Written by Lee Blessing
Directed by Ted J. Weil
Season Sponsors: Richard L. & Mary A. Johnson
From The Producing Artistic Director
This is a season of coming back: coming back from a long hiatus, coming back from an uncertain world, coming back together as an arts community. Falcon’s first performance for a live audience in over 18 months was one of our Falcon Takes Flight pieces. Railsplitter, by Maurice Manning, is a work of poetry about Abraham Lincoln, a devoted fan of theater. Maurice’s words capture better than I ever could, the feelings I have as we begin our journey of coming back:
“…as dead as words writ on the page.
You have to find the life in them,
that is the pleasure of listening
to a voice on the stage or reading a book.
There’s something alive you bring to life
by being the reader or seeing the show,
and that makes being alive less lonely.
All of this . . . expression . . . has been for you.”
— Maurice Manning, “Railsplitter”
Being away from the theater has deepened my appreciation for how much of my life is consumed by this work. It has deepened my conviction about how essential you, the audience, are to everything we do. Without you, nothing we do has any impact or purpose.There are still many uncertainties in the world and the trajectory of this season is far from guaranteed, but one thing is certain: Falcon Theatre is back. And we’re so grateful to bring you live theater once again.
Producing Artistic Director
CAST (in order of appearance)
Andrey Botvinnik — Jay Dallas Benson
John Honeyman — Ryan J. Poole
Rehearsal Stage Manager — Tracy M. Schoster
Production Stage Manager — Amy Enzweiler
Dialect Coach — Kate Glasheen
Scenic Design — Ted J. Weil & Tracy M. Schoster
Lighting Design — Ted J. Weil
Costume Design — Tara Williams
Props Design — Tracy M. Schoster
Sound Design — Tracy M. Schoster & Ted J. Weil
Lighting & Sound Execution — Amy Enzweiler
Set Construction — Ted J. Weil, Clint Ibele, Tracy M. Schoster
Set Decor — Tracy M. Schoster
Lobby Display — Tracy M. Schoster
Dramaturg — Julie Carpenter
Production Coordinator — Tara Williams
Marketing Director — Lisa Dirkes
House Staff Coordination — Tracy M. Schoster
Photography — Kristy Rucker
Box Office — Holly Sauerbrunn
Street Level Marketing — Rilla Foster
Ensemble Theatre of Cincinnati
Falcon thanks these organizations for their support:
Jay Dallas Benson (Andrey Botvinnik): Jay has been associated with Falcon for over 20 years. Falcon audiences last saw Jay as Sid in Falcon’s video production of Daisy. Before that Jay was featured in numerous Falcon’s productions such as The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, The Woman in Black, It’s a Wonderful Life, Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Little Shop of Horrors, The Mystery of Irma Vep, and The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged). Jay’s performances include musicals like The Rocky Horror Show (Brad), dramas like The Diary of Anne Frank (Otto Frank), and innumerable comedies. While Jay has worked at other theaters around town, he is proud and happy to be working at Falcon once again. Jay would also like to thank Beth, Elsa and Ben for letting him come out and play.
Ryan J. Poole (John Honeyman): Ryan is delighted to be back on the Falcon stage, last appearing in 2019’s Marjorie Prime (Walter). A Tri-State transplant from Salt Lake City, Ryan is a veteran of more than 70 stage productions, while also being featured in film, TV and radio. Regional favorites include Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache), Little Shop of Horrors (Dentist), The 39 Steps (Richard Hannay), 9 to 5 The Musical (Frank Hart), See How They Run (Clive), Mamma Mia! (Sam), The Three Musketeers (Athos), Calamity Jane (Wild Bill), Lend Me a Tenor (Max), Once Upon a Mattress (Sir Harry), and A Christmas Carol (Dickens/Cratchit). Ryan studied classical acting and directing under Frank Gerrish at the University of Utah. Off stage, he’s a TV/video producer and director, and an exceedingly proud dad to four remarkable kiddos and one lazy cat. @ryanjpoole
Production Team Biographies
Tara Williams (Costume Designer): Previous roles at Falcon Theatre include Marjorie Prime, A Streetcar Named Desire, Rabbit Hole, The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Cover of Life, Slasher and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Other Cincinnati credits include, Brighton Beach Memoirs and Broadway Bound (Covedale Center for the Performing Arts), Death of a Salesman (New Edgecliff Theatre), and multiple shows at the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Other credits, Kimberly Duncan in Universal Studio’s Terminator II 3-D Attraction, Theatre Downtown, Orlando Fringe Festival, Civic Theatre and 19 comical characters at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Theatre where she was a regular for 7 years. She is a proud member of both Falcon’s board and advisory team. Tara holds a BFA in acting from Northern Illinois University.
