Virtual Dance Masterclass with JR Bruno

Thursday, September 24th, 2020 from 6:00pm-7:00pm

Just $35 per person. Only 50 spaces!


JR’s work has been seen across the US and overseas. He recently finished a 7 year run at The Book of Mormon Broadway, First National Tour and Second National Tour. He has, also, performed in Broadway’s West Side Story directed by the legendary Arthur Laurents. He worked with Hunter Bell and Jeff Bowen on the first regional production of their creation: [title of show]. He has worked with Cincinnati Ballet and San Francisco Ballet. His most recent directorial project was The Mystery of Edwin Drood at Maltz Jupiter Theatre. His other Choreographic and Directorial credits include Off- Broadway’s Above Hell’s Kitchen, Mamma Mia, Little Shop of Horrors, Hairspray, and the Denmark Premiere of Avenue Q which was nominated for a Reumert (the Danish Tony Award).

Your Family’s Safety Is Our Priority

TCT has been working diligently behind the scenes to create and debut new safety protocols to protect the audience and the actors on stage.

COVID-19 Protocols for Live Performances at Red Bank

** Live productions are subject to capacity restrictions and safety protocol through the CDC and the State of Ohio and may be converted to a digital ticket if the performance must be canceled for any reason due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Protocols for Live PerformancesDownload

Protected: TCT’s Reimagined Season

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TCT Teams Up With Theatres Around The Nation

This groundbreaking online performance for families explains what racism is, how to know it when you see and experience it, and ideas for what you can do about it. 

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is proud to bring this to bring this world premiere, online theatrical experience to children and families in our community in partnership with 41 other TYA theatres across the country including:

Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Alliance Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre as Lead Producers.  

Adapted and Directed by Khalia Davis

Lyrics by Davied Morales

Music by Justin Ellington

Based on the book by Jelani Memory, A Kids Book About Racism.

Streaming August 1 and 2 FREE on Broadway on Demand. 

The work is produced by Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Seattle Children’s Theatre, and Alliance Theatre, in partnership with Adventure Theatre MTC, Arts on the Horizon, Atlantic for Kids (Atlantic Theater Company), Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Children’s Theater of Madison, Children’s Theatre Company, Childsplay, Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati, Coterie Theatre, Dallas Children’s Theater, Dare to Dream Theatre, Des Moines Performing Arts, Duluth Playhouse, Filament Theatre, First Stage, Honolulu Theatre for Youth, Imagination Stage, The Kennedy Center, La Jolla Playhouse, Magik Theatre, Metro Theater Company, Nashville Children’s Theatre, New York City Children’s Theater, Oregon Children’s Theatre, Orlando Repertory Theatre, Orpheum Theatre Group, Pink Umbrella Theater Company, ReNew Productions, Rose Theater, Seattle Children’s Theatre The Growing Stage – The Children’s Theatre of New Jersey, The Gottabees, The Open Eye Theater, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, TheatreWorksUSA, Trike Theatre, Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, and Wheelock Family Theatre at Boston University.

Cast and Creative Team for A Kids Play About Racism

A Kids Book About, Inc. has offered all viewers a discount code of $5 off the book when purchased through their website

The code is KIDSPLAY.

Transcendence Theatre Company’s Fantastical Family Night

You’re invited to the Best Night Ever Online for Fantastical Family Night!

July 24-26

(Five showtimes)

Get ready to fly through the sky on this phenomenal ride of song and dance. Starring a cast of some of the best and brightest young people in Sonoma County, California, performing alongside Broadway Under the Stars favorites. This ride is sure to be unlike any other with twists and turns, magic and mayhem, animals and aliens all on board as we unite to seek the transformative power of art and find it knows neither time nor limits. You and your entire family will enjoy songs from Mary Poppins, The Wizard of Oz, The Sound of Music, and some of your favorite Disney classics! So huddle up your best team and get ready for a night of performance with young artists coming into their own. The “Best Night Ever” is for all ages.

