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This week (January 1) in theater news…

Published January 5th, 2017 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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New Year new records to break
Oh what a year it has been! Broadway broke box-office records up and down Times Square for the week ending January 1, with 33 Broadway shows taking in $50 million, the highest total in Broadway history! (Playbill.com) Read More…

A must see documentary
The world still feels the loss of legendary mother and daughter Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher. On January 7 at 8 p.m., HBO will debut Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds, a documentary. Watched first full trailer that was recently released here. (Playbill.com)

Nothing like Broadway in the spring time
There’s beauty behind a show closing in order for a new production to take its place. From December 31, 2016 through January 29, 2017 thirteen shows are scheduled to close, including Something Rotten, Jersey Boys & The Color Purple, and a new slate of revivals, original musicals, & two Broadway play writing debuts will being previewing these theatres. (Playbill.com) Read more…

Sing Emma sing
Just in case you’re as excited as we are for Disney’s live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast, enjoy this snippet of Emma Watson singing “Something There” (Playbill.com) Read More…

Reflection time
As the first week of 2017 comes to an end, join us as we take a look back on 2016 and some great Broadway reveals. (Broadway.com)

The Elvis Birthday Tribute Returns!

Published January 3rd, 2017 by | No Comments

Light the candles and cut the cake! Join us Sunday, January 8 for the return of the Elvis Birthday Tribute.

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Ryan Pelton as Elvis

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Shawn Klush as Elvis

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Cody Ray Slaughter as Elvis

 

 

This year’s Elvis Birthday Tribute stop will be its 17th consecutive year, performed on what would have been The King’s actual 81st birthday.

You will be treated to Elvis’ hits, with the tribute artists decked out in replicas of The King’s flashy wardrobe. This year’s line up features over two hours of live music starring two of the nation’s most critically-acclaimed Elvis re-creators, Shawn Klush, Ryan Pelton and Cody Ray Slaughter, each performing their entire tribute act. Joined by longtime Elvis back-up singers The Sweet Inspirations, Dove Award-winners and Elvis’ gospel family, The Blackwood Quartet and hosted by Elvis’ original drummer D.J. Fontana, who peppers the evening with intimate Elvis anecdotes. All three Elvis re-creators, Shawn, Ryan and Cody, come with impressive credentials, including rave reviews from those who personally worked with The King.

Shawn Klush has been acclaimed as the #1 Elvis performer in the country and was featured in the 1999 CBS-TV movie Shake Rattle & Roll. He was the winner of the Worldwide Elvis Competition and currently stars as “Elvis” in “Legends in Concert,” alternating in the show’s Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Branson, Seattle and Myrtle Beach venues.

Ryan Pelton’s uncanny resemblance to Elvis was noticed as far back as his pre-teen years. Even in the Marine Corps, with his head shaved, the drill instructors nicknamed him “Elvis.” Ryan went on to become the “Worldwide Elvis Impersonator Champ, Year 2000” held in Memphis.

Andy Cody Ray Slaughter, who began at only age 13 impersonating Elvis, went on to win The People’s Choice Award at the Elvis Week 2008 as part of the Images of the King Competition.

Click here for your tickets to the birthday show!

2017 Here We Come!

Published December 27th, 2016 by | No Comments

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2016 was full of great performances, and we cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store! Here’s a list of shows coming in the beginning of the New Year.

Flanagan’s Wake 2017
Jan 6 – Apr 29 , 2017

Elvis Birthday Tribute 2017
Sun, Jan 8, 2017

Into The Woods
Jan 10 – 29 , 2017

LAST CALL CLEVELAND: Michael Stanley Superstar
Jan 13 – 21 , 2017

SOULmate? A True Love Story
Sat, Jan 14, 2017

Dance Theatre of Harlem – DANCECleveland
Sat, Jan 21 , 2017

Joshua Seth – Psychological Illusionist
Sat, Jan 21 , 2017

Season 8: The Queens. Live Across America.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017

Dancing with the Stars Live!
Wed, Jan 25, 2017

A Celebration of Dance & Music
Fri, Jan 27, 2017

Enjoy the rest of the holidays and stay tune for more blog posts next year!

Mannheim Steamroller Christmas returns!

Published December 13th, 2016 by | No Comments

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Mannheim Steamroller Christmas returns to Playhouse Square on Saturday, December 17 with music by Chip Davis. The show has been a favorite holiday tradition and this year marks the 31st Anniversary of the group’s annual tour. Grammy Award winner Chip Davis has created a show that features the beloved Christmas music of Mannheim Steamroller along with dazzling multimedia effects performed in an intimate setting. The spirit of the season comes alive with the signature sound of Mannheim Steamroller music.

