Resident Critic for – Kevin Kelly Editor: Robert Kowalewski

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.

Equus (1)


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………………

Equus (48)

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.

Equus (34)

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.

Equus (26)

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.

Equus (45)

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






Mamaí Closes its 2017 Season at Playhouse Square with Thornton Wilder’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE! Tickets on sale now!

Mamaí Theatre Company's A DOLL'S HOUSE
A DOLL’S HOUSE by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Thornton Wilder
August 9-27 at at the Helen Theatre, Playhouse Square.
Tickets at ;
View the trailer now!

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Mamaí Closes its 2017 Season at Playhouse Square with Thornton Wilder’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A DOLL’S HOUSE! Tickets on sale now! 

by Henrik Ibsen, adapted by Thornton Wilder
Directed by Christine McBurney

Scenic Design by Don McBride
Lighting Design by Marcus Dana
Costume Design by Kristine Davies
Sound Design by Richard Ingraham
Properties Design by Monica Plunkett

with: Abraham Adams+, Mary Alice Beck, John Busser,
Anjanette Hall*, Tim Keo+ & Rachel Lee Kolis+

August 9 – 27, 2017
Wednesdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 2:30pm

Helen Theatre, Playhouse Square

Adult Outreach Events
August 20: Talkback with director & cast following the Sunday matinee

Imagine a devoted wife and mother who makes an unexpected journey to an unplanned exit with a famous door slam heard around the world. Ibsen’s 1870s classic reshaped through a 1937 adaptation by American master Thornton Wilder takes audiences on a suspenseful ride to the edge of a gaping precipice of personal discovery that has a potential gain so great, that even a mother’s love and a wife’s duty can be swayed to sacrifice.

“A solitary soul is heard gasping as if her last breath were at hand.”
— The New York Times

“Doll’s House, A (Wilder)” is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.

     *Member Actors’ Equity Association
+Equity Member Candidate





Three groundbreaking productions featured this academic year

NORTH CANTON, OHIO, Aug. 3, 2017 – A man spontaneously transitions into a woman, Jesus Christ makes an appearance on the Home Shopping Network and the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy will be examined this theatre season at Kent State University at Stark.

In keeping with its tradition of staging contemporary and thought-provoking plays year after year, Kent State Stark Theatre ups the ante with three cutting-edge productions for the 2017-18 season:

Consider the Oyster

By David MacGregor

Auditions: Sept. 6 & 7 at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Performances: Nov. 10, 11, 17 & 18 at 7:30 p.m.; Nov. 12 & 19 (American Sign Language performance) at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 adults; $7 students under 17 and senior citizens; Kent State students free with current ID.

Tickets will be available online and at the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office beginning October 30.

After watching his favorite team win the Super Bowl, Gene spontaneously proposes to his longtime girlfriend Marisa, and in the midst of his excitement, breaks his leg. The oyster shell the doctor leaves in Gene’s leg to aid in healing sets off a chain reaction of odd feminine changes in Gene’s physicality, hormones and emotions. Just as an oyster changes from male to female over the course of its life, Gene is changing, too. He begins to question his feelings for his new fiancée, and his relationships with friends and family become awkward and strange. Watch as gender identity and humor explode on stage in comical, yet thought-provoking, ways.

Virtual Devotion

By Eric Coble

Auditions: November 28 & 29 at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Performances: Feb. 23 & 24; March 2 & 3 at 7:30 p.m.; Feb. 25 & March 4 (American Sign Language performance) at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 adults; $7 students under 17 and senior citizens; Kent State students free with current ID.

Tickets will be available online and at the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office beginning February 12.

It’s the end of the world as we know it; pollution, terrorism and disease have taken over humanity. Pete, Anne and Ruth attempt to sell their faith to nonbelievers in various, and sometimes violent, ways, as a last-ditch effort to save souls, including their own. Through a series of ironic, laughable and most unfortunate events, all of the characters, including the returned Son of God, Jesus Christ, find one another on the Home Shopping Network selling religious artifacts. But now that they are finally together, is it too late to stop the ensuing Armageddon?


26 Pebbles

By Eric Ulloa

Auditions: January 30 & 31 at 6 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre.

Performances: April 13, 14, 20 & 21 at 7:30 p.m.; April 15 & 22 (American Sign Language performance) at 2 p.m.

Tickets: $10 adults; $7 students under 17 and senior citizens; Kent State students free with current ID.

Tickets will be available online and at the Fine Arts Theatre Box Office beginning April 2.

