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Get to Know: The Moon’s a Balloon

Published April 17th, 2017 by | Comments Off on Get to Know: The Moon’s a Balloon

Experience a world of live performance as Playhouse Square presents its 8th Annual International Children’s Theater Festival, May 6-7, 2017. The festival will give your children and grandchildren an unique enriching live theater experience with performances from around the world, free fun activities and so much more. Click here to learn more about the International Children’s Theater Festival!

The Moon’s a Balloon is one of the innovative shows that is part of the International Children’s Theater Festival this year. It’s the perfect family show!

A balloon can be a friend to play with or a maker of friendships. It can hold its breath for days and disappear in an instant. It can make your hair stand on end and fill you with laughter. A balloon can be something loved or something lost; something shared or something broken. A balloon can be anything you need it to be. Inspired by a poem by e.e. cummings, The Moon’s a Balloon suggests that all sorts of possibilities reside in the simplest of things.

Exploration, play and invention are at the heart of the way children make friends. The Moon’s a Balloon is a visual-theater production that celebrates the possibilities of play, the making of friendships, and the wonder of creation. Simple white balloons, two performers, and a musician can, through exploration, play and search for meaning, give rise to a rich variety of composition, beauty, laughter, wonder, joy, and story, and delight and inspire the hearts and minds of the audience.

The Moon’s a Balloon will be featured in the Ohio Theatre on Saturday, May 6 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. and on Sunday, May 7 at 2:00 p.m. 

Ticket are only $10-15 and can be purchased here.

THANK YOU RedCoat Volunteers!

Published April 11th, 2017 by | Comments Off on THANK YOU RedCoat Volunteers!

In honor of April being National Volunteer Month, we want to take the time to celebrate the work that our RedCoat volunteers do year-round, and share some fun facts about our program. Enjoy!

1. The Playhouse Square RedCoat volunteer program officially began in 1980.

2. RedCoats wear many hats here! They serve as greeters, ticket scanners, tour guides, ushers, wheelchair escorts AND provide assistance in the Playhouse Square administrative offices.

3. They are the face the of Playhouse Square to nearly one million guests who annually attend more than one thousand curtains!

4. Some RedCoats, known as the “Bright Spots,” clean and polish the beautiful chandeliers. And others play the 1928 Kimball Organ in the Connor Palace prior to Cinema at the Square screenings and on other special occasions.

5. High school students serve as volunteer ushers, as well, in a special program known as STARS – Students Take A Role at the Square. (for more information about this program click here.)

6. More than 1300 RedCoats annually provide MORE THAN 100,000 hours of service to Playhouse Square!

We are proud to say that our RedCoats show their passion and support of our not-for-profit mission, in addition to the performing arts, every time they enter the door, and we are beyond grateful for the time and talents they are willing to pledge to us. RedCoats, you rock!

We are always welcoming new RedCoats! Interested in becoming a volunteer? Find out more HERE.

 

Get to Know: Morgan’s Journey

Published April 10th, 2017 by | Comments Off on Get to Know: Morgan’s Journey

Morgan’s Journey  is one of the shows featured at the International Children’s Theater Festival this May. The show will be in the Gund Dance Studio on Saturday, May 6 at 1:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m. 

Ticket are only $15 and can be purchase here.

Morgan’s Journey, originally created by Robert Morgan and director David Craig, is a captivating exploration of joyous yet challenging childhood experiences that offers audiences a unique opportunity for active participation. From the moment of his birth, audiences follow Morgan the Clown on a journey of discovery, delighting in the presents he receives, especially his last one, a wise sock puppet who becomes his companion. Encountering inevitable growing pains, Morgan learns a valuable and moving lesson about love and the true meaning of friendship. This production, with a creative drama post-play experience is the perfect show to transition your child into the world of theater.

Experience a world of live performance as Playhouse Square presents its 8th Annual International Children’s Theater Festival, May 6-7, 2017. The festival will give your children and grandchildren an unique enriching live theater experience with performances from around the world, free fun activities and so much more.
Click here to learn more about the International Children’s Theater Festival!