Amy Enzweiler (Production Stage Manager): Amy is psyched to be back at Falcon for live theatre again! While studying at NKU, and since graduating in 2018 with her BFA in Stage Management, Amy has stage managed several productions for Falcon, including: The Pillowman, A Streetcar Named Desire, 39 Steps, Marjorie Prime, Blues for an Alabama Sky and Red Speedo.
Lee Blessing (Playwright): Lee Blessing is the author of A Walk in the Woods, Two Rooms, Eleemosynary, Going to St. Ives and other plays which have been performed throughout the U.S. and worldwide. His work has earned numerous awards—Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk, Steinberg/American Theater Critics Association, L.A. Critics Association to name a few—and has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for Tony and Olivier Awards. Blessing is married to playwright and TV writer-producer Melanie Marnich and lives in Los Angeles.
Ted J. Weil (Director): Ted is the Producing Artistic Director at Falcon Theatre and was one of the co-founders of the organization in 1989. Since then he has directed dozens of plays including A Small Fire, Master Harold…and the Boys, Duck Hunter Shoots Angel, The Rocky Horror Show and Angels In America. He has also appeared on stage as an actor in productions including Yankee Tavern, Rabbit Hole, And Then There Were None, Hamlet, Henry V and Assassins.
This show has been a favorite of mine for many years. Growing up in the 80s, the Cold War was part of our everyday lives. We always knew how tenuous our safety actually was. We knew, with GE being a major supplier to the US Air Force, that Cincinnati was a first strike target. So this play that talks so frankly and deeply about the intricate dance that the United States and Soviet Union engaged in for all those years spoke to me. Today, it feels as resonant as ever. As we see events unfolding every day in Ukraine and we read about the delicate balance that NATO is trying to walk with Russia while still supporting Ukraine it feel like history repeating itself. We’re right back in a proxy war with our old rivals and the threat is just as real as ever.
Today we talk more about fighting authoritarianism within our own country that we do fighting it abroad…and we must. We cannot help others without helping ourselves. And we cannot stand for freedom unless we commit to it, believe in it, and uphold our own democracy. But today we are forced to do both and our commitment to Ukraine comes with risks that harken back to the days when this play was written. Those risks are frightening and very real. But just as the 2 men in this play show, there are still those on both sides who truly value life, who believe trust must be a starting point and who believe that our future depends on working together.
Lee Blessing took a real event and imagined how the actual conversations might have played out. The play is fiction but its themes are completely real and as important and relevant as they were 40 years ago. I hope you enjoy this play and that it makes you think and talk with one another about the past, present and our future.
Falcon Theatre Management Board
Piper N. Davis – Diversity & Inclusion Director
Lisa Dirkes – Marketing Director
Terry Gosdin – Play Reading Chair
Clint Ibele – Falcon Takes Flight Director
Allen R. Middleton – Development Director, Copywriter
Holly Sauerbrunn – Grants Writer
Tracy M. Schoster – Patron Manager, Advisory Team
Ted J. Weil – Producing Artistic Director
Tara Williams – Production Coordinator, Grants Manager, Advisory Team
Doug & Carol Burks (Production Sponsors)
Richard L. & Mary A. Johnson (Season Sponsors)
Patrick Thernes (Production Sponsor)
Allen Middleton & Gary Daniels
Tracy M. Schoster
John Morrow & Julie Ann Smith-Morrow
Tom & Angela Ogonek
Ted J. Weil
Robert Arlinghaus & Christina Kelley
Robert & Patricia Clary
Bill & Trish Harris
Terry Miller & Dale Hayes
Michael & Susan Whitehead
In Memory of Renee Alper
David & Janet Arno
Scott & Ann Beck
Lou & Judy Belli
Steve Bolia & Rob Dorgan
Sandra Grinkmeyer & Ernie Franz
George & Nancy Whitton
Your Support Makes It All Possible!
Falcon has been creating quality theater for our audiences since 1989 and we remain committed to our vision to lead our community through artistic expression and inclusive creativity. Like all arts organizations, we can’t do it without you. Your tax-deductible donation helps us continue to produce affordable theatre while offsetting the cost of creating professional productions. The generosity of patrons continues to allow Falcon Theatre the opportunity to expand its horizons, reaching new audiences, new markets and a new generation of theatre minds. Your gift goes a long way in helping us grow, thrive and continue this success.
Click Here to visit our Patron Information page.
Falcon is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, and your donations are tax-deductible. Please consult your tax advisor for more information.
- Angel $5000+ (Includes 2 five-show Flex Passes)
- Benefactor $1000+ (Includes 1 five-show Flex Passes)
- Playwright $500+
- Director $250+
- Producer $100+
- Designer $50+
- Stage Manager $25+
- Actor Up to $25
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