Resident Critic for – Kevin Kelly Editor: Robert Kowalewski

The All Night Strut at Theatre in the Circle


Theatre in the Circle
Professional Theatre
all night strut
September 21 – September 24
There is a new theatre in town kicking up some swing and jive to the delight of audience members at the Judson Manor Ballroom. Director Mark Corcoran, Musical Director Bill Corcoran, and Choreographer Jennifer Justice, have produced a delightful juke box musical that should entertain virtually everyone. This is definitely a great event to bring your parents, grandparents, and Manhattan Transfer fans, to completely immerse yourself into tight four part harmonies, a kick ass band, and performers that are as talented, as they are charming.
The show itself: The All Night Strut! moves through the Depression, World War II and the post-war boom in a two-act musical celebration of the 1930s and ’40s, filled with jazz, blues, bebop and American songbook standards. Weaving together the work of legendary songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins. The story moves through time and place to highlight a slick slice of yesteryear and capture a beloved American era.
all night cast
This cast is on fiiiiiiiirrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre! Thank you Alicia Keys. Listening to this quartet sing, you would think that they have been together for years. But, they were cast out of auditions, and worked there struts off to create a magic evening of tuneful entertainment.
The ladies from left to right: Neda Spears and Jill Marie Zeszut. Each deliver some dynamite moments throughout. Spears knocks it out of the park several times. Starting off with a great rendition of “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle of Beer”, and then later, literally rips the roof of the ballroom with a fantastic version of “Operator”.  I am sure she heard my group yelling with approval. Zeszut with her Marilyn Monroe hair and a red dress that would stop Fleet Week dead in its tracks, finds her enhanced fierceness with her lead on “In The Mood”, which she adds her deft dancing skills, and then makes me question why I don’t date women, with her beautiful delivery of “I’ll Be Seeing You”.
The gentlemen from left to right: Miguel Osbourne and Robert Kowalewski. Osbourne is a finely tuned showman, and leads this quartet with confidence and a smile that would surely turn any bad day into a good one. Whether he is charming your face off with “Minnie The Moocher”, or pulling on your heart-strings during “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime”, he is the consummate performer. Kowalewski possesses one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time. The quality reminds me of Karen Carpenter in a way, and I don’t mean that is a weird way, but just as Carpenter’s resonance is spellbinding, so is Kowalewski’s. It is like listening to butter melting, crossed with looking like John Boy Walton. His version of “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square” is flawless, and “As Time Goes By” is so radiant it sets off the disco ball.
Add all of these talented folks together and it is a blast to listen to and watch. The opening number of “Chattanooga Choo Choo” is fierce. Their movements and vocals sprint out of the starting gates to such grand effect, you don’t care which horse wins, because actually, they actually all cross the finish line at the same time.
Through an artistic telescope there are some minor distractions. The Ballroom chandelier is not as high up as you would hope from the stage. Making you feel like it is a bit cramped for the middle singers. When the singers move together on one mic, the balance is off because the middle singers stick out. A couple of times, the band drowned out the singers. There are slight moments of not being in sync on the moves. The lighting at times did cast shadows on faces more than I thought should. But as I said, that is through a telescope, because the overall vibe of the evening is a hit.
Shout out to the talented band. Bill Corcoran on Piano, George Judy on Drums, and David Spondike on Bass. Each one helped create a fabulous combo, that worked along with the performers with professional grace and execution. Set Design and Fabrication Design by Austin Kilpatrick was on point. Dig the stage sign in the back. Nice touch. Lighting and Sound Design by David Palmer/Network Sound did a great job in that space. Akron Design & Costume provided eye-popping looks.
Check out this show. It is a great atmosphere and the Corcoran’s are adding a great space for fierce entertainment in a gorgeous neighborhood.
Cleveland Stage Alliance
September 21 – September 24

7:30pm Thursday
7:30pm Friday
2pm and 7:30pm Saturday
2pm Sunday

$15 General Admission

(216) 282-9424

Order Tickets Online
Judson Manor
1890 East 107th Street
University Heights, 44106

The All Night Strut! at Theatre in the Circle

Swing’s the thing in The All Night Strut!

Swing’s the thing in The All Night Strut!  Conceived and directed by Clevelander Fran Charnas, this jumpin’ jive show premiered at Pickle Bill’s in the Flats in 1976 then moved to pre-restoration Playhouse Square to further efforts to save our theaters in the tradition of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living Paris. From touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra to performing with the Boston Pops, this classy, sassy musical revue has played the world over to record-breaking houses and garnered rave reviews from critics.

September 21-24A delightful romp through the dance and music of the 1930s and ’40s.
The All Night Strut! moves through the Depression, World War II and the post-war boom in a two-act musical celebration of the 1930s and ’40s, filled with jazz, blues, bebop and American songbook standards. Weaving together the work of legendary songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins, the story moves through time and place to highlight a slick slice of yesteryear and capture a beloved American era.
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Four performers welcome you, full-throttle, on board the “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” It’s a place where sad stories are told with optimism and flair. “Minnie The Moocher” tells a story about a big-hearted gal gone wrong. The world seems to have turned its back on a man who plaintively asks “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”

We switch gears to happier moments and experiences: jitterbugging and getting “In The Mood” and a Saturday night bash in Harlem where old Hannah Brown says “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer.” Romantic memories from Old London Town cast their spell in “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.” We become mesmerized with the syncopations of a “Crazy Rhythm” and seduced by the odd and mellow lure of coffee and other things with “Java Jive.”

