Tag Archive | PlayhouseSquare

“Anything Goes” at PlayhouseSquare

PlayhouseSquare launches the national touring production of Anything Goes with the sexy, sultry, and sensational Rachel York as Reno Sweeney.  Cole Porter’s classic and madcap voyage on the high seas was the winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical.  With so many modern musicals coming into town these days, no matter how wonderful they might be, it is so nice to see a good revival of a great classic, once in a while.  And like South Pacific and West Side Story two seasons ago, Anything Goes provides for this happy diversion.

Anything Goes takes place aboard the S.S. American.  By a chance encounter, Billy Crocker has fallen in love with the beautiful Hope Harcourt.  And when Billy sees off his boss, Elisha Whitney, on a business trip to London, he happens to see Hope again.  Hope is also traveling to London with her mother, Mrs. Evangeline Harcourt, and her fiancé, Lord Evelyn Oakleigh, a stuffy British nobleman.  Despite the fact that Hope is engaged to Lord Oakleigh, Billy stows away on the ship with the hope and intent of winning Hope’s heart.

Billy’s old friend Reno Sweeney, an evangelist turned nightclub singer, is traveling aboard the same ship, as are Moonface Martin, “Public Enemy 13,” and his man-crazy friend and moll Erma, who are disguised as a minister and a missionary.  And when all of these crazy characters come together, nothing but fun, and funny, chaos ensues.  Featuring some of Cole Porter’s most classic and beloved songs, Anything Goes is an absolutely delicious treat.

Although I was already familiar with Anything Goes, this newer, modern take is like nothing I have ever seen or could ever have imagined.  The story still takes place in 1934, but with today’s high technology and 21st century theatre conventions, this old-time classic is given a vibrant new life in the most beautiful, innovative and magical way possible.  Everything from the sets and costumes to the choreography and dance numbers are top of the line.  And did I mention that Anything Goes features some of Cole Porter’s most classic and beloved songs?  Oh, I did?  Well, it’s worth repeating!  Two thumbs up for this exceptional touring production.  You may not see anything better all year… but then again, this is Cleveland and PlayhouseSquare!

Anything Goes will run through October 14 in the Palace Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.  The 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series will continue with Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (November 6–18, 2012), Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (January 15–27, 2013), Sister Act (March 5–17, 2013), War Horse (April 9–21, 2013), Guys and Dolls (May 1 – June 23, 2013), and The Book of Mormon (June 18 – July 17, 2013).

PlayhouseSquare is the 2nd largest performing arts center in the nation, after Lincoln Center in New York.  And it continues to bring the best of Broadway to Cleveland, in addition to a wide array of concerts, comedians, special events, and other programming.  For more information about PlayhouseSquare or the 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series, please visit www.PlayhouseSquare.org.

– Christopher S. Musselman

“Sondheim on Sondheim” at PlayhouseSquare

West Side Story, Gypsy, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Merrily We Roll Along, Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, Assassins, Passion… Stephen Sondheim, master of the American musical.

Sondheim on Sondheim showcases the work of the legendary Broadway composer Stephen Sondheim, including the shows above and many more.  Produced by Great Lakes Theater, Sondheim on Sondheim is the first (but will not be the last) collaboration between GLT and PlayhouseSquare.  And for eight weeks this summer, Sondheim on Sondheim will dazzle patrons of both Great Lakes Theater and PlayhouseSquare on the stage of the beautiful Hanna Theatre.

Sondheim on Sondheim is a musical revue featuring a montage of Sondheim’s work from his early days to his most recent show; from his big hits to a few of his “misses.”  Sondheim on Sondheim was originally conceived by Mansfield native, and frequent Sondheim collaborator, James Lapine.  In 2010, the show enjoyed a limited run on Broadway.  Now in 2012, it comes to Cleveland.

Throughout the show, and weaved into the musical numbers, video feeds of interviews with Sondheim give the audience even more insight into the man and his work.  This makes for a fascinating and very different theatrical experience.  We learn about Sondheim’s life, his relationship with friend and mentor Oscar Hammerstein II, and why he was originally hesitant to write the lyrics for West Side Story, now one of Broadway’s great classic musicals.

