Executive Director Michael Shooner established New Edgecliff Theatre in 1998, building on a concept of locally-produced professional educational theater that he first experienced at Edgecliff College in the 1970s. His first acting job with the new group (Eric Bogosian’s Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll) earned Mr. Shooner a Cincinnati Entertainment Awards (CEA) nomination as Best Actor. The organization incorporated the following year and mounted two full-scale productions during its first season: All in the Timing, produced in collaboration with Xavier University and presented at the University, and The Woolgatherer, presented to critical acclaim at the Fifth Third Bank Theater in the Aronoff Center. In 2000, NET received 501(c)(3) status.
During the 2000-01 Season at the Fifth Third Bank Theater we offered Harry Kondoleon’s Christmas on Mars, staged in collaboration with Xavier Players, Michael Folie’s Naked by the River, and the world premiere of Randall David Cook’s Southern Discomfort.
The 2001-02 Season included David Sedaris’The Santaland Diaries, Michael Folie’s Slave Shack, and Joyce Carol Oates’s I Stand Before You Naked. Maintaining its reputation for strong acting, NET had two actors (David Scott Morgan and Sue Breving) nominated for the 2002 CEA.
The 2002-03 Season saw a continuation of incisive, character-driven, thought-provoking theatre, addingSeason’s Greetings to Sedaris’ The Santaland Diaries, along with Linda Eisenstein’sThree the Hard Way and Square One by Steve Tesich.
In May of 2002 NET moved into the newly established Artery space in downtown Newport, Kentucky with I Stand Before You Naked. Due to a change in building ownership, we went in search of a new home and were quite thrilled to make use of the Columbia Performance Center (CPC) space in historic Columbia Tusculum for our third highly successful production of The Santaland Diaries in December of 2003.
In December of 2003, Elizabeth A. Harris was named Associate Artistic Director. In her inaugural season, she directed both Power Failure and Lives of the Saints, and performed in Matt Johnson’s world premiere, Drinking Alone. Not only was the 2004-05 Season our first with four shows, but we continued to garner acclaim with CEA nominations for Best Supporting Actress (Molly Binder, Lives of the Saints) and Best Premiere (Drinking Alone by Matt Johnson).
After a successful 2005-06 Season as Artistic Director (a season which saw both an Acclaim Award and three CEA nominations for American Buffalo), Elizabeth Harris moved to Pittsburgh in pursuit of further education. Respected actor and director Greg Procaccino took over the reigns as Artistic Director and began planning an ambitious path for the company.
For NET’s 10th Anniversary Season, we expanded our staff to include Nathan Gabriel as Associate Artistic Director and Devon Campailla as Managing Director.
In our 11th Season, we saw even more growth with the addition of Melissa Bennett as our Technical Director. We also garnered more accolades; Equity guest artist Kate Wilford won an Acclaim Award and a Cincinnati Entertainment Award nomination for her role inDeath of a Salesman. Our collaboration with innovative dance troupe Pones, Inc. led to the successful Singles Awareness Weekend, and we closed out the year with the wildly fun Angry Housewives, our first musical endeavor.
Our 2009-2010 Season (our 12th) cemented our place in the Cincinnati theatre community. Aaron Edge joined our technical staff as Master Carpenter, and our Eductional Program continues to grow with the addition of Jonn Baca as our Education director. We remain dedicated to our partnership with Dramakinetics.
Our focus on a strong actor-audience relationship was apparent in our Season selections, which includes the modern classic Equus. That production netted New Edgecliff five Acclaim Awards as well as six CEA nominations for the outstanding work done by its director, design team and acting ensemble. Greg Procacinno closed out his successful tenure as Artistic Director with his adventurous adaptation of the classic tale of Cyrano de Bergerac, Cyrano [Rehearsed].
Jim Stump took over as Artistic Director for our 13th Season, putting together an ambitious line-up, which saw the return of the The Santaland Diaries, this time with Cincinnati favorite Josh Steele as Crumpet the Elf. Our production of The Night of the Iguana earned critical praise and an Acclaim Award for Supporting Actress Annie Fitzpatrick. NET was also excited to partner with the up-and-coming troupe Artemis Exchange to present the group’s hit production Aberrant Reflections on the Barbarism of You and I. We rounded out our regular season with the Cincinnati premiere of the lighthearted musical [title of show]. The production delighted audiences and earned Mark Femia an Acclaim Award for his music direction. 2011 also saw NET’s return to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival after an eight year hiatus. The company presented Darker by new Playwright-in-Residence Catie O’Keefe. One of the most talked about shows at the 2011 Festival, the cast earned numerous accolades, including an Acclaim Award for Acting Ensemble.
We are excited to head into our 14th season: Obsessed. We look forward to you joining us for the ride!
NET is a member of the League of Cincinnati Theatres, a regional organization committed to encouraging professionalism in area theatres.