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American Son” opens October 15th for only five performances

The Cumberland Theatre will be reopening its doors to theatre patrons on October 15th with the award-winning play “American Son.” The show will play for a limited engagement of only five performances over one weekend.

Written by Christopher Demos-Brown, “American Son” tells the story of Kendra and Scott, an estranged interracial couple, stuck in the waiting room of a Florida police station. Over the course of a tense night, the couple’s disparate histories and backgrounds collide as they confront an unexpected crisis involving the police and their missing 18-year old son. The play examines our nation's racial divide through the eyes of both characters as their worst fears hang in the balance.


The play debuted Off-Broadway in 2018 and starred Golden Globe & Emmy winner Kerry Washington and directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon. In 2019, the film version also starring Washington and directed by Leon debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and was later released on Netflix.



At the helm of “American Son” will be guest director Michael Jerome Jordan. Jordan is a director, fight director and actor originally from Washington D.C.. He recently directed, Temp, the winner of the 2020 New Play Festival competition of short plays, hosted by Riot Act, Inc in Jackson Hole. WY. Michael also directing the 2017 winner, Love, Radio and Zombies, Sort Of…


Jordan’s numerous directing credits include And In This Corner: Cassius Clay, co-produced by Childsplay Theatre and Black Theater Troupe in Phoenix, AZ for which he was nominated for Best Director for the 2019 Broadway World Awards, Phoenix. Other notable credits include Karen Zacarias’ first play, Blue Buick in My Driveway for Source Theatre Festival, Athol Fugard’s My Children! My Africa! at Northwestern State University of Louisiana, The Kennedy Center’s second national tour of The Red Badge of Courage, originally directed by Richard Thomas, The Price for National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts, Vito on the Beach and Gospel at Colonus for Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, and Carmen for Young Audiences for Mill City Summer Opera. He also worked for the Folger Shakespeare Festival directing Junior High and High School students in various scenes from Shakespeare.


As an actor, Jordan has performed at Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Source Theater Company, Ford’s Theatre, Arena Stage, Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington Stage Guild, Toby’s Dinner Theatre, Theatre of the First Amendment, and The Kennedy Center. Regionally, Michael has performed at Off Square Theatre Company (former company member), Riverside Theatre (Vero Beach, Florida), Delaware Theatre Company, Victory Gardens Theatre, Virginia Shakespeare Festival, Theatre at Lime Kiln, and Maryland Shakespeare Festival. Some of his favorite roles include the title role in Othello (three times), the title role in The Merchant of Venice (Antonio), Capulet in Romeo and Juliet, Astrov in Uncle Vanya, the Devil in The Devil and Tom Walker, Banquo in Macbeth and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing.


As a fight director, Jordan has worked at Arena Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company, Woolly Mammoth, Ford’s Theatre, Rep Stage, Off Square, Riot Act, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Lady Cavaliers, Source Theatre, Keagan Theatre, and The Kennedy Center to name a few. He taught stage combat at both the Maryland Opera Studio and National Conservatory of Dramatic Arts for eleven years.


“American Son” will be Michael’s first time working at the Cumberland Theatre. “We are thrilled to have Michael on board for this production, “said a theatre spokesperson. “We feel very fortunate to have someone with his talent and credentials to lead us in telling this powerful story in these troubled times.”


Performances for “American Son” will be October 15th, 16th and 17th at 8:00 pm and October 17th and 18th at 2:00 pm. In accordance with COVID-19 guidelines, only 100 tickets will be sold for each performance. Ticket holders will be temperature checked before entering the theatre and masks are required. The show has no intermission. Tickets are available online at www.cumberlandtheatre.com or by calling 301.759.4990. The theatre staff reserves the right to alter ticket reservations to accommodate social distancing if needed.


Please note that “American Son” contains tense and emotional moments that may trigger strong feelings.

