IT’S NOT A TRIP IT’S A JOURNEY by Charly Evon Simpson is Coming to The Know Theater of Cincinnati in September

You’re invited to join Know Theater will present for the National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of it’s not a trip it’s a journey, by Charly Evon Simpson. Get in the car – we’re about to change our lives. Four best friends strike out on a cross-country road trip that tests their friendships and strengthens their bonds as they explore their own ways of being Black, femme, and American.

Miles of flat highway, a full tank of gas, your favorite playlist, and a bag of snacks: the road-trip vacation is quintessential Americana. It’s a symbol of freedom, of possibilities, and (if we want to get subtextual) the archetypal Hero’s Journey. But who is that road trip for, really? it’s not a trip it’s a journey invites us to tag along with four Black best friends as they pursue their dreams on the open road, and, along the way, ask who “quintessential Americana” is really for, and who’s been left out of the American Dream.

For a new show all about travel, America, and the interdependence of our lives, there’s nobody better than local theater legend Daryl Harris to helm this production. Daryl is a bedrock of the Cincinnati arts scene, as he is a 50-year veteran of traditional, experimental, educational, and applied theater throughout North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, and a Full Professor at North Kentucky University’s School of The Arts, Theater and Dance Program.

Daryl has lined up some all-stars to help the cast dive into the rich emotional lives of these characters. Local actor/director/playwright/intimacy professional Torie Wiggins will be the intimacy director of it’s not a trip it’s a journey, while Kim Popa, the co-founder and executive director of Pones, Inc., serves as the production’s choreographer.

it’s not a trip it’s a journey is presented as a Rolling World Premiere, in partnership with the National New Play Network, alongside productions at other theaters across
the nation. Rolling World Premieres are NNPN’s flagship program, allowing promising new works to be explored by different creative teams in different communities across America within one unified season.

“Sometimes we come across a script that’s just waiting for the perfect opportunity; this is one of them. We’ve been wanting to produce this script since 2018, and as we put together our 25th season, all of the pieces of a Rolling World Premiere fell into place. This show embodies the theme of our season in a deeply personal way. It explores how we support our friends, our most intimate community, when times are hard, through tragedies big and small, in order to lift each other up and truly live our collective lives to the fullest extent possible.”
– Producing Artistic Director Andrew J. Hungerford

Who is this show for?

it’s not a trip it’s a journey is about breaking out of a rut, bursting out of your comfort zone, and living the life you’ve dreamed of. If you’ve ever wanted to grab your car keys and hit the open road – whether you longed to run towards something or away from it – this show is for you. If you’ve ever wrestled with your identity even as you’ve hungered to embrace it, this show is for you. This story is for the seekers, the queer ones, the brokenhearted, the questioners, the fighters. It’s for you.

Let’s hit the road. Here’s who’ll be traveling with:

The Know’s last season ended with our hit workplace comedy The Twunny Fo’, written by and starring rising Cincinnati star AJ Baldwin. AJ returns to the MainStage to play Rain, who’s struggling after a bad breakup and hopes this road trip will fast-forward the grieving process.

Returning to the Know MainStage is Jasimine Bouldin, who appeared alongside AJ in The Twunny Fo’. Jasmine appears as June, who came up with the whole idea of ​​the journey in the first place – and who might need it more than any of the others.

We’re welcoming two new Know faces to this production! Making their MainStage debuts with us are Angelique Archer as Frankie, the one of the friend group who looks like she’s
got her whole life together, even as she privately fears she doesn’t, and Ariel Mary Ann as Willie, who sometimes feels on the outskirts of the group and struggles to express themselves, even to the people who love them the most.

Scenic and lighting designer Andrew J. Hungerford and sound and projections designer Douglas Borntrager are collaborating to remake the Know stage look as wide open and full of possibilities as a road trip, and to really let this show be all about the performers.

Join us for this brand-new cross-country adventure as we get to know our friends – and ourselves – again on the open road, and find the line between thriving and just surviving. it’s not a trip it’s a journey runs September 23 – October 9, live at the Know, and livestreaming on select dates to your home.

Tickets are available on our website,, or by calling our box office at 513-300-5669.

it’s not a trip it’s a journey is produced at Know Theater as part of a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere. Other partner theaters are Round House Theater (Bethesda, MD) and Good Company Theater (Ogden, UT). For more information, please visit


Angelique Archer as Frankie
AJ Baldwin as Rain
Jasimine Bouldin as June
Ariel Mary Ann as Willie

Director: Daryl Harris
Choreographer: Kim Popa
Lighting & Scenic Designer: Andrew J. Hungerford
Costume Designer: Noelle Wedig-Johnston
Sound & Projections Designer: Douglas J. Borntrager
Props Designer: Danielle Robison
Intimacy Director: Torie Wiggins
Technical Director: Jim Stark
Stage Manager: Grace Wohlschlegel

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