Get to Know: Grug and The Rainbow

Published March 29th, 2017 by | Comments Off on Get to Know: Grug and The Rainbow

Experience a world of live performance as Playhouse Square presents its 8th Annual International Children’s Theater Festival, May 6-7, 2017. The festival will give your children and grandchildren an unique enriching live theater experience with performances from around the world, free fun activities and so much more. Click here to learn more about the International Children’s Theater Festival!

One of these amazing shows featured at this year’s festival is, Grug and the Rainbow. Based on the much loved picture book character created by Ted Prior, and brought to you by the Windmill Theatre company from Australia, Grug is perfect for ages 3-6, and fun for the whole family!

Ted Prior’s hugely popular character, Grug, is brought to life for our very young theatre lovers as he begins his life on the top of a Burrawang tree that fell to the ground. Resembling a small, striped haystack with feet and a nose, Grug is fascinated by the world around him and solves everyday problems creatively and without fuss.

When dancing instructions are too difficult to understand, he invents his own dance and calls it ‘The Grug’, and when snails eat his cabbages, Grug plants more cabbages so there will be enough for both him and the snails. This beloved production is a must see!

Grug and the Rainbow will be featured in the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre on Saturday, May 6 at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and on Sunday, May 7 at 1:30 p.m. 

Ticket are only $15 and can be purchased here.

Patti Smith and Her Band perform Horses anniversary tour!

Published February 20th, 2017 by | Comments Off on Patti Smith and Her Band perform Horses anniversary tour!

spotlight_pattismith17.jpg

Patti Smith is coming to the State Theatre on March 12! Here’s a little more information about her anticipated performance. 

Horses, the landmark recording that continues to have resonance and relevance for today’s generations of musicians and artists, will be performed in its entirety by Rock Hall of Fame inductee, Patti Smith. Forty-plus years later, performance poet/visual artist Patti, will be joined by her original band members, Lenny Kaye and Jay Dee Daugherty, plus bassist / keyboardist Tony Shanahan, who has been a part of her band for twenty years. Together they will celebrate the longevity and lasting influence of Horses, with their series of special shows centered around the album.

Known as the “Godmother of Punk”, Patti has paved the way for so many other female musicians joining rock and poetry into her songs. The album, Horses, has since been viewed by critics as one of the greatest and most influential albums in the history of the American punk rock movement, as well as one of the greatest albums of all time. This is a musical event that you won’t want to miss!

For more information about Patti Smith, click here to listen to the the Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross on NPR about her career and her relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.

Steven Sebring photos from the Beacon

Photo credit: Steven Sebring

Go see legendary singer-songwriter, Patti Smith and Her Band perform Horses at the State Theatre on Sunday, March 12, 2017 8 p.m. Click here to buy your tickets now!

An Interview with Gerald Steichen from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I

Published February 13th, 2017 by | Comments Off on An Interview with Gerald Steichen from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I

By Alicia Hansen

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 the national tour of The King and I makes its fifth stop when it lands in Cleveland, Alicia spoke with Gerald Steichen. Mr. Steichen serves as the Music Conductor of the touring production and was enthralled to share details about his involvement in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s timeless musical.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at your list of conducting credits, I see an incredible offering of musicals, operettas and opera. How does having experience in so many genres influence your conducting of The King and I?

For me, the spice of life is variety. My college degrees are actually in accompanying, so my favorite thing is to actually be the person who is the heartbeat of the show, as well as be the internal drama of the show.

I think The King and I is really Rodgers and Hammerstein’s opera. It is the most classical of all their scores. For example, the songs “Something Wonderful” and “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?” are absolutely arias. The arch of the show is really carried through the music, so shaping the show over the three hours really is like shaping an opera. Yes, the scene works is spectacular, but, dramatically, the show is really carried forward through the score. So, my experience as an opera conductor absolutely informs how I conduct the piece and what I think it needs dramatically. I think you’ll hear that in the show.

While first performed in the 1950s, The King and I is still an American musical theater classic in the 21st century. How have you seen it speak and connect to audiences of today?

