Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End

By Allison Engel and Margaret Engel

Thompson Shelterhouse | May 6 - June 24, 2017

Directed by David Esbjornson

Please Note: Many performances of Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End have limited availability or are sold out. The best availability is in performances from June 20-24. If you’d like to attend outside of those dates, your best bet is to call the Box Office at 513-421-3888 to receive assistance finding a performance and seating that work for you.

If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
From her home outside Dayton, Ohio, bestselling author Erma Bombeck gave a hilarious voice to ordinary suburban housewives everywhere, using humor to tell the reality of her life and theirs. At Wit’s End chronicles Bombeck’s fascinating story, beginning in 1964 with the launch of her groundbreaking newspaper column through her emergence as America’s favorite mother, with top billing on kitchen refrigerators from coast to coast. Filled with Bombeck’s own wit and wisdom, this new play paints a warm and funny portrait of the woman who dared to ask, "If life is a bowl of cherries, what am I doing in the pits?"

"Immensely entertaining." — TheaterMania

Advisory: Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End is appropriate for adult and teenage audiences. It contains no adult language.

Running Time: Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End runs approximately 65 minutes with no intermission.


Production Sponsor

Additional Support

Gary and Linda Greenberg

Jenny and David Powell

Season Sponsor & Design Sponsor

Allan Berliant and Jennie Rosenthal Berliant Family Fund

Season Sponsor of New Work

The Lois and Richard Rosenthal Foundation

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Prologue, April 2017

Erma Bombeck made a career of saying the things no one else would. The Dayton housewife’s newspaper columns dared to tell the truth about marriage and motherhood in suburbia, making women around the country laugh, nod their heads and wish Erma lived next door so they could commiserate in person about raucous children, clueless husbands and the never-ending laundry pile.

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Prologue, April 2017

Barbara Chisholm, who plays Erma Bombeck in Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park’s Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End, sheds light into her character development of this trailblazing woman.

 Read More

Preview Performances

May 6, 2017, at 8 p.m.; May 7, 2017, at 7 p.m.; May 9, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.; May 10, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

Be among the first to see the show before opening night and save! Preview performance tickets are discounted and begin at just $35. Not valid with other discounts.

Opening Night

May 11, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

Share the excitement of Thursday opening nights with a lively post-show cast party with complimentary hors d'oeuvres by Vonderhaar's Catering.

Meet the Artists

May 14, 2017, at 2 p.m.; May 21, 2017, at 2 p.m.; May 24, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.; June 1, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.

Join in stimulating discussions with cast and crew following the performances.

Erma Bombeck Book Club

May 1 and May 22, 2017, at 7 p.m.
at Joseph-Beth Booksellers' Rookwood location

This season, in partnership with Joseph-Beth Booksellers, the Playhouse is launching a book club for audience members interested in better understanding the process of adapting a book from the page to the stage. Playhouse book club participants are invited to attend special discussion events. We’ll talk about the book itself: the plot and characters, the overarching themes, how you might imagine it translates to a theatrical setting and even the challenges you see in adapting the story. Discussions that take place after you’ve seen the play focus on what excited and surprised you and how members of the artistic team approached the show.

Books can be purchased or ordered through Joseph-Beth. Discussion events are free, but registration is required in advance through the Playhouse Box Office at 513-421-3888.


May 20, 2017, from 10 a.m. to noon

Start your very own memoir at this two-hour adult workshop! Access your inner Erma Bombeck with author Katrina Kittle, who will share writing strategies that will help you get to the core of your own story.

Katrina Kittle is the author of four books for adults — Traveling Light, Two Truths and a Lie, The Kindness of Strangers and The Blessings of the Animals — and one novel for tweens, Reasons to Be Happy. The Kindness of Strangers was the winner of the 2006 Great Lakes Book Award for Fiction. A former middle school and high school English and theatre teacher, Katrina now teaches creative writing workshops for all ages, as well as offering private coaching and manuscript evaluations. She is a lifelong fan of Erma Bombeck’s work and has been honored to be on faculty twice for the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop held at the University of Dayton. She is a public speaker, most often leading her “Leap and the Net Will Appear” and “Practicing Happiness” workshops. Katrina lives south of Dayton with her fella, her odd cat Joey, her sweet beagle Ryley and her out-of-control garden. She has a thing for goats, gardening and going barefoot; and is addicted to coffee, pedicures and movies.

You can find out more at and by visiting her author page on Facebook. To sign up for the workshop, visit our Classes & Workshops page and scroll to the bottom for Adult Workshops.

Erma Bombeck: At Wit's End

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