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This week in theater news…

Published October 31st, 2014 by | No Comments

Theater news for the week…

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

Happening on Broadway …

New song written for Newsies tour
Composer Alan Menken and lyricist Jack Feldman have written a new song for the Newsies national tour. The song, “Letter from the Refuge,” will be performed by Crutchie and is set in the second act as he writes a letter to Jack Kelly after being sent to a detention center. Catch the show opening next week in Cleveland! ( Read More

Winner of The Voice debuts as Broadway’s Pippin
After winning the sixth season of NBC’s The Voice, Josh Kaufman finds himself in the role of Pippin on Broadway’s musical, Pippin. Having been coached by Grammy winner Usher, Kaufman will play limited engagement through January 4, 2015. Get ready for Pippin in Cleveland in February, 2015! ( Read More

Daniel Radcliffe raps on Jimmy Fallon
Harry Potter and Broadway’s Inishmaan star, Daniel Radcliffe, performed a rap on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon - and rumor has it he wasn’t bad! ( Read More

Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Disney’s Newsies
The Dybbuk
Alton Brown Live
Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company – Dance Cleveland
Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons

Halloween Costumes to Steal the Show

Published October 22nd, 2014 by | No Comments


We know you’re busy decorating your house, carving pumpkins and making sure you have enough candy for trick-or-treaters, so to help you out this Halloween we’ve put together some costumes ideas – inspired by Broadway of course – to help you steal the spotlight this year!

Our next Broadway series show, Newsies, has taken the stage by storm! These costumes are simple to recreate, so you’re quickly on your way to dancing the night away. Start with gray pants, add suspenders, layer on a vest with a plaid or striped shirt – and don’t forget to top it off with a Newsies hat! Want to make your look more authentic? Add some dirt – that should do the trick.

Speaking of upcoming shows, there are quite a few ideas that you can pull from Pippin. Whether you’re into the colorful circus costumes, or looking to stick to the basics, it’s easy to find inspiration from this musical!

Nothing could be simpler than black pants and a white shirt with a black tie. Have those items lying around in your closet? Pull them out, add a name tag, and you have a costume from The Book of Mormon.

So if these first few ideas haven’t gotten you inspired, don’t worry because we’re not done yet! Maybe you want something that’s a little bit more flashy for your costume this year. If that’s the case, start your search for a fabulous pair of shoes with inspiration from Kinky Boots!

We love the 80s just as much as we love couples costumes, and Dirty Dancing is perfect for both. Keep it simple or dress it up, you decide!


Looking for some ideas for your little prince and princess? Beauty and the Beast and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella are both coming to CLE this year and we couldn’t be more excited! Plus – dressing as these characters for Halloween is the perfect way to feel royal for a day!


These are just a few of our ideas, and with Broadway we feel like we can come up with an endless list of ideas! Click here to see our Pinterest board for more Halloween ideas!


Motown Rocks Its Way to the Hall of Fame

Published October 18th, 2014 by | No Comments

In 1986 the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame welcomed its first class of inductees, and in 1995 the museum opened its doors right here in Cleveland! Did you know that nearly every Motown artist in Motown The Musical has been inducted into the Rock Hall? Let’s take a look at all of the Motown stars who have been inducted, and those who have been nominated this year.

The second year of Rock Hall inductions, in 1987, celebrated the works of both Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye. Both were inducted under the performer category. Growing up, Marvin Gaye had dreams of becoming the “black Frank Sinatra,” and Smokey Robinson’s work as a solo artist was highly successful. Robinson was later inducted again in 2012 as a member of The Miracles – him and Michael Jackson being two of the few artists to be inducted multiple times.

Both Motown founder Berry Gordy and music superstar Diana Ross were inducted into the Rock Hall in 1988. Ross has yet to be individually inducted, but was inducted with her band The Supremes alongside Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard. Gordy, having transformed an in-house music studio into “Hitsville U.S.A.,” attended the 2012 Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and spoke about his personal experiences with Motown.

In 1989, the hit Motown band The Temptations and singer/songwriter Stevie Wonder were inducted into the Rock Hall. Stevie Wonder had reached the top of the pop and R&B charts at the mere age of 12, and throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s he continued writing and producing hit songs. You can watch Stevie Wonder and John Legend perform at the 2010 Rock Hall 25th Anniversary Show below.

