout Session (or Frogorse) is a mantis shrimp. Mantis shrimp have the most complex visual system ever discovered and can perceive colors human eyes are not able to see.

Humans may not be able to see the 9-13 additional colors a mantis shrimp detects, but that doesn’t mean those colors don’t exist. When someone else’s experience differs from ours, how can we come to trust that their perspective is valid?

Click here to learn more about the mantis shrimp.

About National New Play Network (NNPN)

National New Play Network (NNPN) is an alliance of professional theatres that collaborate in innovative ways to develop, produce, and extend the life of new plays. Founded in 1998, NNPN continues to revolutionize the new play landscape through the strength of its member theatres, collaborative efforts, and its nationally recognized programs and services for artists and organizations. Click here for more information.

About NNPN Collaboration Fund

In 2010, in an effort to encourage innovative, pioneering, project-based partnerships among theatres in support of playwrights and new plays, NNPN established its Collaboration Fund. The Collaboration Fund supports innovative partnerships that explore the many different ways theatre companies can work, both together and with playwrights, on the development of a new work. Cleveland Public Theatre and Nikkole Salter were awarded a Theatre-to-Playwright Collaboration which encourages creative partnerships between Member Theatres that pilot new, unexpected projects, stepping outside their normal budgetary confines to work together to develop new plays. Click here to learn more.

About NNPN Commission

Every year, NNPN awards at least two commissions to playwrights who work with Core Member Theatres to develop new work. More than 30 commissions have been awarded to artists all over the country through three programs: the NNPN Annual Commission, the Smith Prize for Political Theatre, and Full Stage USA. Click here to learn more.

Nicole Sumlin was recently named one of Cleveland’s best actresses!

Click here to see more of Cleveland’s best.

This project is supported in part by an award from the national endowment for the arts