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1. Mannheim has sold over 40 million albums, outselling artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Billy Joel, making them one of the top 50 best selling artists during the past two decades.

2. Chip has developed a patent-pending music therapy system. Ambient Therapy combines music with natural sounds and is being used by Mayo Clinic, Wake Forest, Walter Reed and other medical facilities.

3. Mannheim Steamroller has transformed Halloween music just as it did with the sounds of Christmas. The band is the top selling Halloween artist today.

4. The Recording Industry Association of America has awarded 16 gold records, 7 platinum and 4 multi-platinum to Mannheim Steamroller.

5. The top-selling non-music product on the Mannheim Steamroller website is Cinnamon Hot Chocolate and the hottest selling ring tone for mobile phones is “Carol of the Bells”.

6. Mannheim Steamroller is the #1 Christmas music artist of all time, selling over 27 million albums which is the second highest Christmas artist to Elvis Presley.

7. The band’s name came from Mannheim, Germany where Mozart lived and is the name for an 18th century musical technique known as the crescendo.

8. Mannheim has sold over 40 million albums, outselling artists such as Bruce Springsteen, Bon Jovi and Billy Joel, making them one of the top 50 best selling artists during the past two decades.

9. If you lined up all the CDs sold, they would stretch from New York to Los Angeles and then into the Pacific Ocean — more than 3000 miles!

10. Chip has created two traveling troupes for the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas Tour to meet continuing popular demand even after 25 years. For more fun facts about Mannheim Steamroller click here.

Join in the 30th Anniversary celebration of Mannheim Steamroller Christmas and get your tickets now.

Yule love the holiday shows at Playhouse Square

Published December 7th, 2016 by | No Comments

Image result for holly leaf Why not treat yourself to a show? Image result for holly leaf

On Friday, Dec. 9 or Saturday, Dec. 10 go see the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra: A CJO Christmasperforming their upcoming recording, “Have yourself a Swinging Jazzy Christmas”. They will be joined by exploding jazz star Nia Drummond at the Hanna Theatre. Get tickets here.

Sunday, Dec. 11, the  Cleveland Jazz Orchestra: Jingle Bell Matinee will be led by Paul Ferguson with guest Nia Drummond at the Hanna Theatre. Enjoy a family-friendly version of their celebrated holiday concert, featuring a shortened program, $10 tickets for all and the popular interactive instrument “petting zoo.” Get tickets here.

You can also catch the Straight No Chaser: 20th Anniversary Tour on Sunday, Dec. 11 in the State Theatre! This group captives the sound of ten unadulterated human voices that have come together to make extraordinary music which has moved people in a fundamental sense… and with a sense of humor. Get tickets here.

To help get you through the holiday hustle, enjoy Straight No Chaser’s “I’ll Have Another… Christmas Album” playlist.

Image result for holiday present clip art Visit playhousesquare.org for more show information. Image result for holiday present clip art

Train with Andy Grammer and Blue October

Published November 29th, 2016 by | No Comments

Come and experience the Q104 Holiday Show, Train with Andy Grammer and Blue October, on Monday, December 5 at 8:00 p.m. Kick off your December and see these three chart-topping acts on the State Theater stage performing both current and holiday hits! Click here to purchase your tickets now.

Columbia Recording Artist and Grammy Award winning band, Train, hails from San Francisco and is led by front man Pat Monahan. Train is best known for their hits “Hey Soul Sister”, “If It’s Love”, “Drops of Jupiter” and “Drive By. They’ve had three albums break into the top 10 on the Billboard 200, and have sold over four million albums in the US. With their newest single “Play That Song”, featured on their upcoming tenth studio album.

In five years, S-Curve Records’ artist, Andy Grammer has gone from street performer to selling millions of records with hits like “Keep Your Head Up” and “Fine By Me”. In 2014, “Honey, I’m Good” became a triple platinum smash and one of the ten best-selling songs of the year. His euphoric follow up, “Good to be Alive (Hallelujah)”, was certified gold. Grammer’s current single “Fresh Eyes,” is quickly climbing the charts.

Blue October is the Texas-based band known for its shimmering melodies and heart-string pulling lyrics, boasting one of the most emotionally charged and magnetic front men in music today in Justin Furstenfeld. Blue October has charted nine Top 40 Hot AC and alternative singles over eight albums, including the hit singles “Into The Ocean,”, “Hate Me,” and “Home”, and 2016’s new album ‘Home’, which has charted as the #1 Alternative Album, #1 Rock Album, and #1 Independent Album this year, reaching audiences around the world.

Tickets can be purchased here.

A Behind the Scenes Q & A with Alan Cumming!