Michael Jackson was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame twice, both in 1997 with The Jackson 5 and in 2001 as a solo artist.

Motown artists continue to be nominated for inductions into the Rock Hall. The Marvelettes have been nominated for the 2015 induction. The group had hits written by stars like Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, but perhaps their most famous song was “Please Mr. Postman.”

The annual induction ceremony has become a highly anticipated tradition, and the 20th anniversary of the museum is quickly approaching. Catch the 2015 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony taking place in Cleveland and cast your vote for The Marvelettes in the fan vote contest here!


This week in theater news…

Published October 17th, 2014 by | No Comments

Theater news for the week of October 20-26, 2014

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

Happening on Broadway …

Ryan Adams covers Bryan Adams
In a recent performance in Santa Barbara, California, Ryan Adams covered the famed Bryan Adams hit, Run To You. Did you know both Bryan Adams and Ryan Adams will be performing in CLE? ( Read More

Idina Menzel’s new holiday album
Idina Menzel has released her newest holiday album, “Holiday Wishes.” The album features songs like, All I Want for Christmas Is You, and a duet version of Baby It’s Cold Outside with Michael Buble. ( Read More

Disney in talks with directors for Frozen theater adaptation 
Now that Frozen has a growing fan base and huge popularity, Disney has begun talking with directors for a Broadway adaptation of the show. It is noted that a design concept is also already in the works. ( Read More

Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Cleveland Orchestra Jazz Discovery Series led by Chris Anderson – FREE
Evil Dead The Musical
Fall for the Arts
How We Got On
Class by the Glass


This week in theater news…

Published October 10th, 2014 by | No Comments

Theater news for the week of September 15-21, 2014

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

Happening on Broadway …

First trailer of Broadway’s Of Mice and Men released
The first trailer of the Broadway production of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men has been released. With stars like James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, Leighton Meester and Jim Norton, screening dates of the highly anticipated film are expected to be released soon. ( Read More

Lucie Arnaz on Broadway with Pippin
Emmy-winning singer and actress Lucie Arnaz joins the NYC cast of Pippin and will play the role of Berthe. Arnaz began her career in show business on the television show The Lucy Show and continued on stage and behind the camera. ( Read More

Cyndi Lauper talks success with Kinky Boots
Cyndi Lauper had a conversation with The Huffington Post about the success of Kinky Boots, for which she wrote music and lyrics. With its positive reviews and push to celebrate individuality, Lauper tells of her songwriting experience for the musical. (huffingtonpost.comRead More

Cinderella national tour
October 10, 2014 will be the launch date of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, opening at the Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI. A theater adaptation which takes on classic story components along with a few twists, but incorporates music by Richard Rodgers and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Catch Cinderella in CLE from July 21-August 2! ( Read More

Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Master Class with Motown the Musical - Free
A Conversation with Diane Rehm
Discover DaVinci & Michelangelo: Side by Side
Halloween Town
Chris Tucker


An Interview with Jarran Muse from Motown the Musical

Published October 3rd, 2014 by | No Comments

Please give a warm welcome to our newest PlayhouseSquare Blog contributor, Alicia Hansen. As part of our Broadway Buzz program, Alicia 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.

An Interview with Jarran Muse from Motown the Musical
by Alicia Hansen


As a child growing up in New Jersey, Jarran Muse found himself drawn to television shows featuring kids and knew then he wanted to be an actor. With his theater education starting early through community programs, studying at a performing arts high school, and later with a scholarship to the University of the Arts, Jarran worked hard to be the teacher professional he is today. In this interview, Muse shares his insight in playing one of America’s most prolific musical artists in Motown the Musical.

Jarran Muse

Jarran Muse

You perform the role of Marvin Gaye in the production of Motown the Musical coming to PlayhouseSquare this October.  What was your process in preparing for the role of such an iconic individual in our musical history?

Preparing was a process, but it was a great process. Marvin Gaye is one of my all time idols. I wasn’t around on earth to hear him perform live, but Mr. Berry Gordy being a part of our project – from originally writing his book, “To Be Loved,” to creating the show, to being with us in the process – was a huge help.

Mr. Gordy and I had several one-on-one talks where he would tell me about the conversations he would have with Marvin and the type of person he was.  Mr. Gordy had a very strong relationship with Marvin because he was his brother-in-law, so he knew him well.  He would explain to me why Marvin was his favorite artist because he was so true and anything he was thinking is what he recorded.  If you really want to know Marvin Gaye, you listen to one of his albums. That was him.