What happened to the people of Newtown, Conn., after the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre? Months after the attack, Eric Ulloa held intimate interviews with members of the Newtown community, and created a play that nods to Thornton Wilder’s Our Town. This docudrama is a weave of verbatim interview excerpts from many people of Newtown as they recount the ripples that were made in the aftermath of unthinkable tragedy, and the resulting push forward towards healing in their community.


Directing Kent State Stark’s theatre productions is Brian Newberg, associate professor of theatre and theatre director with scenic and lighting design by Louis Williams, sound design by Ron Jarvis and costume design by Stephen Ostertag.

All upcoming productions will be performed at the Kent State Stark Fine Arts Theatre, 6000 Frank Avenue NW in Jackson Township.

For additional information about the 2017-18 Kent State Stark theatre performances, including online ticket sales, box office hours, audition details and production team opportunities, visit The Fine Arts Theatre Box Office phone number is 330-244-3348 and is staffed two weeks before a production opens.

Cleveland Public Theatre presents Pandemonium 2017: UNLEASH CPT’s Boundless Benefit and Celebrated Party of the Year! One Night Only – Saturday, September 9, 2017  


Cleveland Public Theatre presents

Pandemonium 2017: UNLEASH

CPT’s Boundless Benefit and Celebrated Party of the Year!

One Night Only – Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cleveland, OH – Cleveland Public Theatre (CPT)  Executive Artistic Director, Raymond Bobgan, presents Pandemonium 2017—CPT’s annual benefit and theatrical spectacular—on Saturday, September 9, 2017, from 7:00pm through midnight. The Pandemonium 2017 theme is “Unleash.”

Guests enjoy complimentary valet, drinks and delicious food from some of Cleveland’s top chefs, alongside breathtaking entertainment in every corner of CPT’s campus. Named “Fundraiser Event of the Year” (Connectors Choice Award 2013 & 2014), Pandemonium is a uniquely immersive “choose-your-own-adventure” style event, featuring nearly 300 Northeast Ohio artists premiering over 50 original works and musical acts on 20 different stages and in unexpected places. The Pandemonium 2017 lineup includes bands, DJs, contemporary dance, short plays, comedy, cabaret performances and more.

A short video trailer of last year’s Pandemonium event is available here.

This year, CPT honors Andrew Watterson with the 2017 PAN Award in celebration of his contributions to the arts, environmental sustainability and community development.


Pandemonium 2017: UNLEASH is Saturday, September 9th.

When: Saturday, September 9, 2017. Registration begins at 6:45pm, doors open at 7pm.

Where: Cleveland Public Theatre, 6415 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44102.

Tickets: $165 ($95 tax deductible) includes food, drink and complimentary valet parking

Tickets are available online at or by calling (216) 631-2727 ext. 501. Proceeds support CPT’s groundbreaking artistic work and education programs.

Pandemonium 2017 performers (list subject to change)

Dance Performances from Verb Ballets, Inlet Dance Theatre, Wind & Sand Dance Company, Elu Dance Co., Duece Dance & Friends, BC Miles, Suga Shack Girls Burlesque and Double-Edge Dance Live Music & Comedy Performances by Pureplex DJs featuring Neil Chastain & Byron Lee Eulinberg (aka Funk Shway), By Light We Loom, David Loy & the Ramrods, The Church of Starry Wisdom, Señor Symphonifunk, Buck McDaniel, Cleveland Opera Theatre, Mourning A BLKstar and more Original Theatrical Work by Teatro Publico de Cleveland, Raymond Bobgan & the Cleveland Core Ensemble, Tecia Wilson, Ray Caspio, RA Washington, Melissa Crum & Caitlin Lewins, Cathleen O’Malley, Pinch & Squeal!, Roaring Third Productions, Sally Groth, Greg Vovos, Amanda Lin Boyd & Juice McKenna, Stuart Hoffman, Amy Schwabauer, Stephanie Wilbert & Erin Dolan, Les Hunter, Meredith L. King, Elaine Hullihen & Daved Thonnings, Theater Ninjas and many more Wandering Performances by The Cleveland Museum of Art Community Arts, Mark Zust, Kalindi Stockton, Teatro Publico de Cleveland and others Visual Art Installation & Multimedia T. Paul Lowry, Kerry McCarthy, Eric M. C. Gonzalez, Vickie Williams, Dayni Maher and more

Pandemonium 2017 Celebrity Chefs

Celebrity chefs will be cooking live throughout the campus, including: Astoria Café and Market, La Campagna, Luxe Kitchen and Lounge, The Root Café, Toast, West Side Market Café and XYZ Catering.

