CT continues 33rd Season with dark comedy

The Cumberland Theatre will continue its 33rd Season the weekend with the dark comedy The House of Yes by Wendy MacLeod. The show will have its official opening this Friday, May 14th at 8:00 pm and continue through May 23rd with Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

The House of Yes premiered in San Francisco in 1990, and had its Off-Broadway debut in 1995; a feature film adaptation was released in 1997 starring Parker Posey, Tori Spelling and Freddie Prince Jr. Since then, it has become a favorite in regional theatres throughout the country and lauded for its quick witticisms, dark humor and ability to alternate between crass satire and dark comedy with ease.

The play follows the Pascals, a wealthy family in McLean, Virginia, and the conflict that ensues after oldest son Marty surprises the family with news that he is engaged. There is a strange connection between Marty, his twin sister Jackie-O. (was recently released from a psychiatric hospital), the Kennedy Assassination and their missing father, and the imminent hurricane on its way to their home – which just happens to be next door to the Kennedy compound.

MacLeod has stated that The House of Yes is about "people that have never been said no to," and that she wished to depict the "insularity I see in the upper classes, people who have cut themselves off from the rest of the world and are living by the rules they've invented." The play was inspired by a house MacLeod saw in a wealthy suburb of Washington, D.C., while its title came from a piece of bathroom graffiti seen by MacLeod that read "we are living in a house of yes."

The show features Kimberli Rowley and John Barker as the twins, Jackie-O and Marty. Rowley is the Co-Artistic Director of the Cumberland Theatre and recently appeared as Myrtle Wilson in The Great Gatsby. Other recent appearances include Lucy in Dracula and Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire. Barker’s most recent CT appearances have been as Tom Buchanan in The Great Gatsby and as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire.

Playing their younger brother Anthony will be Seth Thompson, who made his CT debut last fall as Officer Larkin in American Son. Other regional appearances include George in Of Mice and Men and Mortimer in Arsenic and Old Lace. Nicole Halmos will return to play Mrs. Pascal, the matriarch of the family. Halmos was last seen in the musical Assassins as Sara Jane Moore and has also recently graced the CT stage as Mama Rose in Gypsy and Nat in Rabbit Hole.

Performing for the first time on the CT stage will be Caitlin Cremins as Lesly, Marty’s fiancée. Cremins is originally from Hagerstown but now hails from Boston, MA. Regional theatre credits include Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Dawn in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas.

The show is being directed by Jennifer Clark, who recently directed last month’s production of The Great Gatsby and also serves as CT’s resident costume designer. The creative team also includes Rhett Wolford (set and sound design), Matthew Georgeson (lighting design), Hayden Kline (stage manager) and Ebony Gennes (assistant stage manager).

Tickets are available at or by calling 301.759.4990. Thursday shows are currently buy one ticket, get the second free. The VIP star box is also available for bookings which include food, beverage and balcony seats for eight people.

COVID protocols are in place which include temperature checks for patrons when they enter the theatre and mask requirements. The theatre staff reserves the right to alter seating assignments to comply with social distancing guidelines.

The House of Yes contains strong language, sexual situations and violence including live gun fire. It is not intended for younger audiences.

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The Cumberland Theatre will continue their 2021 Season with the opening of The Great Gatsby this weekend. The show, based on the classic literary work by F. Scott Fitzgerald, will run April 8th – 18th with Thursday – Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sunday matinees at 2:00 pm.

Last season, the COVID shutdown occurred in the middle of the rehearsal process for the show and the theatre has reassembled most of the same cast members to finally bring The Great Gatsby to the CT stage under the direction of Jennifer Clark.

Top row (left to right): Marty Jellison, Cory Asinofsky, Jen Ayer Drake, John Barker

Second Row: Ashley Snow, Sean Besecker, Kimberli Rowley, Kevin Shreve

Heading the cast as Nick Carraway, who serves as the narrator to the show, is Marty Jellison, who was last seen on the CT stage in Miracle on 34th Street. Playing the titular character, Jay Gatsby, will be Cory Asinofsky who is making his Cumberland Theatre debut. He is currently based in Brooklyn, New York where he is a member of the Less Than Rent Theatre Company.

