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This week in theatre news…

Published April 10th, 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!

Theater happenings…

Fantasia Barrino and Jennifer Hudson sing on Idol
American Idol alums Jennifer Hudson and Fantasia Barrino joined forces to sing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” and “Remember the Music” on the show’s series finale. You can catch Fantasia in CLE this June when she performs with Anthony Hamilton. ( Read more 

Wait for it…
Hamilton stars Chris Jackson and Anthony Ramos sang the National Anthem to kick off the Mets/Phillies game. You’ll want to hear this. ( Listen here

Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?
The Spongebob Musical has announced its full cast. Ethan Slatter is set to lead, with Lilli Cooper playing Sandy Cheeks, Danny Skinner as Patrick Star, and Carlos Lopez as Mr. Krabs. Don’t miss the full cast announcement. ( Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

Flanagan’s Wake
Tyler Perry’s Madea on the Run



This week in theatre news…

Published April 1st, 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!

Theater happenings…

New Fun Home animations by Alison Bechdel
This week the news broke that Alison Bechdel, writer and illustrator of the book that inspired Broadway’s Fun Home, has illustrated new animations which are included in a commercial for the show. You can see the Tony-winning show when it visits CLE this October.

Cleveland grad joins cast of Hamilton
St. Ignatius High School alum Rory O’Malley ‘99 will be the next to hop on the cast list of Broadway hit, Hamilton. O’Malley will be playing the role of King George III, a role currently played by Jonathan Groff. (Cleveland Scene) Read more…

Hairspray open casting call
Dreaming of seeing your name in lights? NBC is in the midst of a search for the role of Tracy in their upcoming live broadcast of Hairspray. Open auditions will begin April 24 in New York City. ( Read more…

Alfie Boe returns to Broadway
Alfie Boe has joined the cast of Broadway’s Finding Neverland, playing the role of J.M. Barrie, a role most recently held by Glee star Matthew Morrison. Boe most recently made a name for himself in Les Miserables starring as Jean Valjean. (Theater Mania) Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

Happy Birthday to both the Allen and Hanna Theatres! We celebrated this week by reminiscing with a blast from the past. See photos:

Beautiful: A Carole King Musical
Giada Valenti
Sesame Street Live: Let’s Dance

Disney Musicals in Schools

Published April 1st, 2016 by | No Comments

This year, we received a grant from Disney to introduce musical theater programs in Cuyahoga County grade schools where these programs previously didn’t exist. After an application process, four schools – Campus International School, Paul L. Dunbar Elementary, Marion-Sterling and Oxford Elementary School – were chosen for the 17-week theater residency program, culminating in a 30-minute Disney KIDS Musical performance.

After months of practice, the schools came together to each perform one number from their respective shows at a Student Share Celebration on March 7 in the Ohio Theatre, a show hosted by News Net 5’s Leon Bibb and Playhouse Square Executive Producer Gina Vernaci. Family, friends and community members were invited to attend the event, where more than 290 students stepped foot onstage to perform.


The impact of Disney Musicals in Schools is seen far beyond the applause. The students who participated developed a stronger sense of self-confidence with a moment in the spotlight, practiced working as a team, and strengthened speaking and reading skills as they learned musical theater techniques. Plus, all four schools saw increased attendance, as school attendance was a requirement for participating in after-school rehearsals. Take it from Adrian, a student performing in Campus International School’s production of Aladdin, KIDS.

With the first year of the Disney Musicals in Schools program behind us, we’re looking forward to the next to begin. Public schools in Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties with a student poverty level of 50% or higher may apply for the 2016-17 Disney Musicals in Schools Program now through April 8, 2016:

This week in theater news…

Published March 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!