About the 2017 Pan Award Honoree: Andrew Watterson

Andrew has served on the board of CPT since 2009 and also serves on the Gordon Square Arts District board. Andrew is Senior Vice President and Head of Sustainability for KeyBank, where he uses his environmental and organizational change expertise to lead the bank in the development and execution of a sustainability strategy.

Andrew has also served on the boards of the Cleveland International Film Festival and the GreenCity Blue Lake Institute at the Cleveland Natural History Museum. He lived for 10 years in Gordon Square Arts District, most recently moving with his husband Randy Lanoue to the Edgewater Park neighborhood. His love for this community runs deep and CPT is thrilled to honor him. Full bio for the 2017 Pan Award Honoree is available here.


Honorable Frank G. Jackson


CO-CHAIRS (*indicates past Pan Award honoree)

Amy Brady, Jason Bristol & Alex Frondorf, Barb & Chuck Brown, Hon. Joe Cimperman & Nora Romanoff* (2011), Trina Evans & Ken Birch, Randy Lanoue, Pat & Chuck Mintz* (2016), Phil Oliss & Rachel McQuade-Oliss, Margie & John Wheeler, Karen White, Hon. Matthew & Michelle Zone* (2005)

Pandemonium 2017 is sponsored by KeyBank, Deborah & Ron Ratner, Consolidated Solutions, Cognizant, Matthew P. Figgie, WCPN 90.3 FM/Ideastream, Better Together Solar, Calfee, Halter & Griswold, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Public Power, Dollar Bank Foundation, Forest City Realty Trust, Donna & Stewart Kohl, La Mega 87.7 FM, Marous Brothers Construction, MCPc, Pat & Chuck Mintz, Holly & David Neumann, Rock the House, Squire Patton Boggs, T.D. Security, Urban Orchid, Margie & John Wheeler, WKYC, Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority, The Edison at Gordon Square, Emmett Equipment – Billy & Ashley Linnert, FirstEnergy Foundation, FIT Technologies, Great Lakes Brewing Company, PNC Bank, WSP, CGB Tech, Collins & Scanlon LLP, Cuyahoga Community College, David & Karen Doll, Douglass & Associates Co., L.P.A., The Fedeli Group, Char & Chuck Fowler, GCA Services Group, HKM Direct Market Communications, Alana Jochum & Graham Binnig, King Nut Companies, Let’s Entertain, Judy & Mort Levin and Lora & Jared Levin, Phil Oliss & Rachel McQuade-Oliss, Pioneer Savings Bank, The Seven Sages of the Bamboo Grove, Ted Sikora, Andrew Watterson & Randy Lanoue, Westlake Reed Leskosky

This year’s ATFGC / CANAPI benefit is just around the corner, so don’t miss out on JUDGE JACKIE: Disorder in the Court?


JUDGE JACKIE: Disorder in the Court?

If not, you’d better act quickly!  This year’s ATFGC / CANAPI benefit is just around the corner, so don’t miss out.  It’s not just an entertaining night at the theatre, it’s also an opportunity to help further the efforts of AID/HIV support agencies working right here in Northeast Ohio.  Perhaps you have lost friends, lovers, family members, or colleagues to AIDS — perhaps you or a loved one are living with HIV and benefiting from the advances in treatment –- or perhaps you want to help stop the spread of the virus through education, testing, and outreach.  There are so many reasons to support the Community AIDS Network/Akron Pride Initiative and the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland – but there’s no funnier way to do it!

On Monday, August 14 the 7:30 pm show is at Weathervane Playhouse (1301 Weathervane Lane, in Akron’s Merriman Valley).  Tickets for the Weathervane performance are $22 to benefit CANAPI, and are available now from Weathervane at or 330-836-2626.

On Monday, August 21 the 8:00 pm show is at Cassidy Theatre (6200 Pearl Road, Parma Heights, in the Greenbriar Commons).  Tickets for the Cassidy performance are $25 to benefit the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, and are available from the Taskforce at ;  or call Joye Toombs at 216-621-0766, extension 2919.

“JUDGE JACKIE: Disorder in the Court” features book and lyrics by Christopher Dimond and music by Michael Kooman, based on a concept by Van Kaplan.

We hope to see you all in court!