Reflections of war in a medley of songs make us experience a range of emotions from discomfort, hope (“Shoo Shoo Baby”), homesickness (“White Cliffs Of Dover”), opportunity (“Rosie The Riveter”), to madness (“Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition”) and heartache (“I’ll Be Seeing You”). The act ends with lingering memories of what was and what might have been.

Act Two begins with a questionably sincere promise of fidelity (“Ain’t Misbehavin’”). Love and sincerity are shown in other ways, such as faith in the gospel-inflected “Operator,” as hopeful fantasy in “Dream,” and as pure fun ‘jamming’ in “Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar.”Two couples square off in a battle of one-upmanship. They are sophisticated, funny and flirtatious as they complain of their stalled affair (“A Fine Romance”). Things then get sultry in the South with slow, steamy moves to dance the night away (“Tuxedo Junction”). The mood suddenly perks up and we swing and sway to “Jukebox Saturday Night.”

Even as the world changes, we are reminded that sentiments such as love and passion never fade or go away (“As Time Goes By”). Keeping spirits up — jivin’, swingin’ and singin’ — give the finale the feel of a great time (Medley: “Hit That Jive Jack,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”). As the cast bows, the excitement and optimism of a world long gone still reverberates in the sweet sentiments of “Lullaby Of Broadway.”

Musical Numbers

1    Chattanooga Choo Choo – All
2    Minnie The Moocher – All
3    Bother, Can You Spare A Dime? –Miguel, All
4    In The Mood – JIll, All
5    Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer – NedaAll
6    A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square – Robert, All
7    Crazy Rhythm – All
8    Java Jive – All
9    World War II Medley – All
10    Ain’t Misbehavin’ – Miguel, All
11    Operator – Neda, All
14    Dream – All
15    Beat Me, Daddy, Eight To The Bar – Soprano, All
16    A Fine Romance – All
17    Tuxedo Junction – All
18    As Time Goes By – Jill, All
19    Finale – All
20    Lullaby Of Broadway – All

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Free!    No tickets or reservations required.

Intended for adults and teens.


Creative Space at Waterloo Arts

397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110


Playwrights Local announces the 3rd Annual Cleveland Playwrights Festival, the latest staging of this free, annual celebration of dramatic writing in Northeast Ohio. Presented on Saturday, September 23, the Festival features open workshop and craft talk sessions, new plays by local authors, a special video screening, co-presentations with related companies, and much more! Sessions run from noon to midnight at the Creative Space at Waterloo Arts in North Collinwood (397 E. 156th Street, Cleveland, OH 44110). All offerings are open to the public with no tickets or reservations necessary.



Vickie L. Williams: Axe Under the Bed

Stuart Hoffman: Broken Wings
Daniel McNamara: The Story of Mr Not So Well
David Ritchey: A Boy and His Bullies
Daniel Telford: Balloons on the Road
Craig A. Webb: Elbow Room
Rachel Zake: It’s Just Pudding
Brian Zoldessy: DIY


Sarah Greywitt

Dale Heinen

Eric Schmiedl


The Dramatists Guild

The Oatman Players

The Bessemer Project

For more information, visit or call (216) 302-8856.

The Canal Fulton Players are proud to present Oscar Wilde’s romantic comedy of deception and chicanery, The Importance of Being Earnest, on August 18-20, 25-27, 2017 at Yoga Central, 4626 Cleveland Avenue North, Canton, Ohio.


The Importance of Being Earnest Will Be Presented on August 18-20, 25-27 at Yoga Central, 4626 Cleveland Avenue North, Canton


The Canal Fulton Players are proud to present Oscar Wilde’s romantic comedy of deception and chicanery, The Importance of Being Earnest, on August 18-20, 25-27, 2017 at Yoga Central, 4626 Cleveland Avenue North, Canton, Ohio.  This new venue gives the players a new perspective as to the presentation of comedies.  Yoga Central has large room with a raised stage with numerous doors to enter and exit to add to the hijinks involved in this play.


The Importance of Being Earnest is a play in which two men assume the same identity to deceive the general public and loved ones.  The inclusion of two men who are never seen or heard adds to the frivolity as each character either kills these men off or resurrects them out of thin air.  Confusion reigns supreme as two women believe that they are engaged to be married only to find out that there is no fiancé to marry.  Just as confusion reigns supreme, the chicanery unravels quickly but not before the two men employ other devices to obtain their goals.  Unfortunately, they discover that their loved ones and others use deception to thwart them.  Is there an Ernest among the cast?  Who is this fellow Bunbury?  Is Jack who he says he is?  And what about this Miss Prism?


