Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Broadway Comes to Cleveland: Reviving My Long-Lost Love of Musical Theater

Did you know that I was in showchoir in high school? There, now you know: I was in showchoir in high school. Maybe this photo will help you visualize it.

 

You're welcome. 

When I found out that my longtime BFF, Christina, would be in town from Tennessee the same night of Playhouse Square's unveiling of the 2016-2017 KeyBank Broadway Series lineup, I knew I wanted her to be my date to this very cool, very Clevelandy event. After years of performing together in showchoir, a cappella choir, & high school musicals, she was the perfect partner for a night full of Broadway surprises.

At this event, Playhouse Square reveals the Broadway shows that will make their way to Cleveland during the coming season. You may recall that I saw If/Then there this year, & I'm going to see Matilda in May, but I was eager to learn what else is on the calendar because, simply put, I want to try to see every damn show ever. 

Christina & I got a little dressed up, hit up Barrio for a taco dinner, & then scored superb seats in the Connor Palace, one of Playhouse Square's nine (yes, nine!) theaters. Did you know that Cleveland has the second largest theater district in the country? Take that, everywhere else that's not New York! In fact, Karey Kirkpatrick, co-writer of the Broadway hit Something Rotten, told the audience last night that Cleveland is putting Los Angeles, where he lives, to shame when it comes to the live theater scene. 
  1. Fun Home

    I'd never heard of this show (which is about a family that owns a funeral home - get it?), but after watching last night's live interview with Tony-winning composer Jeanine Tesori & a performance by one of the show's child actors, I'm totally sold. It's beginning its tour in CLE! (October 2-22)
     
  2. Finding Neverland

    I've wanted to see this show ever since I watched the cast perform one of the songs at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. I'm not much for fairytales, but it just looks so pretty & fantastical. Now for the big question: Will Matthew Morrison play the lead in the tour, too? Because swoon. (November 1-20)
     
  3. Into the Woods

    Admittedly, I haaaated this movie, which I saw on Christmas in 204. It was so damn long - like, just so long. I did really enjoy the concept & the music, though, & when it comes to a live performance, isn't that what matters? I'll put my movie feelings on hold to see this one live.  (January 10-29)
     
  4. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s The King and I

    This is my mom's forever-favorite show, though I barely remember seeing the movie as a child. Still, I think this might be the show I'm most excited about, if only so that I can take her on a mother/daughter date to see it. (February 7-26)
     
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

    I had no idea this book had been made into a play, but now I definitely want to catch it on stage. It won a Tony Award for Best Play, & based on the teaser, it looks like art meets math meets magic on stage. Sign me up for seeing the play and reading the book. (March 21-April 9)
     
  6. Something Rotten!

    This is another I saw in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, though it's got a totally different vibe from Finding Neverland. I happen to love the cheesy, over-the-top style of old musicals like this, & so, although my most Broadway-knowledgeable friend told me she didn't really like it, I have a feeling I will. (April 25-May 14)

     
  7. An American in Paris

    This romantic musical features a bunch of old Gershwin songs that everyone already knows, which is pretty exciting, & it's based of off both the play &y the film of the same name. I love that it incorporates so many various elements, a real representation of the smorgasbord of art that comprise modern theater. (June 20-July 9)
The evening ended with a singalong that included "All That Jazz," which had Christina & I laughing pretty hard as we hearkened back to our junior-year trip to NYC, where we took a dance workshop with some Broadway actor who taught us a Fosse routine.

In fact, the whole event got me so excited that today, I signed up for Playhouse Square Partners, the theater's young professionals group. Partners can join committees, get invitations to special events & discounted admission to ticketed events, & receive advance notice & priority ticketing for select performances. I've been wanting to get a little bit more locally involved, & this seems like the perfect way to give back to the community while indulging in my long-lost love of musical theater.

So bring it on, Broadway Series. I'm not kidding when I say I'm going to try to see every single show!

PS: As we stood in the lobby waiting for an Uber that hit surge pricing right as we requested our car, I complained, "They jacked up the price!" Christina immediately replied with, "Can you believe it? They jacked up the price! Ten cents a hundred!" to which I responded, "It's bad enough that we gotta eat what we don't sell. And they jacked up the price!" After all, what's a best friend for if not to quote Newsies with you, verbatim? I told you she was the perfect date for this event.

Disclaimer: This event was free, but tickets were by invite only. Playhouse Square invited me to attend the event in exchange for my honest reviews of the evening & the new Key Bank Broadway Series lineup. As always, all opinions are my own.

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