Also making her first appearance at the theatre will be Jen Ayer Drake as Daisy Buchanan. Drake has appeared on stage throughout the tri-state area as will as in film and television. She recently won Best Supporting Actress at the Fusion Film Festival in London for her work in the psychological thriller Black Island. Returning to the Cumberland Theatre as her husband Tom Buchanan will be John Barker, who was last seen as Stanley Kolwalski in the theatre’s 2019 production of A Streetcar Named Desire.

Ashley Snow (who recently starred as Doris Walker in CT’s Miracle on 34th Street) and Sean Besecker (last seen as Sam Byck in Assassins) will return to play Jordan Baker and George Wilson. Co-Artistic Director Kimberli Rowley will appear as Myrtle Wilson and also serves as choreographer for the show. Local actor Kevin Shreve will be featured as Meyer Wolfsheim.

Playing a variety of supporting roles and dancing in the classic style of the 1920’s will be Morganne Chu, Ebony Genes, Emily Haworth, Connor McCabe, Wyatt Neff, Brielle Windle, and Hayden Kline who also serves as the Assistant Stage Manager for the production.

Other members of the production staff include Rhett Wolford (set and lighting design), Clark (costume design) and Karen Hutcheson (stage manager).

COVID precautions are in place for both patrons and staff. Masks must be worn for the duration of the performance and at all times when moving about the building. Audiences members will be temperature checked at the door and asked to observe social distancing regulations. Online ticket purchases are encouraged; however, the CT staff reserves the right to alter any reservations that do not comply with social distancing standards.

The Great Gatsby has an approximate running time of two hours with one intermission and is appropriate for audiences 12 and up. Parental discretion is encouraged. Tickets are available at or by calling the theatre at 301-759-4990. Reservations are also being taken for the VIP Star Box which includes food, beverage and balcony seating for 8 people.

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The Cumberland Theatre will open its 33rd Season this month the two-person musical ‘The Last Five Years’. The show will be the first in planned season of eight main stage productions following the theatre’s year-long closure due the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Last Five Years is a song-cycle musical by Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Browne that bends time and points of view to tell the story of two New Yorkers in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The show’s unconventional structure consists of Cathy, the woman, telling her story backwards while Jamie, the man, tells his story chronologically; the two characters are only on stage together once, at their wedding in the middle of the show.

The show won the Drama Desk Award, has been translated into several different languages and was named one of TIME Magazine’s ten best shows of 2001. A film adaptation was released in 2014, starring Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan.

Savannah Tagliaferro

The Cumberland Theatre version stars local singer and actor Savannah Tagliaferro as Cathy and, as Jamie, newcomer Matt Rothenberg who currently resides in Orlando, FL. Tagliaferro is a veteran to the CT stage and was last seen as Alice in Closer and Judy in Night of the Living Dead Live. She has also appeared in featured roles in Mamma Mia, Gypsy and Carrie the Musical. Rothenberg is a graduate of the musical theatre program at Shepherd University and has performed with the Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orlando Shakespeare Theatre and Universal Orlando Resort.

Matt Rothenberg

The Last Five Years is will play for six performances: March 12th, 13th, 19th and 20th at 8:00 pm and March 14th & 21st at 2:00 pm. Seating will be limited to 100 tickets per performance in accordance with state COVID guidelines. The VIP Star Box with private seating and food and beverage for eight is all available for booking. Audience members will be temperature checked upon entering the theatre and masks must be worn at all times including during the performance. The theatre, lobby, restrooms and all other common areas will be sanitized between each performance and patrons are asked to social distance accordingly.

The rest of the 2021 Main Stage Season consists of The Great Gatsby, Clue on Stage and A Christmas Carol, which are being rescheduled from the 2020 Season, as well the dark comedy The House of Yes, the classic coming-of-age story The Outsiders, and the Johnny Cash juke box musical Ring of Fire. Single tickets and a variety of Season Pass options are available at or by calling 301.759.4990. The Cumberland Theatre reserves the right to alter any online reservations in order to comply with social distancing regulations.

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