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This week (October 27) in theater news…

Published October 28th, 2016 by | No Comments

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

Broadway news…

hamilantern(Hannah Green, Facebook)

Start working on those Hamilanterns…
Don’t throw away your shot at carving the best pumpkin this year. Check out these handy Hamilton pumpkin carving templates to help you and your Broadway-themed Halloween décor. #Hamilanterns

Jenny from the Block stars in NBC’s Bye Bye Birdie
With NBC’s holiday musical, Hairspray Live! approaching on December 7, there’s a lot of excitement surrounding next year’s live, televised musicals. NBC announced that in 2017, Bye Bye Birdie will take over the small screen, and Jennifer Lopez is set to star in the show. Harvey Fierstein will adapt the libretto for the broadcast next year – a year after adapting and co-staring in Hairspray Live! (Playbill.com) Read more…

Bandstand opens in 2017…
And we couldn’t be happier for Corey Cott of Chagrin Falls, who will star beside Laura Osnes in Bandstand! Cott got his big break as Jack Kelly in Newsies back in 2012, and has been performing on Broadway ever sense. Go Corey! Read more about his story by clicking here

Playhouse Square happenings…

We’re rallying together!
It’s been quite a year in Cleveland. The Cavs won the NBA championship. Hamilton is coming to town in 2018. Waitress will open in one of our theaters next year. And now, we couldn’t be happier for the Cleveland Indians as they compete in the World Series! We teamed up with the cast of Finding Neverland before they come to CLE next week to send our well wishes to the team. Check out the video above and #RallyTogether!

Re-live the music of the 60’s and 70’s with CJO: Jazz/Soul Fusion Fest!

Published October 18th, 2016 by | No Comments


milesdavisplayingtrumpetCleveland Jazz Orchestra (CJO) explores the music of the 1960’s and 70’s in their Jazz/Soul Fusion Fest show! Come and experience the classics all over again on Saturday, November 5 at 8 p.m. at the Hanna Theatre.

CJO, with vocalist John Morton and guitarist Bob Fraser will play the music of Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, Bill Chase, Miles Davis, The O’Jays and more! We were lucky enough to get a sneak peak of the set list, so check out a few of the tunes you’ll hear during the show:

Higher Ground by Stevie Wonder.

For The Love of Money by The O’Jays.

And the classic, Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix.

This performance is soulful, psychedelic and unforgettable!

Click here to buy tickets and re-live some of jazz and soul’s greatest hits.

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The Summit: Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6

Published October 14th, 2016 by | No Comments

What is a summit?thesummit_09-640x427

 Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines a summit as:

-the highest point of a mountain

-the highest level

-a meeting or series of meetings between the leaders of two or more governments

Combining forces for the first time, with the highest level of artistry, The Summit: Manhattan Transfer Meets Take 6 on Sunday, October 23rd at the State Theatre

The two groups boast a remarkable 20 Grammy Awards, and a range of styles that cover nearly every genre of popular music; from jazz to swing and gospel to R&B. As The Manhattan Transfer mark the 40th Anniversary of their debut, Take 6 shares their crystal clear harmony, demonstrating why this sextet is recognized as the pre-eminent A cappella group in the world.

Two of the most acclaimed, award-winning vocal groups in pop music, create an unforgettable concert event that will thrill audiences of all ages. Go behind the scenes with The Summit!

No ordinary double bill, this is a show combining unexpected twists & turns to create a once-in-a-lifetime event! Buy tickets here.

Joan Baez returns to Playhouse Square!

Published October 5th, 2016 by | No Comments

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American folk singer, songwriter and musician, Joan Baez, has performed publicly for over 55 years, releasing over 30 albums. She is well know for her contemporary folk music, as well as her social and political activism. A woman not afraid to speak her mind, many of her songs include themes of protest or social justice. Joan Baez returns to Cleveland on October 19 at the Hanna Theatre.

Click here to purchase your tickets now!

imagesWhile Joan is well-recognized for her music as well as her activism, the long list of accolades are merely a small reflection of her artistry and heart. Eight gold albums, one gold single, a Lifetime Achievement Award, seven nominations and one Grammy® award just to name a few! She has been in the business so long it seems that we would know everything about her, but her creative spirit continues to awe and surprise us – also as a published author who enjoys painting and poetry. Recently, Joan celebrated her 75th birthday with a PBS special. Musical guest list included Judy Collins, Jackson Browne, David Crosby, Mavis Staples and more.

Watch the PBS performance of David Crosby and Joan Baez as they sing Blackbird during Joan’s 75th Birthday celebration concert at the Beacon Theatre in NY.

