$12-$31 Reserved Seating(216) 521-2540
Order Tickets Online
Beck Center For The Arts
17801 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Order Tickets Online
Beck Center For The Arts
17801 Detroit Avenue
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
There are some beautiful things happening in Medina right now. One of them is the CAMEO Production of the Pulitzer Prize winning musical Next to Normal. This musical examines a family in crisis, as they experience mental issues that permeate and destroy a typical “normal” family. From the outside, a picturesque family portrait, on the inside, a turbulent bi-polar cloud of pain.
What is remarkable about this production is the production design. Director Colin McCord, and his talented designers, have decided to set this piece in the round. A truly original and dynamic choice, seeing that there has been 100 productions of Next to Normal over the last few years. This is a welcome visual. Along with set design, comes a brilliant Lighting and Scenic Design from Michael Sferro, Ed Schmuhl and Dale Seeds. As you sit awaiting the impending destruction ahead, you are met with a floor design that is awash in a deep blue. Pictures on the floor representing not fully formed faces. The combination transports you to a Picasso Blue Period that is fabulous. Most of the audience may not even know they are already being transported. Blinds surround the main stage area, representing the ability to see through or close off emotions, and our ability to deal with them.
Lights up and we meet Diana ( a stunning Kirsten Forshew). Her performance is wonderful, and she meets the demands of the vocal power necessary to tell this fractured tale with confidence. There is nothing better than a stirring and fabulous belt. At the start of Act Two, Forshew has self-actualized into a force of nature. Tucker Boggs, as Gabe, has one of the most amazing voices I have heard in a long time. He turned in a solid performance, and his vocal versatility will provide quite a career for him. His dramatic unexpected entrances were played to perfection. Dan Polk, as Dan, no, that is the truth, brings a visceral vulnerability. He is aided by strong vocals and a likable presence. And, when he is seated in his chair at the end, you must be a zombie if your heart is not aching for him. Adam Vigneault brings his doctoral charm in full swag as Doctor Madden. A reserved textured performance that is certainly a needed balance to the characters swirling around him.
But when it comes to totally nailing a character and providing a fully fleshed out performance, my accolades go to the impressive performance of Meredith Stout as Natalie. Every part of this actors performance was fantastic. From the moment she enters, every scene, every vocal, she is emulating everything that is happening within her, and around her. She is a complete stand out. And her partner in crime, Benson H. Anderson, brings his own fierce characterization to the psychotic dance floor. His understated performance was grand. His relationship with Natalie was spot on. His voice divine. The two of them were incredibly rewarding to watch, and remember.
This is a good production. As a cast, when they are all on and every burner is fired up, it is magic. The closing song Light was incredible and a beautiful vocal event. But there are things that could have elevated this production to another level.
When the show began, and Diana’s mic was off, I wanted to throw a shoe through one of the blinds. This can’t happen. It takes minutes to recover from that, and to be honest, I didn’t even know she had a fantastic voice until the song I Miss The Mountains, because her softer notes and dialogue couldn’t be heard.
There are no musical vamps written in this show. The scene changes should be a break neck speed, so there is no emotional rest. Especially in Act One, it felt like the applause was being led during unneeded black outs, instead of fade outs and ups. And when the stage crew member came out and took the table off out of nowhere, there went my other shoe. Why? Actors did every change before and after that. The stakes have to be higher for everyone involved. Except for Stout and Anderson, I felt everyone could have gone deeper. Diction is imperative in the round. Also, when Polk sang the words Hooray, it reminded me that every word doesn’t have to be sung like a concert. Also, physically lighten up. Lighten up and be medicated. That is the best advice I ever got.
Incredibly talented Musical Director Tom Bonezzi leads a fine orchestra to bring this tale to light. Sometimes muffled by Sound balance issues, he leads a fierce group of young musicians.
Katie Peyton Costumed to perfection. Allen Redmon provided the Sound Design.
