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An Interview with Monica Patton from The Book of Mormon

Published August 24th, 2015 by | No Comments

The 2014-2015 KeyBank Broadway Series at Playhouse Square has been a memorable one, so it is only apropos that the season concludes with a piece that has had audiences talking since 2011. In The Book of Mormon, two adolescent missionaries sent to a northern Uganda village end up surprising its residents with their “approach” to sharing the sacred text of the Latter Day Saint movement. In this interview, Ms. Patton – originally from Northeastern Ohio -- shares her perspective and experiences as a part of the touring cast of this production.

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Tell us about yourself -- how did you get here professionally?

With $500 in my pocket, a Greyhound Bus ticket to Chicago and a dream of singing and dancing since the age of 7.

Can you share your journey to the stage – especially as you are an Akron native and University of Akron graduate?

As an Akron Native, thank you to my Mother who encouraged her "Unicorn Child" to live life on her own terms and for enrolling me in a Saturday jazz class at Brad French School of Art.  The University of Akron School of Dance played a large part in my formation as a professional artist. My potential was not readily recognized but then that was what propelled me.

How will it feel to be “home” as a part of Book of Mormon? Is there anything you’re looking forward to in particular while being in the Northeastern Ohio area?

After 20 years in New York, a Midwestern girl gets excited about an old fashioned mall and Swensons!!!!

As you tour this production, do you find different parts of the country or even world react in different ways to the show?

Yes, the more liberal, the less clutching of pearls-- but that has no bearing on those who can see beyond the rawness and key into the message.

How do you think your hometown will react?

I think they will laugh bravely.

Tell us a bit about your role in The Book of Mormon – was there anything unique you had to do to prepare?

One of the roles I play is Mrs. Brown. She sings The Lion King Tribute. It helps that I performed in The Lion King. I prepared for the role by trying to play and look convincingly African. I studied Ugandan dialect sites, and wore my hair wet and scrunched for the entire audition process!

Is there a specific moment or musical number in the show that really stands out for you?

I love “MAN UP”. Everyone can relate to taking a stand and believing in yourself, in spite of what others may think, do or say.

Overall what makes The Book of Mormon unique in comparison to other musicals?

It is brilliantly made. It is a good, old fashioned musical from start to finish.

What makes your experience on this tour different from other productions that you’ve been a part of in the past?

I am living my whole life with this production. I travel with my daughter and mother, and I am actively pursuing my other passions such as writing and Parler Francais [to speak French] with the support of the company.

The Book of Mormon plays in Cleveland August 25 – 30 at the State Theatre at Playhouse Square. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the Playhouse Square website.

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Alicia Hansen is the writer behind Poise in Parma, a healthy balance blog for Clevelanders. A graduate of Baldwin-Wallace College’s theatre program, Alicia is a yoga teacher at Evolution Yoga, an event and marketing professional and proud Northeast Ohio arts supporter. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

This week in theatre news...

Published July 17th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

genieeee

Theater happenings…

Get ready Disney fans
Disney announced an Aladdin prequel is in the works! Genies, a live action film, will tell the story of how the Genie found himself locked in the magic lamp. Interestingly, the film is set to be written by Damian Shannon and Mark Swift, writers of Friday the 13th and Freddy vs. Jason. What’s more, is Disney has announced several other live action films to be released in the coming years including Mulan, Prince Charming and Tinker Bell. (USmagazine.com) Read more…

Miss Saigon revival confirmed
Within the next two years, a Miss Saigon revival will open on Broadway following the revival at London’s West End. (TheaterMania.com) Read more…

Rumer Willis in Chicago
Chicago’s got a new cast member! Rumer Willis is set to perform an eight-week engagement of the show starting August 18. Starring as Roxie, Willis’ has already proven she’s got the moves after winning Dancing with the Stars season 20 this year. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

BW Summer Garden Music Series – FREE
Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella
Tai Chi Classes – FREE
Salsa Under the Stars – FREE
North Union Farmers Market – FREE
Labatt Blue Light Lime Concert Series – FREE

This week in theatre news...