Theater happenings…

Tim Curry, Adam Lambert to star in Rocky Horror Picture Show
The original Dr. Frank N. Furter, Tim Curry, will be joined by American Idol sweetheart Adam Lambert in a remake of Rocky Horror Picture Show in a Fox TV musical. Curry is set to play the act as the narrator, while Lambert will take on the role of Eddie. Also starring in the show will be Laverne Cox, who will take over for Curry to play Dr. Frank N. Furter. ( Read more…

They say it’s wonderful… 
Anna Kendrick and Stephen Colbert talked about the first time they each met Tony-winner, composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim. To top it all off, they teamed up in a duet of Annie Get Your Gun‘s “They say it’s wonderful.” ( Read more…

When Hamilton ends…
Mean Girls musical begins. At least, thats what Tina Fey says. She recently sat down with Andy Cohen to answer a few questions about the previously-announced musical. ( Read more…

 Playhouse Square happenings… 

Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses

This week in theater news…

Published March 4th, 2016 by | No Comments

Theater happenings…


Fun Home featured on Spotify Studio Sessions
Broadway’s Fun Home is the first Broadway show to be featured on Spotify’s Studio Sessions. Catch the album, recorded in front of a live audience, to get a behind-the-scenes understanding of the songs and hear new arrangements. Check out the album, now playing on Spotify. ( Read more…

Star Wars actor to play Hamlet
Did you fall for Poe Dameron in the latest Star Wars movie? If so, you can see the actor behind him, Oscar Isaac, star in Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Theatre for a New Audience in Brooklyn, NY. Directed by Tony winner Sam Gold, Isaac was inspired to play him after his role in X-Men: Apocalypse. ( Read more…

Kinky Boots to have a live cast recording
If you haven’t seen the show, you’ve probably heard of it. Exciting news was announced that the cast will be releasing an album. Listen to the album April 1, before the show visits CLE this August. ( Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

Mamma Mia!
Partners – Raise Your Glass
Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage
The Piano Guys
PostSecret: The Show

Mamma Mia! by the numbers

Published March 3rd, 2016 by | No Comments

In just one short week, Mamma Mia! will return to Playhouse Square as part of the FirstMerit Diamond Performance, ready to have audiences singing in their seats to some of Swedish rock group, ABBA’s greatest hits. The stage musical has been around for years, inspiring a hit movie version of the story and even a Hofbrauhaus-esque restaurant in Sweden, Mamma Mia! The Party.

Mamma Mia

Even with the show’s recent closing on Broadway in 2015, Mamma Mia! continues to tour worldwide reaching audiences of all ages. It’s perfect for a girls’ night out, a date, or just for a night on the town – you really can’t go wrong.

To understand exactly why Mamma Mia! is so special, here are some fun facts about the show you might not know.

Mamma Mia!…

… has premiered in more than 440 major cities worldwide, and done so faster than any musical in history.

… is currently in its 17th year of production, having opened in London’s West End in April, 1999.

… has performances on Allure of the Seas by Royal Caribbean International, the largest cruise ship in the world.

… ended its Broadway run on September 12, 2015 following 5,773 performances in 14 years.

… was the 8th longest running show in Broadway history.

… was one of 5 musicals to have run for over 10 years on Broadway.

… has grossed over $2 billion in the box office.

… has performances and tours around the world, with locations including:
Great Britain, North America, Finland, Spain, Sweden, The Netherlands, Argentina, Mexico, Italy, Denmark, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan, and more!

Don’t miss out on the fun. Grab your tickets to Mamma Mia! before they’re gone!

This week in theater news…

Published February 26th, 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!


Theater happenings…

Lin. Manuel. Miranda.
If you haven’t heard of him by now, he’s the genius behind Hamilton, Broadway’s hit musical that’s sweeping awards and hearts across the nation. Now, he’s letting the world in on authentic, never-before-seen footage of his very first stage performance: a lip-sync of “Land of Confusion” by Genesis.

Introducing your 2016 theatrical Oscar noms!
This year’s Academy Awards are filled with big names from the theatre world. Saoirse Ronan, Bryan Cranston, and Eddie Redmayne made the short list, just to name a few. Catch the full list. ( Read more…

Colt Prattes will be Dirty Dancing…
In ABC’s production of Dirty Dancing. The Broadway alum’s held past roles in West Side Story and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Also set to star in the show is Abigail Breslin, playing the role of Baby, and Debra Messing, as Marjorie Houseman. ( Read more…

Feeling blue?
Turn that frown upside down. Blue Man Group is set to release a brand new studio album, entitled “Three,” on April 22. If you just can’t wait any longer, you can catch the first release from the album here. ( Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings… 

A Night with Janis Joplin
Flanagan’s Wake 

This week in theater news…

Published February 20th, 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!