CLEVELAND, OH (August 9, 2017) – Cleveland Play House (CPH) has been selected for a two-year partnership with Theatre Development Fund’s (TDF) National Open Captioning Initiative (NOCI) to sponsor open captioned performances during the upcoming 2017-2018 Season. Through this partnership, TDF will provide open captioning for one performance of each production during CPH’s 2017-2018 Season. CPH’s entire 2017-2018 season is currently on sale for single ticket buyers, and Open Caption seats for Shakespeare in Love. Remaining Open Caption tickets will be available for purchase one month prior to each of the scheduled performances. 

The mission of the NOCI program is to help theatres provide increased accessibility and expand attendance by people who are deaf or hard of hearing over a two-year period.  Cleveland Play House’s open captioned performances kick off at the conclusion of Deaf Awareness Week with Shakespeare in Love on Sept. 24th, and continue at select Sunday performances for each show.  A select amount of specially priced seats will be available to those who require the use of Open Captioning.

“We’re thrilled that the Cleveland Play House has proven their commitment to further welcoming people with hearing loss to their productions,” said Lisa Carling, TDF’s Director of Accessibility Programs. “We’re thrilled to provide Open Captioning for one performance of each show in their upcoming season.”

“It is an honor to be included in the TDF National Open Captioning Initiative,” stated CPH Managing Director Kevin Moore, “and a tremendous opportunity for us to expand access to our performances for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.  We look forward to working with community leaders and organizations to spread the word about these special performances.”

Among the many organizations within the community that are excited about this opportunity is the Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center.  “By offering Open Captioning to the audience, Cleveland Play House adds a level of accessibility to the arts for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the theater experience,” says Sharon Dundee, Director of Marketing and Communications, “We look forward to many Open Captioning performances throughout the season.”

Open Captioning will be available for the following performances during the 2017-2018 Season:


Shakespeare in Love – Sunday, September 24, 2017 at 2:30 PM – ON SALE NOW

The Diary of Anne Frank – Sunday, November 5, 2017 at 2:30 PM

A Christmas Story – Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 2:30 PM

Marie and Rosetta – Sunday, February 4, 2018 at 2:30 PM

The Invisible Hand – Sunday, March 4, 2018 at 2:30 PM

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Sunday, April 29, 2018 at 2:30 PM

The Royale – Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 2:30 PM

Single tickets are currently available for the entire season of shows, along with Open Caption seating for Shakespeare in Love, at www.clevelandplayhouse.comTo ensure your seats are in view of the open caption signboard, place your ticket order online using promo code OPEN, or by calling (216) 400-7096 and mentioning promo code OPEN.



Theatre Development Fund, a not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, was created in the conviction that the live theatrical arts afford a unique expression of the human condition that must be sustained and nurtured. It is dedicated to developing diverse audiences for live theatre and dance, and strengthening the performing arts community in New York City. Since 1968, TDF’s programs have provided over 94 million people with access to performances at affordable prices and have returned over $2.8 billion to thousands of productions.

Best known for its TKTS Discount Booths, TDF’s membership, outreach, access (including the Autism Theatre Initiative) and education programs — as well as its Costume Collection — have introduced thousands of people to the theatre and helped make the unique experience of theatre available to everyone, including students and people with disabilities.

Recent TDF honors include a 2011 Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture, a 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence for its Open Doors Arts Education Program, a 2012 New York Innovative Theatre Award for its support of the off-Off Broadway community and a 2013 Lucille Lortel honor for “Outstanding Body of Work” in support of the Off Broadway community, a 2016 “Friend of Off-Broadway” honor from The Off Broadway Alliance, and New York City’s 2016 TITLE II ADA Sapolin Public Service Award. With the Broadway League, TDF recently launched the website, Theatre Access NYC ( which assists theatregoers with disabilities in finding accessible performances of Broadway shows. To learn more about TDF, go to:

Major funding for TDF’s National Open Captioning Initiative is provided by The National Endowment for the Arts and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


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.


Kristin Netzband
Audience Development & Public Relations Manager
Cleveland Play House
1901 E. 13th Street, Suite 200
Cleveland, OH  44114

Dobama Theatre announces the Cleveland Premiere of brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee


Nathan Motta, Artistic Director Julie Friedman, Managing Director Media contact: Julie Friedman

Dobama Theatre announces the Cleveland Premiere of brownsville song (b-side for tray) by Kimber Lee September 1 – 24, 2017 Preview performances on Wednesday, August 30th and Thursday, August 31st Performed at Dobama Theatre on Lee Road in Cleveland Heights

Dobama Theatre opens its 17/18 Season with the Cleveland Premiere of brownsville song (b-side for tray), running September 1 – 24, directed by Jimmie Woody.

