Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative

New Plays, New Voices, New Talents

CPI was formed in November 1996 and exists to serve the local Cincinnati community of playwrights, directors and actors who wish to pursue the art and craft of playwriting. CPI’s goal is to enhance the cultural awareness of the community by offering new, original work by local playwrights in both an entertaining and educational setting. We present low cost staged readings to the general public for playwrights to receive valuable feedback on their work and for audiences to be part of the creative process with the playwright. 

Aronoff Resident Company

CPI has been a resident company of the Aronoff Center for the Performing Arts since its inception as a 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code in July, 2001. All staged reading performances take place in the Fifth Third Theater unless capacity attendance requires us to move our performances to the larger Jarson-Kaplan Theater.


Single tickets are $10 each and can be purchased online by clicking the "buy ticket" button for each staged reading. (Service charges will apply for online or phone purchases). Box office phone number is 513-621-2787. Tickets can also be purchased in person at the box office at face value. (650 Walnut Street downtown Cincinnati.) We strongly urge advance ticket purchases due to limited seating in the Fifth Third Theater.

Susan and Doug Decatur

November 14, 2023

Lovestruck (4 short plays about love and romance: Forever Soulmates, Naked Neighbors, The Big Bad Wolves and Tiny Dancer)

Lovestruck was inspired by the Decatur’s own love story through a series of short plays showing the trials, tribulations and triumph of love. From feeling like you’ve been together in a prior time in Forever Soulmates, keeping things spicy in your marriage in Naked Neighbors, showing your vulnerability about relationships and love in The Big Bad Wolves and connecting to that special person whenever and however it happens in Tiny Dancer, we recognize that anyone can become Lovestruck.

About the Authors: Susan and Doug Decatur became a writing team after their marriage in 2018 where each of them had their 10-minute plays selected for Cincinnati Playwright Initiative’s first playwriting competition, “Lovefest-Romantic Shorts from the Heart” at the Jarson-Kaplan Theater. Susan’s play Denise’s Do-Over was rated third and Doug’s play The Pool Boy received second place audience ratings. Denise’s Do-Over was later selected by the Drama Workshop in Cincinnati for both its HomeBrew and HomeView playwriting events before and during the pandemic.

Doug has had four full-length plays stage read with CPI over a 10-year period: 1832, Redford’s Rules, Righting Redford and Ticket to a Lotto Love.

Susan had her first full-length play, Not Just Cousins, cold read at the Dramatist’s Guild in NY from which her excerpted 10-minute play Buy the Book was performed virtually during the pandemic at the Know Theatre in Cincinnati, in addition to being selected at Miami Writes in Hamilton. Not Just Cousins went on to receive a staged reading with CPI in November 2022 at the Fifth Third Theater. Doug also had his 10-minute play, Special Delivery performed virtually at the Know Theater during the pandemic.

Susan and Doug co-wrote their first full-length play, Unfinished Business, which was nationally recognized as a Second-Round stage play finalist at the 2020 Austin Film Festival in addition to being selected as a Finalist in the 2020 Screencraft playwriting competition. Unfinished Business also received a staged reading with CPI at a sold-out performance in September 2021 at the Fifth Third Theater.

Lovestruck, a series of 8 short plays was inspired by the Decatur’s journey from “almost” meeting when they were in their twenties to finally finding each other 40 years later at a dance class and some of the humorous, touching and romantic moments in their life as singles leading up to their marriage.

The Decaturs are both native Ohioans. Susan graduated from Miami University and holds an MBA in Executive Management from Indiana Wesleyan University. Doug is a University of Cincinnati graduate with an MBA in Finance from Xavier University. Doug plays basketball with the Shooting Stars National Senior Games team (of Unfinished Business fame) who won the Gold Medal for the State of Indiana last September and competed at the National Senior Games this July bringing home 6th place honors in the 65+ age bracket.

Together Susan and Doug share 4 grown children: Jared, Jenna, Stephen and Joseph along with their 2 “kids with fur”: Heidi, their tabby/calico kitty and Ryou, their Golden Retriever. When they’re not writing together they enjoy playing tennis, ballroom dancing, hiking and eating dark chocolate.

Bertha Davis

November 14, 2023

Boy Meets Girl, a ten-minute play

Colby and Michelle couldn’t be more different, on the face of it. Colby a hard-charging White business executive, Michelle a meditative Black woman. When the elevator they share stalls, facades fall, and new discoveries are made.

About the Author: Bertha Lynn Davis (“Bertha/Lynn”) is a playwright, motivational speaker, life coach and retired corporate manager based in Norwood, OH.

Bertha/Lynn has appeared on stage and film produced by Throne of Grace Productions. She also enjoys volunteer work in the community supporting youth programs and diversity and inclusion programs.

Bertha/Lynn ‘graduated’ from the Procter & Gamble company in 2022 after 33 years of service. Soon after she launched Three Babies Productions, which combines her business experience, her passion for the arts and for people through her plays and public speaking.

Barry Cobb

November 14, 2023

Can’t Stop What’s Coming, a ten-minute play

Can’t Stop What’s Coming is a play about two men who meet at a 30-year college reunion and renew a somewhat tenuous previous relationship. The play focuses on their lives, trials and tribulations. Fred was on a positive trajectory to be a professional Cellist but that career ended due to serious wounds from combat in Viet Nam. He also suffered the untimely loss of his wife. Will, on the other hand, a ne’er-do-well in his early life, always in trouble, became more established as he matured and took more responsibility for himself. Through happenstance, Will was offered a once-in-a lifetime opportunity which is revealed at the end of the play.

About the Author: Barry is a retired clinical psychologist. A Maine native, he graduated from the University of Maine and then Miami University (Ohio) graduate school. Barry moved to Cincinnati in 1970, where he began a clinical psychology career in Kentucky, Cincinnati and Middletown. He practiced mostly in community mental health and was CEO of the Middletown Area Mental Health Center following which he worked at Trihealth in the Employee Assistance Program. He is currently a community member of the Ethics committee at Jewish/Mercy Hospital. Barry and his wife have two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and two dogs. Barry started writing play scripts in 2018 while in a course offered at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). His hobby has been learning to play guitar.

Leo Bradley

February 20, 2024

The Magic Opry

Rock Fork Records has fallen on hard times, and producer Nelson Easten is desperate to save both the recording company and his job. In the golden era of classis country music, Easton was on top of the country music world with hit songs, many emanating from the writing and singing of Rankin Winters, Nashville’s most successful male singer and song writer.

Together they were the Elvis and Colonel Parker of country music. However, time and the changing genre made them both passé in the country music industry. Although Easton has hung on to his role at Rock Fork Records, Rankin Winters has fallen into hard times and is now playing second venues and attempting to cope with forgotten fame, lost family, booze, and pills.

Easton, responding to pressure from his corporate bosses, comes up with a scheme to resurrect the fortunes of Rock Fork Records and the career of Rankin Winters. It all depends on whether Rankin still has hit songs in his soul, and how Nelson can parley the past glory into a new future for Rock Fork Records.

About the Author: Leo Bradley, Ed. D, is a prolific writer of both fiction and non-fiction. The Magic Opry is as realistic musical play that traces the evolution of country music from the hills of Appalachia to its current more universal popularity through the eyes of characters with different interests. Bradley’s play, Bleachers, presents, through music and dialogue, the parallels between the history of baseball and the story of America. His third play, Here’s to Living, is about the joys, conflicts, and challenges of aging. Dr. Bradley has also authored three novels published by Losantiville Press, one with an historic Civil War setting, a family saga of the 20th century, and a contemporary music tale set in Nashville, Tennessee.

Leo is also a songwriter, musician, and singer, having written and recorded three albums and having over forty of his songs recorded by Fraternity Records.

In his career as an educator in public schools and universities, Dr. Bradley authored eleven professional books on baseball history, school law, curriculum and instruction, and educational leadership theory.

Reece Niederhausen

March 12, 2024

Janitor’s Closet

Ethan, a lonely gay student at Ridgewood High, is attempting to make it out of his senior year alive by hiding away in a janitor’s closet for as long as possible. However, when his ex-best friend Allie reveals that she is secretly pregnant, hiding may not be a viable option anymore.

About the Author: Reece is currently in his Junior Year at Xavier University and is majoring in Theater Education. Janitor’s Closet is both Reece’s CPI debut and his Playwrighting debut as a whole. He is absolutely thrilled to be sharing this story with you and hopes that you will enjoy the piece! Reece would like to thank his family and friends for their undying support of him throughout his various theatrical pursuits. He truly could not have done this without them.

April 16 or 17, 2024

Earthfest 2024

8 ten-minute plays celebrating Earth Day 2024. Ticket sales will support the Miami Group Sierra Club.

Would you rather sit inside watching a screen with terrible news or go outside and enjoy nature as it burns away?

About the Author: 

Eric Brose worked in theatres in Chicago, Columbus, and Cincinnati, but had a tough time making a living at it.  He pursued a career in higher education instead and retired after three decades.  He loves Porkopolis!

For some folks it’s the end of the world; for others, it’s the beginning. 

About the Author:

Liz writes novels, short stories, and plays. Her plays have been read and produced across the US, in London, and in Japan. Most recently, her family dramedy Moving In, Moving Out, Moving On received its professional premiere. You can find her virtually as LizColeyBooks on social media and at

With their daughter’s birthday approaching just ahead of Earth Day, Sally and Robert find the tables turned as their daughter and son-in-law present them a very unusual “gift.”

About the Author:

Roger Collins is professor emeritus at the University of Cincinnati where he received the Cohen Award for Excellence in Teaching.  He’s published stories and drama in literary journals, and his plays have been produced locally and in Brooklyn, NY; Orlando, FL; and San Francisco, CA.  His novel, Cities of Glass is published by All Things That Matter Press.

Love for our Earth began at Fort Ancient and the Hopewell Tribe

About the Author: 

Doug Decatur has been an active CPI member serving on the board since 2012 and past President. He wrote The Pool Boy a ten-minute play for CPI’s first “Lovefest” play competition in February 2019. Another ten-minute play, Special Delivery was selected and performed at the Know Theatre in March 2021. He and his wife, Susan, co-wrote Lovestruck, a compilation of 8 romantic comedies, 4 of which were performed at the Aronoff in November 2023. Doug’s also had 5 full-length plays stage read at the Aronoff over the past 10 years and 2 non-fiction baseball stats books published.

Things ain’t what they used to be, or are they?

About the Author:

Susan has been active in Cincinnati theater as an actor, dancer and playwright. Her plays, Denise’s Do-Over and Not Just Cousins, have been performed at the Aronoff and The Drama Workshop. Buy the Book was performed at the Know Theatre and Not Just Cousins was done at the Dramatist’s Guild in NYC and at the Aronoff. She and her husband, Doug Decatur, co-wrote Unfinished Business, nationally recognized at the 2020 Austin Film Festival and ScreenCraft which was also performed at the Aronoff. Their compilation of short plays, Lovestruck, was performed this past November at the Aronoff.

Socially conscious middle-schoolers find some unexpected benefits to recycling while protesting their school’s Earth Day Play [no—Pageant!]

About the Author: 

Alan Jozwiak has had plays produced in NYC by Sundog Theatre, Gi60, and Lamia Ink!  He self-produced four shows appearing in different regional Fringe Festivals. He was awarded a City of Cincinnati Individual Artist Grant to write/produce a play on cutting and self-injury. Alan is also one of CPI’s past Presidents.

A grandparent, deeply troubled by their sensitive, young granddaughter’s depression over the state of the environment and the politics that seem to deny the problems, has returned to a psychotherapist.    

About the Author:

Richard Schoeff is a member of the Cincinnati Playwrights Initiative and previously a member of the Dramatists Guild of America. His full-length play, Simulators, has received staged reading performances at the Aronoff Center, Fifth Third Bank Theater. Beside plays, he writes short stories, poetry and is at work on a novel.

Concerned about the escalating climate crisis, a group of cryptids meet to discuss their options to save their world.

About the Author:

Rose Vanden Eynden has been a writer all her life, penning award-winning short stories, novels, nonfiction books, articles, and poems. Merging this with her lifelong love of theatre has produced two short plays, HAMBETH and LOVE POTION #1, staged in the Cincinnati area. She is thrilled to have her work produced by CPI. Thank you for supporting new works, and enjoy the shows!

DEADLINE for submission: May 31, 2024

CALL FOR Submissions For NEW Works 2024/2025

We accept submissions of One Act, Full Length and short plays (10 minutes in length) that together make a performance of 90 minutes of work to present as a cold or staged reading.

Play formatting and designated page counts based on play length are outlined by clicking the Submission Guidelines button. In order to be accepted for submission for our season of “new works” plays must be unpublished and not stage produced elsewhere, although cold or staged readings of a play in development is acceptable.

Membership in CPI is required prior to submission and can be done electronically on the “Members” button at the top of the homepage. Playwrights living outside the Cincinnati designated market are eligible for cold readings only. Playwrights are encouraged to attend our free monthly playwriting workshops to prepare their work for submission.

Submissions that receive a cold reading receive valuable feedback from other playwrights and audiences at a local venue where attendance is free. Plays that are selected for a staged reading are performed at the Aronoff during our designated season and receive live audience feedback after the performance.

November 2022 staged reading Not Just Cousins
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

November 2022 staged reading Not Just Cousins
Photo Credit: Karen Adams

Contact Us

P.O. Box 40
Terrace Park, OH 45174-0040