Performances on Saturday, July 25, feature a pre-show conversation with TCT’s Producing Artistic Director, Roderick Justice.

You must reserve a ticket, FREE or donation, to receive sign-in information for the show.

About Transcendence:

Transcendence Theatre Company is an award-winning, nonprofit arts organization, comprised of artists with professional experience from Broadway, film, and television. Based in Sonoma, CA, Transcendence specializes in producing high caliber Broadway concerts that go beyond the usual limits.

Transcendence Theatre Company was founded by TCT alumnus, Steven Stubbins, the brother past Board President, Scott Stubbins, and son of past TCT Board President, Chris Stubbins!  

From a past Transcendence Theatre Company production

Celebrate Juneteenth

Brandi Sherrill as Harriett Tubman on stage
Brandi Sherrill in Harriett Tubman Straight Up Outta’ The Underground in March 2020

What is Juneteenth?

The holiday Juneteenth is celebrated on June 19 every year and commemorates the day in 1865 when federal troops arrived in Texas to ensure that all enslaved people were freed and the American Civil War officially ended. The holiday should be celebrated as the day when all Americans were liberated from slavery, and traditional celebrations usually include a mix of storytelling, music, food, parades, and celebrations of black culture. Find out more about the history of this day and ways you can celebrate at home with your family!

Read More About It:

Celebrate Juneteenth!




Magnify Kindness

Join our Magnify Kindness Challenge! Let’s flood our timelines with words of hope and encouragement through poetry. Watch the video below Mr. Means will show you how! Type your Haiku in the comments section of the post on Facebook, or send it to us directly. Help us work to spread, share, and Magnify Kindness!

Magnify Kindness through poetry

Our Commitment to Anti-Racism

A Statement from TCT’s Managing Director and CEO, Kim Kern

Whenever I am asked the question, “If you had one wish, what would you wish for?” my response is always, and without hesitation, “I wish I had a button that when pushed, would eliminate all evil from this world.” Given the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, Chris Beaty, Dave Patrick Underwood, Italia Kelly, Calvin L. Horton Jr., James Scurlock, Timothy Thomas, Samuel DuBose, Roger Owensby Jr. and many others who have experienced violence and hate, I now wish more than ever that I had such a button. 

Those who know me know that I am an incredibly, and sometimes annoyingly, positive person. I live by the mantra of assuming positive intent, but even I am struggling to find the positive given all that has and is occurring. I struggle with the realization that there are people out there who refuse to change, and who will never understand the importance of embracing differences and emulating acceptance, kindness, inclusion and equality. 

Where I am finding the positive is in the vital role that TCT is playing in the long-term health of our nation by investing in our most important asset, our youth. We are committed to infusing our productions and programming with messages of acceptance, respect, friendship, inclusion and kindness.

 At TCT, black lives have always and will always matter. True equity and inclusion is about systemic change in the intricate infrastructure of what we produce as a company. We are committed to listening to our community and will always strive to do and be better. 

We will continue to be a resource for parents as they raise kind children in a world that is too often not a kind place. As such, we are providing a link to resources that we hope will help with challenging, and often difficult, conversations with your children.

Wishing You Health and Peace,

Kim Kern, Managing Director & CEO

Ready, Set, Auction!

Bid on unique experiences, trips & items while furthering the mission of TCT!

From TCT”s 2019 production of ANNIE JR.

Starting this Wednesday May 13, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT) will be auctioning a number of fun and unique items and experiences to raise funds to sustain its mission of educating, entertaining and engaging audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming.

TCT’s Ready, Set, Auction! is ready for launch with a robust, nationwide, online auction through the Bidding for Good platform. It will be open from Wednesday, May 13 at 12 noon until Sunday, May 24 at 11:59 PM.  All proceeds will benefit The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati.

