Tag Archive | Great Lakes Theater Festival

The Two Gentlemen of Verona

Valentine and Proteus have arrived in Cleveland! Great Lakes Theater Festival has done it again with William Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona. A delightful romantic comedy from the world’s most famous playwright, The Two Gentlemen of Verona will run from April 8 to April 23 in the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.

Valentine and Proteus are the two gentlemen of Verona who travel to Milan and become embroiled in a farcical scenario involving Julia and Silvia, the objects of their desire. As in many of Shakespeare’s comedies, The Two Gentlemen of Verona presents themes of friendship, infidelity, betrayal, and the foolish behavior of people in love. In fact, we see in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the foundations for many of Shakespeare’s later comedies.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is believed to have been written in 1590 or 1591. It is considered by some scholars to be Shakespeare’s very first play. And William Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest playwright in the history of English-language literature. His 37 plays are divided into four categories: Comedies, tragedies, histories, and romances (or tragicomedies). They continue to be performed all over the world, and many of them have been adapted into numerous film and stage incarnations. It would appear that Shakespeare’s works are just as popular today as they were when they were first written and performed more than 400 years ago.

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A Christmas Carol

Image courtesy of Great Lakes Theater Festival

Celebrate the holidays with A Christmas Carol. The Great Lakes Theater Festival’s 22nd annual production of Charles Dickens’ classic Christmas tale opened Friday, December 3. This holiday tradition runs through December 23 in the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.

The timeless story of Ebenezer Scrooge has been told numerous times from various film adaptations to a host of other media. By now, we all know the story, but its magic continues to enchant every holiday season. The play opens on Christmas Eve 1864. The Cleaveland Family is celebrating the season, and Mother is reading A Christmas Carol to the children. The story then comes to life on stage as we are “transported” to Victorian London where we, too, will learn the story of Ebenezer Scrooge.

Ebenezer Scrooge is a nasty, bitter, old man. He has little happiness in his life, and his only true love is money. On a Christmas Eve long ago, Scrooge is visited by four ghosts. The first is his former business partner, Jacob Marley, who warns him of the other three: The ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Future. These three ghosts help Scrooge to see his life, and the lives of others, in a very different way, and in doing so, he learns the true spirit of the Christmas season.

Charles Dickens is one of the world’s most celebrated authors. Most of Dickens’ works were initially serialized in weekly and monthly magazines before being published in standard book formats. Among his many well-known works are The Adventures of Oliver Twist (February 1837 – April 1839), David Copperfield (May 1849 – November 1850), A Tale of Two Cities (April 1859 – November 1859), and Great Expectations (December 1860 – August 1861).  His novella A Christmas Carol was published in December 1843. It remains a classic of English literature, and it has never been out of print.

For nearly 50 years, Great Lakes Theater Festival has been presenting classic theatre of the highest standard in the Greater Cleveland Area. And A Christmas Carol continues to be a favorite production. The story is a true classic, the acting is superb, the special effects are spectacular, and the sets and costumes take us back in time to Victorian London. This production is first-rate and can be enjoyed by the entire family.

In the spring, the company will return to the Hanna Theatre with two productions from the most famous playwright of all time. Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Spring Repertory will include The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (March 11-27) and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (April 8-23). Tickets are available now.

The Great Lakes Theater Festival began in July of 1962, at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in Lakewood, Ohio. As the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the company presented six Shakespeare plays in rotating repertory.  In 1965, the repertory was expanded to include non-Shakespearean classics, although they have always remained an important part of the company. Twenty years later, in July of 1982, the Great Lakes Theater Festival moved to the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. And then in 2008, the company would move again to the beautifully restored Hanna Theatre.

With eight theatres, PlayhouseSquare is the nation’s second largest performing arts center (after Lincoln Center in New York). The five oldest theatres date back to 1921-1922, and all have been gloriously restored. In 2011, another important Cleveland institution, The Cleveland Play House, will move to PlayhouseSquare in a renovated and reconfigured Allen Theatre. Two additional theatres will be built for this venture, bringing PlayhouseSquare’s theatre count to ten and making Cleveland’s Theatre District busier and more vibrant than ever.

For more information about the Great Lakes Theater Festival visit www.GreatLakesTheater.org.

– Submitted by Christopher S. Musselman, guest blogger

An Ideal Husband at the Hanna Theatre

An Ideal Husband, Oscar Wilde’s witty, classic comedy, opened Friday, October 1 at the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. The show is part of Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Fall Repertory, along with Shakespeare’s Othello, which opened the 2010-2011 season on September 23.  The Fall Repertory will run through October 31.