I say Bravo for CAMEO for tackling this immense musical journey. I feel it takes your theatre to another level, and for that, you should be very, very proud. Mr. McCord should be proud as well. For one so young to tackle this beast. But also, remember, to push your actors as far as you possibly can. When you get to the edge of a cliff, it is the edge, but when you look up, the view is amazing.
CSA – Kevin
Photo Credit: Steve Sedlock
$15-$20 General Admission
CASE WESTERN RESERVE UNIVERSITY/
CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE MFA ACTING PROGRAM
ANNOUNCES INCOMING CLASS
8 Students Selected from Over 800 Candidates
CLEVELAND, OH (July 18, 2017) – The Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House MFA Acting Program today announced its Class of 2020. The four women and four men represent eight different undergraduate programs from across the United States.
“After seeing a record number of candidates in New York, Chicago and here in Cleveland with outreaches in Atlanta and Washington, DC,” says Donald Carrier, Interim Director of CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program, “we are thrilled to welcome a new group of talented, dynamic, curious, and collaborative young artists who will grow and thrive here in Cleveland, supported by our two great institutions: Case Western Reserve University and Cleveland Play House.”
Both institutions are excited to welcome this dynamic new class that will continue the strong tradition the program has established over the course of the past 22 years.
”On the audition tour, we met incredible young artists and are thrilled to be welcoming a unique and promising class,” says Cleveland Play House Artistic Director Laura Kepley, “I am confident that with the excellent training in the CWRU/CPH studios and by working side-by-side with top professionals on Cleveland Play House mainstage productions these talented young theatre makers will make a significant impact on the future of American theatre.”
Jerrold Scott, Chair, CWRU Department of Theater, says, “As the Department of Theater at CWRU enters our third decade in partnership with Cleveland Play House, it’s very exciting to welcome the Class of 2020. Every class brings new insights and opportunities, and we look forward to working with them to develop their skills and artistry as the new generation of actors we have helped to nurture.”
CWRU/CPH MFA Program Class of 2020
Alex Brightwell is beyond thrilled to be joining the CWRU/CPH MFA program! He was born in West Virginia and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. In 2012 Alex graduated from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program and has since continued living and working in Minneapolis, appearing onstage at Yellow Tree Theater, Minnesota Jewish Theatre, Walking Shadow Theatre, Public Theater of Minnesota, the Strange Capers, and the Guthrie. Alex looks forward to life and theater in Cleveland, and could use suggestions of local bookstores and coffee shops to fulfill his penchant for reading and caffeine.
Conor Canning was born and raised in Alford, Massachusetts and is a 2016 graduate of Georgetown University, where he majored in Political Economy with a minor in Theater and Performance Studies. While at Georgetown, Conor acted with the University’s Theater Department as well the student-run organizations, Nomadic Theatre and the Mask and Bauble Dramatic Society. Notable past roles include Joe Cooper in Killer Joe, George Deever in All my Sons, Stacey Kinsella in The Metal Children, Eduardo in Happy and Angelo in Measure for Measure. Outside of acting his interests include reading, playing soccer and supporting the New York Mets and Liverpool Football Club. Conor is very excited to move to Cleveland and begin the next phase of his education.
Kacey Connolly originally hails from Indiana but has spent the past 6 years living in New York City. She received a BA from the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at NYU, with a concentration in The Actor’s Artistic Agency within the Creative Process. She explored the question of what it means to be an artist in a collaborative paradigm where one does not also act as the curator. When she isn’t pondering such lofty questions, Kasey can be found oogling every dog she passes on the street, trying to incorporate tap dance into Shakespeare plays, and working on her yoga practice.
Comfort Dolo was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee and raised in friendly Fridley, Minnesota. She graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN back in 2014 with double majors in Honors Theatre and Communication Studies. Since graduating, she has been performing around the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. Favorite credits include: To Kill a Mockingbird (The Guthrie Theatre), TOUCH, a remake of the 1984 Emmy Award winning film project (Illusion Theatre), and various commercials ranging from the Minnesota State Lottery to hand modeling for KeyBank. She is a big fan of theatre for social justice, the German language, and gummy bears!
Gregory James is a Buffalo, NY native with a BFA in Theatre Performance from the University at Buffalo. He is overjoyed to be joining CWRU and Cleveland Play House for his graduate studies. Gregory has been living in Los Angeles for the past six years where he has worked as an actor, writer, and director. Recent credits include John in Summer and Smoke, and Jack in Hound of the Baskervilles with the Actors Co-Op Hollywood. Gregory was also a resident member of the Whitefire Theatre for two years appearing in numerous Seasonal and Hollywood Shorts. GregoryJamesActing.com
Abdul Seidu is very excited to join the Case Western Reserve University/Cleveland Play House Family. Abdul grew up in the Cleveland area and is glad to represent his home town. He received his undergraduate degree at Kent State University where he also competed in Track & Field. Abdul realized his passion for acting in his teenage years and is thrilled to be accepted at such a prestigious MFA program. He is ready to pursue all the teachings that the program has to offer and is humbled to be an ambassador of the CWRU/CPH name.
Courtney Stennett is a native of Eagle, Idaho. She graduated with her BFA in Performance from Baylor University and has since been living and working in Chicago. Favorite recent professional credits include Agnes of God with Aleatoric Theatre, A Little Princess with Windy City Music Theatre, and Seminar with Spartan Theatre Company. Courtney enjoys membership in the League of Chicago Theatres Young Professionals Circle and is on the board of Voice of the City Theatre which is an arts alliance group connecting the community to theatre. She could not be more thrilled for this next adventure in Cleveland!
Elisabeth Yancey hails from eight different states reaching all four corners of the U.S. She is a recent graduate of Wellesley College where she received a B.A. in Theatre Studies. She holds a certificate of classical acting from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts, and a certificate of literature from Cambridge University. Elisabeth has worked with Wellesley Repertory Theatre, ACT 1 Nashville, and the Wellesley Shakespeare Society. She is currently embarking on an adventure to Bali where she will receive her 200-hour yoga teaching certification. Elisabeth is thrilled to join the CWRU/CPH class of 2020!
ABOUT THE CWRU/CPH MFA PROGRAM
Since 1996, Case Western Reserve University has partnered with Cleveland Play House. Every two years, eight actors are chosen from the hundreds who audition nationwide to join this rigorous three-year conservatory program. The CWRU/CPH MFA Acting Program admits committed and bold young artists who possess a love of language, empathy for the human experience, a vivid imagination and the desire to develop the necessary physical and vocal skills for a successful and sustained career in the ever-evolving performing arts scene. All three years are spent in residency at Cleveland Play House, providing students with unique access to its new downtown Cleveland state-of-the-art facilities and the professional expertise of its staff. Program graduates include Rich Sommer (Mad Men, Buried Child), Elizabeth A. Davis (Once – Tony Award Nomination), AJ Cedeno (Z: The Beginning of Everything), Tom Degnan (Limitless), and Stephen Michael Spencer (Oregon Shakespeare Festival).
ABOUT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE
Recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award® and founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House 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. It 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 CPH productions. Today, Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. www.clevelandplayhouse.com
The Ohio Arts Council helps fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.
Audience Development & Public Relations Manager
Cleveland Play House
1901 E. 13th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH 44114
“This play is not about my mother and me,” begins the character of Lisa. But, of course, it is about her mother, and her mother’s extraordinary ability to heal a changing neighborhood despite her inability to heal herself. In this “solo show with people in it,” Kron asks the provocative question: “Do we create our own illness?” The answers she gets are much more complicated than she bargained for as the play spins dangerously out of control into riotously funny and unexpected territory.
“Hilarious, delightful and joyously alive!” -Michael Kuchwara, A.P.
Written in 1921 by Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O’Neill, this iconic piece of expressionist drama is a searing social commentary on the divide between the rich and poor. Yank, an unthinking laborer, embarks on a search for a sense of belonging in a world controlled by the wealthy. His journey from the bowels of a transatlantic ocean liner to the wealthy neighborhoods of New York society serve as a metaphor for the struggle between the working man and the industrial complex found at the heart of the play.
This play with music tells the story of a world-weary and disenchanted Aviator whose sputtering plane strands him in the Sahara Desert and a mysterious, regal “little man” who appears and asks him to “Please, sir, draw me a sheep.” During their two weeks together in the desert, the Little Prince tells the Aviator about his adventures through the galaxy, how he met the Lamplighter and the Businessman and the Geographer, and about his strained relationship with a very special flower on his own tiny planet. The Little Prince talks to everyone he meets: a garden of roses, the Snake and a Fox who wishes to be tamed. From each he gains a unique insight which he shares with the Aviator: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.” “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” At length, both the “little man” and the Aviator must go home—each with a new understanding of how to laugh, cry, and love again.
In the first part of Tony Kushner’s epic, set in 1980’s New York City, a gay man is abandoned by his lover when he contracts the AIDS virus, and a closeted Mormon lawyer’s marriage to his pill-popping wife stalls. America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.
“An epic theatrical fever dream …” -Variety
In the second part, the plague of AIDS worsens, relationships fall apart as new ones form, and unexpected friendships take form. America in the mid-1980s. In the midst of the AIDS crisis and a conservative Reagan administration, New Yorkers grapple with life and death, love and sex, heaven and hell.
“A vast miraculous play … provocative, witty and deeply upsetting … a searching and radical rethinking of American political drama … PERESTROIKA is not only a stunning resolution of the rending human drama of MILLENIUM APPROACHES, but also a true millennial work of art, uplifting, hugely comic and pantheistically religious in a very American style.” -Frank Rich, New York Times
Cleveland, OH—Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT) is proud to announce that Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for theatre, welcomes Raymond Bobgan, CPT Executive Artistic Director to its prestigious board of directors. Raymond joins five other new members from around the country including Will Davis, artistic director, American Theatre Company, Chicago, IL; Jamie Herlich, director of development, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Seattle, WA; Benita Hofstetter Koman, executive director, The Roy Cockrum Foundation, Reedville, VA; Johamy Morales, education director, Creede Repertory Theatre, Creede, CO; and Randy Reyes, artistic director, Mu Performing Arts, St. Paul, MN.
“I have a deep respect for the individuals on the TCG Board. They have a keen sense of mission and understand the possibilities within theatre, and they’re also smart business people who are true leaders in the field. I was immensely honored to be selected to serve alongside them—leaders who are stewarding the strategy for tomorrow’s theatre. But it’s also about CPT and the recognition of what this organization has accomplished in the last decade,” says Raymond Bobgan.
“Each new class of TCG board members brings a wealth of personal and professional perspective to help manifest our vision of a better world for theatre, and a better world because of theatre,” said Teresa Eyring, executive director, TCG. “We are committed to building a diverse board, considering a range of factors, including geography, organization size, personal identity, expertise, and job function within the field.”
“Now more than ever TCG is essential for the American theatre,” said Kevin Moriarty, board chair, TCG. “With TCG’s support and inspiration, theatre-makers are coming together to create a culture of greater equity, diversity, and inclusion, advocate for the centrality of theatre in our national dialogue, and cultivate resources to secure a sustainable future for theatres throughout our country and beyond. I’m proud to join with the staff and board of TCG to fulfill its ambitious plans for the future.”
Kevin Moriarty , artistic director of Dallas Theater Center, Dallas, TX, returns for his second term as board chair, joining a slate of officers that includes: vice chair Kathryn M. Lipuma, executive director, Writers Theatre, Glencoe, IL; secretary Larissa FastHorse , playwright and choreographer, Santa Monica, CA; and treasurer Tim Jennings, executive director; The Shaw Festival, Niagara-on-the-Lake, ON, Canada. Rebecca Hopkins, managing director of Florida Studio Theatre, returns as the League of Resident Theatres (LORT) liaison.