It is a real classic piece and is so timely with so many moments of commentary. For example, there’s a moment where Anna asks a group of the women if they think that women are more lowly than men. When the women all agree, Anna absolutely disagrees, saying, “I think women are as absolutely as important, as intelligent and as wise as men are.” That’s been stopping the show every night.

Another example: The 1860s were a difficult time, all about colonization in the world. The French had just taken over Cambodia, the British are spreading their wings all over and the Portuguese were still very strong. With that, the King says at one point in the show, “there are times where I want to build a fence all the way around Siam and there are other days when I want to let the entire rest of the world in.” That line stops the show every night too.  So, it’s actually very timely politically.

Would you provide a glimpse into a “day in the life” of a musical director of this touring production?

It’s pretty miraculous how shows travel. When we move to a new stop, we pull into town with our 8 trucks of sets, costumes, stage managers, company managers and more. There are 80 of us who travel with the show. It’s kind of an army! Then, more than 100 local union workers help set up the show including setting up the set, rigging of the stage and installing lighting equipment.

We travel with only four musicians and pick up 13 locals musicians in every city. When we arrive, we add those 13 local musicians to our four regulars and perform one rehearsal. We send the local musicians the music weeks before so that they can learn their part, but we just have one rehearsal to put it all together. Then the night of that first rehearsal, we have our first official performance.

Another big part of my job is to make sure our understudies are ready to go on at any point. Every person on stage you see in the chorus is also understudying two roles. Most of our understudies have already been on because we have been out on tour now almost 5 months. Cleveland will only be our fifth city on our tour!

What challenges arise for you with touring, as a person, or as a part of the show?

One of the challenges of being on the road is staying on top of daily life. You don’t really have a routine. When you’re at home, you get up, you go to the gym, you go to work and so on. When you’re on the road, it’s like 1) find a gym, 2) join that gym… and silly things like paying bills, staying on top of emails or connecting with family – all of that is more onerous when you’re on the road because you just don’t have a routine. It’s hard to establish a routine when you’re on the road every two to three weeks to a completely new home and city. All of that takes a little more time. It’s fun! But it’s a little more challenging.

What makes this production of The King and I so special?

This production of The King and I is so spectacular and is so beautiful. The physical production is just stunning. The cast is just spectacular and the new orchestrations are just really beautiful. They have the spirit of the original Robert Russell Bennett arrangements, so you’re really in for a treat. Everyone who comes to the show is blown away, not only by the actors, but by the whole of the show itself.

To me, the level of the cast is what really sets this production apart. Jose Llana and Laura Michelle Kelly, who play the King and Anna, are so present in the roles. Every night, they are 2000% there. Every member of the cast put their whole hearts into it every night. The dancers are also out there fully every performance. You can feel all that in the company and you can feel the whole audience taking the full journey of the show with them.

The King and I runs February 7 – 26, 2017 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.

This week in theater news…

Published February 10th, 2017 by | Comments Off on This week in theater news…

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!

For when you’re missing Newsies…
Carry the banner once again, Newsies is back in town! Feb. 16, 18 and 22 you can catch the Newsies film in theaters. Click here for information and tickets.

A recipe for a happy May
Waitress fans rejoice – a show-themed pie recipe book is scheduled for release on May 23. Flavors include “The Key (Lime) to Happiness Pie,” and “The My Husband’s a Jerk Chicken Pot Pie.” Order it on pre-sale now on Amazon.

Broadway wears Prada
The famous Elton John has teamed up with playwright Paul Rudnick to write a musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada.” Elton John, who’s composition resume includes The Lion King and Billy Elliott, and Rudnick will base the show off the ’03 novel by Lauren Weisburger and the ’06 movie, which starred Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. A timeline has yet to be announced. (New York Times) Read more…

This week in theater news…

Published February 1st, 2017 by | Comments Off on This week in theater news…

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!

