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Get to Know: Grug and The Rainbow

Published March 29th, 2017 by | No Comments

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 | 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!


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! ( 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. (

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. ( 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” ( 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. (

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

Published October 18th, 2016 by | No Comments

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.


An Interview with Michael Lanphear from Pippin

Published February 5th, 2015 by | No Comments

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 | No Comments

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 | 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!


This week’s theater news blog…

Published July 11th, 2014 by | No Comments


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! ( 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). ( 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. ( 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!

This week’s theater news blog…

Published June 27th, 2014 by | No Comments

A Chorus Line celebrates its 40th birthday!

Theater news for the week of June 21-29, 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 …

Leads for national tour of Pippin announced
Pippin has announced the first national tour cast, which will star Sasha Allen and Kyle Selig as Leading Player and Pippin, respectively. Allen, a finalist on the four season of NBC’s The Voice and Selig (The Book of Mormon national tour) will be joined by Tony winner John Rubinstein as Charles. Additional casting will be announced soon. The national tour of Pippin kicks off this September in Denver. Pippin  heads into Cleveland February 3-15, 2015. ( Read more.

If I Then celebrates 100 performances on Broadway
The cast of Broadway’s If I Then, starring Idina Menzel celebrated a milestone 100 Broadway performances on June 25. Directed by Michael Greif and featuring a score by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey, If I Then follows the lives of Elizabeth (Menzel) who moves to New York to restart her life. ( Read more.

Broadway celebrates the 40th Birthday of A Chorus Line
Broadway celebrated the 40th birthday of A Chorus Line on June 23, 2014 with a celebration at Central Park’s Delacorte Theater that included both friends, fans and original cast members. A Chorus Line opened at the Shubert Theatre on Broadway on July 25, 1975; the musical received 12 Tony Award nominations and won 9 of them, in addition to the 1976 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. ( Read more.

Heat up your summer with’s Ultimate Summer Playlist
Summer is officially here – and that means it’s time for a new summer Broadway-inspired playlist! put together a Spotify playlist of their top summer Broadway hits – including music from Grease, Company and Sunday in the Park with George. What are your go-to Broadway summer hits? ( Read more.


Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Take a Hike Tours – FREE
Cleveland Classical Guitar Series – FREE
North Union Farmers Market
BW Summer Garden Music Series – FREE
Tri-C JazzFest
Gayle Waters-Waters and Terry: A Night of Mother Daughter Debauchery
Tai Chi Classes – FREE
Million Dollar Quartet

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

This week’s theater news blog…

Published June 20th, 2014 by | No Comments

Theater news for the week of June 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 …

Leads for national tour of Kinky Boots announced
Kyle Taylor Parker and Steven Booth have been cast as Simon/Lola and Charlie Price, respectively, in the national tour of Kinky Boots, set to head out on the road this September! Parker, who played one of the Angels and served as a Lola understudy and Booth (Avenue Q, Dogfight) will be joined by Lindsay Nicole Chambers (Hairspray, Legally Blonde) as Lauren, Joe Coots (Full Monty National Tour) as Don, Craig Waletzko (Guys and Dolls, Young Frankenstein) as George and Grace Stockade as Nicola. Kinky Boots struts into Cleveland April 7-19, 2015. ( Read more.

Meryl Streep to star in screen adaptation of Master Class
Oscar winner Meryl Streep will star as Maria Callas in an HBO adaptation of Terrence McNally’s Master Class. EGOT winner Mike Nichols will lead the project, which is expected to begin filming in January 2015. Master Class is “a portrait of an opera diva told through her recollections of the glories, triumphs, and tragedies of her own life and career.” The original production of Master Class won 1996 Tony Awards for Best Play, Best Actress (Zoe Caldwell as Callas) and Best Featured Actress (Audra McDonald as a student performing during one of the diva’s master classes). ( Read more.

Harry Potter’s Rupert Grint to make Broadway debut
Harry Potter star Rupert Grint (Ronald Weasley) will make his Broadway debut in It’s Only a Play. Grint joins a star-studded cast, including Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane and Stockard Channing. The newly-revised Terrence McNally play will begin performance this fall with an official opening date of October 9, 2014. ( Read more.


Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Take a Hike Tours – FREE
Maurice Hines is TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE – Cleveland Play House
Cleveland Classical Guitar Series – FREE
North Union Farmers Market
Jessie Cope Miller – Under the Influence
BW Summer Garden Music Series – FREE
Partners Pub Trivia Night
In Celebration of Ray Shepardson
Under the Streetlamp
Tri-C JazzFest
Gayle Waters-Waters and Terry: A Night of Mother Daughter Debauchery

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

This week’s theater news blog…

Published June 6th, 2014 by | No Comments

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder wins big at 2014 Drama Desk Awards.

Theater news for the week of May June 1-6, 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 …

Jennifer Hudson to perform song from Finding Neverland at the Tony Awards
Oscar and Grammy Award winner Jennifer Hudson will be performing a song from a new musical, Finding Neverland, at the Tony Awards broadcast on June 8 Finding Neverland will play a limited engagement this summer at the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Massachusetts, starring Tony nominee Jeremy Jordan as J.M. Barrie and West End vet Laura Michelle Kelly as Sylvia Llewelyn Davis. ( Read more.

A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder wins big at 2014 Drama Desk Awards
A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder was the big winner at the 2014 Drama Desk Awards on June 1, taking home seven awards including Outstanding Musical. All The Way took home two awards and Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Twelfth Night each took home one award. ( Read more.

New honor to be awarded at 2014 Tony Awards ceremony
A new Tony Awards, called the Tony Honor for Excellence in Theatre Education, will be presented for the first time at the 2014 Tony Awards ceremony on June 8. The award, presented by Carnegie Mellon University, will recognize kindergarten through high school theater educators – with the first recipient of the award to be awarded at the 2015 ceremony. The honor is being presented by Zachary Quinto & Matt Bomer. ( Read more.


Upcoming Events at PlayhouseSquare

Take a Hike Tours – FREE
Maurice Hines is TAPPIN’ THRU LIFE – Cleveland Play House
Cleveland Classical Guitar Series – FREE
All Star Comedy Festival
The Springtime of Our Lives
PENTON- The John Penton Story
North Union Farmers Market
Die tote Stadt (The Dead City) presented by Opera Circle
Maria Jacobs and 4Get the Girl: Where You Fly
The truTV Impractical Jokers Tour featuring The Tenderloins

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

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.