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(Cincinnati, OH) Blues and Broadway take the stage as Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati presents the regional premiere of Larry Parr’s His Eye is on the Sparrow, the powerful, heartbreaking, and uplifting account of the iconic Ethel Waters, who overcame a spirit-breaking childhood and racial injustice to become a legendary jazz and blues singer, Broadway pioneer, and Oscar-nominated actress. This one-woman musical biography recounts the life behind this leading lady and features some of Waters’s most famous musical numbers. Playing April 24-May 19, 2018. Directed by D. Lynn Meyers. Production Sponsor is John Goering.

Born in 1896 into abject poverty, Ethel Waters became a Vaudeville success and a recording sensation while crossing racial barriers to emerge as a Broadway and Hollywood star. However, a reputation for being difficult and her own distrust of those who might employ her or love her—largely a response to the unspeakable horrors of Jim Crow America—caused her to lose everything and become a recluse, until she found new strength from a most unlikely source.

His Eye is on the Sparrow is one of those titles that captivated me,” explains Producing Artistic Director D. Lynn Meyers. “This play not only showcases the remarkable music of Ethel Waters, but is also a great story about the transformative power we have inside ourselves to change. It seemed like a perfect fit.”

About the Cast

Torie Wiggins (Ethel Waters) holds a BFA in Dramatic Performance from University of Cincinnati’s
College-Conservatory of Music and has been performing and teaching professionally for more than 15 years. She co-adapted and performed a one-woman show, Your Negro Tour Guide, at various venues in Cincinnati and across the country. She appeared in All My Children, as well as numerous voice-overs for national TV and radio commercials for H&M, Home Depot, and Burger King, among others. Some of her film credits include A Christmas Melody, The Old Man and the Gun, The Public, and Extremely Wicked, Evil and Vile. Her regional credits include Black Pearl Sings!The Mountaintop, and Cinderella, Ensemble Theatre; CollapseAfghan Women Writer’s Project, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, Know Theatre; Twilight: Los Angeles 1992, Diogenes Theatre Co. and Miami University; To Kill a Mockingbird, Cincinnati Shakespeare Company and Playhouse in the Park; and Mame and Crowns, Human Race Theatre.

Scot Woolley (Music Director/Pianist) has appeared at ETC in 33 Variations, Grey Gardens, and Souvenir (also at Vienna’s English Theatre). He created Broadway arrangements for State Fair, and Off-Broadway vocal arrangements for Tapestry, the Music of Carole King. Other ETC credits include 25 The Musical, Cinderella, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Mack and Mabel, and Nite Club Confidential. He also composed the theme for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float in 2004. Playhouse credits include conducting for Rocky Horror, Candide, Carnival, as well as performing in the world premiere of Ace. National tours include Crazy for You, Tommy, and The Will Rogers Follies. Mr. Woolley’s orchestral arrangements have been heard in Atlanta, Portland, Indianapolis, Hong Kong, and regularly with the Kentucky Symphony Orchestra. 

Production team includes D. Lynn Meyers (Producing Artistic Director), Brian c. Mehring (Set & Lighting Designer), Jack Murphy (Technical Director), Matthew Hollstegge (Production Manager & Master Electrician), Shannon Rae Lutz (Properties Master & Design Assistant), Jeremy Lee (Sound Designer), Scot Woolley (Musical Director), and Mary Murphy (Costume Designer). Production Stage Manager is Brandon T. Holmes. Assistant Stage Manager is Elizabeth Freyman.

Performance Information

Performances run Tuesday through Sunday. Tuesday-Thursday, 7:30 pm; Friday and Saturday, 8:00 pm; Saturday and Sunday, 2:00 pm; and Sunday, 7:00 pm. A complete calendar of performances is available online at

Ticket Prices

Ticket prices start at $35 for adults; student tickets are $28; and children are $24. Half-Price Rush Tickets: All remaining tickets for the current day’s performance(s) are available two hours prior to each show time for half-price (discount does not apply to children’s tickets) when purchasing by phone or in person. $15 Student Rush Tickets: Students may purchase up to two $15 student rush tickets two hours prior to show time with valid student I.D. Available in person only.

 Available Discounts

Military, Educator, AAA, ArtsWave Artspass, and ArtsWave CincYPerks discounts available; tickets and seating are subject to availability.

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