Brick Monkey Reading Series is HERE!


Brick Monkey Theater EnsembleATHENS, March 1, 2010– Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble (BMTE), Southeast Ohio’s only professional theater company, is happy to announce it’s upcoming series of play readings.   BMTE will present a play reading on the second Tuesday of each month from March through June beginning on March 9th.  The readings will be free of charge and audience members will be invited to discuss the play with the company following each reading.  Two of the plays are newly written works by company members Merri Biechler and Charles Smith, and each of the plays is under consideration for future production.   All readings are free of charge.

The readings will take place at 7:00 PM on the second Tuesday of the month: 3/9, 4/13, 5/11, 6/8, and will include:

3/9: FICTION by Steven Dietz. Director: David Haugen, Actors: Dennis Delaney, Shelley Delaney, Kate Scholl.  Location:  Glidden Recital Hall on the Ohio University campus.

Fiction by Steven Dietz is a provocative examination of the life and loves of two successful, married writers.  Linda and Michael thrive on the give-and-take of their unusually honest relationship.  But when they decide to share their journals, the boundaries between past and present, fact and fiction, trust and betrayal begin to break down.  No life, it turns out, is an open book.  To quote the play, “The lies begin when you lift the pen.”

Locations of the following three readings are to be announced:

4/13: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JAMES by Charles Smith. Company: TBA. Premiere regional reading of a new work in progress.

5/11: OCCUPATION by Merri Biechler.  Actors: Janice Evans, Kate Scholl, Rebecca VerNooy, Lorraine Wochna.  Premiere regional reading of a new work in progress.

6/8: FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE by Terrence McNally: Director: TBA, Actors: Merri Biechler, Ledger Free.

About Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble

The vibrant arts scene in Athens and Southeast Ohio features internationally recognized professionals working in a variety of artistic disciplines, ranging from ceramics and photography to dulcimer building and fiddle playing. In 2007, thirteen professional theater artists came together in Athens to found the Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble with the expressed intent of producing professional theater of a caliber to match our internationally acclaimed and thriving arts community.

Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 corporation located in Athens, Ohio.  The playwrights, directors, actors and designers who constitute BMTE are artists whose collective body of professional work encompasses all branches of the entertainment field:  theater, television and film.  Members of the ensemble have worked at theater venues that include Broadway, Off-Broadway, major theatrical markets including Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., as well as a range of significant regional theaters. They hold memberships in key professional entertainment industry unions and guilds, including Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, United Scenic Artists, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, Dramatists Guild, Writers Guild of America, and New Dramatists.

Mission Statement

Our mission is to challenge, engage and inspire the residents of our community with explosive and thought provoking theater. As the only professional theater company in Southeast Ohio, we develop and produce new theater works, as well as contemporary and classic plays. With a commitment to collaboration and a desire to integrate our art into the fabric of our region, we strive to explore, confront and affirm what it means to be alive.

Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble is sponsored in part by the Ohio Arts Council.

ROUNDING THIRD at Brick Monkey

Septemerber 3-6, 2009:

Rounding Third by Richard Dresser

Opening Thursday, September 3 through Sunday, September 6, 2009 at Stuart’s Opera House on the Square in Nelsonville, OH. See below for ticket information.

Rounding Third is a hilarious look at two well-intentioned fathers and their very different approaches to coaching a little league baseball team.

The ball field becomes a battlefield in Richard Dresser’s hilarious comedy as two mismatched little league coaches lead their team of aspiring big leaguers from their first tentative meeting of the spring to the climactic championship game. Don is the tough, blue-collar, win-at-all-costs veteran coach whose son is the star pitcher. Michael, the newcomer both to the town and to baseball, is a white-collar executive who agrees to be Don’s assistant because he wants to share a special activity with his athletically inept son. Michael believes that the job of the coaches is to shield the kids from the intense pressure of competition while making sure everyone has a good time, while Don is coaching for only one
reason: to win. Out of these conflicting philosophies, the real issues of the play emerge: how should we raise our children? Since we live in such a ferociously competitive society, do we protect our children as long as possible? Or do we prepare them to be tough enough to win? And what does it mean to be an American man?

This two-person play enjoyed a successful off-Broadway run at the John Houseman Theatre after regional productions in Chicago, Laguna Beach, and the Old Globe in San Diego. It will be Brick Monkey’s inaugural production.

The play contains some language that may not be suitable for children.

Tickets are available now at Stuart’s Opera House:


Brick Monkey Theater Ensemble, Southeastern Ohio’s Professional Theater Company, will present a workshop reading of SMITH UNEARTHED, a new play written by ensemble member Erik Ramsey at Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville, Ohio on December 5, 2008 at 8:00 p.m. The workshop performance is free and open to the public. (See the Stuart’s Opera House web page information at the following link:

Erik Ramsey’s SMITH UNEARTHED poses this question: How did Joseph Smith, Jr., a failed oracle and convicted conman, rise to become the prophet and founder of the Mormon Church – arguably the fastest growing religion in the world today? The play chronicles the days leading up to Christmas, 1825 when Joseph Smith, Jr. and his father, on the run from the law, return in disgrace to the family farm in upstate New York to save their house from being repossessed. In the process of escaping the clutches of both their creditors and the investors they’d recently fleeced, they lay the foundations of Mormonism.

Based on historical accounts of Mormonism’s early years, SMITH UNEARTHED dramatizes the moment in time when Junior first begins to believe he has been spiritually imbued with the true story of the American continent: that Native Americans are actually a lost tribe of Israel and that he, Joseph, is the one man who knows the history of Jesus Christ’s appearance to them here. Disillusioned by his failures dowsing for precious minerals as a “seer for hire”, and disappointed in himself for turning his gift for divination into a cynical grift, Junior hopes to marry and find a simpler life free of prophecy, real or invented. But instead of climbing from the legal and ethical hole he’s dug himself into, he digs deeper and strikes a different kind of gold. No scholars deny Smith practiced magic, but no one knows for certain if that magic was simply a combination of charisma and sleight of hand or truly anointed and supernatural. SMITH UNEARTHED asks an audience to divine the truth of the matter for themselves.


Brick Monkey exclusiveBMTE presents a reading of Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver by Merri Biechler. Admission is Free, 8pm, Friday, June 27, 2008 at Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville, OH.

The Story: When Mae Benjamin moves back home to care for her terminally ill father, she imagines moments of reconciliation and grace. But as her father’s health declines, his obsession with the Sci-Fi Network and creating a machine to deliver him to another dimension intensifies. Using the machine, Mae summons her mother for guidance, and with humor and compassion strives to reach her final goal…to give her father a good death.

Confessions of a Reluctant Caregiver has been awarded over $30,000 for the development of the play and related research from sources such as the Ohio University College of Osteopathic Medicine and the American Cancer Society. For more about the play and research, see the Ohio Outlook article at: and


BMTE presents a staged reading of Almost, Maine by John Cariani as a special Valentines Day performance. Admission is Free, 8pm, Saturday, February 16, 2008 at Stuart’s Opera House, Nelsonville, OH.

Almost, Maine is a romantic comedy that began performances in New York in December 2005 at the Daryl Roth Theatre. The show received a wide variety of rave notices for its funny, touching look at life in the small, far northern town of Almost, Maine. Audiences flocked to see this show, with its hilarious and heartbreaking stories of love in the time of frostbite.