Published November 18th, 2016 by | No Comments

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Alan Cumming: Sings Sappy Songs tour makes a stop in Cleveland on Sunday, December 4 at the Connor Palace. In anticipation of his upcoming performance, we had the pleasure of asking the talented and one-of-a-kind Mr. Cumming some questions about his life. Enjoy!

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Photo credit: instagram.com/alancummingsnaps

Alan Cumming Sings Sappy Songs comes to Cleveland on December 4. The show is a cabaret with an eclectic blend of music and stories from your life. Do you find yourself telling different stories each performance, depending on your mood? Or do you have a standard story that pairs with each song?

My ambition for the show is that it will feel as though I’m just making things up as I go along, but I’m usually not. There is quite a strict structure to it and the stories all correspond to the songs, and it really seems to work quite well so I don’t meddle with it very much. Of course I sometimes have a ramble about what I did that day or what is happening in the world or sometimes I engage with the audience for some reason or another but for the most part it is rehearsed spontaneity.

While most people are familiar with your talents as an actor, singer, author and philanthropist, many may not know about your passion for photography. What do you like most to photograph? Also, inquiring minds want to know… Cannon, Nikon or other?

Photo credit: instagram.com/alancummingsnaps

I have no set rules about taking photos, and sometimes I go for ages without taking a single snap. My favorite kind of picture is one that just captures a mood, a moment, an essence of an experience. I don’t take loads and loads of pics of the same thing, I’m a real one or two snaps and I’m done man. That’s why my Instagram handle is @alancummingsnaps. I think it’s because my book has just come out (You Gotta Get Bigger Dreams – My Life In Stories and Pictures) and I have been talking loads about my pictures that has made me kind of self-conscious about taking them right now. So I am looking forward to the muse descending again! Oh, and I mostly use my iPhone now, but also have a trusty old Olympus that I enjoy playing with!

 

Do you play any musical instruments? If so, which ones?

I play the piano fairly well. I actually played it for a song in my last show, but in Sappy Songs I don’t. I can also strum a few chords on the guitar and could probably still muster a scale on the cello.

What is your favorite Scottish cuisine?

Oh that’s easy. I am obsessed with mushy peas. They are sort of vinegary mashed up peas that you get in the chip shop with your chips. I love them! There is a chip shop at the bottom of the street where I live in Edinburgh and I rarely pass without indulging myself. I am also a big fan of the sort of peasant food that we do so well: soups and stews and that sort of thing. Some ingredients of Traditional Scottish Stovies

I love eating a plate of one thing. I don’t like having too many options when I eat! My absolute favorite is stovies, which is a potato and onion and mincey sort of dish that is meant to be left on the stove and you eat it throughout the night at a party so you don’t get too drunk! And I love to make vegan versions of those kinds of foods that I grew up with.

What was the most interesting thing you learned when you officially became a U.S. citizen in 2008?

That America makes absolutely everything a game show! You are given 100 questions and their answers in advance to study, and I sat up for many nights memorizing the number of seats in the congress and all sorts. In the actual naturalization test you’re asked ten questions and have to get six correct. I got my first consecutive six all right and the man asking me said ‘You’ve got the six, would you like to go for the ten?’ I said ‘What is this? Let’s Make A Deal?

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Photo credit: instagram.com/alancummingsnaps

You’ve worked with some amazing artists over the years. Can you tell us about one of your favorite collaborations?

I recently sang a couple of songs with Chita Rivera at Carnegie Hall. It was, incredibly, her debut as a headliner at that amazing venue, and she asked me to come and join her and I couldn’t have been more honored. I met her years ago when we both took part in a Kander and Ebb tribute as part of the Kennedy Center Honors, and I fell in love with her at once. She has such spirit, such spunk and is just a real old mucker, so kind and hard-working and always smiling.  At Carnegie we sang the amazing song “Nowadays” from Chicago The Musical and she taught me the Bob Fosse choreography to it that she had learned from him. I felt overwhelmed and out of my depth but at the same time this amazing sense of carrying on a tradition. And I felt so proud.

What is a Broadway role that you would like to add to your résumé?

Right now I am obsessed with the play Good by CP Taylor. It’s a sort of impressionist look at the way normal, everyday people suddenly become inured to and then actively engage in extremism, and in this case the Nazi party. I can’t imagine why I find it so relevant to what is happening today! I wouldn’t mind giving the central character a go. And I think the time is right!

I know you don’t have a lot of free time, but what are some of your favorite TV shows right now?

You’re right, I don’t have much time, but I am looking forward very much to getting back to The Americans and also the cartoon Bo Jack Horseman. I am also trying to get up to speed on Game of Thrones as seemingly every other human in the world has watched it except me and I feel I need to get with the program! At the gym, when I am on the elliptical machine I just turn on Bravo and watch awful people shout at each other, and that whiles away the time!