An Ideal Husband is a play of blackmail and political corruption among the high society of 1893 London. In Wilde’s traditional literary style, An Ideal Husband incorporates both satire and farce as it presents social commentary on the “privileged class” and issues of the day. And as with many of his works, it includes two of his most popular themes: marriage and the morals of Victorian society. Adding all of these elements together provides a hilarious good time at the theatre.

Irish writer and poet Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) would become one of London’s most popular playwrights of the 1890s. Among his most famous works are Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895). His one and only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, was published in 1891.

For nearly 50 years, Great Lakes Theater Festival has been presenting classic theatre of the highest standard in the Greater Cleveland Area. An Ideal Husband is no exception. The acting is first-rate, the sets and costumes are beautiful, but above all, the company presents yet another great evening of theatre.

For any fan of Oscar Wilde, An Ideal Husband is the perfect show to see. And don’t forget Othello, one of Shakespeare’s most famous and gripping tragedies. Up next, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dicken’s holiday classic, will return to the Ohio Theatre from December 3 to 23, 2010.  And Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Spring Repertory will include The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (March 11-27) and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (April 8-23).

The Great Lakes Theater Festival began in July of 1962, at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in Lakewood, Ohio.  As the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the company presented six Shakespeare plays in rotating repertory.  In 1965, the repertory was expanded to include non-Shakespearean classics, although they have always remained an important part of the company.  Twenty years later, in July of 1982, the Great Lakes Theater Festival moved to the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.  And then in 2008, the company moved again to the beautifully restored Hanna Theatre.

With eight theatres, PlayhouseSquare is the nation’s second largest performing arts center (after Lincoln Center in New York).  The five oldest theatres date back to 1921-1922, and all have been gloriously restored.  In 2011, another important Cleveland institution, The Cleveland Play House, will move to PlayhouseSquare in a renovated and reconfigured Allen Theatre.  Two additional theatres will be built for this venture, bringing PlayhouseSquare’s theatre count to ten and making Cleveland’s Theatre District busier and more vibrant than ever.

For more information about the Great Lakes Theater Festival, please refer to its website at www.GreatLakesTheater.org.  For more information about PlayhouseSquare, its website is www.PlayhouseSquare.org– Submitted by Christopher S. Musselman, guest blogger

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the classic, magical romantic-comedy, is now playing in the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.  Performed by one of PlayhouseSquare’s resident companies, the Great Lakes Theater Festival, this show is another on my list of must- sees.

A Midsummer Night’s Dream follows four young lovers from Athens, a troupe of amateur actors, the Athenian aristocracy and magical fairies, as they find themselves crossing paths in the woods on a magical summer night.  Spells are cast and lovers are mismatched with humorous results.  It is no wonder that A Midsummer Night’s Dream remains an audience favorite after more than 400 years.

Great Lakes Theater Festival is known for its more contemporary staging and interpretation of Shakespearean classics, putting a modern spin on costumes, sets and props, while retaining the original Elizabethan text.  A Midsummer Night’s Dream continues this tradition and even throws in some Beatles’ classics, to boot.  The acting is first-rate, especially Eduardo Placer as Puck.  And the sets are spectacular, taking the audience from Athens to the magical woods.  Overall, the company presents an enjoyable evening of theatre.

There is still time to see this production (May 14 and 15).  And don’t forget Bat Boy: The Musical, also playing (May 12, 13, 15, and 16).  I highly recommend  both productions in Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Spring Repertory.

If you cannot make it this week, be sure to see a performance by the Great Lakes Theater Festival next season.  The 2010-2011 Season has been announced.  The Fall Repertory includes William Shakespeare’s Othello and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (September 24 – October 31, 2010).  The Spring Repertory features The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (March 11-27, 2011) and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (April 8-23).  And as always, the holiday classic A Christmas Carol returns to the Ohio Theatre (December 3–23, 2010).

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Bat Boy: The Musical

Bat Boy: The Musical (photo Great Lakes Theater Festival)

 Saw Bat Boy: The Musical on Friday night. It’s in spring repertory at the Great Lakes Theater Festival along with A Midsummer Night’s Dream

What can you say about a musical based on an on-going story from the famous supermarket tabloid The Weekly World News? You’ve pretty much got to go in with an open mind and be prepared for some serious offbeat twists.  

