Nine Can’t-Miss Events from Cincinnati’s New Arts Season

Put these female-centered shows and performances on your calendar now so you don’t miss out.
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Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum, Quadra I, 2016, Watercolor and pencil on wood panel

Female artists, writers, actors, dancers, and singers headline the new Cincinnati arts season. Here are nine shows and performances to put on your calendar so you don’t miss out.

Fun Home
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati
Through Sept 28
This will be the regional premiere of Fun Home, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by Lisa Kron. Named Best Musical at the 2015 Tony Awards, it’s based on Alison Bechdel’s memoir about dealing with her father’s sudden death while growing up in the family’s funeral home.


The Absentee
Know Theatre of Cincinnati
Sept 13–Oct 5
Now in its 22nd season, Know likes to present “out there” experimental work, and there’s no place more “out there” than deep space. Julia Doolittle, a Los Angeles–based playwright, sets her story on a damaged space ship in 2088, where the operator finds herself cut off from all human contact—except for a persistent political staffer trying to convince her to cast an absentee vote.


Photograph by Tony Arrasmith

Alias Grace
Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park
Sept 14–Oct 27
Adapted from a Margaret Atwood novel inspired by historic events and directed by Playhouse Artistic Director Blake Robison, this psychological thriller tries to discover the real Grace Marks, a 16-year-old who in the mid-1800s was convicted of murder, though she claimed to have no memory of the events.


Lady Windermere’s Fan
UC’s College-Conservatory of Music
Oct 3–6
Oscar Wilde’s first comedy, which debuted in 1892, is subtitled “A Play About a Good Woman” and has as many secret identities, misunderstood intentions, and melodramatic relationships as any Shakespeare or Marx Brothers farce. The satire pokes fun of Victorian society that condemns those who misbehave—like Wilde himself—while secretly admiring them.


Photograph by Mikki Schaffner Photography

Titus Andronicus
Cincinnati Shakespeare Company
Oct 11–Nov 2
A real bloodbath just in time for Halloween, Shakespeare’s most violent play features a series of revenge killings between Tamora, Queen of the Goths, and Titus, a fictional general in ancient Rome who brings Tamora and her sons home as war prizes. CSC company regulars Miranda McGee (above) and Darnell Benjamin star as Tamora and her deranged lover, Aaron.


Helen Frankenthaler (1928–2011), United States, Rock Pond (detail), 1962–1963, acrylic on canvas, Cincinnati Art Museum; The Edwin and Virginia Irwin Memorial, 1969.11, © 2019 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Women Breaking Boundaries
Cincinnati Art Museum
Oct 11–April 12
Almost 40 paintings, prints, ceramics, and metalworks will be curated from the museum’s permanent collection to celebrate women artists from the 17th century to today, including Georgia O’Keeffe, Mary Cassatt, and Maria Longworth Storer. The exhibition serves as a reminder of the key role women played in founding CAM in 1881.


Photograph by Brett Pruitt & East Market Studios

The Wizard of Oz
Cincinnati Ballet
Oct 25–Nov 3
Based on the famous 1939 movie, this new ballet by renowned choreographer Septime Webre—his ALICE (in wonderland) was a hit here in 2013 and 2015—had its world premiere last fall at Kansas City Ballet. That production lands at the Aronoff Center for the Arts with 120 colorful costumes, projection technology, flying monkeys with 10-foot wing spans, Dorothy, a wicked witch, and Toto too.


Saya Woolfalk, Star Compulsion, 2012, Installation

Pamela Phatsimo Sunstrum and Saya Woolfalk
Contemporary Arts Center
Through Oct 27
These artists, one born in Botswana and the other in Japan and each around 40 years old, share the CAC’s second-floor gallery. Sunstrum’s All my seven faces features colorful paintings and works on paper, while Woolfalk’s A Cabinet of Anticipation (above) utilizes wall projections and mounted sculptures.


Photograph by Joan Marcus

Mean Girls
Broadway in Cincinnati
Nov 5–17
Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) adapted her 2004 film as a Broadway musical last year, grabbing 12 Tony Award nominations along the way. The touring show follows Cady as she enrolls in a new high school and navigates her way through Plastics and Mathletes to become “queen bee”…but is becoming popular all it’s cracked up to be?

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