Looking back on your career (so far), what would you say to someone who is new to the business about rejection? Any advice about a career in performing arts?

My advice to anyone starting out in the arts is to try and be yourself. So many people will try and tell you to become a generic type and you should always remember that the most interesting thing about yourself is you, your experience and your authenticity. And as for rejection, well, I always think that I don’t like everything or everyone in the world, so I can’t expect everyone to like me or what I do!

Photo credit: instagram.com/alancummingsnaps

This show is a unique opportunity to hear the legendary Alan Cumming in a raucous one-man show, at Playhouse Square. Alan Cumming: Sings Sappy Songs is an eclectic, wildly entertaining mix of intimate stories. From the sentimental to the sassy – and witty reinterpretations of pop songs and stage classics, this is a show you have to see!

Click here to get your tickets now!

‘Tis the seaon of Holidazzle!

Published November 15th, 2016 by | No Comments

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we want to take a moment to honor the holiday card. Change things up this season and use Holidazzle as your card backdrop. Not sure what Holidazzle is? Read up on all the exciting activities (and photo ops!) taking place for a day full of cheer.

1. It is a FREE holiday open house where you and your loved ones can participate in various activities throughout Playhouse Square.

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2. There will be 10-minute tours of the Connor Palace, the mighty Kimball Pipe Organ playing some holiday favorites, and once in a lifetime photo opportunities on the stage!

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3. Cartoons for the whole family will play throughout the day in the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, in the Idea Center. Create holiday themed children’s crafts and meet balloon artists in the Gund Dance Studio.

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4. You can start your holiday shopping with local vendors from the Cleveland Bazaar Holiday Market while enjoying the sounds of the season from local musicians in the recently renovated George Gund Foundation Ohio Theatre lobby.

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5. And experience the Festival of Trees in the Allen Theatre lobby. A grand display showcasing more than 20 trees decorated by various local designers will be featured – each tree offering a unique design or theme.

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There’s no time like the holidays in downtown Cleveland, so why not discover unique and amazing photo opportunities both inside and out at Holidazzle, Saturday, November 26 from 1:30 – 4:30 p.m.!

 

This week (November 11) in theater news…

Published November 11th, 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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Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana are coming to town…
With the national touring production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I! You might remember Kelly from her role as Sylvia in Finding Neverland on Broadway, or as Mary Poppins at the West End and in the Broadway reprise. Read more about the all-star cast before the show stops in CLE Feb. 7-26. (AP)

Girl power!
Broadway.com interviewed Christine Dwyer, the actress behind Sylvia in the touring production of Finding Neverland which is here through November 20. Hear her favorite thing about Sylvia, and the scariest part for her about playing the role. Watch video… (Broadway.com)

We’re giving thanks…
For Broadway shows announced to perform Thanksgiving Day Parade! See which of your favorites will perform and where to watch them here.

Disney Musicals in Schools – Year Two!

Published November 7th, 2016 by | No Comments

Last year, Playhouse Square received a grant from Disney to help bring the Disney Musicals in Schools program to Cuyahoga County with the goal of creating ongoing theater programs in local elementary schools. Through an application process, four schools were selected – Campus International, Paul Dunbar, Marion-Sterling and Oxford – and nearly 300 students and educators participated in a successful first year.

Now, we’re underway with year two! Four more schools were selected to join the program – Euclid Park, Orchard STEM, Warner Girl’s Leadership Academy and Wilbur Wright. To begin the 17-week program, teaching artists and educators receive intensive training and select the shows their students will perform both at their school and on stage at Playhouse Square.

1First year schools select their shows: The Lion King KIDS for Euclid Park,
Orchard STEM and Warner Girl’s Leadership Academy; Wilbur Wright chose Aladdin KIDS

2Returning schools: Campus International chose The Jungle Book KIDS,
Marion-Sterling went with Cinderella KIDS and both Paul Dunbar and Oxford selected Aladdin KIDS

While it’s great fun for students to dress up in costumes and take on the roles of beloved characters like Simba, Jasmine, Baloo and the Fairy Godmother, what’s more important is the lasting effect of the program. Campus International reported, “Disney Musicals in Schools has been a priceless addition to our programming here. We’ve seen our students grow confident and they’ve really stepped up as leaders in the school.”

Oxford Elementary shared, “We watched our children’s self-esteem increase as they learned the value of hard work. Our students have grown as leaders and people.”

Education is an important part of Playhouse Square’s not-for-profit mission. It is deeply rewarding to know we are having a positive impact on the lives of children in our community. Seeing the joy on the students’ faces when they perform on stage here, and the pride in the eyes of their teachers and family members, is priceless.

To find out more and see students perform during last year’s Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share Celebration, click here

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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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