CLE Hearts Broadway
Playhouse Square Announce 2016/2017 KeyBank Broadway Series
By Lexi Hotchkiss, Image by Cody York
If you spend enough time with the folks at Playhouse Square, Cleveland’s dazzling and award-winning performing arts center, you might tire of them telling you that the 2016/2017 KeyBank Broadway Series is “our biggest season yet!”
Yadda, yadda, yadda. That’s just a bunch of lip service, right? No sir-ree.
“During this next series, each one of the seven shows is playing in Cleveland at Playhouse Square for three weeks. That’s not something you find everywhere in the US. It’s big news,” Gina Vernaci, Executive Producer of Playhouse Square and the person tasked with shaping the series, said.
“What that means is that we’re adding 56 performances to the calendar, which means an additional 100,000 people will come to shows. That’s an example of how the arts are such an important part of Cleveland’s cultural tourism,” she added.
And, that’s great news, especially since the 2016/2017 is a winner. Here’s the lineup:
Fun Home (Oct. 2 – 22, 2016): Winner of five 2015 Tony Awards (including “Best Musical”), Fun Home is based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir that introduces audiences to herself at three different ages as she explores and unravels the many mysteries of her childhood.
Finding Neverland (Nov. 1 – 20, 2016): This unique musical tells the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie’s quest to write Peter Pan. Throughout his journey, you meet the inspiration to the enchanting story: four young brothers and their widowed mother.
Into the Woods (Jan. 10 – 29, 2017): Featuring the music and lyrics of Stephen Sondheim and a book by James Lapine, this Broadway production tells the story of several Brothers Grimm fairy tail characters and other imaginative characters whose paths become intertwined.
Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The King And I (Feb. 7 – 26, 2017): Abundant with beloved classic scores, this toe-tapping musical tells the story of the unexpected relationship between the King of Siam and a British schoolteacher.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (March 21 – April 9, 2017): Learn about Christopher, a 15-year-old with above average intelligence marked with a struggle to adapt to the everyday world. He’s accused of killing the enighbor’s dog, which takes him on a journey that will forever change his life.
Something Rotten! (April 25 – May 14, 2017): From the co-director of The Book of Mormon and the producer of Avenue Q, Something Rotten! is a side-splitting musical about the creation of the world’s first musical – back in 1595.
An American in Paris (June 20 - July 9, 2017): This new, Tony Award-winning musical featuring the music of George and Ira Gershwin and follows life after war for an American soldier, a mysterious French woman and the romance and beauty that is Paris.
Perhaps that impressive lineup will help you to believe that 32,000 people have season tickets to Playhouse Square’s 2016/2017 KeyBank Broadway series. That’s more than anywhere else in the country.
So, are Clevelanders just undercover thespians practicing for their moment to perform a citywide Clevelandy version of West Side Story in hopes of winning the (completely fictional) Tony Award for “Best City for Theater?” Maybe. Maybe not.
“Cleveland is a theater-going, cultural-arts-participating-community,” Vernaci said. “Just the culture of going out to see shows is a deeply engrained habit of the people of Northeast Ohio.”
Clevelanders also know that the opportunity to see a Broadway show at Playhouse Square goes far beyond curtain up and curtain down.
The performing arts center, which overtakes several blocks from Euclid Avenue to Prospect Avenue and East 12th Street to East 17th Street, is more than just a massive collection of historic and modern theaters.
It’s there you’ll find dozens of eateries – ranging from a German beer hall to a white-table-cloth French restaurant – all within walking distance. The district also boasts its own hotel (Wyndham Cleveland at Playhouse Square), as well as several places to catch a nightcap or cup of joe.
“Being a part of the scene at Playhouse Square is electric. You see the GE Chandelier hanging exquisitely over east 14th and you know you’re someplace special. Fantastic architecture. Amazing theaters. Just being apart of that scene is dynamic.”