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Cumberland Theatre Announces 36th Season of Entertainment

Passes & Subscriptions Now on Sale for Nine Show Main Stage Season

The Cumberland Theatre has announced their 2024 Main Stage Season and season passes are now available for purchase. The theatre will enter its 36th year of entertainment in 2024 and an exciting line-up of shows has been planned as well as youth productions, readings and other events.

The season will open in February with the popular show The Play That Goes Wrong. A smash hit farce on both Broadway and the West End, the play zeros in on opening night of the Cornley University Drama Society’s newest production, The Murder at Haversham Manor, where things are quickly going from bad to utterly disastrous. This 1920s whodunit has everything anyone never wanted in a show—an unconscious leading lady, a corpse that can’t play dead, and actors who trip over everything (including their lines). Nevertheless, the accident-prone thespians battle against all odds to make it through to their final curtain call, with hilarious consequences! Part Monty Python, part Sherlock Holmes, this Olivier Award–winning comedy is a global phenomenon that’s guaranteed to leave audiences aching with laughter!

In March, the theatre will produce the Tennessee Williams classic The Rose Tattoo. Winner of the 1951 Tony Award, The Rose Tattoo is the story of a woman for whom love was stronger than death. Set among a colony of Sicilian fisher-folk on the American Gulf Coast, the play tells the story of Serafina Delle Rose, a restless widow whose intense and absorbing instinct for love drives everything before it. She dominates the small town where she and her friends are living and embodies the exultation and danger of unbridled passion. Her story, and that of the lover she chooses and the daughter she denies, are forged into a play of power, humanity, and soaring emotion. The play was Williams's third smash hit and was adapted into a film in 1955. The movie starred Burt Lancaster and was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning three including Best Actress for Anna Magnani’s portrayal of Serafina. The most recent revival on Broadway starred Marisa Tomei. Ultimately, The Rose Tattoo is about humanity, acceptance, and love—and the lengths people go to deny themselves those things. It is about the theatre of appearance and what one looks like when they unmask themself.

The season will continue in May with the Tony-award winning musical Jesus Christ Superstar. The first musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice to be produced for the professional stage, Jesus Christ Superstar has endured for over 50 years. A timeless work, the rock opera is set against the backdrop of an extraordinary and universally known series of events but seen through the eyes of Judas Iscariot. Loosely based on the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, Superstar follows the last week of Jesus Christ’s life. The story, told entirely through song, explores the personal relationships and struggles between Jesus, Judas, Mary Magdalene, his disciples, his followers and the Roman Empire. The iconic 1970s rock score contains such well-known numbers as “Superstar,” “I Don’t Know How to Love Him” and “Gethsemane.” A true global phenomenon spawning countless revivals and a film of the same name, Superstar continues to touch new generations of audiences and performers.

June will take audiences to California wine country with the comedy-drama Sideways. A wine-tasting road trip to salute the final days of bachelorhood careens woefully sideways as two friends hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of Pinot Noir, wistful yearnings, and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality. Adapted by Rex Pickett from his novel, the play was also adapted to the silver screen in 2004. The film version starred Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen and was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning for Best Adapted Screenplay.

The summer musical will be Footloose the Musical, which will run the entire month of July. The show was the winner of the Audience Choice vote and is based on the 1984 film of the same name. When Ren and his mother move from Chicago to a small farming town, he is prepared for the inevitable adjustment period at his new high school. But he’s not prepared for the rigorous local edicts, including a ban on dancing instituted by the local preacher, who is determined to exercise control over the town’s youth. When the reverend’s rebellious daughter sets her sights on Ren, her roughneck boyfriend tries to sabotage Ren’s reputation, with many of the locals eager to believe the worst about the new kid. The heartfelt story that emerges pins a father longing for the son he lost against a young man aching for the father who walked out on him. To the rockin’ rhythm of its Oscar and Tony-nominated Top 40 score, augmented with dynamic new songs, Footloose celebrates the wisdom of listening to young people while guiding them with a warm heart and open mind.

