World Premiere of “The Panther Dancer” at Playwrights Local




New parody about the rise and fall of a childlike pop icon from playwright Logan Cutler Smith. Directed by Jimmie Woody, the world premiere production runs May 11 through 26 at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts.

Cleveland, OH; April 10, 2018

Playwrights Local announces The Panther Dancer, an inspired and fresh new comedy by Logan Cutler Smith. Featuring direction by Jimmie Woody, this world premiere parodies the familiar rise and fall of a pop star caught in a whirlwind of media hysteria. The production runs May 11 through 26 at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts in Cleveland.

The Panther Dancer is an innovative new play that digs deep beneath the surface of a childlike American icon. A series of inventive, offbeat-but-affecting vignettes, this knowing parody explores how a monolithic entertainer was created by our culture and, in turn, how he redirected that culture towards his own conflicted ends. The Panther Dancer follows a young wonder as he strives to become the very greatest show on earth. Tracing the arc of his campaign, the play becomes a playful deconstruction of biography and tabloid journalism–a sidelong glance at a meteoric rise and a catastrophic fall. Come along for this portrait of a timeless pop archetype rendered in highly theatrical fast-forward.

The Panther Dancer marks the debut full-length production of Logan Cutler Smith, a Cleveland native who recently completed his M.F.A. in Playwriting in the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program. Smith’s previous credits include the ten-minute play Of Straw Dogs (Playwrights Local, 2015) and the one-act play How To Fuck Like a Flower (Convergence-Continuum, 2015). Smith is joined for The Panther Dancer by director Jimmie Woody, whose extensive experience includes To Kill a Mockingbird at Weathervane Playhouse, The America Play at the University of Akron, The Split Show at Convergence-­Continuum, and The Glass Menagerie at Cuyahoga Community College. Woodie’s background includes an M.F.A. in Acting from Columbia University and a 2012 Creative Workforce Fellowship. He is a teaching artist at the Center for Arts-Inspired Learning and an acting professor at Cuyahoga Community College.

“We’re thrilled to be staging the first full play by Logan Smith, a Cleveland product of great promise,” said David Todd, Artistic Director of Playwrights Local. “Logan’s play is incredibly fun and theatrical, but at the same time it has a compelling depth and a real sense of necessity to it. Discovering and presenting these kinds of new works is why we started this company. We think this is a great contemporary play that gives audiences something truly new.”

The cast of The Panther Dancer includes Robert Branch, Andrea Belser McCormick, Corin B. Self, Kim Simbeck, and Anthony Velez. Design for the production is by Chelby Benson (set), Inda Blatch-Geib (costumes), Wes Calkin (lights), Mike Fields (projections), and Brianna Williams (sound). The staff includes stage manager Stephanie Bahnij, social media coordinator Tyler Collins, production manager Susan Dicken, and assistant director Jocelyn Laracuente. Carpentry is by Tom Hayes and dramaturgy is by David Todd.

The Panther Dancer runs May 11 through 26, 2018, with performances Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. There will be a special half-price preview on Thursday, May 10 at 7:30 p.m. All shows will be at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts (397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110). Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and groups, and $12 for students. Group packages can be arranged by contacting Tom Hayes at or (216) 302-8856. For complete information, visit the company’s website at

Playwrights Local is a theater company based in Cleveland. As a playwrights’ center, our goal is to provide a home for dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. We offer classes and workshops, produce original plays, provide networking opportunities, and engage the community through outreach projects. Tax-deductible contributions to our 501(c)(3) group can be made at

Contact: Tom Hayes, Managing Director

Playwrights Local

(216) 302-8856

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Playwrights Local 4181

Playwrights Local is a theater company based in North Collinwood. Our specialization is the development and production of new plays by writers from Greater Cleveland.

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Volume 10, Issue 5, Posted 4:56 PM, 05.10.2018