Ensemble and Dobama theaters present their season finales

With signs of spring everywhere (finally!), Ensemble Theatre and Dobama Theatre are preparing to mount the final productions of their 2014–15 seasons. These last main stage productions promise to be memorable.

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” by Rajiv Joseph, runs through May 17 at Ensemble; “Superior Donuts,” by Tracy Letts, runs through May 24 at Dobama.

“Bengal Tiger” is set in the first days of the American invasion of Iraq and highlights the lives of two U.S. Marines and an Iraqi translator, which are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger. The tiger, played on Broadway by Robin Williams, haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad attempting to find meaning, forgiveness and redemption amid the city's ruins. Joseph's groundbreaking American play explores both the power and the perils of human nature.  

Playwright Rajiv Joseph was raised in Cleveland Heights and graduated from Cleveland Heights High School. His theater ambitions may have started at age 10, when he won a small role in the musical “Nine” at Cain Park. He credits his experience in the Peace Corps in Senegal with helping him to become a writer.

Joseph’s plays have been produced in numerous U.S. cities, as well as in Sydney, Australia, and Bangalore, India. He has received many awards for his work, including being named a Pulitzer Prize for Drama finalist in 2010 for “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

For more information, and to purchase tickets, call Ensemble’s box office at 216-321-2930.

“Superior Donuts,” at Dobama, features Arthur Przybyszewski, whose donut shop in the uptown neighborhood of Chicago is vandalized. Arthur, an uninspired ex-hippie, seems indifferent. But when Franco Wicks, an African-American college student, enters the shop, both men are changed forever. This comedy-drama by Tracy Letts explores the redemptive power of friendship.

If the name Tracy Letts sounds familiar, it should. Letts is an actor, screenwriter and playwright who received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for “August: Osage County.”

His acting credits include the ongoing portrayal of Andrew Lockhart in seasons 3 and 4 of Showtime’s “Homeland,” for which he was nominated for two Screen Actors Guild awards. Letts wrote the screenplays for “August: Osage County,” “Killer Joe” and “Bug.”  

For a complete schedule, and to purchase tickets for “Superior Donuts,” call the Dobama box office at 216-932-3396.

Jewel Moulthrop

Jewel Moulthrop is a Cleveland Heights resident and member of the Heights Observer's Editorial Advisory Committee.

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Volume 8, Issue 5, Posted 6:07 PM, 04.30.2015