Making up the cast are:

  • Brad Vincent as John Worthing, a prime proper landowner who goes to the city to have fun
  • Mark Brown as Algernon Moncrieff, a bohemian type who loves to have a good time
  • Geri Marken as Rev. Canon Chasuble, a minister who is smitten with a fine woman
  • Lou Saneshige as Merriman, the house keeper at John Worthing’s estate and Lane, Algernon’s maid in London
  • Denise Robb as Lady Bracknell, the snobbish aunt to Algernon and chief antagonist to John Worthing
  • Shelly Rayborn as Gwendolen Fairfax, a head strong woman looking for true love and a good time
  • Courtney Hardy as Cecily Cardew, an innocent girl who believes in romance in everything
  • Linda Keith as Miss Prism, Cecily’s tutor and a woman with a jaded past.

Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30 pm.  Sunday matinee performances are at 3:00 pm.  Tickets are $10.00 for adults, and $8.00 for seniors and children under the age of twelve.  Reservations can be made for any performance by calling Dave Van Gaasbeek at 330-494-1022 or 330-854-4387 or Yoga Central at 330-499-2863.



by Lucas Hnath

August 18th-27th
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM / Sundays at 2PM
at Christ Presbyterian Church in Canton, OH

For more details and to purchase tickets, check out:

Ten years ago, Pastor Paul’s church was a modest storefront. Today it houses thousands, with a coffee shop in the lobby and a baptismal font as big as a swimming pool. But there are other changes afoot: Pastor Paul no longer believes in Hell, and he’s about to preach a sermon about it. He thinks all the people in his church are going to be happy to hear what he has to say. He’s wrong….

Both epic and unexpectedly intimate, staged in an actual church and taking place during an actual church service, THE CHRISTIANS is an unflinching look at faith in America. One of the major highlights of the 2014 Humana Festival at the Actors Theatre of Louisville, it went on to an acclaimed Off-Broadway run at Playwrights Horizons.

Seat of the Pants’ production stars Scott Stachiw, Meg Hopp, Tom Stephan, Andy Simmons, and Julie Connair, and is presented with support from ArtsinStark. Tickets are $20.

ShakesBEER: As You Like It

ShakesBEER is back.

ShakesBEER tickets are now on sale! Don’t miss your chance to snag one–last ShakesBEER sold out in only 3 days!

As You Like It
September 9 & 16, 8:00

Get tickets.
Seating is limited!
All ShakesBEER events take place in the Jerrold A. Mirman ShakesBEER Bar(d)!
(photo by Emily S. Durway)
Join us at the bar for a full-cast, tipsy, redux reading of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, featuring much of the same cast from this summer’s production.

Sit back and enjoy a pint with us–literally.  The actors will be drinking right along with you! This reading has the potential to get sillier and sillier (and dirtier and dirtier) throughout the night.

21 and over, ID required at door.
Full bar.
Light snacks avaliable.
We recommend eating beforehand at Nuevo across the street!




Convergence-continuum presents the classic absurdist comedy RHINOCEROS, opening Fri, Aug 25. When a brutish rhinoceros storms through their quiet neighborhood, the townsfolk are alarmed, but gradually become supporters of rhino-ism and one by one begin to turn into rhinoceroses themselves. Will the few hold-outs be able to resist the rhino’s despicable impulses, or become part of the mindless herd? A classic absurdist comedy that is a parable that remains universal and particularly timely today.

RHINOCEROS is directed by Jonathan Wilhelm and features actors Tom Kondilas, Mike Frye, Kayla Gray, Joe Milan, David Munnell, Jeanne Task, Rocky Encalada, Natalyn Baisden and Kim Woodworth.

RHINOCEROS opens Friday, Aug 25 and runs Thurs-Sat at 8 pm through Sept 16 at the Liminis Theater, 2438 Scranton Rd, Cleveland 44113 in the historic Tremont neighborhood. Tickets at $20 general admission, $25 seniors (65+), and $10 students available at and 216-687-0074.








Sept. 9 – Oct. 1, 2017 in the Allen Theatre

Media night is Friday, Sept. 15th at 8:00 p.m.

CLEVELAND, OH (August 15, 2017) “I will have poetry in my life.  And adventure.  And love. Love above all.”  The Cleveland Play House produces the Academy Award-winning romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love, complete with swordfights, secret trysts, and backstage drama.

Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall, Shakespeare in Love offers a sophisticated look at the power of art in society.  Young playwright Will Shakespeare is short on inspiration until he encounters the beguiling Viola de Lesseps, daughter of a wealthy merchant, and their star-crossed love inspires a masterpiece.  Based on the screenplay of the Academy Award winning movie by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, this lavish production is filled with action-packed adventure, fiery romance, mistaken identity and wit to celebrate the power of live theatre.  Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley, Shakespeare in Love will run from Sept. 9th– Oct. 1st in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square.

“This is a show about joy, beauty and love,” says CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. “With the bold style we’re bringing to the stage with Shakespeare in Love, it’s the perfect way to start the CPH Season. It’s everything audiences love about the movie, live on stage – including a dog!”


