This was the third year that we were invited to attend the PlayhouseSquare Launch Party for the KeyBank Broadway Series. Thank you, Digital Marketing Coordinator Alyssa Brown (@farmtownbrown) for inviting us to attend this great PlayhouseSquare (@PlayhouseSquare) event on Tuesday, February 28, 2017!
It was an evening of fun and anticipation as each show of the new season was announced. For the past two years, the Launch Party announcements took place at the 2,800-seat Connor Palace Theatre, but this year, the event sold out the 3200-seat State Theatre!
In 2015, we learned that Cleveland draws the largest audiences in the country for these touring Broadway productions. This year, the Launch Party audience was the biggest ever for the event, so it will be exciting to find out if this will lead to the largest attendance in the history of PlayhouseSquare's KeyBank Broadway Series.
PlayhouseSquare Success Stories
Over the past year, capital improvements at the theatres included the completion of the newly renovated Ohio Theatre George Gund Foundation Lobby, the painting of the State Theatre auditorium, and the expansion of restroom facilities.
Dazzle Challenge 2017!
This is more than an awards ceremony - it is a life-changing opportunity! Students participate in master classes and workshops throughout the year, as well as a week of intensive rehearsals for the Dazzle Awards ceremony itself. Following the Dazzle Awards, two of the top students will represent Cleveland at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York in June. Our goal is to raise $25,000 to help this program grow and thrive. Long-time Playhouse Square Trustee John Chapman and his wife Pat have offered to match the amount we raise dollar for dollar.
Here it is -- the 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series! The links in the show titles go to the official PlayhouseSquare "Broadway in Cleveland" web page for each show, where you will be able to purchase your tickets.
Be sure to scroll through the official description, social media links, and special videos for some of the shows. Please read additional information in the 2017-2018 Broadway In CLE informational PDF:
The evening had a strong start, including an interview of Sara Bareilles (@SaraBareilles), the writer of the music and lyrics of Waitress, and a performance from two of the members of the Broadway cast. Sara Bareilles then surprised the audience and the event host Gina Vernaci (@GinaVernaci) by ending her interview by going to the piano onstage and giving an impromptu performance of "She Used to Be Mine."
Be sure to see the videos below of Sara Bareilles' performance, shared by Kerry Clawson (@KerryClawsonABJ), Andrea Simakis (@PDPopDiva) and Vicky Croisant (@theatrepenguin7). Also, see more videos and photos shared on Twitter below. It is great that PlayhouseSquare (@PlayhouseSquare) encourages the Launch Party audience to share photos and videos on social media and websites, so that those who were not able to attend could still learn about the exciting shows coming to Cleveland!
Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by 5-time Grammy® nominee Sara Bareilles ("Brave," "Love Song"), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award® winner Diane Paulus (Pippin, Finding Neverland). "It's an empowering musical of the highest order!" raves the Chicago Tribune.
Inspired by Adrienne Shelly's beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna - a waitress and expert pie maker, Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town's new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.
"WAITRESS is a little slice of heaven!" says Entertainment Weekly and "a monumental contribution to Broadway!" according to Marie Claire. Don't miss this uplifting musical celebrating friendship, motherhood, and the magic of a well-made pie.
CONNECT WITH THE SHOW
Julie is familiar with and enjoys Gloria Estefan's music. On Your Feet looks like a very high-energy show!
From their humble beginnings in Cuba, Emilio and Gloria Estefan came to America and broke through all barriers to become a crossover sensation at the very top of the pop music world. But just when they thought they had it all, they almost lost everything.
From international superstardom to life-threatening tragedy, ON YOUR FEET! takes you behind the music and inside the real story of this record-making and groundbreaking couple who, in the face of adversity, found a way to end up on their feet.
Directed by two-time Tony Award® winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots), with choreography by Olivier Award winner Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys) and an original book by Academy Award® winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman), ON YOUR FEET! features some of the most iconic songs of the past quarter-century — and one of the most inspiring stories in music history.
CONNECT WITH THE SHOW
We saw Phantom Of The Opera (@PhantomBway) at PlayhouseSquare on May 25, 1997 -- the 75th anniversary year the Palace Theatre. We still have the special souvenir program and our ticket stubs, and Julie has read the original The Phantom Of The Opera book by Gaston Leroux. Thus, we were intrigued to learn of the sequel, Love Never Dies.
The video shared at the Launch Party showed the eerie carnival atmosphere of 1907 Coney Island as the backdrop for the show. We look forward to experiencing this show in early 2018.