In our generation, we have this wonderful thing called YouTube where you can research so many different interviews, concerts and live appearances. Mr. Gordy even had rare footage that I was able to see so I could really capture the essence of his performance and how he spoke – both on camera and off camera. Getting to watch those, as well as reading his biography and talking with his family, friends and colleagues – there’s a lot of information on Marvin.

You mention YouTube and being able to watch those videos and to see his emotions and expressions. Do you find that any type of challenge in terms of performing his songs as him? Do you stick to the artistic choices that he made or do you have that opportunity to make any creative moments in yourself?

People are coming to see Marvin Gaye so it gets a little tricky. You definitely have to bring yourself to the character, but we all know that Marvin was a legend. I try as hard as I can to bring Marvin back, so I do try to have to bring “Marvin” to the stage, and not “Jarran.” I definitely have similarities to Marvin so some of it came naturally. I apparently sound like him in my normal voice, so that wasn’t hard.

As the musical is based on the story of Berry Gordy’s founding and running of the Motown record label and his relationships with those Motown artists, is there a  story of Mr. Gordy’s that sticks out to you that helped to craft your choices in playing Marvin?

There’s a story about the song “Mercy Mercy Me.”  Mr. Gordy did not want to release that song. He had a specific image for his artists in mind and he wanted to keep that image for the Motown label as a whole. He didn’t like political records or drug records – he was very much against that song.  Marvin pleaded with Mr. Gordy to release that album. He finally convinced him by singing “Mercy Mercy Me” to him. That’s how he was able to change his mind.

This was just one of many examples of how Marvin and Mr. Gordy butted heads constantly. It was like a father-son relationship, even though it technically wasn’t. In the scenes where Mr. Gordy is with Marvin, those scenes are confrontational because Marvin wanted to be as different as possible. He didn’t care unless he got his own way. He was a stubborn kind of fella – just like that song.

There are more than 50 Motown hits in this production. Did you find those songs influence you – if so, how?

Absolutely! The more we built the show and I would hear which songs were being used, I was instantly brought back to the time I first heard them. When I was younger, I didn’t really “hear” the lyrics. I heard the music, but I wasn’t paying attention to what they were saying. Listening to the words in the rehearsal process and to see what is still happening in our times that we’re living in today, it made me realize a lot of the music and these artists were ahead of their time. A lot of what they were saying still holds true today, especially with Marvin. Marvin’s lyrics – they hold so much weight. With everything that is going on with the race riots in Missouri and what happened down in Florida, and different other situations that are going on across the country, I mean, what’s going on? Mercy mercy me! His lyrics today hold as much weight as they did in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Is there a Motown song you wish was in the show, or do you feel the music selected really encompasses what Motown was all about?

The songs they selected are spot on. I also know there wasn’t enough room for everything they hoped to include. When you have a catalog like Motown that spans 30 years and you try to squeeze all of that into 2 hours and 45 minutes – it’s impossible to include everything. I actually congratulate them for choosing the songs that they were able to fit into the show!  When we ran the first previews of Motown the Musical, it was 3 hours and 15 minutes long. The first workshop was a 4-hour process.  You have to remember:  as an audience member, you don’t want to sit in a theater for four hours!

What makes Motown the Musical special, different or unique in comparison to other musicals?

This is the first show that I’ve worked on that is based on a true story. Me being not only an American, but a minority – an African American – and getting to know the history of how these artists really paved the way for all the other artists that came after them – that’s special. The icing on the cake was when we opened the show on Broadway, anyone who was ever involved with the record label that was still alive was invited to attend the opening night performance. All the artists, the family members, the sales reps, the distributors were flown into New York. They cried, they laughed and they remembered it all as they watched the show. We had a reception afterwards and they shared even more stories – all of those we couldn’t tell on stage because of time constraints. To hear from them and their perspective – all through laughs, smiles and tears – that’s special!

Motown the Musical comes to Cleveland October 3 – 19 as part of the KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the PlayhouseSquare website.