All making their Great Lakes Theater debut, the cast of eight brings Sondheim’s work alive with great emotion, a little humor and a lot of passion.  Among the highlights and “stand-out” numbers are Emily Walton’s manic “Getting Married Today” (from Company) and a torch song medley of Marie-France Arcilla’s “Losing My Mind” (from Follies) and Ciara Renée’s “Not a Day Goes By” (from Merrily We Roll Along).

One cast member, Pamela Myers, knows Sondheim all too well, as she played Marta in the original Broadway production of Company and was even nominated for a Tony Award for her performance (1971).  Myers reprises her show-stopping number, “Another Hundred People,” in this production of the show.  Myers also sings “Send in the Clowns” (from A Little Night Music), perhaps, Sondheim’s most recognized and most beloved song, and another well-known show-stopper, “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” (from Gypsy).

Sondheim and his work have been honored many times, with way too many awards to mention.  But by the numbers, he has won eight Tony Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, six Olivier Awards, and eight Grammy Awards.  And if those are not enough, Sondheim has won an Academy Award for Best Original Song (for “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from Dick Tracy) (1990) and the coveted Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Sunday in the Park with George (1985).  Sunday in the Park with George is one of only eight musicals to win the Pulitzer since its inception in 1917.  And it is an honor well deserved.

Sondheim on Sondheim is the perfect work to conclude both Great Lakes Theater’s 50th Anniversary Season and the 2011-2012 KeyBank Broadway Series.  It is glorious Broadway at its very best.  You will hear many of your favorite Sondheim tunes and may fall in love with some new ones, along the way.  For an enchanting night at the theatre, Sondheim on Sondheim delivers.  It truly is “the revue of a lifetime.”  Sondheim on Sondheim will continue through July 8.

PlayhouseSquare is now in its 90th year of providing the best of Broadway via both the KeyBank Broadway Series and the U.S. Bank Star Performance Series.  For more information about PlayhouseSquare or shows in its 2012-2013 Series, its website is www.PlayhouseSquare.org.

– Christopher S. Musselman

2012-2013 Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare

The 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare has been announced. As always, PlayhouseSquare will offer some of the very best shows from the Broadway stage for theatre patrons of all ages.

The spectacular 2012-2013 KeyBank Broadway Series includes:

Anything Goes: Winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical. Cole Porter’s classic and madcap voyage on the high seas. October 2-14, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast: The story of Belle and her beastly prince, based upon Disney’s 1991 animated classic. November 6-18, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

Pricilla, Queen of the Desert: Put on your platform heels! Produced by the Divine Miss M, herself, Bette Midler brings us this fun and colorful musical, based upon the 1994 Australian film and featuring popular hits of the 70’s and 80’s. January 15-27, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

Sister Act: Whoopi Goldberg is the producer of this high-spirited musical, based upon the 1992 comedy film in which she starred. March 5-17, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

War Horse: Winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Play. The touching story of a boy’s search for his horse during the turmoil of World War I. April 9-21, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

Guys and Dolls: Produced by Cleveland’s very own Great Lakes Theater, a resident company of PlayhouseSquare, Guys and Dolls is a Frank Loesser classic. May 1 – June 23, 2013 in the Hanna Theatre.

The Book of Mormon: Winner of the 2011 Tony Award for Best Musical. A raucous new musical from the creators of television’s South Park. June 18 – July 7, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

And the 2012-2013 U.S. Bank Star Performance Series includes:

Les Misérables: The spectacular 25th Anniversary production of theatre’s longest-running musical, still playing in London’s West End for nearly 27 years. February 5-10, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

Blue Man Group: The blue men return! If you did not catch them during last season’s Broadway Series, now is your chance. February 12-17, 2013 in the Palace Theatre.

More shows will be added to the U.S. Bank Star Performance Series, at a later date. And with PlayhouseSquare’s “Swap-a-Show” program, if you do not care for one of the shows in the KeyBank Broadway Series, you can “swap” that show with other eligible shows, including those in the U.S. Bank Star Performance Series.

And do not forget all the great shows at Cleveland Play House and Great Lakes Theater! Both are resident companies of PlayhouseSquare, and both have announced their 2012-2013 show schedules. And as always, CPH and GLT will offer another great line-up for the 2012-2013 theatre season.

Cleveland Play House presents Lombardi (September 14 – October 7), The Whipping Man (November 2-25), A Carol for Cleveland (November 30 – December 23), Bell, Book and Candle (January 11 – February 3), The Devil’s Music: The Life and Blues of Bessie Smith (February 15 – March 10), Good  People (March 22 – April 14) and Rich Girl (April 12 – May 5).

Great Lakes Theater presents Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (September 28 – November 4) in repertory with Molière’s The Imaginary Invalid (October 5 – November 3), the annual holiday production of Dicken’s A Christmas Carol (November 30 – December 23), Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit (February 22 – March 10), Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing (March 29 – April 14) and Frank Loesser’s Guys and Dolls (May 1–19).

With ten theatres, PlayhouseSquare is the nation’s second largest performing arts center, after Lincoln Center in New York. The five oldest theatres (the Allen, Hanna, Ohio, Palace, and State) date back to 1921-1922, and all have been gloriously restored.

The other theatres are the 14th Street Theatre, the Allen Second Stage, the Allen (Helen Rosenfeld Lewis Bialosky) Lab Theatre, Kennedy’s Cabaret and the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, located in the Idea Center. With the addition of Cleveland Play House this season, Cleveland’s Theatre District has become even busier and more vibrant than ever.

For more information about the KeyBank Broadway Series, the U.S. Bank Star Performance Series, or PlayhouseSquare, in general, please visit www.PlayhouseSquare.org. Information on the Cleveland Play House can be found at www.ClevelandPlayHouse.com, and Great Lakes Theater’s website is www.GreatLakesTheater.org.

- Christopher S. Musselman

“Red” at the Allen Theatre

Red, Broadway’s 2010 Tony Award winner for Best Play, is now playing in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Another exceptional Cleveland Play House production, Red is the story of a man, his assistant, and his art.

Red is the story of Mark Rothko, a Russian-American painter of the abstract expressionist style. In 1958, Ken, a young painter with a troubled past, comes to work for Rothko. At first, Ken is awestruck to work with the famous Rothko, a hero whom he greatly admires. But over the course of the play, Ken comes to realize that Rothko is human and has flaws like all of us.

Mark Rothko (Bob Ari, left) barks orders at his assistant Ken (Randy Harrison) in the Cleveland Play House production of John Logan’s Tony Award-winning play "Red," directed by Anders Cato, on stage in the Allen Theatre at PlayhouseSquare, March 16 - April 8, 2012. Photo credit: T. Charles Erickson.

Bob Ari, from Broadway’s Frost/Nixon, plays Rothko. And Randy Harrison, from Showtime’s Queer as Folk, plays Ken. Both are well cast as they tell this very personal story of two artists and the unspoken friendship that develops between them. One is much older, somewhat distant, quite arrogant and completely consumed by his art. The other is younger, open to new ideas and not afraid to ask why. As the two men work together over the course of two years, the master learns as much from his assistant as the assistant learns from the master.

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The Mousetrap at PlayhouseSquare

A little bit of murder, a great deal of mystery, one of the world’s most celebrated writers and one of the nation’s greatest professional theatre companies make for an exciting night of entertainment in downtown Cleveland.

Great Lakes Theater celebrates its 50th Anniversary Season with a play marking its 60th. Celebrating 60 years in London’s West End, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap is one of the stage’s most famous murder mysteries and the longest-running play in theatre history. The Mousetrap runs from March 9 to March 25 in the Hanna Theatre at PlayhouseSquare.

Based upon Christie’s 1947 radio play, Three Blind Mice, and its subsequent short story, The Mousetrap takes place in the Great Hall of Monkswell Manor, during a snowstorm in 1952. A woman has been murdered in London. Meanwhile, Mollie and Giles Ralston have started a guest house at Monkswell Manor and are patiently awaiting their very first guests. How are these two events connected? You’ll see. A wide array of characters soon arrives, some invited and some not, and then the fun really begins. Will you figure out the identity of the murderer before the curtain falls? Come see The Mousetrap, and find out.

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Cleveland Play House presents “Ten Chimneys”

The Cleveland Play House opens the Second Stage theatre with the delightful Ten Chimneys.  Starring Emmy Award winning actress, Mariette Hartley, Ten Chimneys is a backstage comedy directed by CPH’s very own Artistic Director, Michael Bloom.  The new Second Stage is part of the Allen Theatre complex at PlayhouseSquare, the new home of Cleveland Play House.

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne were theatre royalty. They were so revered that their names live on in Manhattan’s Theatre District at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. Although they lived for the stage, they did have a provision in their acting contracts: they must be guaranteed their summers off to spend them at Ten Chimneys, their summer home in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. And this is where the play takes place.