Cleveland's Playhouse Square from January 9 – 28, 2018 will present Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Love Never Dies.
This story of boundless love, full of passion and drama, follows Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera, one of the most successful musicals of all time, which has now been seen by more than 130 million people worldwide and is the winner of over 50 international awards.
The ultimate love story continues in Love Never Dies, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s spellbinding sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.
The year is 1907. It is 10 years after his disappearance from the Paris Opera House and the Phantom has escaped to a new life in New York where he lives amongst the screaming joy rides and freak shows of Coney Island. In this new, electrically charged world, he has finally found a place for his music to soar, but he has never stopped yearning for his one true love and musical protégée, Christine Daaé.
Now one of the world’s finest sopranos, Christine accepts an invitation to travel from Paris to New York to perform at a renowned opera house. Christine's marriage to Raoul is suffering at the hands of his drinking and gambling and they desperately need the financial rewards that America can give them.
In a final bid to win back Christine’s love, the Phantom lures her, Raoul, and their young son Gustave, from Manhattan to the glittering and glorious world of Coney Island… not knowing what is in store for them….
Love Never Dies is a dazzling new production, which takes audiences on a thrilling rollercoaster ride of intrigue, obsession and romance. Be seduced by the beautiful; sometimes magical and poetic; sometimes joyful; and occasionally melancholic score. Don’t miss this magnificent continuation of one of the world’s greatest love stories as it makes its premiere in Cleveland.
This production played to critical acclaim throughout Australia and New Zealand and is described by Chris Boyd in The Australian as “The best thing Lloyd Webber has written in the quarter century since The Phantom of the Opera.” Andrew Lloyd Webber describes the production as, “Probably the finest one I could ever, ever hope for.”
We saw RENT at PlayhouseSquare in 2006. It is the type of show that you can appreciate even more by seeing it again. It is interesting to note that this is a special 20th anniversary touring production in 2018.
Be sure to see scroll down to watch the three videos from the show here:
In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award®-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La Bohème, RENT follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters—love.
We were not familiar with the The Humans, but were interested to learn that in 2016, it won Best Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play - Reed Birney, Best Featured Actress in a Play - Jayne Houdyshell, and Best Scenic Design in a Play at the 70th Tony Awards. That same year, it also won Best Play from the New York Drama Critics' Circle. Check out news and reviews about the show on the TheHumansOnBroadway.com website.
Stuart historically has enjoyed straight plays more than musicals (though his tastes have changed to now appreciate more musicals), so he is glad that PlayhouseSquare is featuring a Tony Award-winning show like The Humans as part of its KeyBank Broadway Series.
Stephen Karam’s The Humans is an uproarious, hopeful, and heartbreaking play that takes place over the course of a family dinner on Thanksgiving. Breaking with tradition, Erik Blake has brought his Pennsylvania family to celebrate and give thanks at his daughter’s apartment in Lower Manhattan. As darkness falls outside the ramshackle pre-war duplex and eerie things start to go bump in the night, the Blake clan’s deepest fears and greatest follies are laid bare. Our modern age of anxiety is keenly observed, with humor and compassion, in this new American classic that won the 2016 Tony Award® for Best Play.
Aladdin -- Julie loves the music, since she has played some of it with The University Heights Symphonic Band, and has seen clips from the Broadway show. She is REALLY excited to see the Broadway touring company of Aladdin at PlayhouseSquare!
Discover a whole new world at ALADDIN, the hit Broadway musical.
From the producer of The Lion King comes the timeless story of Aladdin, a thrilling new production filled with unforgettable beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle. It’s an extraordinary theatrical event where one lamp and three wishes make the possibilities infinite.
See why audiences and critics agree, ALADDIN is “Exactly What You Wished For!" (NBC-TV).
At last year's Launch Party, we remember the crowd hoping for HAMILTON to come to Cleveland! Here it is -- it is coming in summer 2018!!!
A word from Lin-Manuel Miranda
- How can I see HAMILTON in Cleveland?
- The best way to guarantee tickets to HAMILTON is to purchase season tickets for the 2017-2018 season by calling 216-640-8800.
- When will you announce dates for the show?
- We already announced! HAMILTON will play the State Theatre July 17-August 26, 2018.
- Can’t I just buy tickets now?
- Individual show tickets for HAMILTON aren’t on sale yet. On sale dates will be announced at a later time. The best way to stay informed about HAMILTON’s Cleveland engagement is to sign up to receive our HAMILTON updates by email. You can do that by signing up on this page.