In the Brownsville neighborhood of Brooklyn, a life with infinite potential is tragically cut short. That is where the story both begins and ends. As time shifts gracefully between past and present we meet Tray, his 9-year-old sister Devine, the grandmother who’s raising them, and get introduced to the rest of Tray’s world – a world he’ll leave far too soon.

brownsville song (b-side for tray) features Jabri Little, Lisa Langford*, Cindy Chang*, Logan Dior Williams, and Kalim Hill

* Member of Actors’ Equity Association

“… such overflowing hope and love in Lee’s lyrical script that our emotional experience follows along as if buoyed by a coursing current”. – DC Metro Theater Arts

About the Playwright: KIMBER LEE ’s plays include fight, tokyo fish story, and brownsville song (b-side for tray), which premiered at the 2014 Humana Festival and received 2014-15 productions at LCT3, Long Wharf Theatre, and Philadelphia Theatre Company. In May 2014, Center Theatre Group presented the world premiere of her play different words for the same thing directed by Neel Keller, and tokyo fish story premiered at South Coast Rep in March 2015. Her work has also been presented by Lark Play Development Center, Page 73, Hedgebrook, Seven Devils, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, TheatreWorks (Palo Alto), The Old Globe, Magic Theatre, Great Plains Theatre Conference, and Dramatists Guild Fellows Program. Kimber is a Lark Playwrights Workshop Fellow (2014-15), a member of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, and is currently under commission at Lincoln Center Theater/LCT3, South Coast Rep, Denver Center Theatre Company, Long Wharf, Hartford Stage, and the Bush Theatre (London). She is the recipient of the 2014 Ruby Prize, the 2013-14 PoNY Fellowship, the 2014-15 Aetna New Voices Fellowship, and the inaugural 2015 PoNY/Bush Theatre Playwright residency in London. MFA: UT Austin.

About the Director: JIMMIE WOODY’s most recent directorial credits include: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee, CLYBOURNE PARK by Bruce Norris, and RAISIN IN THE SUN by Lorraine Hansberry (Weathervane Playhouse), THE AMERICA PLAY by SuzanLori Parks (University of Akron), THE SPLIT SHOW, HOW BLOOD GO, and THE BOMB by Lisa Langford (convergencecontinuum & Cleveland Public Theatre), THE GLASS MENAGERIE by Tennessee Williams, FOR COLORED GIRLS… by Ntozake Shange, JITNEY, TWO TRAINS RUNNING & JOE TURNER’S COME AND GONE by August Wilson (Cuyahoga Community College), 365 DAYS/365 PLAYS by Suzan-Lori Parks (Cleveland Public Theatre), MLK DAY by Jimmie Woody, THE COLORED MUSEUM by George C. Wolfe & WHEN THE CHICKENS CAME HOME TO ROOST by Laurence Holder (Karamu House), SEEDFOLKS by Paul Fleischman (Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland, Cleveland Public Library and the Cleveland Botanical Garden), UNDERGROUND GRIOTS by Natalie Parker & Keith Josef Adkins (Cleveland Public Theatre, The National Black Theater Festival and Here Café NYC), WILBERFORCE & HOLLIS MUGLEY’S ONLY WISH by Keith Josef Adkins (Cleveland Public Theatre, The National Black Theater Festival & New York Hip Hop Festival), THE BACCHAE adapted by Wole Soyinka (Cleveland Public Theatre and Columbia University), SONG by Daniel Gray Kontar and INCOGNEGRO by Lisa Langford (Cleveland Public Theatre). Jimmie received his M.F.A. in acting from Columbia University. He is a 2012 Creative Workforce Fellow, is currently a Roster Artist of Theater and Digital Media at Center for Arts-Inspired Learning, and is an acting professor at Cuyahoga Community College. He would like to dedicate this production to Jimmie Wince, Shirley and Deborah Woody as well as Karen Elizabeth Greene, Alianna Defreeze and all of those who’ve lost loved ones to acts of violence.

Tickets are $29-32. Senior & Student discounts available. Call the Box Office at 216.932.3396 Walk up box office hours: Monday – Friday, 10am – 5pm; Saturday during performance weeks, noon-4pm and one hour before performances.

Sunday, September 3 is a Pay-As-You-Can Performance. In an effort to remove economic barriers and to make Dobama’s productions accessible to everyone, the first Sunday of every production is a 7:30pm Pay-As-You-Can Performance.

