The world premiere of the mysterious and suspenseful new play Summerland by Arlitia Jones debuts Feb. 4 and runs through March 5 at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre.
Based on mesmerizing true events, Summerland tells the riveting tale of William H. Mumler, a spirit photographer with a talent for taking haunting images of ghostly visitors. Set in 1869, the story follows Mumler’s meteoric rise and fall, from his wildly successful studio business, which boasted Mary Todd Lincoln as a client, to his indictment for fraud.
“Arlitia Jones has written a fascinating story,” says Associate Artist Michael Evan Haney, director of the play. “When I first read Summerland, I was hanging on every word, not knowing what was going to happen. Coming right after the Civil War and the advent of photography (a mysterious new technology), there was a real belief that we could break through the veil and talk to people who had passed on to the other side. Whatever you think about the afterlife, this play makes you think about what we believe and don’t believe.”
Jones is an award-winning poet, playwright and co-founder of TossPot Productions in Anchorage, AK. The spirit photography used by Mumler that inspired her story can be traced to American Spiritualist Movement, which peaked from the 1840s through the 1920s. Followers of the movement believed that the dead have the ability to communicate with the living.
Tickets for Summerland start at $35; prices vary depending on seat location and performance day and are subject to change. Tickets for teens and students are $30. Student tickets are just $15 on the day of the show. Sunday is College Night, with Summerland Page 2 tickets to all 7 p.m. performances just $10. In addition to calling the Box Office (513-421-3888), tickets can also be purchased by visiting the Playhouse website at http://www.cincyplay.com.
Summerland is sponsored by Barbara and Bill Weyand. Leon Meyer serves as Honorary Producer. Additional support is provided by The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust. Design Sponsor is JRA.
The 2016-17 Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre season is presented by Heidelberg Distributing Co., and the Thompson Shelterhouse Theatre season design sponsor is the Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant Family Fund. The season sponsor of new work is the Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation.
The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of more than 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community Campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts.