Playwrights Local 4181 Announces World Premiere of "To The Orchard" by Les Hunter

Contemporary drama runs May 27 - June 5 at Waterloo Arts and June 10-12 at Dobama Theatre.

Cleveland, OH, April 16, 2016 --( Playwrights Local 4181 announces the world premiere of Cleveland-based writer Les Hunter’s To the Orchard. Directed by Dale Heinen, the play runs May 27 through June 5 at Waterloo Arts in North Collinwood and June 10 through 12 at Dobama Theatre in Cleveland Heights. This is the first full production for Playwrights Local, a 501(c)(3) company whose recent presentations include the 2015 Cleveland Playwrights Festival.

In To the Orchard, college student Rachel Bergman reveals her sexual identity to her Orthodox Jewish father, who also is struggling with his own hidden past. In coming to terms with each other--and themselves--the pair must reconcile the conflicting pulls of tradition and individual desire. The play takes place in Brooklyn in the recent past, but incorporates dreamlike visits to turn-of-the-century England and the lost Jewish Eastern Europe. The spirits of Robert Plant and Virginia Woolf add a touch of magic realism to this intimate work about making mistakes, coming clean, and the power of history and family.

“To the Orchard examines contemporary issues, but within the context of timeless concerns,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “It also balances a compelling narrative with moments of heightened theatricality. It sends a strong message for our company, which is that we’re interested in exposing Cleveland audiences to a very up-to-date style of playwriting as practiced locally.”

Prior to this world premiere, To the Orchard received a National Foundation for Jewish Culture New Play grant, and was developed at Boston Playwrights Theatre and Brooklyn College. In January, the play was named a finalist for the Jewish Plays Project’s 2016 contest. “This production also has garnered support from the Arch and Bruce Brown Foundation,” notes Todd. “This is a good indication of the quality and relevance of Les’ work.”

Playwright Les Hunter’s credits include the collaborative Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theatre 167, New York City), Lion of the East (America-In-Play, NYC), and Biggest Break (Artistic New Directions, NYC). Director Dale Heinen’s previous venues include London’s Tricycle Theatre, New York’s The Zipper, and Chicago’s Silk Road Theatre Project. The pair are joined for To the Orchard by company members Robert Branch, Kelsey Angel Baehrens, Andrea Belser, and Michael Regnier. Others on the creative team are set designer Laura Carlson Tarantowski, costume designer Inda Blatch-Geib, lighting designer Jonathan Maag, projection designer T. Paul Lowry, sound designer Daniel McNamara, carpenter Paul Kit, and prop master Heather K. Pederson. The stage manager is Megan Mingus and the production manager is Francesca Mamlin.

Performances run Friday and Saturday at 8:00 pm and Sunday at 2:30 pm. Performances are May 27-29 & June 3-5 at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts (397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110) and June 10-12 at Dobama Theatre (2340 Lee Rd, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118). Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, and $10 for students. Group packages are available. For more information, visit the company’s website at

To the Orchard is the debut production for Playwrights Local 4181, a new theater company located in Cleveland. Billed as a playwrights’ center, the organization’s goal is to provide a home base for dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. They offer classes and workshops, produce original plays, provide professional development opportunities, and engage the community through site-specific projects. Tax-deductible contributions to this 501(c)(3) group can be made at
Playwrights Local 4181
Tom Hayes
(216) 302-8856