Published June 26th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

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Theater happenings…

First images of Taye Diggs as Hedwig
Ooooo…. Ahhh… Taye Diggs is a simply mesmerizing Hedwig. How can we pull our eyes away? (Broadway.com) Read more…

Billy Elliot star will be new Spider Man
Tom Holland, the former star in Billy Elliott at the West End, is hitting the big screen. Just 19 years old, and Holland is set to be the third actor to play the role of Spider-Man following Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Details emerge about Harry Potter play
Magic is real. A Harry Potter and the Cursed Child play has selected its creative team and theater. The show, telling the stories of Harry Potter’s parents, is set to open at London’s West End in 2016. Butter beers for all! (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

BW Summer Garden Music Series (June 29) – FREE
Take a Hike Tour (June 30) - FREE
Salsa Under the Stars (July 1) – FREE
North Union Farmers Market (July 2)

And now... for the 18th Annual Cinema at the Square

Published June 24th, 2015 by | No Comments

It's that time of year again! Cinema at the Square is a long-running tradition that brings what feels like a totally new experience to Playhouse Square each summer. Fifteen retro films have been selected to be shown on the largest non-IMAX screen in Ohio in the historic Connor Palace, presented by Medical Mutual. This year's showings include hits like The Terminator, The Land Before Time, The Breakfast Club and more, and you can see each for just $5! Dancing and chocolate and dinosaurs, oh my!

Before the movies are announced, they must make it through a rigorous selection process following this list of criteria:

- Each movie must be at least 25 years old
- No repeating titles within 3-5 years
- Include never-shown at Playhouse Square titles each year
- Represent as many eras of modern cinema possible
- Find a balance of different genres
-  And when we've made our wish list, cross our fingers that films are available on 35 mm.

Check out all the hits making their way to the Playhouse Square stage… ehem… screen* this year!

The Terminator


- The Odd Couple



- The Greatest Show on Earth



- Cabaret



- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory



- The Breakfast Club



- His Girl Friday



- State of the Union



- Clue



- The Land Before Time



- Coming to America



- Footloose



- Gentlemen Prefer Blondes



- The Sting



-The Never Ending Story

Which of this year’s films are you most excited to see on the BIG screen? Tell us on Twitter and Instagram @PlayhouseSquare with #CinemaCLE. And, for more information and ticket information, visit playhousesquare.org/cinema

This week in theatre news...

Published June 19th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

meryl_ruddMeryl Streep and Ryan Paul Rudd in Henry V., 1976
Photo by George E. Joseph

Theater happenings...

Playbill.com releases historic photos
Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Morgan Freeman… Check out the star power in these historic photos from the Delacorte Theater stage. Click here to view photos.

Abby Mueller headlines Beautiful tour
Get ready, CLE! Abby Mueller will lead the tour of Beautiful. Catch it when it makes the way here in April, 2016! (Broadway.com) Read more...

Pitch Perfect 3 update…
She can sing, she knows modern, olden and mermaid dance… Rebel Wilson has been confirmed for Pitch Perfect 3 casting. Top that off with Anna Kendrick’s casting confirmation and we can’t wait to see the newest movie. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Megan Hilty back to the stage
Smash star Megan Hilty will hit the stage once again in a one-night only gala performance of Annie Get Your Gun. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings...

Singer/Songwriter Series: Boy = Girl
Partners Summer Flight Night
Exact Change

This week in theater news...

Published June 12th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

pitch

Theater happenings…

Aca-gain?! Pitch Perfect 3
According to The Hollywood Reporter, writer Kay Cannon is in the process of writing a third Pitch Perfect movie. No news yet on who will star (but our fingers are crossed for the return of Anna Kendrick, of course.) (Broadway.com) Read more…

Tony Danza leads Honeymoon in Vegas tour
2016 is going to be a big year, and even bigger with the announcement that Tony Danza will headline the national tour of Honeymoon in Vegas. Don’t worry, Tony, “You Make the Wait Worthwhile.” (Broadway.com) Read more…

More School of Rock news…
Alex Brightman will lead School of Rock on Broadway. The expected hit by Andrew Lloyd Webber hits the stage December 6 at Great White Way’s Winter Garden Theatre. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

FREE – Singer/Songwriter Series: Brad Swiniarski
FREE – Labatt Blue Light Lime Concert Series: Easy Glistening

We Kid(ney) You Not!

Published June 8th, 2015 by | No Comments

We’ve all heard those horror stories about Craigslist—the ones about black market items, organs, you know—everything risqué. What if we were to tell you that one of our upcoming performers actually successfully got an organ from Craigslist!? Well…sorta:

beansistersPhoto courtesy of Maura Rogers and Meredith Pangrace

So the story begins a few years ago with Maura Rogers, a folk singer and musician in Cleveland with a successful band. Life was rolling along splendidly, until she learned that her recurring childhood kidney problems were beginning to get dire. She opted for surgeries and medication, and ultimately pressed on to continue making music with her band.

One day the band decided that they might like to add an accordion to the mix, and subsequently placed an ad on Craigslist.

Enter Meredith Pangrace, a musician relatively new to the accordion, but excited to get started with the instrument she had found a natural gift for. She showed up at Maura’s place for an audition, and immediately proved herself a great match with the band—the accordion fit well with Maura’s voice, and Meredith and Maura became quick friends.