LAVOUR ADDISON (Nol/Lambert/Boatman/Ensemble/Understudy: Kit Marlowe) graduated from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a double major in Psychology and Theatre. He also holds a certificate from the Stella Adler Acting Conservatory in NYC. 2017 Member of the Chautauqua Theatre Company where he played Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and a cameo in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. At Cleveland Play House he has performed in The CPH Centennial Plays, the world premiere of Quiara Alegria Hudes’ The Good Peaches in collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra, and the world premiere reading of FEED by Eric CobleOther credits include serving as the Acting Captain of the Hawaii Pirate Ship Adventures and working as a full time member of the Professional Acting Company with the Honolulu Theatre for Youth. He recently played Macbeth with Oberlin Summer Theatre Festival. Favorite credits include The Wild PartyThe Genteel Sabai, and Bug. I love you Brittni, Winnie, and Pixie.

DREW BASTIAN (Maestro/Musician/Ensemble) was most recently seen Off-Broadway in Theatre for a New Audience’s Measure for Measure where he played and co-wrote original music. In 2014, Drew performed in the national tour of HAIR where he played drums, acted in the ensemble, and understudied the role of Woof. Other favorites behind the kit include RENT with PA Centre Stage and playing for and co-producing Somewhere With You in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. Favorites on stage include Romeo and Juliet in NYC with Occupy Verona, The Fantasticks as Matt with Arcadia players, and Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story as Jerry Allison with numerous regional theatres. As a musician, Drew has played historic venues such as Joe’s Pub, 54 Below, the Edison Ballroom, and Birdland backing up performers such as Annaleigh Ashford, James Monroe Inglehart, Randy Graff, Mandy Gonzalez, and Daveed Diggs.

TOMMY BILCZO (John Webster/Ensemble) is very excited to be returning to the stage at Cleveland Play House. Having most recently performed as Fletcher (understudy) in Disney’s Freaky Friday. Tommy also took the stage in Aunt Clara’s famous pink bunny suit as Ralphie in CPH’s 2016 production of A Christmas Story.  Tommy has enjoyed roles in numerous local productions including Young Josh in BIG, The Musical (Beck Center for the Arts); Gavroche in Les Miserables, School Edition (MAD* Factory); and Randy in A Christmas Story, The Musical (TrueNorth Cultural Arts Center)and a variety of TrueNorth and Beck Center productions. Tommy has studied the performing arts at the Beck Center, Baldwin Wallace University camps, and Broadway Artists Alliance in NYC. Tommy’s vocal coach is MAD* Factory instructor Amber Michalak. When he’s off stage, Tommy enjoys playing baseball with the Sheffield Venom, basketball, and having fun with family and friends.


PAUL BUGALLO (Tilney/Peter/Caitling/Ensemble) was raised in Seattle where he discovered his passion for the performing arts. He attended Central Washington University where he earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatrical Performance. Paul has performed in many of Seattle’s professional spaces, including the Seattle Repertory and Center House Theatres, as well as improvisational theatres such as Unexpected Productions and Jet City Improv. Now residing in the proud city of Cleveland, Paul is absolutely ecstatic about finishing up his final year in the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program. You may have seen him over the last two years in CWRU/CPH’s productions of Clybourne Park and She Stoops to Conquer, as well as several of Cleveland Play House’s centennial season productions including The Good Peaches and FEED during his first year in the MFA Program.


MARIAH BURKS (Mistress Quickly/Musician /Ensemble) graduated from Bowling Green State University with a BAC in Musical Theatre. She is beyond thrilled and blessed to be performing this show with her amazing cast mates. Credits include: Spring Awakening, Legally Blonde, Book of Days, Urinetown: The Musical, Toxic Avenger. Recipient of the 2015 National Irene Ryan Scholarship Acting Award recipient at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival in Washington, DC. Currently studying at Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program and those credits include: Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Clybourne Park and She Stoops To Conquer; New Ground Theatre Festival at Cleveland Play House in The Nolan Williams Project: A New Musical. She was last seen in Caroline, or Change as “The Moon/Radio #1” at Tantrum Theatre. She couldn’t be more excited and humbled by this opportunity! Shout out to her mother for being a Wonder Woman! Enjoy the show!


DONALD CARRIER (Henslowe/Ensemble) has appeared at Cleveland Play House in All the WayLuna GaleThe CrucibleThe Little FoxesYentlIn the Next Room, or the vibrator playTen ChimneysNoises Off; and Lincolnesque. Regional credits include The Merchant of VeniceMuch Ado About NothingKing Lear, and The Tempest (The Old Globe); Twelfth Night and Hamlet (Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival); A Christmas Carol (Great Lakes Theater); Shining City (Studio Theatre); Noises Off(Maltz Jupiter Theatre); The Duchess of Malfi and Richard III (Shakespeare Theatre); Gross Indecency (Huntington and Intiman Theatres); The School for Scandal (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); and Too True To Be Good (Shaw Festival). Highlights of nine Stratford Festival seasons include As You Like ItThe Importance of Being EarnestThe Merchant of VeniceMeasure for Measure, and Twelfth Night. He recently directed The Violins of Hope concerts with The Cleveland Orchestra, Becky Shaw at Dobama Theatre and Seminar and Really, Really at The Beck Center.  Television/film: GunsThe Time Traveler’s WifeThe Passion of Ayn Rand, and Dead by Monday. Don is the Interim Director of the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program and a 2016 Lunt/Fontanne Fellow.