Theater happenings…


Tony winners tapped for Hairspray Live!
Kenny Leon, Harvey Fierstein and Jerry Mitchell have all been tapped for NBC’s production of Hairspray Live! Kenny Leon directed last year’s The Wiz Live! while Fierstein will write the show and Mitchell will choreograph. Start prepping for the show set to air December 7. ( Read more…

A kong-sized musical is in the works
As previously announced, a King Kong musical is in the making, and Marc Kudisch, Robert Creighton, and more have been tapped for the show. A reading of the script has taken place, and moves are being made to bring the show to life. ( Read more…

Motown the Musical returns to Broadway
A limited engagement run of Motown will hit Broadway July and run through November this year. The show recently closed on Broadway in January 2015, while the touring performance continues to hit stages across the country. ( Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

An Evening with Neil deGrasse Tyson
Il Volo
Dangerous Liaisons
And Then There Were None

This week in theater news…

Published February 13th, 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!

Theater happenings…

FILE: Harper Lee to Publish Second Book

To Kill a Mockingbird goes to Broadway
The 55-year-old story by Harper Lee is on its way to a Broadway debut. Aaron Sorkin will write the stage adaptation, with Bartlett Sher directing. The show is scheduled for 2017-18. (New York Times) Read more…

A Million Dollar TV series…
Is in the making. Million Dollar Quartet, inspired by the true story of the meeting of Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley, is set to air on CMT for a limited-run series. ( Read more…

Frozen comes to Denver
First the news broke that a Frozen musical was in the making, but now the show’s production team announced it will premiere in Denver at the Buell Theatre in August, 2017. The show is set to hit Broadway in Spring 2018. ( Read more…

Playhouse Square happenings…

The Price Is Right Live!
Ron White

An Interview with Jackie Burns

Published February 9th, 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.


As part of the 2015-2016 KeyBank Broadway Series at Playhouse Square, If/Then is making a stop in Cleveland.  In this interview, Jackie Burns, leading lady of the hit musical, answers questions about life and Broadway, and her role as Elizabeth, Liz and Beth.

Tell us about yourself, Jackie. Was performing always a part of your upbringing?

I started dancing when I was 3 and danced until I went off to college. I have always loved performing. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do.

The role you play of Elizabeth in the show takes on two identities: one of Liz and one of Beth.  Are there any challenges/things of note in playing the same character yet in different incarnations?

Honestly, Brian Yorkey [Book Writer and Lyricist of If/Then] wrote such a genius script – it makes my job as the actor easy to switch worlds.

In being a part of the cast since the show’s Broadway run, in what ways have you seen the production grow and evolve as it now tours around America?

It’s been very interesting getting to watch the show take shape and shift over time. It’s such a beautiful show and I feel like it is at its best version now on tour. The added projections for the tour by Peter Nigrini and Dan Scully really help set up the two different worlds.

You’ve previously been a part of a touring production before heading back to New York City to appear on Broadway. As you just recently “hit the road” again, what about touring stands out for you?

When you are on tour you get really close to your cast mates. You are together all the time; they become your family in a sense. This cast is amazing!

Are there any moments/songs in If/Then that are favorites of yours, or ones that the audience react strongly to? Why?

I love every song in the show for different reasons. One of my favorite moments for the audience is during the first act. There’s a song called “What the F—?” and audiences always really love that one.

This show has been described as “intense and thrilling” – in your opinion, what’s the secret to engaging an audience to feel that way in your experience?

I think as long as we are telling the story from a real, grounded place, the audience will take the journey with us and leave the theater having a very moving special experience.

Is there something that makes If/Then a bit special for you from the others you’ve worked previously?

This role is the stuff dreams are made of for an actor.  I get to go out on the stage and go through every emotion a human being has. It’s challenging and rewarding in ways I can’t even put into words. I’m loving every minute of it.

If/Then will play in Cleveland February 9-21 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 yoga teacher at Evolution Yoga, an event and marketing professional and proud Northeast Ohio arts supporter. Follow her on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.


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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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