There are 59 fabulous items and unique experiences to bid on, including:

Cincinnati Fire Department 31 – Oakley Station – Dinner at the Firehouse for up to four (4) people.  Enjoy a homemade firehouse dinner with the firefighters in Oakley.  Also includes a tour of the fire station.

Full-day guided Grand Teton Wildlife Safari with gourmet picnic lunch for two (2) on guided scenic Snake River float and lunch for two (2) with a 3-night stay in a standard guest room at the Rustic Inn Creekside Resort & Spa, The Lodge at Jackson Hole, The Wort Hotel, or similar venue in Jackson Hole, WY.

Cincinnati Date Night Package with Food, Relaxation, and Fun! — Take your special someone and enjoy time together across Cincinnati and beautiful flowers too!  Includes dinners at amazing local restaurants like Sotto, Salazar, Balance Café, Montgomery Inn and more, plus a Cincinnati Pedal Wagon and Mural Tour for two (2), a spa package from Mitchell’s Salon and Day Spa, flowers from Adrian Durban Florist, and much, much more!

With the help of the TCT costume shop, dress your family in iconic holiday attire and have your photo taken with a holiday backdrop.  The photo session will last one (1) hour in total and you are welcome to include grandparents, grandchildren, parents, children and up to two (2) dogs if desired. 

Preview the items as you plot your bidding strategy.

For 100 years, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati has provided education and entertainment for children and the young at heart through the art of stage performance. TCT is the oldest children’s theatre in the nation, and the only professional theater in the region that devotes its entire MainStage season to children. TCT directly impacts the lives of nearly 200,000 families and children annually, through Broadway-quality TCT MainStage performances as well as TCT on Tour touring productions and TCT Academy performing arts instruction for children ages 18 months to 18 years.

For more information about the TCT mission, check out our website or enjoy our programming through TCT EVERYWHERE

In March of 2020, in response to COVID-19 and school closures, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati launched TCT EVERYWHERE  — an online resource for parents, teachers and students featuring crafts, acting and vocal exercises and contests from the professional artistic staff of TCT Academy; along with study guides, podcasts, videos of past productions, and more.

The TCT Ready, Set, Auction! is designed to raise funds for TCT so that the nonprofit organization may continue to create online programming and plan for the time when we are able to gather again and benefit from the magic of live theatre.

TCT Audition Casting Notice

For Touring Actors

TCT is holding online auditions for the 20-21 TCT On Tour Acting Company!

All roles are paid positions. All roles are open to all ethnicities.

How to Audition

Auditions and Callbacks will be conducted via video submissions.

To be considered, email a PDF of your current headshot and resume, as well as a YouTube or VIMEO link with a 1-minute song selection (Pop/Rock or Contemporary Musical Theatre) that shows off your range and personality.  Email to with subject line “ACTOR SUBMISSION-TCT On Tour.”  PLEASE SUBMIT BY APRIL 20, 2020.

You must follow all instructions above to be considered.  If we are considering you for our touring company, we will reach out with additional submission instructions and may ask you to put sides from the show on tape.

About TCT On Tour

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is seeking a diverse company of actors for the 2020-2021 TCT On Tour season, a division of the organization that brings the magic of live theatre to schools, libraries, event spaces, and beyond, with company members responsible for all aspects of production including tour management, travel and load in/out. 

The ideal candidate is flexible, hard-working, and passionate about their craft and the organization’s mission.  They should be able to lift 50 lbs. safely and have a valid driver’s license.   Contract dates vary per casting needs. Local Actor Salary $400+ per week.  TCT On Tour rehearses each show for two weeks and performs 5 days a week with two guaranteed days off each week. 

Seeking the Following

[ACTOR 1] – Male identifying, any ethnicity, versatile comedic singing actor to play multiple roles in Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale, and to play all roles in TCT on Tour’s Holiday Production of BAH HUMBUG! A one-person Christmas Carol.  Puppeteering ability a PLUS! Contract dates on/about August 10, 2020 –December 22, 2020. 