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Stephen Sondheim's Most Provocative Work will Open Our 32nd Season

The Cumberland Theatre will open their 32nd Season of entertainment with a limited engagement of the musical Assassins written by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. The show will play for just nine performances and is part of a nation-wide celebration of Sondheim’s 90th birthday. “We were very fortunate to be one of the regional theatres to be granted the rights to perform Assassins this year, “said a CT spokesperson. “The show will re-open on Broadway in the spring, so the process was very competitive.”

Assassins is considered by many to be Sondheim’s most edgy and controversial work. The show lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, in a one-act historical "revusical" that explores the dark side of the American experience with flashbacks, music and, at times, humor. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, Sondheim and writer John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, creating a roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American Dream.


The show won multiple Tony Awards in 2004, including Best Revival of a Musical. Over the years, productions of Assassins have featured many accomplished actors including Terrance Mann, Victor Garber, Debra Monk and Neil Patrick Harris.


The Cumberland Theatre cast hosts CT veterans as well as some new faces making their Cumberland Theatre debuts. Former Cumberland resident Josh Ruppenkamp will return to play the Balladeer, who acts as a narrator for the show. Ruppenkamp has lived and worked in New York City for the past six years. Regionally, he has performed for El Dorado Casino and WV Public Theatre.


Also returning to CT will be Tim Fitzsimons as Charles Guiteau, Matthew Clark as John Hinckley and Matt Kurzyneic as Guisseppe Zangara. Fitzsimons was last seen on the CT stage as Jack in Reefer Madness the Musical and recently finished a stint performing for Knotts Berry Farm in California. Clark is originally from Frostburg and is a recent graduate of the Theatre Program at West Virginia University. He was recently seen in CT’s Miracle on 34th Street. Kurzyneic played Norm in last season’s Meteor Shower. He has performed both Off-Broadway and in regional theatres throughout the east coast.


Scott O’Brien will play John Wilkes Booth, Sean Besecker will play Sam Byck and Sean Noonan will portray Leon Czolgosz. All are making their Cumberland Theatre debuts. O’Brien is currently living in New York City. He is a lead vocalist for Opera New York, performing multiple times at Carnegie Hall as well as continuous shows at the Triad Theatre. Besecker is from Chambersburg, PA and recently worked with the PA Renaissance Faire as part of the fight/stunt team. Noonan is also from NYC. His most recent credits are See How They Run & Next to Normal at the Tibbits Opera House in Michigan, as well as doing a series of tours through Stars Within Reach Productions.


Also starring in Assassins are veteran actor Nicole Halmos as Sara Jane Moore and newcomer Becca Parsons as Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. Halmos’s most recent CT appearances include Nat in Rabbit Hole and Rose in Gypsy. Parsons is from Leesburg, VA and studied musical theatre at Columbia College in Chicago.


Also appearing in Assassins in a variety of supporting roles will be Austin James, Tyyonn Powell, Ashley Snow, Kevin Shreve, Karl Vogtman and Caleb Tracy as the Proprietor.


The show is under the direction of Kimberli Rowley with music direction by Chris McCabe. The design team includes Jennifer Clark (costume designer), Rhett Wolford (set designer) and Xander Muldor (lighting designer).


Assassins will celebrate it’s opening night on Friday, February 7th at 8:00 pm. Following the opening performance, a special champagne reception will be held to honor founding board member Shirley Giarritta as she steps down from the Board of Directors. There is no additional cost for the reception. The show will run February 7th – 23rd with Friday & Saturday performances at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available online at www.cumberlandtheatre.com or by calling the theatre at 301.759.4990.


Please note the show does contain adult language, live gun fire and moments of violence. Parental discretion is encouraged.




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The staff and Board of Directors at the Cumberland Theatre are excited to officially announce the line-up for their 2020 Season. The season, which marks the theatre’s 32nd year of producing live entertainment, features a variety of musicals, comedies, dramas, and classics. Plans also include the annual New Play Reading Series, Shakespeare in the Park, the Stars of Tomorrow production featuring actors 6 – 20 years old, and other special events.

