JOY reflects on the power of maintaining hope and faith through tragedy. Photo provided

CINCINNATI—Dayton native Daniel Beaty’s inspiring play MR. JOY will run from Sept. 23 through Oct. 22 at the Shelterhouse Theatre. In this contemporary drama, a single actress plays all nine characters, whose stories remind us of the power of community.

MR. JOY tells the compelling tale of a Chinese shoe-shop owner in Harlem who falls victim to a sudden and violent attack. Though the audience never meets Mr. Joy, they meet nine neighbors and area residents affected by the tragedy.

Beaty drew inspiration for the stage drama from real-life experiences. While living in New York as a struggling actor and artist, he used to take his shoes to a Chinese-American shop owner for repairs.

Beaty sets out to answer that question through the lens of characters who have different worldviews and personal experiences. In this way, Beaty invites the audience to explore the idea of how individuals are connected in the face of social and cultural forces.

All nine characters are portrayed poignantly by Debra Walton, whom audiences will remember from Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park productions Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Beehive. Skillfully and stirringly, Walton portrays adolescents and adults who span the spectrum of age, gender, ethnicity, class and identity.


Prices for MR. JOY start at $35. Student discounts are available. Visiting the Playhouse website at for more information.


On October 9, Beaty will also host Creating Art for Social Change, a free event where local artistic organizations and performing and visual artists as they showcase their work created to engage others in social issues. Call 513-421-3888 to reserve your spot.

On October 14, True Theatre of Cincinnati will host an oral storytelling workshop in conjunction with the Playhouse to help you find your story and share it with others. To register, call the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888. If you’d like your story to be considered for critique, be sure to be one of the first 10 people to register.

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