[ACTOR 2] – Female identifying, any ethnicity, versatile singing actor to play Rapunzel in Rapunzel’s Hairy Fairy Tale and multiple roles in Nutcracker Rocks as well as understudy one-person show offerings. Puppeteering ability a PLUS! Contract dates on/about August 10, 2020 –December 22, 2020. 

[ACTOR 3] – Male identifying, any ethnicity, versatile singing actor to play multiple rolesin Nutcracker Rocks.  Puppeteering and musical instrument ability a PLUS! Contract dates on/about November 9, 2020 –December 22, 2020. 

[ACTOR 4] – Male identifying, any ethnicity, versatile singing actor to play multiple roles in Nutcracker Rocks. Puppeteering ability a PLUS! Contract dates on/about November 9, 2020 –December 22, 2020. 


A submission-based competition for Students of all ages, mimicking the NCAA Basketball Tournament format. 

Here’s how it works

Questions? Email

21 Evidence-Based Benefits of Drama Education

With the world’s attention focused squarely on the COVID-19 virus, it’s easy to forget that anything else is happening. For example, you’d be forgiven for being unaware that today is World Theater Day – a global celebration of everything related to theater in all its forms. 

Now that we can’t congregate, either to watch plays or take part in them, it is becoming clearer than ever what a profoundly positive role drama ordinarily plays in our lives. More than ever, we feel that today is a day to celebrate theater. To do so, we’re going to shout about the many benefits of drama education. 

After a deep dive into the scientific literature, WeTheParents have created the following visualization. It highlights 21 studies, each of which demonstrates a compelling benefit that theater education has on our children and young people.

Drama Education: 21 Science-Backed Benefits

So there we go! 21 incredible benefits backed up by research. 

Every day we witness first-hand the benefits that drama brings to children and young people, but it’s always satisfying to have anecdotal evidence and intuition backed up by science!

So let’s continue to shout about the benefits of drama, today on World Theater Day, but also during the weeks and months ahead while theaters and education facilities may remain closed.

If you can, why not keep drama alive in your home. Consider incorporating creative drama into your homeschooling. Check out our resources in TCT Everywhere for ideas. Remember, every little bit of drama helps.

Stay safe, and happy World Theater Day!

TCT Everywhere!

During Uncertain Times,
We Can Still Rely On Theatre!

Stuck at home? Looking for things to do? Here’s our running list of fun TCT activities, videos, and more for you to enjoy from the comfort and safety of your own home:

Entire Shows & Clips

CASPER: The Friendly Musical Entire show available now on YouTube!

Watch Now

SUFFRAGETTES: With Liberty and Voting For All
Full show on Youtube!

Watch Now


TCT PRESENTS MARCH MADNESS: A submission-based competition for Students of all ages, mimicking the NCAA Basketball Tournament format.

Find Out More

CASPER Watch Party Bingo! Download your cards here for the Watch Party on 4/4:

Podcasts & Study Guides

Listen and Learn with our podcast AUDIO FOOTLIGHTS! Get the inside scoop on past productions from members of the cast, and even listen to last year’s playwriting contest!


Study Guides & Activity Packets for all MainStage and Tour Shows Find the companion packets for shows in the 19-20 Season

Find Study Guides

Lessons, Crafts & Games

Missed celebrating St. Paddy’s Day? You can still make this fun leprechaun craft from household supplies! Angelo teaches you how in this fun video.

Learn How

Vocal Warmup Lesson with Miss Natalie Easy exercises to do at home – no piano needed!

Watch Now

Next up in #QuarantineCrafts: Hoots McGee the owl! Make your very own wise friend from household items that are easily accessible!