In that way, Bat Boy does not disappoint. Actors play multiple roles, switching (moment to moment) between portraying incredibly macho hunter types and to cat-carrying women by adopting a lilting voice and donning a curly wig. It’s Bat Boy (the strongest singer in the production) who steals the show, moving from a wild animal living deep in a cave with a serious aversion to Fritos to a BBC-educated young man. The plot thickens sends the rural community off the tracks when he decides to step out to the Hope Falls tent revival.Well, as if the premise isn’t crazy enough . . . if you’re looking for a totally different theater experience that seems a little like an extended Second City skit, this Off-Broadway classic is for you. –Submitted by TB

 

 EDITOR’S NOTE: And guest blogger Christopher Musselman had this to say about Bat Boy: The Musical:

Who, or what, is the Bat Boy?  Where did he come from?  Is he man or beast?  These are some of the many questions answered in the Great Lakes Theater Festival’s superb presentation of Bat Boy: The Musical

Bat Boy: The Musical is the first performance I’ve seen by Great Lakes Theater Festival.  I had always heard very good things about the company but knowing little about the show, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained by the show.  And I was very impressed with the great talent of the cast. 

The show is unique, funny, and very well performed.  The story is very different from what one might expect.  And the musical numbers are actually very good… much better than the average “off-Broadway” musical.  Above all, Bat Boy: the Musical continues Great Lakes Theater Festival’s long tradition of providing a great evening of theatre at a very reasonable price.

Bat Boy: The Musical has become a cult classic.  Based on a 1992 tabloid article, the show was first performed in Los Angeles in 1997.  The show would then move to New York, off-Broadway, and eventually, to London’s West End.  To this day, it continues to be performed throughout the world.

 If you have never seen Bat Boy: The Musical, I highly recommend it.  And don’t forget William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, the classic, magical romantic-comedy.  Great Lakes Theater Festival’s Spring Repertory continues through May 16.

The Great Lakes Theater Festival began in July of 1962, at the Lakewood Civic Auditorium in Lakewood, Ohio.  As the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival, the company presented six Shakespeare plays in rotating repertory.  In 1965, the repertory was expanded to include non-Shakespearean classics, although they have always remained an important part of the company.  Twenty years later, in July of 1982, the Great Lakes Theater Festival moved to the Ohio Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.  And then in 2008, the company moved again to the beautifully-restored Hanna Theatre.

With eight theatres, PlayhouseSquare is the nation’s second largest performing arts center (after Lincoln Center in New York).  The five oldest theatres date back to 1921-1922, and all have been gloriously restored.  In 2011, another important Cleveland institution, The Cleveland Play House, will move to PlayhouseSquare in a renovated and reconfigured Allen Theatre.  Two additional theatres will be built for this venture, bringing PlayhouseSquare’s theatre count to ten and making Cleveland’s Theatrer District busier and more vibrant than ever.

The Great Lakes Theater Festival’s 2010-2011 Season has been announced.  The Fall Repertory includes William Shakespeare’s Othello and Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband (September 24 – October 31, 2010).  The Spring Repertory includes The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) (March 11-27, 2011) and Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona (April 8-23).  And as always, the holiday classic A Christmas Carol returns to the Ohio Theatre (December 3–23, 2010). –Submitted by guest blogger, Christopher S. Musselman

I Love You Because + Other Theater (02.24.09)

New York City.  Present day.  Four singles looking for love.  This is the basic premise of I Love You Because, a new musical comedy at PlayhouseSquare.  Now playing in the 14th Street Theatre, I Love You Because follows Austin, Marcy, Diana and Jeff as they search for “Mr./Ms. Right” in NYC. 

The show is cute, funny and well-performed.  And the musical numbers are very good . . . much better than the average off-Broadway-style musical.  Above all, I Love You Because continues PlayhouseSquare’s tradition of providing a great evening of theatre.
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What’s Cookin’ in CLE (10.14.08)

08basweetieThe Fabulous Food Show returns to Cleveland, November 14-16.   The weekend-long show promises to keep you busy, but while you’re here why not head out and experience some of Cleveland’s culinary hotspots and other notable attractions.   Here are a few places to check out for eats and entertainment:

Make it a priority to have lunch at Melt Bar and Grilled.  Melt features more than 20 different takes on the classic–all with their own unique twist.  The menus appear on vintage record covers and the Lakewood restaurant is decked out in pop culture decor with lots of memorabilia.  I suggest you try a “Parmageddon,” stuffed with onions, kraut and a potato-and-cheese perogi.

Or stop in Great Lakes Brewing Company, an eco-friendly restaurant and brewery that names their handcrafted beers after local historical figures and events.  After you eat, enjoy a free guided tour or just check out the rest of the brewpub and see bullet hole attributed to an altercation when crime fighter Eliot Ness was in the bar. (Ness himself, I heard, didn’t actually carry a gun.)
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