By Jenna Vella
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company ventures into “spooky season” with a world premiere of Isaiah Reaves’ The Living Dead, a new play inspired by the cult horror classic film The Night of the Living Dead by George A. Romero and John A. Russo playing Oct. 14-29, 2022. This production is directed by CSC’s Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips, and features Darnell Pierre Benjamin and a cast of CSC Ensemble favorites. This World Premiere Commission is made possible by The McElroy Family. The production’s design is generously sponsored by President H. James Williams and First Lady Carole Campbell Williams, Mount St. Joseph University, Theatre Arts Department.
When a zombie apocalypse ravages the world, a band of strangers seek refuge in an abandoned house, forcing the group to work together to see the light of day. However, individualism, egos, and power struggles expose the horrifying nature of survival. A new vision of contemporary horror inspired by the cult classic, Isaiah Reaves’ The Living Dead makes its world premiere in time for the Halloween season.
The world premiere of The Living Dead by Isaiah Reaves marks the first time in over 20 years that Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has commissioned, developed, and produced a play entirely within its walls. The play continues one of CSC’s goal to commission new plays to elevate fresh, diverse new voices and champion the next generation of classics. Producing Artistic Director, Brian Isaac Phillips notes, “this project represents an important landmark for CSC and our strategic goals. The Living Dead is the first commission in the last 20 years in our emerging New Works program to be fully produced in our mainstage season. We commissioned Isaiah to write this piece during the pandemic, have supported its development through virtual workshops, and now we are excited to be producing it on our mainstage.”
The playwright, Isaiah Reaves, is an emerging young playwright whose work explores a spectrum of Black and Queer experiences. A native of Cincinnati, he graduated cum laude from Northern Kentucky University in 2020. His plays have been commissioned and staged by The Classical Theatre of Harlem at Lincoln Center, Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati, and many others. He is currently in pursuit of an MFA at the University of Iowa Playwrights Workshop.
For further access, audiences will be able to listen to a streamlined 1 hour version that will play on the radio in partnership with WVXU on Halloween night, Oct. 31 at 8-9pm. The Radio Drama Adaptation Sponsor is Cincinnati Modern Realtor David G. Smith, Keller Williams Advisors Realty. This is the next of a growing collection of radio dramas produced by CSC since 2020. Access to all of CSC’s audio plays are available through the listening library on the website online here: cincyshakes.com/WVXU. All of these recordings are free to listen.
The Living Dead runs from October 14 – 29, 2022. Performances of The Living Dead are on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 PM, with one Sunday matinee at 2:00 PM on October 23 and a Saturday matinee at 2:00 on October 29. CSC offers performances with accessibility resources, including an Audio Described performance on Friday, October 21, at 7:30 PM and a Sign Language Interpreted Performance on Saturday, October 29, at 2:00 PM.
To purchase tickets or for more information, call the CSC Box Office at 513.381.BARD (2273) ext. 1, or go online at www.cincyshakes.com.
Audience members are no longer required to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend.