Tag Archives: playhousesquare

Scott and I Jump Back to the Future at PlayhouseSquare’s #JBB24

As a longtime Back to the Future fanatic, Scott freaked out when this year’s Jump Back Ball theme was announced. The guy knew what his costume was going to be almost immediately. Because of this and because I’m chair of PlayhouseSquare Partners, the group that organizes Jump Back Ball each year, I figured a recap’s better coming from him than me.  After reading it, I was right. Enjoy!

Yeah. That happened.

Yeah. That happened.

Last month I partied like it was 2015.

And 1955.

And 1985.

And 1885.

If you’re like me, those years immediately bring forth one thought: Marty McFly’s adventures through time in the Back To The Future trilogy. Since its release, Back To The Future and its sequels have had a huge impact on me, and are three of my favorite films.

So, when the actual year 2015 rolled around, I couldn’t have been more pleased that PlayhouseSquare Partners didn’t waste the opportunity to celebrate Doc Brown’s time traveling DeLorean in style with the 24th Annual Jump Back Ball. It was, appropriately enough, entitled Jump Back To The Future.

Back To The Future movies encompass a wide range of time periods and settings, and I was extremely pleased that they were all captured throughout the party. The movies began in 1985, so it was only right that the evening’s starting place – the Connor Palace’s VIP Area – had 80s themed centerpieces, complete with flip-up shades and Rubik’s Cubes. The radical atmosphere was complemented by Driftwood’s delicious calamari, ice cream, and various bruschetta. Outside the theatre was a DeLorean that begged to be posed with (See above.).

I took that Rubik's Cube. It's mine now. And the colors are hopelessly mixed up.

I took that Rubik’s Cube. It’s mine now. And the colors are hopelessly mixed up.

1955, the year Doc Brown invented time travel while Marty’s parents fell in love, was perfectly encapsulated on the State Theatre stage. Jump Back’s version of the Enchantment Under The Sea dance was beautiful, with floating sea life, an ocean backdrop, and an ice sculptor bar. We were treated to a wonderful dinner by Chef Chris Hodgson, enjoying our champagne-complemented meal in the theatre seats before be-bopping it up on stage, daddy-o, with a 50s themed band. The singer came out amongst the dancers and had some great rapport, and when the sound blew out for a short time they began singing to people for birthdays and anniversaries.

The State Theatre Stage on Jump Back Ball set up day and during the party

The State Theatre Stage on Jump Back Ball set up day and during the party

1885’s Old West was spread throughout the party. Many of the bars were themed as saloons (featuring LaBatt’s Bourbon Barrel Ale samples). A locomotive engine, complete with smoking smoke stack, greeted the partiers as they entered through the State Lobby.

It was smoking at the party. I had to tattle on it.

It was smoking at the party. I had to tattle on it.

Back to the Future’s take on our current year had little touches spread throughout the party. Hoverboards floated behind the card dealers, a JAWS 19 poster was hung, and Mr. Fusions were ready to accept anyone’s trash.

Even the alternate timeline of 1985a was covered by Biff’s Casino in the State Theatre Mezzanine’s table games area.

As the evening drew to a close, a variety of partiers, Martys, Doc Browns, Biffs, and Jennifers from all time periods came together in the State Theatre Lobby to close out the night with music from our own 2015.

After 24 Jump Back Ball,s you’d think the process would be stale. I haven’t been doing it that long, but each year I’ve come in to find a group of people who just could not be more excited to make the next one happen. The challenges of the decor excite them, even when the task is overwhelming – like making a train engine that smokes. The enthusiasm — it, too, is overwhelming.

When all the building, and coordinating, and priming is done, then the party starts. It is so much fun to come in every year and see what people have worn. Even people who had nothing to do with the preparation show up in incredible outfits because they want to do something different and enjoy themselves.

Somebody had a highly-detailed hoverboard strapped to their back. Others showed up with glowing neon piping. Others were in complete Old West regalia. And you know what, if you were in a suit or a dress and just having a great time oooing and aweing at what other people wore, you were just as much in the spirit of things as anyone else.

It takes a special kind of party to let people do that. To just show up and let yourself find the fun in an evening. So yes, I am certainly proud of the decorations and details that had sweat and inspiration poured into them. I’m always eager for the food, and the drink, and the music.