Show dates and times: Wednesday, August 30 at 7:30 – Preview Performance, all tickets $15 Thursday, August 31 at 7:30 pm – Preview Performance, all tickets $15 Friday, September 1 at 8:00 pm Saturday, September 2 at 8:00 pm Sunday, September 3 at 7:30 pm – Pay-As-You-Can Performance

Thursday, September 7 at 7:30 pm Friday, September 8 at 8:00 pm Saturday, September 9 at 8:00 pm Sunday, September 10 at 2:30 pm

Thursday, September 14 at 7:30 pm Friday, September 15 at 8:00 pm Saturday, September 16 at 8:00 pm Sunday, September 17 at 2:30 pm

Thursday, September 21 at 7:30 pm Friday, September 22 at 8:00 pm Saturday, September 23 at 8:00 pm Sunday, September 24 at 2:30 pm

For information on our Audience Engagement events, visit

At the Heights Library, 2340 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 44118. Please mention any accessibility needs at the time of reservation. Assisted Listening Devices are available upon request.

Dobama Theatre thanks its 2017/18 Season Sponsor Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Arnoff

Dobama Theatre is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. The Ohio Arts Council helped fund this organization with state tax dollars designated to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans.

Dobama Theatre is also generously supported by many individual donors and the following foundations: The Cleveland Foundation, The George Gund Foundation, The Harry K. and Emma R. Fox Charitable Foundation, The Milton and Tamar Maltz Family Foundation, Music and Drama Club, The David and Inez Myers Foundation, the Kulas Foundation and the William M. Weiss Foundation.

Dobama Theatre’s mission is to premiere the best contemporary plays by established and emerging playwrights in professional productions of the highest quality. Through educational and outreach programming, Dobama Theatre nurtures the development of theatre artists and builds new audiences for the arts while provoking an examination of our contemporary world.

Cleveland Play House Single Tickets Sale – Release the Hounds!





CLEVELAND, OH (August 7, 2017) Cleveland Play House’s 2017-18 Season is currently available for single ticket purchase.  This season of performances contains a wide range of work certain to captivate, enlighten, excite, and engage Cleveland audiences. Bursting with action, adventure, romance, and suspense, audiences will find joy in unexpected places in each production this season.

The season will include a Shakespearian romantic comedy, a reimagined immersive revival of an international classic, soul-shaking gospel performances, a political thriller from a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, a Tony Award-winning musical, and an electrifying athletic drama that packs a punch. With characters ranging from rebels and outsiders to misfits, revolutionaries, and geniuses, audiences will be swept up into the stories of one and all, and will be reminded that the most efficient way to resolve conflict—whether on the stage or in life—is through collaboration. 


All CPH performances are in the venues of the Allen Theatre Complex, Playhouse Square, Cleveland. Shows preview at 7:30 p.m. the first Saturday, 6:30 p.m. the first Sunday, 7 p.m. the first Tuesday and 7:30 p.m. the first Wednesday and Thursday, with 2:30 p.m. matinees most Saturdays and Sundays. They open at 7:30 p.m. the first Friday and close on a Sunday. There is one Thursday matinee performance at 1:30 p. m. for each production.

Single show tickets are now on sale for every show this 2017-2018 Season.

Prices for single tickets range from $25 to $110 with special discounts available: $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership.

Call 216-241-6000 or visit

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




Shakespeare in Love

Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Based on the screenplay by Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard

Sept 9 – Oct 1, 2017 • Allen Theatre

Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley

The Academy Award-winning romantic comedy Shakespeare in Love comes to the stage, complete with swordfights, secret trysts, and backstage drama. Young playwright Will Shakespeare is short on inspiration until he encounters the beguiling Viola, and their star-crossed love inspires a masterpiece.  Filled with action-packed adventure, fiery romance, and wit, get ready to fall head over heels for CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley’s lush, lavish, and lusty production that celebrates the power of live theatre.

The Diary of Anne Frank

Written by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett

Adapted by Wendy Kesselman

Oct 21 – Nov 19, 2017 • Outcalt Theatre

Directed by CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley

Staged in CPH’s intimate Outcalt Theatre, this must-see adaptation brings us into the secret annex where 13-year-old Anne and seven other Jews evade Nazi deportation. For over two years, all that will stand between them and the concentration camps is their trust in one another and the bravery of those harboring them. Anne’s compelling words come alive and urge us to stand up for one another in the face of intolerance, fear, and hate.