KYLE CHERRY (Sam/Ensemble/Understudy: Burbage) has appeared at Cleveland Play House in the world premiere of The Good Peaches with the Cleveland Orchestra, the NGTF reading of The Chinese Lady by Lloyd Suh, The CPH Centennial Plays, and the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program’s productions of Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses, Clybourne Park, and She Stoops to Conquer. Other credits include The Seagull (Huntington Theatre Company), Gross Indecency (Bad Habit Productions), Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Brown Box Theatre Project), Romeo and Juliet and To Kill a Mockingbird (New Repertory Theatre), as well as readings and workshops with the Cherry Lane Theatre, Red Bull Theater, and Theatre Now New York. He is a company member at The Middle Voice Theater Company in New York, for whom he has acted, written, and stage-managed. Kyle holds a B.A. in English from Tufts University.


SARAH CUNEO (Molly/Ensemble/Understudy: Viola de Lesseps) is overjoyed to be making her Cleveland Play House mainstage debut alongside her fellow classmates in the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program. A New Jersey native, Sarah graduated from Princeton University with a major in Psychology and certificates in Theater and Neuroscience. Sarah has previously appeared in the New Ground Theater Festival in The Good Peaches by Quiara

Alegría Hudes, and in a staged reading of Little Row Boat or, Conjecture by Kirsten Greenidge. She has also appeared in CWRU/CPH productions of She Stoops to ConquerClybourne Park, and Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses. Other credits includeMacbeth (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), Red Noses (Lewis Center for the Arts), and The Real Inspector Hound (Princeton Summer Theater). Much love and appreciation to the entire CWRU/CPH family, and infinite thanks to her father for his unwavering support.

RANDY MERRILL (Robin/Ensemble/Understudy: Will Shakespeare) is thrilled to be a part of Shakespeare in Love at the Cleveland Play House in his final year of graduate school with the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program! Most recent credits include the regional premier of Really, Really (Jimmy), Clybourne Park (Jim/Tom), and She Stoops to Conquer (Charles Marlow). He has also recently appeared in La Cage Aux Folles (Jean Michele) at The Lake Dillon Theatre Co, and the original cast and International/Asia tour of Barbie Live! The Musical. He would like to thank his family and friends for their enduring love and support as well as the faculty and staff at the Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House!

GRANT GOODMAN (Ned Alleyn/Frees/Ensemble) most recently appeared in Heartbreak House at Hartford Stage directed by Tony Award winner Darko Tresnjak.  National Tours include The Merchant of Venice starring F. Murray Abraham. New Yorkcredits include: Richard II (Pearl Theatre); Antony & Cleopatra, The Merchant of Venice (Theatre for a New Audience); King Lear, The Iliad (Lincoln Center); Pericles (Red Bull Theater). Regional credits include extensive work with such theatres as: Yale Repertory, Hartford Stage, Shakespeare Theatre Company (DC), Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Old Globe, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Court Theatre, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, PlayMakers Repertory, Indiana Repertory, Syracuse Stage, People’s Light (Philadelphia), Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Milwaukee Repertory, Pioneer Theatre, Arizona Theatre Company and the Utah, Illinois, Notre Dame and Kentucky Shakespeare Festivals among many others. Film/Television includes: As the World TurnsSex and the CitySleepers. Training: Graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts.

PETER HARGRAVE (Wessex/Musician/Ensemble) holds his BFA from Abilene Christian University and is a graduate of Syracuse University’s Tepper Semester. Peter most recently appeared as George Hastings in the CWRU/CPH MFA production of She Stoops to Conquer. Other CPH credits include: The Good Peaches (world premiere) and The CPH Centennial Plays. New Ground Theatre Festival Reading of FEED by Eric Coble. CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program credits include: Clybourne Park, Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and The Two Gentlemen of Verona. Regional: Gateway Playhouse, Musical Theatre West, Texas Shakespeare Festival, and Disney Cruise Line. Film: Rush (DH Productions).

MEGAN MEDLEY (Kate/Ensemble) is delighted to be performing on the Allen stage at Cleveland Play House! Since joining the CWRU/CPH MFA Acting program she has performed alongside her classmates in She Stoops to Conquer, Clybourne Park,Mary Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses and the world premiere of The Good Peaches. She recently had the opportunity to perform in the world premiere of These Mortal Hosts at the New Ground Theatre Festival. Other credits include: Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, and Giselle (NoExit Performance); and Rapture, Blister, Burn (Theatre on the Square). She would like to thank her wonderfully supportive love Aurélien Bayo, her family, and her sweet kitties! Thank you for coming, and enjoy the show!


