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 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.

278 views0 comments

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.

89 views0 comments

Theatre granting Christmas wishes for local families and collecting donations the Western Maryland Food Bank

The Cumberland Theatre will be conducting two charitable giving campaigns during the holiday season that will coenside with their winter programming.  The holiday offerings this year include Frosty the Snowman, November 30th – December 1st and Miracle on 34th Street, December 5th – 22nd.  Tickets and more information on both shows are available at

The theatre will be collecting “letters to Santa” during both shows.  Patrons of all ages are encouraged to write their wishes to Santa and place the letter in Santa’s mailbox located in the lobby of the theatre during the performances.  The letter should include Christmas wishes for a local family or child in need.  Letters will be accepted November 30th – December 15th.  From the group of letters, a few will be selected and the family or child will be “adopted”  for the holidays by the theatre’s staff and board and have their “Christmas wishes” granted.

CT will also collect donations for the Western Maryland Food Bank during both Frosty and Miracle.  For each non-perishable food item a patron donates, their name will be entered into a drawing to win a 2020 Season Subscription Pass to the theatre. 

“The Cumberland Theatre relies so heavily on the support of our local community and their donations of all kinds – monetary, service and materials,” said Kimberli Rowley, Artistic Director.  “So when we have an opportunity to give back to our patrons and their friends and families, we welcome it.” 

Rhett Wolford, Artistic Director adds, “We just want to do our part to make holiday season a little brighter for some of the people in our community who have been so supportive of our efforts here at the theatre this past year.”

Frosty the Snowman will run for just four performances: November 30th at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm and December 1st at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm.  The show is under an hour making it ideal for families with small children.  The cast includes Melissa Caskey, Lillian Clark, Austin James, Connor McCabe, Wyatt Neff,  Jayna Raines, Marin Rose and Matt Clark as Frosty. 

The show is being sponsored by the Queen City Creamery and MIXX Boutique.  Tickets are available on the theatre’s website or by calling 301-759-4990.  A meet & greet with Frosty and friends is available for an additional fee.

Attachments area

96 views0 comments