But what makes Jump Back Ball great, even after 24 of them, are the excited attitudes of the people who show up to have a good time in a beautiful Cleveland landmark.

And as long as that keeps happening, I’ll always be happy to attend.

16531710119_0ec57ada28_k

Disclosure: We were offered one ticket to Jump Back Ball in exchange for previewing and recapping the event. Amanda is also the co-chair of PlayhouseSquare Partners, the group that organizes Jump Back Ball each year. Opinions here are 100% Scott’s.

A Must-See in CLE: The Magic of PIPPIN at PlayhouseSquare

The Cast of the National Touring Production of PIPPIN, at PlayhouseSquare through Feb. 15. Credit Terry Shapiro

The Cast of the National Touring Production of PIPPIN, at PlayhouseSquare through Feb. 15. Credit Terry Shapiro

How many times have you watched a play, attended a concert or seen a painting and left inspired to take on greatness?

Art is magical in the way it fills us with the desire to pursue glory, revolt against whatever’s holding us back, and love with every inch of our body.

PIPPIN now playing at PlayhouseSquare until February 15, brings that magic to the stage in one of the most thrilling productions I’ve ever experienced.

As the curtain rises (well, in the case of this show, drops with a grand flourish), the Leading Player entices the audience to hear the tale of Charlemagne’s son Pippin.

Fresh out of university, Pippin doesn’t want to lead the sedentary life of a scholar. I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free. Got to find my corner of the sky,” he sings.

Lured from home by the Leading Player, Pippin tries his hand at battle, revolution, politics, and a lot of loving. But with each, he remains unsatisified. 

When he stumbles into ordinary life, he’s torn between his desire to pursue his daydreams and the comforts of a quiet family. It’s a struggle that resonates with all of us, and I wish I could go back in time to tell 20-year-old Amanda to see it.

Sam Lips as Pippin. Photo Credit Martha Rial

Sam Lips as Pippin. Photo Credit Martha Rial

The Leading Player and Pippin are brought to life in this production by Sasha Allen and Sam Lips, respectively.

Fans of The Voice and Camp will recognize Allen’s dynamic voice and magnetic stage presence. She’s perfect as the production’s ringleader. Lips, who understudied the role in the Broadway company, does a very convincing job of transforming Pippin from spastic, unsure teenager to a more settled (but at times, still conflicted) adult.  

However, as incredibly entertaining as Allen and Lips are – especially when on stage together, the performance that will stick with you long after the curtain is drawn is the Leading Player’s circus troupe.

From stunning acrobatics to showstopping musical numbers like No Time at All (beautifully sung — upside down on a trapeze! — by Priscilla Lopez) , the performances left my jaw on the floor. The trapeze work, stunts, and illusions the cast creates are worth the ticket price alone. In fact, describing them would ruin that magic.

Sasha Allen as Leading Player and the cast of the National Tour of PIPPIN. Credit Terry Shapiro

Sasha Allen as Leading Player and the cast of the National Tour of PIPPIN. Credit Terry Shapiro

After a fiery grand finale that left me breathless and a bit choked up, there’s no surprise that PIPPIN won Best Musical Revival at the Tonys and in my heart.

Run to PlayhouseSquare and see PIPPIN before it swings out of Cleveland. Tickets are going very fast and only a few performances remain. You really don’t want to miss it.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the opening night of PIPPIN with a guest in exchange for sharing my experience. All opinions are 100% my own.

#PartnersCLE Free Tailgate Party at PlayhouseSquare

Blogkeeping: Without further ado, we have a Taste of the Browns giveaway winner!

TOB Winner

After checking all of the entries and removing two pingbacks plus several duplicate entries, the winner as selected by Random.org is Cheryl Scheckel. Congratulations! 

If you didn’t win, I have another way you can celebrate the return of football to Cleveland … and this party is free for everyone!

PlayhouseSquare Partners' Season KickOff Party: Enjoy a tailgate followed by outdoor showing of Draft Day

PlayhouseSquare Partners’ Season KickOff Party: Enjoy a tailgate followed by outdoor showing of Draft Day

Join PlayhouseSquare Partners, the theatre district’s young professionals organization, for a Season KickOff Party and Movie this Friday night.