In September, for the first time ever, the theatre will perform two plays in rotation for three weekends. The plays, both taking place during World War II, will feature many of the same actors and will run for six performances each. The first play, Biloxi Blues, is a semi-autobiographical play by Neil Simon. It portrays the conflict of Sergeant Merwin J. Toomey and Arnold Epstein, one of many privates enlisted in the military stationed in Biloxi, Mississippi, seen through the eyes of Eugene Jerome, one of the other soldiers. The play won the Tony Award for Best Play and was adapted into a film starring Matthew Broderick and Christopher Walken.

The second play, The Cover of Life, portrays Tood, Weetsie, and Sybill -- brides in rural Louisiana in 1943 -- each married a Cliffert brother. The men are off to war and a local news story about these young wives keeping the home fires burning intrigues Henry Luce. He decides that they belong on the cover of Life Magazine and assigns Kate Miller to the story. She has been covering the war in Europe and, though she views doing a "women's piece" as a career set-back, she accepts because it will be her first cover story. Kate spends a week with the Cliffert women, and her haughty urban attitude gives way to sympathy as she begins to understand them while coming face-to-face with her own powerlessness in a man's world.

The macabre musical Nevermore: The Imaginary Life and Mysterious Death of Edgar Allan Poe will run during the month of October – just in time for Halloween. This unique and wildly theatrical musical combines haunting music and poetic storytelling to chronicle the life of iconic American writer Edgar Allan Poe. A literary rock star of his day, Poe struggles with tragedy and addiction, poverty and loss, yet produces some of the world’s most original, visionary and enduring literature before dying in unexplained circumstances at the age of 40. Nevermore explores the events that shape Poe’s character and career, blurring the line between fact and fiction.

Finishing out the season in December will be the Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful LIfe, an adaptation of the beloved Frank Capra film starring Jimmy Stewart. It is Christmas Eve, and George Bailey stands on a bridge looking over the icy waters below, contemplating suicide. Joseph, an unseen angel, calls on The Boss for advice, and they decide on Clarence Oddbody, an Angel Second Class who, after 200 years, has yet to earn his wings. Joseph takes Clarence into the past to see George as a boy, rescuing his brother from drowning, enduring a beating from grieving druggist Gower, saving a child from accidental poisoning, then growing up to forgo college so he can save the family business and keep the citizens of Bedford Falls from being ruined by the Depression and the machinations of the conniving Henry Potter. When his Uncle Billy misplaces $8,000 of the Building and Loan's money, George takes responsibility and runs to the bridge to commit suicide. Clarence stops him, and when George wishes he had never been born, Clarance makes the wish come true – allowing George to see what the world would be like without him and that his has, indeed, been a wonderful life.

Also, announced for 2024 are the Stars of Tomorrow youth actor productions which will take place in April and November. The theatre will produce James and the Giant Peach in the spring and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever for the holiday season.

The artistic and managing staff at the theatre include Kimberli Rowley (Artistic Director), Rhett Wolford (Technical Director), Seth Thompson (Artistic Associate), Chris Ashenfelter (Box Office Manager), Karen Slemmer (Front of House Coordinator), Tori Weaver (Marketing Associate) and Lindsay Tyler (Concession Manager).

Serving on the theatre’s Board of Directors are BettyJo Gehauf (President), Phyllis Lyon (Vice President), Emily Haworth (Secretary), Joel Hoover (Treasurer), Bob Mayhew, Anthony Pinardi and Julie Ferris. The theatre is currently seeking new board members for the 2024 season. Inquiries may be sent to

Season Subscription Passes, Flex Passes and Platinum Passes (new this year!) are now available for purchase by clicking HERE. Show sponsorships and program ads are also available for purchase. Any questions, can be directed to or by calling the box office at 301.759.4990.

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