Alicia Hansen is the writer behind Poise in Parma, a healthy balance blog for Clevelanders. A graduate of Baldwin Wallace University’s theatre program, Alicia is an events and marketing professional, a yoga teacher and proud Cleveland arts supporter. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest

This week’s theater news blog…

Published September 19th, 2014 by | No Comments

Theater news for the week of September 15-21, 2014

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

Happening on Broadway …

Pippin is a hit in Denver!
The national tour of Pippin high-kicked-off in Denver and is taking audiences with every acrobatic skill. Check out this interview with composer Steven Schwartz (Godspell, Wicked, and more) and Tony-Award winning director Diane Paulus. Gear up now for Pippin in CLE February 3-15! ( Read More

Ciara Renee is Hunchback’s Gypsy
Pippin‘s Leading Player on Broadway, Ciara Renee confirms her role as Esmeralda in Disney’s upcoming The Hunchback of Notre Dame. The Baldwin-Wallace graduate will star in the U.S. premier performance of Disney’s latest Broadway storm in October. ( Read More

Broadway’s Megan Hilty takes on her biggest role yet
On September 18, Megan Hilty and husband Brian Gallagher welcomed their first child, Viola Philomena. Hilty is best known for her role as Glinda in Broadway’s Wicked while Gallagher made his Great White Way debut last season in Jekyll and Hyde. ( Read More

On The Town is back in town
The cast of On The Town celebrated the official reopening of Broadway’s Lyric Theatre (previously known as the Foxwoods Theatre) with a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Completely with sailor hats and “I heart NY NY” t-shirts, producers Howard and Janet Kagan were all smiles for the ceremony. ( Read More

Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Phillip Phillips
Sparx City Hop
North Union Farmers Market
Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series – FREE
Elk and Elk Summer Movie Series at U.S. Bank Plaza – FREE

An International Affair at PlayhouseSquare

Published September 19th, 2014 by | No Comments

As most people around the world were pouring their morning coffee, PlayhouseSquare had the extraordinary opportunity of hosting a group of Senior Level Officials from the United States Embassy for a tour of our historic theaters and spaces. The tour was set up through the Cleveland Council on World Affairs with a group of 26 visitors from 20 different countries!



Tour members got a special on-stage and backstage peek at the State Theatre and Palace Theatre.


All the worlds a stage!
Guests from New Zealand treated their fellow tour members to a few Shakespeare verses upon the State Theatre Stage.


A little R&R in the Allen Theatre for guests after their walking tour of PlayhouseSquare.


It was a tour that PlayhouseSquare is very proud to have hosted and hope they bring their enjoyment of PlayhouseSquare with them to their home countries. Countries represented were: Montenegro, Congo, Lithuania, Swaziland, Ivory Coast, South Africa, New Zealand, India, Israel, Brazil, Japan, Pakistan, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, Thailand, Spain, Belgium, Chile, and Mexico.

Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series

Published September 9th, 2014 by | No Comments

Now this is how you spice up a Wednesday afternoon! We’ve been salsa-ing all summer! The Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series offers FREE salsa dancing lessons on U.S. Bank Plaza! Best part? There’s 3 more salsa sessions! Bring your dancing shoes out and salsa your mid-week blues away!

Check out the moves folks learned throughout the Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series…


Hips/pics don’t lie; SO much fun!


Sammy DeLeon giving salsa dancers some flavorful music to move to!


Over 700 people participated in the FREE the Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series,
and (fun fact) even a family from Pennsylvania joined the fun after googling “Events in Cleveland.”


“Dance is one language that anyone can learn to speak.” – We made that up, but it’s true!


Express yourself, Red!

The Mid-Summer Night Salsa Series continues Wednesday September 10, 17, and 24! Don’t miss out on FREE fun in #CLE!

2014 District Block Party

Published September 8th, 2014 by | No Comments


The summer is wrapping up here in CLE, but not before we could celebrate our 15th Annual District Block Party. Check out some of the fun times we had over the weekend!

Washboard Band1

Block Partiers were entertained by musical guests, Cats on Holiday and Grupo Son Gitano.

Hike   Cornhole

Guests got to “Take a Hike” around the district and participate in the District Cornhole Tournament Championship!


The night was a blast, thanks in part to a wonderful group of volunteers!


Ralphie likes summertime too! Cleveland Play House enjoyed the Block Party with the A Christmas Story star!


Guests also got to get a sneak-peak tour of Hobrauhaus Cleveland before it’s “big reveal!” Stay tuned for another inside look!
Head over to our Facebook photo album to see all the fun from the 15th Annual District Block Party. Will you be joining us next year for the 16th Annual?


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