FutureHeights presents 'The Bloodless Jungle'
Peter Lawson Jones’s new play, "The Bloodless Jungle," tells the story of State Senator Ethan St. John, a rising political star who is running for a pivotal seat in Congress. In the midst of the campaign, his best friend from high school is accused of a serious crime and St. John is faced with a daunting choice: does he abandon his friend, whom he believes may be innocent, and focus on winning the election, or risk jeopardizing the campaign by supporting his friend? The play centers around the decision he makes and its consequences.
FutureHeights will present a staged reading of the play to benefit its Heights Community Development Alliance (HCDA) program on Sunday, June 5, at Ensemble Theatre. The two-act drama, directed by Terrance Spivey, former Karamu House artistic director, features a diverse cast, including veteran Cleveland TV news anchor and reporter Leon Bibb.
Jones is well versed in the perils of politics. In a career as an elected official that spanned 22 years, he served as a Cuyahoga County Commissioner, a member of the Ohio House of Representatives, and as the vice mayor and a councilman in the City of Shaker Heights. He believes strongly in the power of local communities. “I am pleased to stage this reading of my new play as a benefit for the Heights Community Development Alliance program of FutureHeights, which is working to fill vacant storefronts in the Heights and drive more visitors to local businesses,” said Jones.
A member of SAG-AFTRA and Actor’s Equity, Jones has appeared in nearly 20 films, in numerous stage productions and on network television. His drama "The Family Line," has been successfully produced at Karamu as well as at Harvard University and Ohio University.
Deanna Bremer Fisher, FutureHeights executive director, said that funds raised by the reading will go toward developing a map-based database of commercial properties in Cleveland Heights that will enable its HCDA program to actively manage programs designed to fill vacancies and enhance the pedestrian climate in the 11 neighborhood-serving business districts in Cleveland Heights. “I’m delighted that Peter is supporting us in this way,” she said, “and thrilled to be hosting an event at Ensemble Theatre, our neighbor at the Coventry building.”
Ensemble is a nonprofit small professional theatre founded in 1979 by Lucia Colombi. The theater is dedicated to the responsible production of works that celebrate the human spirit drawn from the rich canon of modern American classics as well as other significant contemporary plays. Receiving both audience and critical acclaim for its many productions, the theater has made its home in the Coventry school building, 2843 Washington Blvd., since 2011.
Tickets, available at www.ensembletheatrecle.org, are $15 for the staged reading and talk-back, which begins at 3 p.m. Patron tickets, which include a 2 p.m. wine and cheese reception at the FutureHeights office, located in Suite 105 of the Coventry school building, are $35. Attendees can also choose to sponsor the event by making a donation of $50 or more. Sponsors receive priority seating and recognition in the event program.
Save your ticket stub after the show to enjoy a same-day discount at participating Heights restaurants. A list of participating restaurants can be found at www.futureheights.org. For more information, call FutureHeights at 216-320-1423 or Ensemble Theatre at 216-321-2930.
Richard Stewart is owner of Digizoom Media and president of FutureHeights board of directors.