Learn How
Stay tuned for more…

Support TCT

We Can Support Ohio Arts by Working Together

By Donna S. Collins, Ohio Arts Council Executive Director

Even in a time of social distancing and limits on traditionally presented arts gatherings and events, Ohioans can still find creative ways to support our state’s wonderful arts organizations, arts educators, and artists. (Photo by Katie Monahan)

It’s been quite a week in Ohio. With updates pinging our phones every second, emails flying to and fro, and difficult decisions being made every day, the Ohio Arts Council understands that this is not the start to spring that any of our wonderful arts organizations, arts educators, and artists had hoped for or anticipated.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how generous Ohioans are. How we pull together when times are tough. How we enthusiastically jump in to support each other when we see ways that we can help—and when those avenues of assistance aren’t immediately clear, how we start thinking creatively to find a solution. How we aren’t afraid to put our heads together to develop innovative ways in which we can have a positive impact. And how we are never too busy to take the time to check in with our friends, colleagues, and neighbors in the arts.

These past several days, the OAC has been having its own discussions, working to prepare a plan that will allow us to continue to serve you, our amazing Ohio arts community, to the best of our ability while adjusting our approach as more information becomes available from our state’s health and governmental leaders. We’ve had to make some difficult decisions of our own, as we’ve chosen to reschedule the 2020 Governor’s Awards for the Arts in Ohio for a later date.

As of March 13, the OAC has begun proactively issuing partial payments for nearly all current FY 2020 operating and project support grants that have not already received them. These are grants that have already been extensively reviewed via rigorous panel processes and awarded funding by the OAC board. Partial payments are typically awarded only upon request, but by taking this action the OAC will quickly inject more than $3.5 million directly into arts and cultural organizations around the state, which can then be put immediately to work within the Ohio economy.

More changes and updates will likely come as we learn more from Governor Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Amy Acton about our state’s response to the coronavirus (COVID-19), but we remain committed to the health and safety of our arts community as our top priority.

In uncertain times like these, it is sometimes hard to feel as if we can do anything that could make a difference. But I believe there are things every single one of us can do to support each other. 

Here are a few suggestions:

Keep your tickets and registrations instead of asking for a refund.
For all of us who are holding tickets for concerts, plays, lectures, etc., let’s consider not asking for refunds, if we are financially able. Our artists and arts organizations need our support now more than ever. With event cancellations and other social distancing measures being implemented rapidly across the state in response to COVID-19, the Ohio arts and cultural community now faces a potentially grave and extended cash flow shortage, which may directly affect the state’s nearly 290,000 creative industries workers, their families, and communities.

Consider the amount you paid for your ticket as an investment in Ohio’s artists and musicians (who need paid even when shows are cancelled by no fault of their own). Helping to offset the loss of revenue for our nonprofits will make a huge difference as arts and culture organizations are forced to cancel events and programming due to the Ohio Department of Health’s ban on mass gatherings.

Take care of your own health and stay connected.
The Ohio Department of Health has a website that is updated daily and provides helpful tips on preventing infectious disease, educational videos, and news releases with updates from the Department of Health and the Ohio Governor’s Office, and more. A phone line has been set up for answers to your COVID-19 questions and is reachable at 1-833-4ASKODH (1-833-427-5634). 

The Ohio Arts Council has developed a page to provide answers to frequently asked questions, keep you apprised of agency news and updates, and share resources to assist you in your operations and planning: We will also be sharing links to emergency funding resources for artists and arts organizations on our social media pages in the coming weeks.

Share information with artists, arts administrators, and teaching artists in your community about emergency funds and other sources of support.
Many entities nationwide are offering emergency funding resources for artists and arts organizations. 

Americans for the Arts launched their new COVID-19 Resource and Response Center on March 13, 2020. This hub of information includes valuable links to funding/grant opportunities throughout the country. It also features a link to an economic impact survey aiming to “capture a broad spectrum of data and stories that will demonstrate how the arts and culture workers triumphed and survived this crisis as well as the effect of the outbreak on operations through cancelled events, lost wages, and additional expenses.” You can access the survey and resource links here.