At dusk on September 12, PlayhouseSquare will be showing Draft Day out on the U.S. Bank Plaza. The movie’s free and part of PlayhouseSquare’s Summer Movie Series presented by Elk & Elk.

Our pre-movie kickoff will take place 5:30-8:30pm in the Idea Center’s Gund studio space on Euclid Ave. The tailgate-themed party includes:

  • A Chipotle Buffet
  • Cash Bar (First drink on us!)
  • Ice Cream Bars
  • DJ Playing Music
  • and Cornhole and Other Tailgate Games

PlayhouseSquare Partners will also be there with tables and information for each of our committees and upcoming activities.

Best of all, everyone who attends the party will be the first to find out what this year’s Jump Back Ball theme is. (I’m on the board and I won’t even find out til then!)

It’s free to attend the Partners KickOff Party, and if you decide to join Partners at this event, you’ll also receive 20% off a new Partners membership (excluding Balcony’s Best $50 membership).

Just RSVP for the party by emailing sarah@playhousesquare.org. See you Friday!

Disclaimer: I’m a co-chair of PlayhouseSquare Partners’ board and involved in the hosting of the movie’s Tailgate Party.

Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Cleveland’s Tri-C JazzFest

TRI-C JAZZFEST

In its heyday, PlayhouseSquare played host to crooners, jazz and big bands musicians like Bing Crosby and ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra.

Now, as PlayhouseSquare’s revitalization hits a dazzling high, Cleveland’s own jazz festival, the Tri-C JazzFest has unveiled a new format celebrating the district.

It’s the 35th anniversary of the Tri-C JazzFest and they’re making a big move – closing down Euclid Ave. between 13th and 14th St with three days of concerts.

From June 26-28, music lovers can take in twelve ticketed shows throughout PlayhouseSquare’s theatres, plus a host of free outdoor music, food trucks and Great Lakes brews on Star Plaza.

Concerts include trumpeter Sean Jones and the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra opening the festival on June 26; Eddie Palmieri, whose career as bandleader spans 50 years, with a night of salsa and Latin jazz on June 27; and pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias performing her tribute to Chet Baker at the Hanna on June 28. Check out the full schedule below:

JazzFest lineup

The free Star Plaza concerts, which are the latest centennial gifts from the Cleveland Foundation, will take place outside on Friday, June 27 and Saturday, June 28 starting at 3pm.

You can learn more about the musicians and purchase tickets on the JazzFest website.

You can also win two tickets right here to the Raul Midón concert on June 28!

Blind since infancy, Midón grew up listening to his father’s collection of Charlie Parker and Miles Davis records, as well as the pop music of the time: Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Paul Simon.

He writes on the JazzFest’s website: “The way I play today is an amalgam of those styles, mixed with my fascination with the great rock and blues guitarists like Eric Clapton and B.B. King. I’m constantly trying to integrate everything I know musically into the guitar.”

The New York Times describes Midón as “a one-man band who turns a guitar into an orchestra and his voice into a chorus.” And now you can enjoy his concert at the Hanna Theatre by entering my giveaway.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Leave a comment telling me who your favorite jazz, blues or swing musician is.

2) If you’re a fan of Tri-C JazzFest Cleveland and Clue Into Cleveland on Facebook, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

3) Follow @ADHicken and @TriCJazzFest on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you did both.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to see @RaulMidon at @PlayhouseSquare on 6/28. Enter @ADHicken’s giveaway for #TriCJazzFest tickets: http://wp.me/p2Ukr0-2w3

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until Tuesday, June 17 at 11:59PM to enter.  On Wednesday, June 18, Random.org will select a winner and I’ll announce the winner’s name on my blog.  Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry – good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Tri-C JazzFest with a guest in exchange for previewing the event. My choice to blog about the festival is based on how much Scott and I have enjoyed these concerts in years past. Opinions are my own.

#DazzleCLE: PlayhouseSquare to Shine Even Brighter

Over the last year, changes have been coming to the outside of PlayhouseSquare. But a few more are yet to come...

Over the last year, changes have been coming to the outside of PlayhouseSquare. But a few are yet to come…

Anyone who has visited one of PlayhouseSquare’s theatres recalls the first time they took in its restored beauty. The old-school glamour of its lobbies and theatres. The State Theatre murals. The Hanna’s ornate ceiling decked in mythological creatures. Those chandeliers.