The season will officially open in February with Stephen Sondheim’s Tony Award-winning musical Assassins. Said by many to be one of the most controversial musicals ever written, Assassins lays bare the lives of nine individuals who assassinated or tried to assassinate the President of the United States, in a one-act historical "revusical" that explores the dark side of the American experience. From John Wilkes Booth to Lee Harvey Oswald, writers, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, bend the rules of time and space, creating a nightmarish roller coaster ride in which assassins and would-be assassins from different historical periods meet, interact and inspire each other to harrowing acts in the name of the American Dream.


In March, the glamour and decadent excess of the Jazz Age come to the stage in F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel, The Great Gatsby adapted to for the stage by Simon Levy. Jay Gatsby, a self-made millionaire, passionately pursues the elusive Daisy Buchanan while Nick Carraway, a young newcomer to Long Island, is drawn into their world of obsession, greed and danger.


April with feature the 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning dramady The Flick by Annie Baker. In a run- down movie theater in central Massachusetts, three underpaid employees mop the floors and attend to one of the last 35mm film projectors in the state. Their tiny battles and not-so-tiny heartbreaks play out in the empty aisles, becoming more gripping than the lackluster, second- run movies on screen. New York Magazine called the play “funny, heartbreaking, sly, and unblinking - the best argument anyone has yet made for the continued necessity, and profound uniqueness, of theater.”

To celebrate National LGBT Pride Month, the theatre will stage the comedy The Cake for two weekend in June. Based on a true story, the play focuses on Della who makes cakes, not judgment calls – those she leaves to her husband, Tim. But when the girl she helped raise comes back home to North Carolina to get married, and the fiancé is actually a fiancée, Della’s life gets turned upside down and for the first time in her life, Della has to think for herself.


The summer will continue with the award-winning Broadway musical Chicago by John Kander and Fred Ebb. In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband, Amos, to take the rap...until he finds out he's been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another "Merry Murderess," Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the "American Dream": fame, fortune, and acquittal. This sharp-edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse. It is the longest running musical revival on Broadway and was made into an Oscar-winning feature film starring Renee Zellweger, Catherine Zeta Jones and Richard Gere.


In late August, the theatre will open the play August: Osage County, a Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Tracy Letts. Winner of the 2008 Tony Award for Best Play, this family drama focuses on a vanished father, a pill-popping mother and three sisters harboring shady little secrets. When the large Weston family unexpectedly reunites after Dad disappears, their Oklahoman family homestead explodes in a maelstrom of repressed truths and unsettling secrets, exposing the dark side of the Midwestern American family. A film version of the play starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts was released in 2013.


October will feature the classic mystery Clue: Live on Stage. Based on the iconic 1985 Paramount movie starring Tim Curry, which was inspired by the classic Hasbro board game, The show is farce-meets-murder mystery. The tale begins at a remote mansion, where six mysterious guests assemble for an unusual dinner party where murder and blackmail are on the menu. When their host turns up dead, they all become suspects. Led by the Wadsworth - the butler, Miss Scarlett, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Mrs. Peacock and Colonel Mustard race to find the killer as the body count stacks up.


The 2020 Season will close with Elf the Musical in December. Based on the 2003 holiday film, Elf starring Will Ferrell and James Caan, the show tells the story of Buddy, a young orphan, mistakenly crawls into Santa's bag of gifts and is transported to the North Pole. The would-be elf is raised, unaware that he is actually a human until his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth. With Santa's permission, Buddy embarks on a journey to New York City to find his birth father and discover his true identity.


The Cumberland Theatre is owned and overseen by its volunteer board of trustees including President BettyJo Gehauf, Vice President Phyllis Lyon, Secretary Dawn Wolford, Treasurer Sheryl Brown, Shirley Giarritta, Emily Haworth, Dottie Kight, Bob Mayhew, Anthony Pinardi, Matt Scarpelli, Jake Shade, Mary Shrout, Annette Wolford and Don Whisted. Kimberli Rowley and Rhett Wolford serve as the theatre’s Artistic Directors.

The theatre employs professional actors, directors, and designers from all over the country as well as local actors and students and faculty from Frostburg State University.


Subscription Passes and 2020 Flex Passes are now available.

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