Marie and Rosetta

Written by George Brant

Jan 20 – Feb 11, 2018 • Allen Theatre

Directed by Neil Pepe

Get your front row seat to music history in the making. Sister Rosetta Tharpe, “The Godmother of Rock n’ Roll” who influenced performers from Elvis to Hendrix, plucks prim and proper Marie Knight from a rival gospel show, and the two challenge one another on music, life, and The Almighty. This story of letting loose, finding your voice, and freeing your soul is a soaring music-theatre experience chock full of roof-raising performances.

The Invisible Hand

Written by Ayad Akhtar

Feb 17 – Mar 11, 2018 • Outcalt Theatre

Directed by Pirronne Yousefzadeh

American investment banker Nick Bright will risk everything to return to his family. Held hostage in Pakistan by Islamic revolutionaries, his last chance for freedom depends on his ability to play the stock market to benefit his captors. This sharp geopolitical thriller from Pulitzer Prize-winner Ayad Akhtar takes us to the treacherous intersection of terrorism and capitalism, where greed and deceit prevail and no one escapes without blood on their hands.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Music and Lyrics by William Finn

Book by Rachel Sheinkin

Conceived by Rebecca Feldman

Additional Material by Jay Reiss

April 14 – May 6, 2018 • Allen Theatre

Directed/Choregraphed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge

Six middle-school misfits are thrown into a cutthroat, high-stakes competition and P-A-N-D-E-M-O-N-I-U-M takes first place. Welcome to the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, where eccentric adolescents (all played by adults!) get their chance to shine as they vie to prove they are the worthy of a shot at “Nationals.” A touching and irreverent coming-of-age comedy with a high-spirited, improvised spelling bee, this Tony Award-winning musical is a laugh-out-loud winner for all ages.

The Royale

Written by Marco Ramirez

Anchor production of the 2018 New Ground Theatre Festival

May 5 – 27, 2018 • Outcalt Theatre

Directed by CPH Associate Artistic Director Robert Barry Fleming

It’s 1910, and Negro Heavyweight Champion Jay “The Sport” Jackson is determined to prove he is equal to his white counterpart—in the ring and in life. Challenging his rival to “The Fight of the Century,” Jay knows that even if he wins the bout, the battle for acceptance won’t end. Inspired by groundbreaking sports legend Jack Johnson, The Royale is an electrifying adrenaline rush that packs an unforgettable punch as it takes you inside Jim Crow America, inside the ring, and inside the head of this remarkable fighter.

Special Non-subscription Engagements!

A Christmas Story

Written by Philip Grecian

Based on the motion picture written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark

Nov 24 – Dec 23, 2017 • Allen Theatre

Directed by John McCluggage

He’s back! One boy. One holiday wish. And a world that seems to be conspiring to make certain it doesn’t come true. The record-breaking show returns to the CPH stage in all its pink-bunny-suit, glowing-leg-lamp, triple-dog-daring glory. The perfect holiday treat for the entire family.

Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin

Jun 7 – Jun 17, 2018 • Allen Theatre

In a virtuoso performance, award-winning showman and Cleveland favorite Hershey Felder (George Gershwin Alone, Maestro: Leonard Bernstein) brings to life the remarkable story of America’s Composter, Irving Berlin.  From the depths of anti-Semitism in Czarist Russia, to New York’s Lower East Side, and ultimately all of the country and the world, Irving Berlin’s story epitomizes capturing the American Dream.


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.

Avenue Q at Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

avenue q cvlt

Chagrin Valley Little Theatre
Community Theatre
Through August 19th.
This laugh-out-loud musical tells the timeless story of a recent college grad named Princeton, who moves into a shabby New York apartment all the way out on Avenue Q. He soon discovers that, although the residents seem nice, it’s clear that this is not your ordinary neighborhood. Together, Princeton and his new-found friends struggle to find jobs, dates and their ever-elusive purpose in life.
Filled with gut-busting humor and a delightfully catchy score, not to mention puppets, Avenue Q is a truly unique show that has quickly become a favorite for audiences everywhere. Although the show addresses humorous adult issues, it is similar to a beloved children’s show; a place where puppets are friends, Monsters are good, and life lessons are learned.

