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10 Reasons to Attend the International Children’s Theater Festival!

Published May 1st, 2017 by | Comments Off on 10 Reasons to Attend the International Children’s Theater Festival!

We have a million reasons why you should attend the International Children’s Theater Festival on May 6-7, and we were able to narrow it down to 10 to get you started. Enjoy!

1. It is first and foremost family friendly

This festival is a place for BOTH you and your children to dance, play and have fun, so stop by and unleash your inner child! What better way to introduce your children to the world of theater than through the International Children’s Theater Festival at Playhouse Square?

2. Pedal Punk


This show is featuring a 20-foot-high, pedal-powered mechanical masterpiece, where the performers will leave you amazed with a heart-pounding pole drop, awesome aerial acts and high-flying tricks (on a trampoline!).

3. The Moon’s a Balloon

A balloon can be a friend to play with or a maker of friendships. The Moon’s a Balloon visual theater production is inspired by a poem by e.e. cummings which suggests all sorts of possibilities reside in the simplest of things.

4. Balloons, face painting & magicians

Need we say more? These free actives and stations will be taking place throughout the weekend. Click here to see our complete schedule of shows and activities.

5. Grug and the Rainbow


Meet Grug, 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.

6. Morgan’s Journey


You will embark on a journey of discovery, in Morgan’s Journey, when Morgan the clown, delighted in the presents he receives, finds a wise sock puppet who becomes his companion.

7. Visit the passport stations and get a taco! 

There will be passport stations, sponsored by Talespinner Children’s Theatre, containing incredible masks, beautiful costumes & more. And upon finishing your journey at each station your little ones can enjoy a FREE taco at Puente Viejo, located at 1220 Huron Rd! (*Tacos will be only be awarded to children with completed passports.)

8. The Junkyard & Truck


Enter an immersive experience in a world of re-imagined recyclables, where travelers will create and personalize crafts to be used as they travel through The Junkyard. Then, through Bridgman Packer’s signature integration of live performance and video technology, an ordinary 17- foot U-Haul box truck will evolve from the utilitarian into a re-imagined space, a micro-world of visions and transformation in Truck.

9. Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players

The two-time Grammy nominee, Justin Roberts is truly one of the “all-stars” of the indie family music scene. See his free performances on the U.S. Bank Plaza!

10 .Your favorite downtown destination

Enjoy your time in our historic theaters, delicious restaurants and don’t forget to take your photo underneath the GE chandelier!

 

For more information about the International Children’s Theater Festival, click here.

Until then we’ll see you May 6-7!

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.

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.

This week (January 1) in theater news…

Published January 5th, 2017 by | Comments Off on This week (January 1) 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!

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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)

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

Published October 18th, 2016 by | Comments Off on Re-live the music of the 60’s and 70’s with CJO: Jazz/Soul Fusion Fest!


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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An Interview with Michael Lanphear from Pippin

Published February 5th, 2015 by | Comments Off on An Interview with Michael Lanphear from Pippin

Our Buzz Extra writer, Alicia Hansen had the exciting opportunity to interview Michael Lanphear, the Acrobatic Coordinator of the current touring production of PIPPIN The Musical. 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.

Pippin, part of the KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare

Michael Lanphear, the Acrobatic Coordinator of the current touring production of PIPPIN The Musical, found his way to Broadway via a different route than most. As a young child, horseback riding and vaulting lead him into acrobatics and eventually the circus arts. Since honing his skills in those areas, he performed with the likes of Britney Spears and Justin Bieber before finding his way to the Great White Way. In advance of PIPPIN’s arrival in Cleveland this month as a part of the 2014-2015 KeyBank Broadway Series, Michael answers some questions about his involvement with this American musical classic and its circus-themed spin.

Tell me a bit about yourself, your path to the circus arts and your involvement in this touring production of PIPPIN?
In terms of circus arts, I started at a bit of a late age. I rode horses starting when I was young. I started competing and started vaulting, which is gymnastics on horses. Then around the age of 18, I focused more acrobatics and then eventually on circus arts. I was a performer until last year. I retired and decided to go more into coaching, but up until then, I was performing for about ten years and touring the world. I’ve done pop tours, different circus tours and a lot of cabarets in Europe. Today, I am the Acrobatic Coordinator of PIPPIN and I am the assistant to Gypsy Snider, the Acrobatic Choreographer. I maintain all of what she’s created while we’re on the road.