It’s all the more stunning knowing that at one time these theatres fell into such disrepair that they were going to be torn down.

But because of Ray Shepardson – without whom, we would have had parking lots on Euclid Avenue – they were saved and a neighborhood in downtown Cleveland restored. In fact, PlayhouseSquare announced last month that they now have more season ticket holders than any city in America.

If you haven’t seen it or are unfamiliar with PlayhouseSquare’s comeback story, check out the Staging Success documentary:

To match the dazzle inside of its theatres, PlayhouseSquare is about to complete a dramatic transformation outside.

Over the last year, we’ve seen the plaza in the PlayhouseSquare district updated with an outdoor music stage, firepit, and dining area. Beautiful archways (my favorite of the exterior additions) now mark the boundaries of the neighborhood. Digital signs provide information and interaction opportunities for visitors. And a retro sign above the buildings at E. 13th St. and Euclid Avenue pays homage to PlayhouseSquare’s 1920s-era beginnings.

PlayhouseSquare 1

New signage can be found everywhere you look around and above you

All of these changes have led to the unveiling of the neighborhood’s centerpiece: The GE Chandelier.

20-feet tall and adorned with 4,200 crystals, it was inspired by the stunning chandeliers inside of the theatre. It will be a permanent fixture, connecting the points of the Euclid Ave. and E 14th Street intersection and serving as a can’t-miss welcome for PlayhouseSquare guests.

The massive chandelier was constructed by Montreal-based company Lumid. In addition to looking good, it’s been designed and tested to withstand the harshest conditions (take that, Cleveland winters!). 

The frame is currently up at PlayhouseSquare; however, you can be the first to see it lit up in all its glittering splendor this coming Friday:

Dazzle-countdown-events-images-general1

On May 2, the lights will be turned on at Dazzle the District. This free community celebration starts at 5pm with Taste of PlayhouseSquare, happy hours and live music on the U.S. Bank Plaza (previously Star Plaza).

At 8:30 pm, Nashville’s Hot Chelle Rae takes The University Hospitals Main Stage for a concert.

It all culminates with the GE Chandelier Lighting Ceremony at 9:30 p.m.

I hope you’ll join me this Friday! Admission to the event and concert is completely free. And stop by the blog after Dazzle the District for photos and a giveaway of PlayhouseSquare Dazzle swag.

The chandelier, even without its lights, is beautiful

Soon, this sight will be even more spectacular

Get all the Dazzle the District details at dazzle.playhousesquare.org and watch these videos to learn more about the GE Chandelier:

Disclosure: I was invited to blog about the event, though I was already planning on it because I love PlayhouseSquare and can’t wait to see the chandelier’s unveiling. Opinions here are 100% my own.

Q&A: The Intergalactic Nemesis’ Jason Neulander

Update: Congrats, entry 9 – Michelle @tinktastic for winning The Intergalactic Nemesis giveaway.

When it comes to the loves of my life, it goes

  1. Scott
  2. family and close friends
  3. Cleveland
  4. comic books 
Scott and me celebrating his birthday at a beer and comic books event

Scott and me celebrating his birthday at a beer and comic books event

While that may be a slight exaggeration, my love for comic books and graphic novels goes beyond the act of enjoying the latest issue of Fables. I think about how I used to draw comics as a kid and jump at the chance to visit the local baseball card store to read up on the X-Men.

I think about how Scott re-introduced me to comics when we started dating. It’s the first activity we shared as a couple, and every time I can help Scott with his own webcomic writing, it brings us even closer in our marriage.

I also think about all of the people I’ve met who share this love – both in the Cleveland community and at conventions from Minnesota to Maryland.

All of this is why I was thrilled to learn The Intergalactic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel is coming to PlayhouseSquare. I saw another live-action graphic novel last year – Kill Shakespeare at C2E2 in Chicago.  It’s an incredibly immersive and entertaining experience.

Continue reading

GIVEAWAY: The Intergalactic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel at PlayhouseSquare

The Intergalactic Nemesis Live Action Graphic Novel at PlayhouseSquare on January 30

The Intergalactic Nemesis Live Action Graphic Novel at PlayhouseSquare, January 30

UPDATE: After removing 2 pingbacks, congratulations to entry 9, Michelle @tinktastic for winning this giveaway. Please reply to my email confirming you can attend by 1/27.