Sounds like a blast doesn’t it? Well it is. However, the puppets in this show make “Girls gone Wild” look like a Lassie movie. That is why it is very understandable that the show comes with a disclosure:

Content Notices:
Adult Themes
Strong Language
Sexual Content
My first impressions entering the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre is one of awe. The remodeling that has taken place there has turned this charming theatre into a revamped modern facility. Add in the fantastic volunteer base, and this theatre hits a home run. Also, running into Stage Manager Jeannie Clarkson was a delight. Sitting in my seat I am immediately tickled to see the set. Avenue Q never looked better. Looking like Sesame Street, it was interesting to think if the audience knew what was about to happen to them.
Tim Schuerger ( Princeton) starts off with some strong vocals and charming presence with What Do You Do With a B.A. in English?  Natalie Kreft ( Kate Monster) has an immediate likable stage presence from her first entrance, deftly handling one of the major story lines that will unfold, with beautiful vocals and an enjoyable character. The entire ensemble rendition of Sucks To Be Me starts the evening off with kicking some major vocal and comedic butt. Every character is unique and a heck of a lot of fun. The puppets are great, and clearly worth the rental fee. This is a fabulous opening number. And Gary Coleman (Dayshawnda ‘Day’ Ash) is the pleasant surprise. So right off we have great characterizations, but when Christmas Eve (Evie Koh) takes over, this party hits the street with burning comedic rubber. Koh kicks ass this entire show.  Her husband to be Brian (Patrick Hanlon) is a scream, playing his King of the Hill, Al Bundy realness to the hilt. Rod (Rob Walter) is a hoot as the alternative lifestyle puppet. Great face and great puppet maneuvers, and certainly anchors the show. Truly a blended puppet human delivery.
The Bad Idea Bears are scene stealers in the best way possible. Zachary Vederman and Sara Saltzer are brilliant as the bears that will lead you right off the edge in life, and/or off the edge of your chair in laughter. Other premiere performances are Tony Heffner as Nicky. One of the most well-rounded performers and characters in the show. Great puppet voice, great vocals, and great facial/puppet work. Just fantastic. Lets add in one of my favorite performances with Michael J. Rogan absolutely killing it playing Trekkie. Rogan completely destroys this role with brilliant comedic timing, and a voice that would rival Pennywise the clown. Awesome hilarious work. And then there is Braelin Andrzejewski as Mrs. Thistletwat, and then the delicious slut Lucy. Where the hell has this voice been my whole life. As Thistlewat, she delivers a very funny characterization. But when she enters as Lucy, the turkey thermostat just popped out to tell us we are done. Fabulous sultry, fun Lucyness, and then a sultry powerful vocal to top it all off. Don’t get me started with her rapid head dip. I just can’t.
Very special Kudos to Nicky’s right arm Jackie Manno, and Trekkie’s right arm Ronnie Thompson. Great work from both of them for completing their characters with astute precision, and rocking the ensemble numbers.
There were some issues that I noticed. I felt like a decision should be made to just light the puppet or both the puppet and the human face. Many times the spotlight cut half of the human face off and I found that distracting. There were several times where puppets were upstaging themselves. This happened with Kate Monster quite a bit, and one scene with the Blue Bad Idea bear. Whether these scenes or moments were blocked that way, or just fell into place, more attention needs to be spent making sure the puppets are opened up to the audience. The balance of the orchestra and performers tended to be off quite a bit during big numbers, sometimes so loud you couldn’t hear the performers. And then also when there were quieter moments to start off a number, you could hardly hear the intro. I am a stickler when it comes to a button on the end of the number. There were quite a few times where the posing at the end of the number, and the music weren’t in sync. To be honest, this bugs me. It leaves the audience, and the cast, with an odd sense of “Is this over?”. As a result, some of the transitions suffered.
A major attaboy to the Band led by Carey Knox. They kicked it. Special shout out to percussionist Marcus Greene, who nailed every comedic percussion moment in the show. If you ever needed a rim shot guy for your comedy act, this would be the man.
Director and Co-Lighting Designer Will C. Crosby has put together a great cast and a great night of entertainment. Choreographer Kaylea Kudlaty supplies everyone with just the right amount of movement to make the evening jive. However, if I see one more box step and a grapevine in community theatre, I might have to be medicated. Kudlaty also did double duty costuming the show to perfection. Edmond Wolff did a great job with his Set, Sound, Lighting and Video Design. Jeannie Clarkson handled Stage Management with efficient flare.
CSA – Kevin
8pm Fridays
8pm Saturdays
2pm Sundays


(440) 247-8955
Order Tickets Online
Chagrin Valley Little Theatre

40 River Street
Chagrin Falls, OH 44022


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