Can’t get enough of Joan? Click here to watch the brilliant musical collaboration of Joan Baez, the Indigo Girls and Mary Chapin Carpenter singing The Water is Wide.

Broadway Buzz: An Interview with Abby Corrigan of FUN HOME

Published October 3rd, 2016 by | No Comments

As part of our Broadway Buzz program, Buzz Extra writer Alicia Hansen will take you behind the scenes of each KeyBank Broadway Series show and interview a member of the show’s cast, crew or creative team. 

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Interview by Alicia Hansen

Kicking off the 2016-17 KeyBank Broadway Series is FUN HOME, which launched its national tour in CLE on October 2. Abby Corrigan, who plays Medium Alison, talked about what FUN HOME means to her.

After receiving raves reviews and winning five Tony Awards in 2015, Fun Home starts its national tour in Cleveland as the opening show in the 2016-17 Playhouse Square KeyBank Broadway Series. Based on Alison Bechdel’s best selling graphic memoir, the musical follows the story of its main character Alison at three different part of her life. In this interview, Abby Corrigan, who plays Middle Allison, shares how her performing career as a young adult prepared her for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Tell us about yourself.

Growing up, my parents always knew I was bound to be an actress even though they tried to guide me in other directions. I went to a performing arts high school in Charlotte, North Carolina where I double majored in art and musical theater at first, but eventually knew I wanted to focus on being an actor, a singer and a dancer. I ended up dropping the art major to focus on musical theater. Over the summers, I would go to California to train with my acting teacher and my singing teacher. I also have been able to train in New York City, studying with another vocal coach and taking some classes at Broadway Dance Center.

You won an award from the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in North Carolina a few years ago. Through that and other opportunities, you have had the chance to travel to New York City. What did those experiences provide to you?

I have traveled to New York many, many times. I’ve learned that New York is such a special place because there’s nowhere else like it. Sure, there are different places where you can train. For example, I consider my favorite dance teacher to be in Charlotte and consider my acting teacher to be in California, but there’s an aspect of inspiration in New York — with all of those people that are doing that thing that you want to do – that’s the cool part in being able to travel and train there.

abby-corrigan
The national tour of Fun Home is opening here in Cleveland at Playhouse Square. Can you speak to the process of preparing a show for its opening on the road?

Fun Home is my college. I’m learning so much, but am really on my own for the first time. One lesson I learned quick is that you have to take care of yourself. You have to stay physically fit. You have to exercise. Sure, we all want to have a good time, but the most important part is taking care of your body because it is linked to your job.

We have a job to do. That includes making sure that you find nuances in the show every single time you do it. You can’t allow yourself to get tired of it. You have to find those little things in the show that you haven’t seen before.

Also, getting to know your fellow actors is vital. You can’t have a relationship on stage if you don’t have one off stage. In the show, Allison doesn’t know her mother, but I know the woman whom plays her mother very well. It’s so important in this process of working together.

You play Middle Allison, the second of three versions of the main character of the show. How do you work with the other “versions”/actresses playing Allison to find cohesiveness?

There are so many stages of life and so many changes that happen. But what’s great is that all four of us (since there are two young ladies playing Little Allison) all get along really well. The way that all of us see Allison is extremely similar. That allows it all to flow together. Also, we all look very similar, which helps. I try to emulate how the other Allisons walk so that I have a similar vibe as them. That said, I believe that we all stay ourselves as we develop our aspect of the character.

How does this production of Fun Home stand apart from others you’ve been a part of over the years?

Fun Home is probably the best thing that has ever happened to me. This show is so special to me and it is so special to everyone. It doesn’t matter who you are – you can find at least one thing that you relate to in the show.

Also, it is so refreshing to work with people that are passionate about what they do. They see you as an equal and they want to work with you. They want to know what’s going on with you – to make sure they have that connection with you and make sure that you’re all on the same page. We’re building the show together as a team and that’s the important part, and that’s why I think it’s special for me.

Fun Home runs October 2 – 22, 2016 in the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the Playhouse Square website.

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 local yoga teacher, event professional, marketer and proud Northeast Ohio arts supporter. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Fun Home

Published September 28th, 2016 by | No Comments

Fun Home is a new musical that has moved and excited audiences in ways only a truly landmark musical can. When it was first announced earlier this year at Broadway Launch that it would be making a stop in CLE, we knew just how lucky we were. See what makes this show so special, and learn what it’s all about.

1. The national tour is launching HERE in Cleveland.

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Fun Home opened April 19, 2015 on Broadway at the Circle in the Square Theatre and closed on September 10. Lucky for you, the show is about to launch a national tour HERE in The Land, and is the official beginning of Playhouse Square’s three-week KeyBank Broadway Series show runs.