IntNem Winner

Imagine this: It’s 1933. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Molly Sloan is chasing down a story with her intrepid assistant Timmy Mendez and a mysterious librarian from Arizona named Ben Wilcott. A terrible threat is facing the Earth: an invading force of Zygonians – sludge-monsters from outer space.

In The Intergalactic Nemesis (coming to PlayhouseSquare on January 30), our fearless trio travels the Earth and beyond to defeat the Zygonians and hopefully save the day.

The Intergalactic Nemesis was conceived 17 years ago in an Austin, Texas coffee house.  The science fiction epic started as a serial radio drama — performed by three actors and a sound-effects specialist over five weeks. It was recorded on cassette and later aired on Austin’s NPR station.

The Intergalactic Nemesis mashes up period radio drama with the badass visuals of the science fiction comic book

The Intergalactic Nemesis mashes up period radio drama with the badass visuals of the science fiction comic book

The Intergalactic Nemesis was rewritten and re-recorded in 2000 by Jason Neulander. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that the show got a facelift – literally – when Neulander approached artist Tim Doyle about developing the story into a graphic novel.

Through a series of adventures that rival the characters’ journey to the Robot Planet, the comic book’s artwork was combined with the radio drama’s performance concept.

The final result was The Intergalactic Nemesis Live-Action Graphic Novel.

Continue reading

Cleveland’s Holiday Arts and Entertainment: My 2013 Top 10

Blogkeeping: Congratulations, entry 6 – Melanie, for winning the Rachael Ray Week in a Day giveaway. Please respond to my email by 5pm ET on Wednesday (12/11).

Holiday Arts and Entertainment: Great Lakes Theater's A Christmas Carol (now through December 22); photo by Roger Mastroianni

Great Lakes Theater’s A Christmas Carol (now through December 22); photo by Roger Mastroianni

It’s time for one of my favorite blog posts of the year — my wrap-up of holiday arts and entertainment coming to Cleveland. From the return of popular classics to new takes on old tales, here are my 10 picks for what to see around Cleveland this December.

Great Lakes Theater’s A Christmas Carol (through December 22)

This December, Great Lakes Theater celebrates a milestone for their annual holiday production — the 25th anniversary of A Christmas Carol! Through December 22, take the family to see their twist on the Charles Dickens classic. It’s Christmas Eve, twenty years after Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol. The Cleaveland family sits down to read the story as it comes alive onstage, seen through the imagination of the family’s youngest child.

Continue reading

Theatre Review: ONCE at PlayhouseSquare

Blogkeeping: Congratulations, entry 16 – amanda @minky80, for winning the Compassion from Fashion giveaway. Please respond to my email by Monday confirming you can attend.

When I think of PlayhouseSquare’s Palace Theatre, I smile at memories of epic productions. Impressive theatricality along the lines of Wicked, Les Miserables, and this Fall’s Sleeping Beauty. BROADWAY in full capital letters.

That’s why I was curious to see ONCE at PlayhouseSquare. Based on the Oscar-winning indie film of the same name, it tells a very intimate story between a Guy and a Girl in Ireland. No elaborate costumes, set changes, or special effects, not even character names. Just storytelling, poetry, and music.

I wondered how a quiet story like this would play in a commanding setting like the Palace. However, when I attended the 2013-2014 Broadway in CLE preview, ONCE’s music got its hooks in me. It’s why I may have definitely jumped out of my seat at work when I was invited to attend the show’s media night on Tuesday.

Continue reading

Hide and Seek: 3 Cleveland Scavenger Hunts in June

After work yesterday, Scott and I took a walk around downtown. Minus navigating around the extra traffic and almost getting hit by a truck, it was a lot of fun!

We noticed things we’d never paid attention to before – like the personalized bricks at the entrance of the Palace Theater.

I want to know the backstory for this PlayhouseSquare brick

I want to know the backstory

And we happened upon District where I had one of the better Sidecars of my life, a Sweet Potato soup that blew me away, and Salmon over Angel Hair that I can’t wait to enjoy the rest of at lunch.

It reminded me that no matter how familiar you are with a place, it’s good to take a look at things through new eyes.

In the month of June, the city is giving us not 1, not 2, but 3 chances to put on our explorer hats and get out there:

It’s Scavenger Hunt season! 

Continue reading