Returning board members include: Christopher Acebo, associate artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare
Festival, Ashland, OR; Sarah Bellamy, co-artistic director, Penumbra Theatre Company, St Paul, MN; Joseph P. Benincasa, president and CEO, The Actors Fund, New York, NY; Kristen Coury, founder and producing artistic director, Gulfshore Playhouse, Naples, FL; Joshua Dachs, president, Fisher Dachs Associates Theatre Planning and Design, New York, NY; Teresa Eyring, executive director, Theatre Communications Group, New York, NY; Derek Goldman, co-founding director, Laboratory for Global Performance and Politics; Director, Playwright/Adapter, Professor, Georgetown University, Washington, DC; Susan Hilferty, costume and set designer, New York, NY; Marshall Jones III , producing artistic director, Crossroads Theatre Company, New Brunswick, NJ; Max Leventhal , owner’s representative, The Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, GA; Eileen J. Morris , artistic director, The Ensemble Theatre, Houston, TX; Lisa Portes, director and educator, Chicago, IL; Meghan Pressman, managing director, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Washington, DC; Heather Randall, actor, producer, trustee at New York Theatre Workshop, New York, NY and Los Angeles, CA; Francine T. Reynolds, artistic director; New Stage Theatre, Jackson, MS; Ellen Richard, executive director, Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Beach, CA; Blake Robison, artistic director; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Cincinnati, OH; Eric Rosen, artistic director, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Kansas City, MO; Michael S. Rosenberg, managing director, La Jolla Playhouse, San Diego, CA; Nikkole Salter, actress, playwright, educator, and arts advocate, Bloomfield, NJ; Tim Sanford, artistic director, Playwrights Horizons, New York, NY; John Douglas Thompson, actor, New York, NY; Robert P. Warren, president, The William & Eva Fox Foundation, Bethesda, MD; and Shana C. Waterman, head of television, Universal based, One Race TV, Los Angeles, CA.
Members of TCG’s board serve three two-year terms. Board officers serve terms of one-year, concurrent with the fiscal year of July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018. Learn more about the TCG Board here: http://www.tcg.org/about/board.cfm.
ABOUT THEATRE COMMUNICATIONS GROUP
For over 50 years, Theatre Communications Group (TCG), the national organization for U.S. theatre, has existed to strengthen, nurture and promote the professional not-for-profit theatre. TCG’s constituency has grown from a handful of groundbreaking theatres to nearly 700 member theatres and affiliate organizations and more than 12,000 individuals nationwide. TCG offers its members networking and knowledge-building opportunities through conferences, events, research and communications; awards grants, approximately $2 million per year, to theatre companies and individual artists; advocates on the federal level; and serves as the U.S. Center of the International Theatre Institute, connecting its constituents to the global theatre community. TCG is North America’s largest independent publisher of dramatic literature, with 15 Pulitzer Prizes for Best Play on the TCG booklist. It also publishes the award-winning AMERICAN THEATRE magazine and ARTSEARCH®, the essential source for a career in the arts. In all of its endeavors, TCG seeks to increase the organizational efficiency of its member theatres, cultivate and celebrate the artistic talent and achievements of the field and promote a larger public understanding of, and appreciation for, the theatre. www.tcg.org.
ABOUT RAYMOND BOBGAN, CPT EXECUTIVE ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Raymond Bobgan specializes in working through an ensemble process to create new performances that are bold, multilayered and highly physical. Raymond’s work has been seen in Romania, Brazil, Denmark, Serbia, Turkey, The United Kingdom and Canada. Under his leadership, CPT has eliminated significant debt, run consistent operating surpluses and completed a $7 million capital campaign. This financial advancement was a result of mission-focused programming including a strong emphasis on supporting new works and local artists, a bold aesthetic vision and CPT’s educational and engagement programs. For CPT, Raymond initiated the STEP program, a job training theatre program for low-income teens, Y-Haven Theatre Project which engages homeless men in writing and performing theatre, and Teatro Publico de Cleveland. Raymond was the first theatre artist to receive a Cleveland Arts Prize in 2014. In 2015 Raymond received Equality Ohio’s Ally Award and more recently received the 2017 Governor’s Award for the Arts in Ohio. He currently serves on the National New Play Network Executive Committee and The Gordon Square Arts District Cleveland Improvement Corporation Board.