Please share these links with those who you feel can benefit from this funding. They are not by any means the only resources out there, but they are a good way to get started:

For the Literary Arts:
The PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is a small grants program for professional—published or produced—writers in acute or unexpected financial crisis. Depending on the situation and level of need, grants are in the range of $2,000.
Next deadline: February 28, 2020 | More information:

For the Performing Arts
The Actors Fund offers free and confidential social service programs that are available nationally and address a wide array of challenges faced by people in performing arts and entertainment. 
More information:

For the Visual Arts
The Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc. Emergency Grant provides interim financial assistance to qualified painters, printmakers, and sculptors whose needs are the result of an unforeseen, catastrophic incident, and who lack the resources to meet that situation. Each grant is given as one-time assistance for a specific emergency. The maximum amount of this grant is $15,000, a typical grant is $5,000.
Rolling deadline | More information:

The Foundation for Contemporary Arts’ (FCA) emergency grants provide urgent funding for visual and performing artists who incur unexpected or unbudgeted expenses for projects close to completion with committed exhibition or performance dates. The FCA makes approximately 12-15 grants each month, and grants range in amount from $500 to $2,500.
Rolling deadline | More

The Artists Fellowship web page offers a list of emergency aid resources and additional grant funding opportunities for visual artists, many of which are open to qualified artists in craft, design, and fine arts disciplines.
More information:

For Musicians
The Sweet Relief Musicians Fund provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems. 
Rolling deadline | More information: | Looking to donate? You can donate to the Sweet Relief COVID-19 Donor-Directed Fund 

As we continue to learn more about the coronavirus in the coming days and weeks, let’s continue to do the right thing by our fellow Ohioans in the arts. We will support each other and get through this together, as we always do in Ohio.

Until next time,

Donna S. Collins signature

Donna S. Collins 
Ohio Arts Council Executive Director

Public Health Precautions

As of March 20, 2020:

Although we are weeks away from opening ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL JR., the final MainStage production in The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s 100th Anniversary Season, we feel that it is in the best interest of our patrons, artists, staff, and volunteers to cancel all performances of this production.

However, we are pleased to announce ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL JR. will become part of The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s 20-21 season, landing in the last slot and running April 17-April 26, 2021. This production will take the place of PRINCESS & FROG, which will move to a future season.

Single ticket purchases will be automatically refunded through Ticketmaster but we ask, if you are able, to please consider making a gift to TCT to ensure our sustainability during this difficult time.  You’ll be helping to keep the theatre alive and the arts vibrant in Cincinnati.  We’ve been a part of the health and well-being of students and families in and around Cincinnati for 100 years.  Now we ask that you help us stay healthy. 

Donate to TCT

Subscribers may receive a refund of ¼ of their subscription.  You may request this refund by emailing  

“During WW2, the women of the Junior League leading The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati were faced with the same problem we are today. Yet, that did not stop their mission to engage their audience through new and innovative methods. They took to radio to broadcast their shows and kept the mission alive. In the digital age, you can count on TCT to continue to engage our patrons during this difficult time. Our creative staff is working hard to provide entertaining, educational and engaging digital content until we are back to 100%. Continue to follow TCT on social media as we release archival production footage, photos of past productions, podcasts, and more!  Furthermore, we know how excited many of you were for our season closer, Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical JR. The impeccable artistry, production development, and valuable time spent on the production will not be lost. We are elated to be able to slide the production into the final spot of our 101st season. To those of you who were excited for Princess & Frog, don’t worry! The production will be hopping into a future season! So, stay tuned. Your health is the utmost importance to us and we know the value live entertainment brings during times like this. We will be here for you and look forward to seeing our patrons (in person) as soon as possible.”

Roderick Justice, TCT Producing Artistic Director

Subscriptions and Flex Passes are on sale now for the 2020-21 season, which also includes: DISNEY’S DESCENDANTS, ELF THE MUSICAL JR., DOCTOR DOLITTLE JR. Find out more about subscriptions.