ANDHY MENDEZ (Kit Marlowe/Ensemble) recently appeared at the Folger Shakespeare Library’s production of Timon of Athens. Off-Broadway credits include Sotto Voce and Strawberry & Chocolate. Other New York credits include Daughter of the Waves(Theatre for the New City), Between Two Worlds (NYC’s HERE Festival), and Downside Risk (Wings Theatre). Regional credits include Hamlet: Prince of Cuba (ASOLO Repertory Theatre). Film credits include GunnyCecilia’s BirthdayHalf the Perfect WorldCuban Blood, and For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story. Television credits include the upcoming Netflix series Seven SecondsBlue BloodsOrange is the New BlackThe BlacklistGossip GirlForeverElementaryNYC 22, and Golden Boy.

ALLEN O’REILLY (Sir Robert de Lesseps/Wabash/Ensemble) has regional credits that include Hamlet (The Alliance Theatre), A Christmas Carol (Geva Theatre), Our Country’s Good (Clarence Brown), and twenty-four seasons at Georgia Shakespeare in Atlanta. Cleveland area credits include: Barefoot in the Park and The Winter’s Tale (Oberlin Theatre Festival) Billy Elliot (The Beck Center), Denial (Oberlin College), and Cleveland Treatment Center in INCOGNEGRO. Film and TV credits include: Legacy, Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius, Crimes and Mr. Meanors, Sleepy

Hollow and TURN: Washington’s Spies. Allen has also narrated over forty audio books, most recently Sons of Wichita. Allen is a proud member of Actors Equity and SAG/AFTRA and serves as the Education Programs Manager at Cleveland Play House.

BRIAN OWEN (Burbage/Adam/Ensemble) is thrilled to return to Cleveland Play House after last season’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery. New York credits include Mr. Collins in a new musical adaptation of Pride and PrejudiceNever Have I Ever(TinyRhino at Joe’s Pub), and Lisa and Leonardo. Regional credits include Camelot (with Robert Sean Leonard at Westport Country Playhouse), Baskerville (CPH, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, and Dorset Theatre Festival), Sweeney ToddPeter and the StarcatcherSouth PacificBoth Your Houses, The Matchmaker, and Sense and Sensibility (with Jon Jory at ATL). He’s been in A Midsummer Night’s Dream too many times to count. Film/TV credits include Hack my Life and Make Rome Great Again. He is a member of the political art collective Never Caesar whose viral video Trump-rested Development was featured by Time Magazine, Slate, and Vulture. His favorite role is husband to his wife Nicole. MFA: FSU/Asolo. Proud member AEA and Team @bistrowen

CHUCK RICHIE (Ralph/Ensemble) returns to Cleveland Play House having most recently appeared here in the acclaimed 2015 revival of The Crucible. Other CPH: A Christmas CarolMuch Ado About NothingAnimal Farm, and A Tuna Christmas.  Regional: Hairspray, Hello, Dolly!  (Porthouse Theatre); THREADS OF COMPASSION The Voices of My Past (solo performance, Liminis Theater).  New York: Starmites (original Off-Off-Broadway production); Romeo and Juliet (Gallery Players); Pericles(Theatre for the New City); The Taming of the Shrew (Performing Garage/Shakespeare & Co., founding company member). Mr. Richie is Professor Emeritus at Kent State University, and is also a voice and dialect coach.

MARINA SHAY (Viola de Lesseps) recently appeared in New York as Julie in Miss Julie at the Access Theatre. Regional credits include Estella/Biddy in Great Expectations (Syracuse Stage), Sasha in Ivanov (Trinity Repertory Company), Iphigenia inIphigenia 2.0 (Cleveland Public Theater), Eleanor in Pulse (The Guthrie), Roxanne in Cyrano De Bergerac (Heartwood Theater), Elma in Bus Stop (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival), and Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberlin Summer Theater Festival). Other New York credits include Eurydice in Eurydice and Emily Dickinson: Paranormal Investigator. Independent films include Go On, Lux, Dog, and De Capo.

TINA STAFFORD (Nurse/Queen Elizabeth/Ensemble) is thrilled to be collaborating with this fabulous company. She was last seen in Cleveland with the National Tour of Once, The Musical with whom she toured for 2 & ½ years. She has played leading roles at Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Milwaukee Rep, Paper Mill Playhouse, Kansas City Rep, Goodspeed Musicals, La Jolla Playhouse, Denver Center, Westport Country Playhouse, Shakespeare Theatre of NJ, Barrington Stage, Geva Theatre Center, Florida Studio Theatre, the Maine, Texas and Utah Shakespeare Festivals, and she’s done many interesting Off-Broadway shows you’ve never heard of. All My Children fans may remember Ms. Stafford as Erica Kane’s gruff but loveable prison guard, Slim. Proud Equity member.