2. It won 5 Tony Awards in 2015.

 

History has been made with Fun Home, not only by being the first Broadway show with a lesbian leading character, but also during the 2015 Tony Awards. Fun Home is the first show written by women, Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori, to win the Best Musical and the Best Original Score. Can you say girl power? Director Sam Gold won Best Direction of a Musical and Michael Cerveris, who played Alison’s father, won Best Actor. Mind you, Fun Home is only a little over a year old, so five Tonys isn’t too shabby.

3. It’s a musical based on a graphic memoir.

funhome_afamilytragicomic

The show is based off of award-winning graphic memoir Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel, published in 2006. Alison combined comic contents from a graphic novel and the personal narrative of an autobiography into one.

4. Alison is played by three different actresses.

Fun Home Circle in the Square Theatre Cast List: Michael Cerveris Judy Kuhn Beth Malone Sydney Lucas Emily Skeggs Joel Perez Roberta Colindrez Zell Morrow Oscar Williams Production Credits: Sam Gold (Direction) Danny Mefford (Choreography) David Zinn (Set and Costume Design) Ben Stanton (Lighting Design) Kai Harada (Sound Design) Chris Fenwick (Music Direction) Other Credits: Lyrics by: Lisa Kron Music by: Jeanine Tesori Book by Lisa Kron

The show is unique for a lot of reasons, one of them being the way it takes you on a journey through Alison Bechdel’s life using three actresses to tell her story. Fun Home introduces audiences to Alison as a child, a college-aged student, and an adult – all played by different actresses – and shows the pivotal moments in Alison’s life through different perspectives.

 

5. “Ring of Keys” was the first complete song Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori wrote together.

 

“Ring of Keys” has become the signature tune for this musical and is an anthem for self-discovery, and the first tune the Broadway power duo wrote together.

6. It was the first Broadway show ever to perform on NBC’s Late Night with Seth Meyers.

Continuing its tradition in creating history Emily Skeggs, who played Medium Alison, performed “Changing My Major” during Late Night with Seth Meyers.

7. U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power brought 20 delegates to see the show! 

 

On March 2, U.S. Ambassador Samantha Power brought ambassadors from different cultures and countries to see Fun Home on Broadway! Afterwards they were able to speak and reflect with the cast.

8. It’s a musical about how tragedy can cause us to reflect – and even laugh. 

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What sets this musical apart from others is how the story is told and how it makes the audience feel because of that. The writers have set the stage by bluntly stating the facts: Alison reflects on being gay and growing in a small Pennsylvania town, like her father, who was also gay but then kills himself. The joy in Fun Home is found in how Alison grows into the person she will become as an adult, and what shaped her during that discovery.

9. Fun Home is about family.

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This is a production about a family that is both nothing like yours, and exactly like yours, all at the same time. Fun Home is about looking back on childhood and seeing things about those years of life through grown-up eyes. It’s about self-discovery and the growing pains along the way. Fun Home has something every audience member can relate to – family, love, and survival.

10. Alison Bechdel went to Oberlin College.

It is learned during the musical that Alison’s college experience played a pivotal role on her journey of self-discovery.

 

You can come see the national tour launch of Fun Home here in Cleveland October 2 – 22, 2016!

Get the Led Out rocks Cleveland!

Published September 28th, 2016 by | No Comments

gtlo-hampton-beach-april-2016

The State Theatre will be rocking on Saturday, October 15 when Get the Led Out takes the stage! This group of professional musicians are passionate about their love of the music of Led Zeppelin. It’s been their mission to bring the studio recordings of “the mighty Zep” to life on the big concert stage. This is not an impersonator act, but rather a group of musicians who were fans first, striving to pay homage to one of the greatest bands in rock history!

You don’t want to miss this electrifying show. CLICK HERE to get your tickets now!

Like many musical groups, Led Zepplin has had an interesting journey to fame. We did some digging and found a few interesting facts about the band.

– Early on, Robert Plant attempted to buy a shirt he liked on Carnaby Street, and was asked for ID when he tried to pay with check. Without one, Plant retreated to his car and returned with a copy of Led Zeppelin’s first album as proof of his identity.

– Jimmy Page has said that their first album was recorded in 30 hours. The second album took more than eight months, largely because of non-stop touring.

knebworth79_promo_field1– Led Zeppelin II, like Zeppelin’s first album, used a vintage photograph for its cover-only this time with some key alterations. A graphic designer took a World War I-era photo that reportedly included the legendary Red Baron, then replaced the heads with those of Zeppelin band members.