Would you provide a glimpse into a “day in the life” of a touring production? What happens on the first day in a new city, and then once the show is up and running?
When we first arrive in a new town, I am responsible for checking that all the apparatus are running properly, all of cues are in the computer system correctly and all the props we use circus-wise are ready for the show that night. Once the artists arrive, we have a meeting before the first show in the new location. That very first meeting is very important to getting the team used to the new space. We will try different cues and skills if necessary, then we’ll do our regular training that occurs before each show.  At that daily rehearsal, all of the principal actors, if they do anything that is acrobatic in the show, come to brush up on skills and conditioning. The acrobats also have their skills that they train every day before the show. It’s a pretty full-on day!

Once settled into a new town, we have a two-hour training on stage once a week, which is separate from the daily hour rehearsal before each show. It involves constant cleaning and constant upkeep. If someone is planning on taking a vacation and we have to change the routines a bit, that is when we practice those changes.  We only have seven acrobats. If one is out, we are very creative in creating alternate versions of the routines without affecting the quality of the show. We have lots of tricks in our bag.

Is there a specific part of the show that is is a favorite for you?
I was able to assist the Acrobatic Choreographer in the creation of the tour, so all of the acro numbers are very special to me. There is one moment in particular that is a big mix of all the circus guild skills that we have: there’s tumbling, knife juggling, two porters throwing a flyer in the air to flip and land on a platform, and more. It’s the most challenging as a coach to constantly maintain and clean because there is so much going on at stage at once. It is one of those numbers where there’s a clear story to what’s happening, but there’s so much happening that an audience member can come and watch it ten times and they would see something different every time.

All of the acrobats are ensemble members, which is something new to them. In the circus, you are usually a specialist and we do our acts on stage by ourselves, or if you’re in a duo you are with your partner, and then you’re done. You have your highlight moment, and then you come out for bows at the end. Gypsy Snider has created a show where the acrobats are completely integrated the whole time: they are singing, they are dancing, they are doing the acrobatics, they are working with the principals constantly. For me, it’s exhilarating as a coach but it’s a great challenge for every acrobat that we bring in to the show.

What challenges arise with touring?
The most challenging thing is whenever we have to arrange for a replacement, or any time we have someone leaving on vacation, or if a performer’s contract is over and we have to fill the role. This tour really does have some of the best acrobats in the world, and replacing them is a very difficult process. Everyone brings something different to the table.  For example, my two handstand performers are basically irreplaceable. They spend two to three hours a day working on their handstands! We try to hang on to our performers as long as we can.  But when we can’t, I usually run the auditions. It’s hard when you’re trying to replace the best in the world! But we have a really fantastic group on the tour, so we have been fortunate that we haven’t had to do too many replacement processes. We’ve been able to slightly adjust the show for replacements of any sort without taking away any of the essence of what the originators created.

What makes being a part of this production so exciting? Why is this PIPPIN so special?
This production is so special because it is the first time that circus arts have been really integrated into a Broadway production. Some productions — Broadway or not — will put some circus elements in, but it’s icing on the cake – where in this production, it’s the meat of the show, right alongside the signing and dancing – it’s all equally important.

Also, there’s a huge importance placed on the storytelling through the acrobatics. Every act has a purpose and a meaning, and there’s not any superfluous acrobatics in the show. Everything has a bit of storytelling in the show, which is really special and unique to both the circus and Broadway worlds to use acrobatics in that fashion.

Also, we have a wonderful energy in the cast. The majority of the artists all went to the National Circus School in Montreal, so they all at some point cross paths at school. They are very close friends and they work very well together. So not only skill set, we have a nice family bond — not just amongst the acrobats, but with the dancers as well.

On a personal note, one special part of this experience for me is being a part of a union. This isn’t something that we have in the circus and it’s been a huge benefit for everyone: for the performers, as well as for me as a coach. It’s been amazing to feel completely supported by the entire Broadway community because we are part of one united group. It’s not the most exciting answer but it’s a very truthful answer!

PIPPIN comes to Cleveland February 3 – 15 at the Connor Palace 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 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.

Inspiring Acts of Kindness at PlayhouseSquare

Published December 22nd, 2014 by | Comments Off on Inspiring Acts of Kindness at PlayhouseSquare

It”s the season of giving and it seems that no matter what you are celebrating, there is always a time to celebrate the gifts of giving and kindness. As we are nearing the end of a great year and beginning to reflect on all that it was, we wanted to share a story that seemed to reflect the spirit of the giving season.