CHARLIE THURSTON (Will Shakespeare) is an actor and playwright who splits his time between NYC and Providence, RI, where he’s been a member of the resident acting company at Trinity Rep since 2013. There he most recently starred as Beowulf, in Dave Malloy’s rock musical Beowulf: A Thousand Years of Baggage.  He is also a founding member of The Williams Project in Seattle, WA and has appeared in theatres across the country including Fault Line Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Baltimore Centerstage, Chautauqua Theater Company, Riverside Theatre, and Redmoon Theatre.  As a writer, his play, The History Room, was nominated for a Henry Award for best new play for its production at Creede Repertory Theatre in CO.  He also appeared in the ABC pilot Broad Squad, and the films Money Monster, directed by Jodie Foster, and Life, Itself which comes out in 2018.  He holds an MFA from Brown/Trinity Rep.


EVAN ZES (Fennyman/Ensemble) Evan’s New York credits include, Incident at Vichy at The Signature Theatre; Rent Control (writer and performer) at Soho Playhouse; Freedom of the City, Man and Superman, White Woman Street, Around the World in 80 Days at Irish Repertory Theatre; and American Dreams with The Acting Company. His international credits include Julie Taymor’s The King Stagg at the Barbican, London and Dream Play at the Moscow Art Theatre. Select regional credits include The McCarter, The Alley, The Goodman, The Old Globe, NY Stage and

Film, Westport Country Playhouse, La Jolla Playhouse, Arena Stage, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, The Shakespeare Theatre DC, Pittsburgh Public Theater, St. Louis Repertory Theater, Baltimore Centerstage, and Berkeley Rep. Evan’s Film and TV credits include: The PathThe Street and Last Night at Angelo’s, and All My Children.  He has an MFA from A.R.T/ Moscow Art Theatre at Harvard University. Upcoming: Murder on the Orient Express at Hartford Stage. Follow Evan’s award winning one-man show at


LAURA KEPLEY (Director) became Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House in 2013 and has directed numerous CPH mainstage productions including The CrucibleSteel Magnolias; The Good Peaches (world premiere); Fairfield (world premiere); How I Learned to Drive (also at Syracuse Stage); The Little FoxesVenus in FurGood People (also at Syracuse Stage); A Carol for Cleveland (world premiere); In the Next Room, or the vibrator playMy Name is Asher Lev and CPH readings of Roe Green Award-winning plays Soups, Stews and Casseroles: 1976; Marjorie Prime and Daphne’s Dive. She joined CPH in 2010, having arrived from Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island where she was Resident Director and Artistic Associate for four seasons and Interim Director of the Brown/Trinity Rep M.F.A. in Directing Program for one. She has also directed for The Alliance Theatre, Asolo Repertory Theatre, The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Contemporary American Theatre Festival, among others. A native Ohioan, Laura received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University and her Master of Fine Arts from Brown University/Trinity Rep. She is a Drama League Fellow and a recipient of the 2009-2011 National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program for Directors.

The Design Team for Shakespeare in Love includes: LEX LIANG (Scenic & Costume Designer)FRANK OLIVA (Assistant Scenic & Costume Designer), RUSSELL H. CHAMPA (Lighting Designer), JANE SHAW (Sound Designer/Composer),NATHAN MOTTA (Music Director), THOM JONES (Dialect Coach), DREW FRACHER (Fight Choreographer), DAVID SHIMOTAKAHARA (Choreographer).  The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT and the Assistant Stage Manager is TOM HUMES. 



Shakespeare in Love will take place in the Allen Theatre from September 9-October 1, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$90 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership.  To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit  Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 17%. Full and flexible season packages range from $262 – $440. To purchase subscriptions or get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit


CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

Equus at Blank Canvas Theatre

equus banner bct

Thru August 26th


THEATRE: Blank Canvas Theatre is dedicated to inspiring a new love for those new to theatre in the Cleveland community, while providing another quality venue for those who already love the arts. Our annual season is diverse, designed to attract many different types of theatre-goers – whether you prefer American classics, new works, off-beat musicals, drama, or comedy, you’ll find something to enjoy at Blank Canvas Theatre.  We always include at least one show chosen to appeal to new audience members – folks who do not think of themselves as “theatre lovers” and may be seeing a live performance for the first time – and we also feature performances of The Laughter League sketch comedy troupe as part of each season.  It’s our goal to interest people in different types of performances, encouraging them to break out of their entertainment boxes!  Blank Canvas Theatre is also honored and happy to provide a supportive, fun, and professional environment in which actors, designers and technicians can work together to create a positive experience for themselves and our audience.


SHOW: Equus is a Tony Award winning play by Peter Shaffer written in 1973, telling the story that was inspired by a real crime in which a 17-year-old boy blinded six horses. Dr. Martin Dysart (Russell B. Kunz), a psychiatrist, is confronted with Alan Strang (a remarkable Antonio DeJesus), a boy who has blinded six horses in a violent fit of passion. To the boy’s parents it is a hideous mystery; Alan has always adored horses. To Dysart, it is a psychological puzzle that leads both doctor and patient to a complex and disturbingly dramatic confrontation.