Beauty and the Beat
The new Beauty and the Beast trailer is making headlines, especially for the new duet by Ariana Grande and John Legend in the background. Hear the song and get ready for the movie to be released on March 17! (Broadway.com)

Happy Groundhog Day!
It looks like Punxsutawney Phil won’t be seeing his shadow today, or something like that. Shout-out to our friends across the pond as Groundhog Day won best musical at the UK Critic’s Circle Theatre Awards. Another shout-out to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which won three of the evening’s awards. Accio awards! (Broadway.com) Read more…

Hometown hero
Baldwin Wallace Director of Musical Theatre Vickie Bussert is directing Lizzie, a rock musical based on the murder trial of Lizzie Borden. It’ll play in Denmark and England, and upon returning to the US Bussert will direct the show when it’s performed by BW Musical Theater students in the Ohio Theatre April 28-30. Read more about Lizzie.

The magnificent Shen Yun returns!

Published January 31st, 2017 by | Comments Off on The magnificent Shen Yun returns!

Let Shen Yun take you on a magical journey February 4-5 at the State Theatre.

Click here for tickets

 “5,000 years of Chinese music and dance in one night.”-The New York Times

Shen Yun shared the beautiful world of China’s divine civilization. Classic Chinese dance, ethnic and folk dances, authentic costumes, and breathtaking backdrops will do the storytelling, all accompanies by an enchanting orchestral sound. It’s a stunning experience that will leave you amazed and inspired. This show captures the spirit of a culture long lost. The show moves quickly through regions, dynasties and legends. Ethnic and folk dances fill the stage with color and energy. Tremendous athleticism, thunderous battle drums, and masterful vocalists are all set to animated backdrops that transport you to another world.

Photo credit: instagram.com/shenyunperformingarts

Its grand production astonishes global audiences with nearly 100 artists, 400 handmade costumes, and a live orchestra with Western and Chinese instruments. There are also stage props that help strengthen a dancer’s ability to convey intricate emotions. When used to maximum effect, they add to the dances an extra lively spark, forming stunning images of beauty and splendor onstage.

In recent years, Shen Yun dances have featured a range of unexpected props, each telling a story. Fluttering fans bloom like the petals of a delicate flower. Umbrellas twirl in refreshing drizzle. An embroidery hoop seamlessly accents a lady’s feminine grace. A well-bound book marks the learned scholar. A solitary Daoist journeys with a magical whisk. A long silk ribbon, dyed in rainbow hues, returns to the heavens as a fairy’s companion.While the young general Han Xin sports a Chinese sword known as baojian, Mulan’s warriors face enemies armed with shields and broadswords called dao. Archers train with drawn bows, and nothing radiates power like a formation of Tang dynasty men pounding their battle drums. The props, bright costumes and story-telling dances, paired with beautiful music are just a few of the elements that make this a must see show.

Find out why artists and theatergoers around the world are calling Shen Yun “breathtaking,”“mesmerizing,” “a miracle,” and “inspiring.” Allow yourself to be taken away to distant lands and ancient legends. Don’t miss Shen Yun and discover how you,too, can be inspired!

Photo credit: instagram.com/shenyunperformingarts

 

 

Shen Yun has become a highly anticipated show and many have become loyal fans. Are you one of those loyal fans?

Click here to test your show knowledge with some Shen Yun trivia.

 

 

 

 

Let’s Party like Gatsby and do the Charleston!

Published January 27th, 2017 by | Comments Off on Let’s Party like Gatsby and do the Charleston!

The 26th Annual Jump Back Ball is less than a month away and this year’s theme is Roaring back to the ’20s!

What is Jump Back Ball, you ask? It’s Cleveland’s hottest party, hosted by Partners, the official young professionals group of Playhouse Square. On February 25, 2017, Take a trip to the era when young people began to paint the town, listen to jazz music and dance The Charleston. Guests will enjoy never-ending cocktails, decadent food, live music, dancing and more.

To help you get prepared for the event, we wanted to share some tips to help you master The Charleston and get ready to dance the night away.

You know what they say, a little party never killed nobody! So dust off your dancing shows and get tickets for The 26th Annual Jump Back Ball!

 

About Us

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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