All TCT Academy Classes, Spring Break Camps, and Private Lessons will also be canceled through May 31, 2020.  A member of TCT’s Staff will be in contact with those affected by this change. 

Please have patience with us as we navigate a high volume of requests for rescheduling in a later session or requests for a refund.  To that end, again if you are able, please consider allowing us to direct your refund as a gift to TCT instead.

In response to COVID-19 and school closures, we have made the TCT On Tour production of SUFFRAGETTES: WITH LIBERTY AND VOTING FOR ALL free of charge for teachers and parents to use with online curricular plans. Written by playwright Mary Tensing, with music from singer-songwriter Tracy Walker, SUFFRAGETTES is available and is a great curricular theatrical performance for students to watch while they learn at home. 

“It is our hope the preventative measures taking place to limit gatherings will benefit public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. We wish you and your family health and well-being and appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.  Please be kind to one another during this very difficult time and stay well.”

Kim Kern, TCT Managing Director & CEO

Annie for All

BY KATHLEEN DOANE for Cincinnati Magazine
Associate Artistic Director
Eric Byrd

Associate Artistic Director Eric Byrd does double duty as director and choreographer for Annie JR. Byrd fell in love with theatre at age 7 when he attended his first live performance, Jack and the Beanstalk, at The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati. He explains why Annie JR. is the perfect show for everyone.

Q: Why is the story of Annie, an orphan during The Depression, still so meaningful to audiences?

TCT’s Production of Annie JR. in 2013 at the Taft Theatre

A: I think it’s her optimism. Annie has a hard-knock life, but she finds the silver lining in every situation despite her circumstances. When she meets Rooster and Lily, who claim to be her parents, she gives them a chance even though Grace and Daddy Warbucks don’t believe them. She even invites Miss Hannigan, who has been so mean to her, to the Christmas party at Daddy Warbucks’s house. She’s so forgiving and resilient. I think that resonates with all children and adults.

Q: Is there a particular moment that captures Annie’s optimism and spunk?

A: When we get to the big anthem, “Tomorrow.” Everyone knows it and gets the message: “Things might not be good today, but there’s always tomorrow.” It’s a simple lyric and melody but powerful. Audiences always sing along.

Q: The performance on March 8 at 11 a.m. will be a sensory-friendly performance as part of TCT’s commitment to “theatre for all,” especially those on the autism spectrum. How will you change the show?

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Team at a Sensory-Friendly Performance

A: We’ll take the volume of the sound down and keep the house lights at 30 percent. When people buy their tickets, we provide a full show narrative to let everyone know what to expect from the moment they arrive at the theater. It is often someone’s first theater experience, so we work closely with Dr. Jennifer D. Smith, Director of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to prepare the cast for things that might happen during a performance, say if there is laughter or sounds of excitement in unexpected places. The main thing we want to create is a judgment-free zone for this audience. If someone needs to get up and leave, they can step out for some quiet time. We will have trained volunteers in the lobby who will have activities for them or just talk with them, and they are free to come back in at anytime.

Q: Why was Annie JR. chosen for a sensory- friendly public performance?

Two Happy Sensory-Friendly Performance Patrons Genoa and Sue

A: Because of its universal appeal. It’s also very easy for a family to prepare for the performance. They can look up the comic strip or watch the movie. [There are two film versions.] They can see the story beforehand so there won’t be any surprises. They can also check out our resources at

Q: What kind of feedback do you get from parents at the sensory-friendly performances?

A: Patrons are so appreciative we are hosting an event where they and their children feel included. We always get many thanks from the children and adults at our performances for providing a memorable experience for the whole family or, as we say, for children from 4 to 104.

Learn More and reserve seats for the Sensory-Friendly Performance of Annie JR. on Sunday, March 8 at 11am at the Taft Theatre!

Find out about all other showtimes, ticket prices, and more for Annie JR. Feb. 29-Mar. 9 at the Taft Theatre.