– Jimmy Page didn’t always want to be a rock star. In fact, during an appearance on a 1957 episode of the U.K. children’s talent show On Your Own, a 13 year old Page said he wanted to grow up to work in biological research studying germs.

pandj-at-the-peakGet the Led Out wants to continue carrying the torch of Led Zepplin’s music. Although, you might notice that there are only 4 members of Led Zepplin, but 6 members of Get the Led Out. Their mission is to bring the studio recordings of Led Zeppelin to life in concert. In the studio, Led Zeppelin layered many guitars, vocals, keyboards, and various other instruments in a process known as “overdubbing.” Quite simply, it’s physically impossible for only 4 people to recreate those amazing recordings in a live performance. Zeppelin themselves never attempted replicating their recorded work in concert, as it would have required hiring additional musicians, and they just weren’t about that. Get The Led Out however, is ALL about that!

FUN FACT: Get the Led Out’s very own Paul Sinclair had the pleasure of lending his vocals to the pilot episode of the new Martin Scorsese – Mick Jagger produced HBO TV series Vinyl. The show is all about the record business in early 1970s New York.

Watch the video below to hear more from Get the Led Out!

Don’t miss your chance to see this show! Saturday, October 15 only! Get the Led Out!

Jackie Evancho

Published September 19th, 2016 by | No Comments

Jackie Evancho brings her new sound to the Ohio Theatre on October 8.  jackie-evancho

You might know her as the talented little girl who stole America’s hearts in 2010 on America’s Got Talent. Now she’s 16 years old, and is evolving musically with plans to release a new album this year. While still recording some songs in her beautiful soprano voice, she has also learned how to use her voice in a more “pop” way. She has already received raves for her new single, Apocalypse. And here’s some great news: when she visits Playhouse Square this fall, she plans to perform some of these new songs!

Watch Jackie’s performance of O Mio Babbino Caro at Festa Italiana 2016 in Milwaukee, WI.

Check out the video for her new hit song, Apocalypse, and hear how she’s branching out into pop music with her newer music.

CLICK HERE to purchase your tickets to see Jackie Evancho on stage at Playhouse Square!

This week in theater news…

Published September 16th, 2016 by | No Comments

Each week we’re going to keep you up-to-speed with the latest Broadway and theater news. Check back next week 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…

Meet the leads of the touring cast of The King and I!
There are so many things to be excited about when a Broadway show goes on tour, especially when it’s making a stop in The Land this February. Our particular excitement is centered on the announced of Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana playing the leading roles in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s the King and I on tour. Jose Llana played the role of King Siam on Broadway, and Laura Michelle Kelly’s amazing vocals have been heard before in Finding Neverland and Mary Poppins. See the pair, and all of the other amazing cast members, when The King and I tour visits Cleveland Feb. 7-26, 2017! (Broadway.com) Read more…

Can we talk about some special Ohio college grads??
Ohio, represent! The University of Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music made Playbill’s list of the top 10 colleges currently being represented on Broadway, and Baldwin Wallace University made the short list of honorable mentions. The grads from these two schools are performing in shows like HamiltonAn American in Paris, and Aladdin and more. We think that’s pretty darn cool! Congrats to the talented students! (Playbill.com) Read more…

Broadway community mourns the passing of Elephant Man director
Jack Hofsiss, director of the original production of The Elephant Man, passed away on Tuesday, September 13. In the late 1970s, Hofsiss become the youngest director to win a Tony for Best Direction. His contribution to the theater community will never be forgotten. (Playbill.com) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

Sonia Rodriguez: A Ballerina’s Legacy
Giada Valenti
Partners Committee Meeting
Jersey Boys
Partners Gordon Square Dine Around
Black Violin

Black Violin returns to CLE

Published September 12th, 2016 by | No Comments

Black Violin returns to CLE on Friday, September, 23 at 8 p.m. at the Ohio Theatre!

Wilner “Wil B” Baptiste (viola) and Kevin “Kev Marcus” Sylvester (violin) are Black Violin, and they are on a perception-changing, stereotype-shattering mission. Classically trained musicians, they met as high school orchestra nerds; today, they play genre-bending music, radically fusing hip-hop and pop with classical to create a kaleidoscope of sounds uniquely their own.

They have opened for such diverse names in music as Kanye West, 50 Cent, Aerosmith, and Tom Petty, and collaborated with the likes of Wu-Tang Clan, Linkin Park, Wyclef Jean and Alicia Keys. Their major label debut, Stereotypes, was released last year to critical acclaim.

Click below to watch a clip of the PBS NewsHour special on Black Violin.

Can’t get enough of this groundbreaking group? Watch this video of their song Magic (The Jason Nevins Remix).

Join us on Friday, September 23 to see Black Violin!

CLICK HERE for tickets! 

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