As the band grew together as a family, Maura’s health began to decline to life-threatening levels—her kidney was only functioning at 15%. Meredith, who had grown to love Maura like a sister, learned that she had the same blood type, and the rest is history. The two are a 67% antigen match, which is virtually unheard of in two unrelated people. Shortly after some tests, the two good friends were wheeled into surgery.

Dubbed the “Bean Sisters” for kidney beans, the two friends, both now very healthy, continue to make music together. They’ll actually be performing (for free!) Wednesday, June 10 on U.S. Bank Plaza as part of our Singer/Songwriter Series. Make sure to come out and see these two incredible friends and musicians!

If you found their story inspiring (we certainly did!), make sure to read up on the whole thing, as they were featured in Good Housekeeping last year at this time.

Theater News: Tony Awards Edition

Published June 5th, 2015 by | No Comments

Cue jazz hands – it’s the biggest weekend of the year for Broadway lovers: The 69th Annual Tony Awards. If you couldn’t make it to the Radio City Music Hall for this year’s ceremony follow along with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates and a look in on all the drama, or tune into CBS on Sunday at 8 p.m.

Until then, here’s the scoop:

TONY1

Live from the red carpet 
Don't miss the live stream from the red carpet hosted by Darren Criss, Laura Osnes and Sierra Boggess, starting at 5:30 p.m. and running until the show starts.

Tony Awards rehearsal photos
Brace yourself for the big event with some rehearsal photos. Check out the Tony Awards Instagram account.

Tony Awards ballot
Whether you’re home alone with a giant bowl of popcorn or at a watch party (yes, for the Tony Awards...) print out these ballots, make your best guesses and follow along as winners are announced.

We’ve got the hosts with the most
Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming are two of the biggest names in the business, and this year they’re co-hosting the Tony Awards. Check out a few reasons why this year’s hosts get the standing ovation by clicking here.

This week in theater news...

Published May 29th, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

newsletterFeat_TonyAwards15

Theater happenings...

Tony Award Presenters announced
Everyone’s already excited Kristin Chenoweth and Alan Cumming are announcing the 2015 Tony Awards, and now there’s even more to look forward to. A star-studded lineup of other announcers has been announced and includes Amanda Seyfried, Jim Parsons, Bryan Cranston, Misty Copeland, Bradley Cooper, Taye Diggs and more. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Original Into the Woods cast to reunite in NYC
Steven Sondheim, James Lapine and the rest of the original cast of Broadway’s Into the Woods will reunite. The event will happen June 21 at Brooklyn Academy of Music. And yes, cast members will perform songs from the show. (BroadwayWorld.com) Read more…

Neil Patrick Harris will judge America’s Got Talent
That’s right. While you won’t get to see him announce the upcoming Tony Awards show, you can catch NPH on NBC’s hit talent competition, America’s Got Talent. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings...

My Morning Jacket
Revolution Brass Band - Labatt Blue Light Lime Concert
Dynomite Game Day Tailgate
Marc Maron

This week in theater news...

Published May 22nd, 2015 by | No Comments

Each week we're going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back every Friday to see what you missed this week, and to catch a glimpse of what's going on at Playhouse Square and beyond. Enjoy!

loveneverdies1

Theater happenings…

Love Never Dies tours US
The Phantom sequel you’ve all been waiting for is expected to tour the US in the 2017-18 season. Love Never Dies is the follow-up to Phantom of the Opera and tells the story of the Phantom’s visit to Coney Island, NY where he pines over Christine and begins a new life. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Elton John – the musical?!
Elton John won’t let the sun go down… A biographical musical about his life is in the works for Broadway, currently titled Rocketman the Musical. Having written music for Billy Elliott and The Lion King, Broadway isn’t new for the rock legend. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Idina Menzel talks Frozen on Broadway
As if a world tour, new album, Frozen sequel and opening for the US tour of If/Then aren’t enough, Idina Menzel has said she would love to be a part of Frozen on Broadway. (BroadwayWorld.com) Read more…

Christina Aguilera’s new Finding Neverland track
Finding Neverland's got a new album releasing, and Christina Aguilera’s a part of it, singing “Anywhere But Here.” Other stars included in the project are Nick Jonas, Jennifer Lopez and Jon Bon Jovi. Take a listen. (Broadway.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…
10th Annual Playhouse Square Golf Outing

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A not-for-profit performing arts center that presents and produces a wide variety of performing arts, advances arts education and creates a destination that is a superior location for entertainment business and residential living, thereby strengthening the economic vitality of the region.

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