Story courtesy of PlayhouseSquare cast member Jim Kraizel; written by cast member Kelsey Tomlinson.

It was Sunday afternoon, the last day Motown the Musical was in town, that Jim Kraizel found himself outside the State Theatre. Jim is one of our Group Services Account Executives, and he was greeting motor coaches that regularly shuttle groups to the theater.

The show was about to start, and one last motor coach pulled up and began to unload. A night at the theater is often a dressy affair, so imagine Jim’s surprise when amidst all these elegantly-clad theater-goers, a much more casually-dressed couple stepped off the bus.

As it turns out, this motor coach arrived so close to curtain because it had been lost! Circling around Tremont, it caught the attention of a couple taking an afternoon walk. They graciously online casino hopped on board and took it upon themselves to direct the motor coach to PlayhouseSquare, allowing all those people to make it to the show on time.

That’s an inspiring performance in and of itself, but there’s more to it! That couple taking a walk in Tremont was none other than Amo & Margy Judd. Not only are they season ticket holders, but Margy is a member of the PlayhouseSquare Board of Trustees. They were thrilled that the motor coach was headed to PlayhouseSquare, and wanted to ensure that everyone aboard had the best possible time in Cleveland.

Thank you, Margy and Amo Judd, for being excellent ambassadors for PlayhouseSquare and Cleveland. Your random act of kindness saved the day!

If you receive or witness an inspiring act of kindness within our theaters, be sure to post it on our Facebook page or tweet us at @PlayhouseSquare using the hashtag #InspiringPerformance.

Halloween Costumes to Steal the Show

Published October 22nd, 2014 by | Comments Off on Halloween Costumes to Steal the Show

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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!

 

This week’s theater news blog…

Published July 11th, 2014 by | Comments Off on This week’s theater news blog…

 

Cleveland Native and Broadway’s Pippin Star, Ciara Renee at 54 Below

Theater news for the week of July 14-20, 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 …

Broadway Stands Up For Freedom Benefit Line-Up Announced
Broadway’s annual benefit, Broadway Stands Up For Freedom which promotes the NYCLU’s youth programs, including its work with LGBT teenagers and its Teen Activist Project, will feature Broadway stars such as Lena Hall, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Adam Chandler-Berat, Justin Guarini, and more! (broadwayworld.com) Read more.

Oscar Winner Helen Mirren Will Star in Peter Morgan’s The Audience on Broadway in 2015
Helen Mirren will travel across the pond with The Audience reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth II. The Audience hones in on the Queen’s 50 years of private meetings with England’s Prime Ministers. It’s success on The West End has sparked its takeover of Broadway in 2015. This is not Mirren’s first time playing the Queen, in fact she earned an Academy Award starring in Peter Morgan’s 2006 film, The Queen. (broadway.comRead more.

Closing Time for Five Broadway Limited Engagement Shows
TClosing July 20th, Martin McDonaugh’s The Cripple of Inishmaan made a splash on Broadway starring Daniel Radcliffe as a crippled Irish man with big Hollywood dreams. Curtain call also comes on July 27 for Of Mice and Men starring Hollywood big-hitters, James Franco, Chris O’Dowd, and Leighton Meester. Other Broadway shows closing soon are Forbidden Broadway (July 20), Buyer and Cellar (July 27), and The City of Conversation (July 26). (broadway.com) Read more.

Which Broadway Animal Would You Adopt?
A new fun survey leads you to Broadway’s best friends, animals! There are plenty furry faces to choose from including nearly the entire cast of Cats, Beast from Beauty and the Beast, Doctor Dillamond from Wicked, and many more. (broadway.com) Read more.

Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Million Dollar Quartet
Cleveland Classical Guitar Series – FREE
Take a Hike Tours – FREE
North Union Farmers Market
BW Summer Garden Music Series – FREE
Tai Chi Classes – FREE
Labatt Blue Light Lime Outdoor Concert Series – FREE
Elk and Elk Summer Movie Series at U.S. Bank Plaza – FREE
Partners Dine Around
Jump Back Ball Theme Brainstorm – FREE

Share your thoughts on this week’s news below, or talk to us on Facebook or Twitter!

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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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