Although Ten Chimneys was a summer retreat, it was also a place for great artistic development. The Lunts would often invite fellow actors to their home to rehearse upcoming plays. In the play Ten Chimneys, famous stage actors Uta Hagen and Sydney Greenstreet arrive to rehearse Chekhov’s The Seagull. As the actors rehearse the play, they begin to see certain parallels between the characters in The Seagull and themselves. And this is the basic premise of Ten Chimneys.

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2011-2012 Broadway Series


The 2011-2012 KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare has been announced. As always, PlayhouseSquare will offer some of the best shows on Broadway for theatre patrons of all ages.

The spectacular 2011-2012 KeyBank Broadway Series will include:

Million Dollar Quartet: Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins together on stage for one night in history. October 11-23, 2011 in the Palace Theatre.

La Cage aux Folles: The 2010 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical Revival, La Cage aux Folles has become a modern Broadway classic. November 8-20, 2011 in the Palace Theatre.

Hair: The 2009 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical Revival, Hair was the very first rock musical. January 17-29, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

Memphis: The 2010 Tony Award Winner for Best Musical, Memphis is one of Broadway’s hottest shows. February 28 – March 11, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

The Addams Family: They’re creepy and they’re kooky… they’re the Addams Family! April 10-22, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

Come Fly Away: The music of Frank Sinatra and the choreography of Twyla Tharp come together in this enchanting musical. May 8-20, 2012 in the Palace Theatre.

Sondheim on Sondheim: Produced by Cleveland’s very own Great Lakes Theater Festival, a resident company of PlayhouseSquare, Sondheim on Sondheim is an evening of Broadway classics from the incomparable Stephen Sondheim, master of the American musical. May 30 – July 22, 2012 in the Hanna Theatre.

And the 2011-2012 U.S. Bank Star Performance Series will include:

The Wizard of Oz: The spectacular new national tour of a classic favorite. October 28-30, 2011.

Mamma Mia!: One of Broadway’s biggest hits and longest-running shows returns. Dates to be determined.

Tao: East meets West in this unique martial arts experience. March 29, 2012.

Lord of the Dance: Michael Flatley’s homage to Celtic culture and dance is back. March 30-31, 2012.

With eight theatres, PlayhouseSquare is the nation’s second largest performing arts center, after Lincoln Center in New York. The five oldest theatres (the Allen, Hanna, Ohio, Palace, and State) date back to 1921-1922, and all have been gloriously restored. The other theatres are the 14th Street Theatre, Kennedy’s Cabaret, and the Westfield Insurance Studio Theatre, located in the Idea Center. In 2011, another important Cleveland institution, the Cleveland Play House, will move to PlayhouseSquare in a renovated and reconfigured Allen Theatre.

The new Allen Theatre Complex will be comprised of three theatres: A 500 seat Main Stage, a 300 seat Second Stage, and a 150 seat Lab Theatre. The two additional theatres will bring PlayhouseSquare’s theatre count to ten. As a resident company of PlayhouseSquare, the Cleveland Play House will join Great Lakes Theater Festival, Opera Cleveland, Dance Cleveland, and other companies, making Cleveland’s Theatre District busier and more vibrant than ever.

For more information about the KeyBank Broadway Series, the U.S. Bank Star Performance Series, or PlayhouseSquare, in general, please visit its website at www.PlayhouseSquare.org. Information on the Cleveland Play House can be found at www.ClevelandPlayHouse.com, and Great Lakes Theater Festival’s website is www.GreatLakesTheater.org.

– Submitted by Christopher S. Musselman, guest blogger

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 vacation, in our own backyard

It happens like clockwork. The end of January rolls around and I am literally itching for something to do. Call it the winter blues, call it cabin fever, call it whatever you want; it’s a problem, a very expensive problem. I ultimately start planning an elaborate long weekend getaway that I can’t afford so soon after the holidays. Well this year I can’t, just can’t get away right now. But does this mean I have to spend another weekend fine tuning the body imprint on the couch, scanning the latest new releases on Netflix? After some thought and research, I discovered no, there is plenty to do in my hometown of Cleveland in the winter; lately I’ve just been too lazy to get out and do it.