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Performance: There is much to be celebrated with this production. From the moment, you take your seat, you begin to take in the set design that is reminiscent of a barn stable at sunset. Awash with blood-red hue, the lighting enhances a raised circular set with a dropped center, where one can only guess the recesses of the mind rest. Horse heads are placed strategically around the set, so that anywhere you look, at least one of the horses is looking at you. It is chilling, and even though, I am familiar with the play, I have never seen this design. Truly original and eerie. And I kept thinking, what about the people who don’t know what is coming………………

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This tale is anchored on the journey of two actors. In this case, Kunz as Dr. Martin Dysart, and his patient Allan Strang, portrayed to perfection by Antonio DeJesus. But what is remarkable about this production, is the quality of the surrounding actors. Amiee Collier, as court magistrate, Hesther Saloman, is at perfect pitch. She portrays confidence in every step and line, and most importantly intention. Her drive to help Strang resonates. Even though Collier is basically the Patty Lupone of Cleveland Theatre, it is nice to see her flex her acting chords with precision.  As parents, Frank and Dora Strang, Andrew Narten and Claudia Esposito ring true on every note. Narten is riveting as he navigates his personal moral code. His nuances are visceral and his intrinsic acting choices divine. His handling of his descent into his own moral demons, is executed with adept choices. Esposito delivers the all-American mother realness in fine form. She handles the characters journey with fine craftswomanship. Delivering both the loving, supportive side, and also, letting loose with determined focus when necessary.

Nugget & the Horsemen are perfection. Providing the physical presence and soul of these equine gods, the gentlemen create a magnificent strength. Daryl Kelley, as Nugget, provides a sexual, strong, and confident leader of the Harras. Jason Falkofsky, Zac Hudak, Evan Martin, Anthony Salatino, and David Turner are perfect as the attending horsemen. Each with quiet dignity and strength, providing a beautiful relationship. And as a former partner to an equine trainer, the moment Alan and Jill enter the stable to see the horses all turn their heads to check out the visitors, was a welcome recalled memory. Every moment and choreographed movement was wonderful. Great work.

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Chris Bizub as Harry Dalton provides a down to earth real presentation of character. Solid choices, and delivers with a confident manner. As the Nurse, Katie Wells doesn’t give a flying medical degree how small this role could be perceived, she makes every entrance, moment, and constructive moment count.                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Sarah Blubaugh as Jill Mason, Harry’s daughter, turns in a pristine performance. The moment she enters the stage, her stage presence, confidence, and centered psyche is on full display. She is marvelous to watch as she traverses every psychological road block that Allan puts up, and does it with superb skill.

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And we come to the two main players. On Saturday night, Kunz started off strong, a little more Richard Griffiths looking for my liking, but began his journey with an effective air. But there was something missing. The performance seemed off with a bit of bobbling lines, and after a while, acting pauses turned into worry that the lines were not coming as fast to the brain and one would wish. Also missing were a few pages of script from Act One, an error that I am sure will be reserved for only once in a lifetime. However, when he was on, it worked well. And also, if you did not know that happened, Kunz handled that as a pro – and as a result, an Equus novice would have never known. But none of that could deflect from the magnificent performance of DeJesus as Alan Strang. It is truly remarkable. From the moment we meet him, he slowly unravels his tortured and protected veneer. Every moment is completely lost within an incredibly defined characterization that is spellbinding to watch. Each of his monologues are pieces of art. Having just entered his first year of college, I can’t imagine a more profound dissertation on character. And when Blubaugh and DeJesus start the final journey into the core of hell and dysfunction of this piece, their moments together, the craft and skill they both bring, is some of the most brave, fierce, trusting, and unapologetic acting I have seen in a long time. It is magic, and it is an honor to have seen their work.

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Production: Artistic Director/Technical Director/Director Patrick Ciamacco has produced and directed one of the best shows ever at Blank Canvas Theatre. Great concept, and wonderful execution. His Lighting and Sound Design greatly enhanced this show. His set design with the drop middle was especially intriguing to me, for I felt that it represented the subconscious, where all of our fears, faults, and dark stories reside. Luke Scattergood provided solid costuming, but I would press Saloman’s skirt and cut off the string hanging in the back. The Horse Construction was awesome. Great work from Noah Hrbek (Original Horse Design) and Ciamacco. The horse movement was coached by Katie Zarecki, Jenna Fink, and Patrick Ciamacco. Assistant Director Jenna Fink was on board as well within the production. Stage Manager Brittany Gaul did an excellent job as Stage Manager and calling the show.

In the event that skipping pages occurs in the show, it is probably best not to have cast members texting friends in the audience to discuss the faux pas, or discussing the situation at the rest room. Shit happens. To all of us. Just keep it in the family, just like the Strang’s.

Photo Credit: Andy Dudik

Bravo to original graphic design by Pat Miller.

CSA highly recommends this show. It is Blank Canvas Theatre at its very best.

8pm Thursdays
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays
7pm Sundays


$18 General Admission

(440) 941-0458
Order Tickets Online

Blank Canvas Theatre
78th Street Studios

1305 West 80th Street, Suite 211
Cleveland, OH 44102






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