So this weekend I’ve planned a vacation for my husband and I to get away. Sure, it’s only 20 miles away from our humble abode but there are plenty of things to do and places to eat that often we complain we “never have time” to experience. Well, this weekend is our chance. The only rule is that we can’t go somewhere where we have been before, just as if we were on vacation in a different location.

Cleveland Museum of Art

The weekend will start after work on Friday (no need to waste precious vacation time on travel, perk numero uno.) While I love the Westside neighborhoods of Tremont and Ohio City for a post-work happy hour or weekend dinner, rules state we can’t go to the norm. So, guess we’ll have to go some other time to Momocho, Bier Market and Prosperity. What better way to warm the winter chills than some hearty Italian drinks and dining? Our first stop will be Gusto! (www.gustolittleitaly.com; 216.791.9900) in Little Italy, only 5 miles outside of downtown Cleveland. With a happy hour until 8pm which includes $5 house wines, half priced cocktails and $5 appetizers such as calamari della liguria, prosciutto w/cantaloupe and gusto pizza, this charming restaurant is just the place to get the weekend started.

After some wine, we will hop on a bus to the Cleveland Museum of Art (www.clevelandart.org; 216.421.7350), less than a mile away in University Circle. In the process of a massive renovation, the museum reopened some galleries this past summer,  bringing back more than 900 pieces, many of which have been out of the public’s eye for the past five years. With more than 40 galleries still open during the renovation there is plenty to see and the best part is admission to the permanent collections is free and open until 9pm on Fridays.

Presti's Bakery

For a late dinner, the plan is to head to Guarino’s Restaurant (www.guarinoscleveland.com; 216.231.3100). Italian traditions like the lasagna and manicotti get rave reviews at the oldest Italian restaurant in the neighborhood, opened in 1918. Hopefully, we’ll have time to swing by Presti’s Bakery (www.prestisbakery.com; 216.421.3060) before dinner and pick up some dessert. With freshly made baked goods, the doughnuts, cookies and cannoli’s would make for the perfect treat to end the evening.

To save money, Friday evening we’ll stay at home. To keep with the vacationing spirit though, no early morning Saturday workout for me. Instead we’ll rise and shine bright and early for skiing and snow tubing at Boston Mills/Brandywine (www.bmbw.com; 800.875.4241). Then, we’ll get in a workout by cross country skiing at Lake Metroparks (www.lakemetroparks.com; 440.358.7275). Hey, if we’ve got this much snow, we might as well enjoy it.

Debonne Vineyards

While out on the east side of town, we’ll head out to Debonne Vineyards (www.debonne.com; 440.466.3485) for dinner and delicious Ohio wine. In addition to tours and tastings during regular business hours, Ohio’s largest estate winery features European style wines including Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Cabernet and Riesling. The worst part will be only choosing one.

After a quick change to prepare for a night on the town, we’re heading to the Kennedy’s Theater at PlayhouseSquare (www.playhousesquare.org; 216.771.8403) to check out Flanagan’s Wake. According to reviews the performance is half scripted, half improvisation as the audience is transported to Ireland. The audiences then participate with the villagers in the telling of tales, singing of songs, and mourn the passing of one of their own, Flanagan.  Sounds like something worth the low cost of admission, around $20.

The best part about winter vacations? Hotel rooms at way discounted rates. The Radisson Gateway actually has a “red hot deal” online for only $59! Other hotel properties such as the Wyndham have deals based on the temperature outside. For special hotel packages, click here.

Champagne Bar

Since we’re staying downtown for the night, what better way to finish off the evening than with a nightcap? While both East 4th Street and the Warehouse District are home to a variety of restaurants and bars, to stick to the rules we’ll try the Champagne Bar at Pickwick and Frolic (www.pickwickandfrolic.com;216.241.7425). Known for their comedy club and martinis, Pickwick added the Champagne Bar devoted to bubbles, featuring 50 bottles of champagne and sparkling wines. If we’re ambitious we may also check out the Lobby Lounge at the Ritz Carlton to celebrate our Cleveland vacation with a Rocktail.

Sunday morning we’ll finish off the weekend with brunch at Lucky’s Café (www.luckyscafe.com; 216.622.7773) in Tremont. (You can always try one of these brunch options as well) and head home with a new stash of vacation memories and a bank account still on budget.

For more vacation ideas, hotel information and restaurant listings visit www.positivelycleveland.com.

– Submitted by A.I.

 

 

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

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