- Is purchasing season tickets the only way I can see HAMILTON in Cleveland?
- No, there will be single tickets available to purchase.
- How long will HAMILTON run?
- HAMILTON will be here for six weeks of performances.
- Are Group Tickets available?
- Information regarding group tickets will be announced at a later time.
- Will there be a ticket lottery like there is in New York? What will the ticket prices be?
- Information regarding ticket prices and how to purchase will be announced at a later time.
- Will Lin-Manuel Miranda or any other members of the Broadway cast be in the show when it comes to Cleveland?
- This will be an all new cast but it will be produced with the same talent, attention to detail and high quality as the Broadway production. Auditions are still taking place.
About the Show
With book, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, direction by Thomas Kail, choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and musical direction and orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, HAMILTON is based on Ron Chernow’s biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton.
HAMILTON is the story of America's Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington's right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, as told by America now.
For information on HAMILTON, visit:
Tweets & Retweets
Here are our 208 @sos_jr tweets and retweets sharing our experience at 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series Launch Party at PlayhouseSquare Please share any photos and videos that you find interesting by retweeting. We recommend clicking on the Twitter photos and videos to enlarge them and get the full effect!
Excited for announcement #bwyincle Less then 2 hours.— Amy Lawson (@amy_laws84) February 28, 2017
Anyone else going to the Broadway Series launch party @playhousesquare tonight?— Roman B (@r1960b) February 28, 2017
And we're off! pic.twitter.com/VPphbZsxlR— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
3 MILLION tickets sold to watch some threate in CLE. Absolutely amending #BWYinCLE— Lauren (@LaurenNiepok) March 1, 2017
Thanks x 1 million to our friends @keybank who sponsor the Broadway Series.— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
we are SO proud to have the second largest performing arts complex in the country here in Cleveland! #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Quick reminder: we have the second largest theater district. #bwyincle— Charlene Coughlin (@cacoughlin) March 1, 2017
Question asked- what would Cleveland be like without this? I don't want to know, no one wants to know #BWYinCLE— Lauren (@LaurenNiepok) March 1, 2017
Soo much talent! Thanks JR :)— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
Thank you! Key Bank! #bwyincle— dan palmer (@profpalmer) March 1, 2017
Absolutely the best! Tonight the wait is over. Over 36,000 season ticket holders! What's holding you back? #BWYinCLE— James Judy (@jamesj0324) March 1, 2017
Live streaming #BWYinCLE and getting excited for next season! Wish I was at the launch party!— Courtney Zimmerman (@cpfzimmerman) March 1, 2017
Fun Fact: Stephanie was the understudy Elphaba on the Wicked tour the last time it stopped in Cleveland! You may have seen her! #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Don't forget, we're livestreaming this year'a show at https://t.co/hunSh1FofZ!— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
"On Your Feet!" brings the music of Gloria Estefan to PHS in 2017-18. #BWYinCLE— Andrea Simakis (@PDPopDiva) March 1, 2017
The fact that Sara Bareilles did an impromptu performance from WAITRESS pretty much made my year. #BWYinCLE— Vicky Croisant (@theatrepenguin7) March 1, 2017
Randy Buck, producer of @OnYourFeetBway, is chatting the show with Gina. He's also the producer of...— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
...@LoveNeverDies! Guess who's back, back again? The Phantom's back (in Coney Island) tell a friend (it's here Jan. 9-28).— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
The 20th anniversary tour of Rent is the fourth show in the Broadway season! #bwyincle— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Jayne Houdyshell and Reed Birney won Tonys this past June for their performances in The Humans, which itself won best play! #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Aladdin is the next show in the Key Bank Broadway series! Coming to Cleveland next May. #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Drum roll please— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
And finally... @HamiltonMusical will be rounding out the 2017-18 KeyBank Broadway Series for 6 full weeks July 17-Aug. 26, 2018.— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
Aladdin will be playing Cleveland for 4 weeks! #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
That might seem far away, but we're giving away a trip for 2 to see it in Chicago... get all the details: https://t.co/ESFooLaAjc— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
And that's a wrap, CLE! Read up on all the shows coming at https://t.co/hunSh1FofZ— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
What a night! The 2017-2018 Key Bank Broadway Series can't come soon enough. We're off to listen to some show tunes! #BWYinCLE— Applaud Squad (@applaudsquad) March 1, 2017
Waitress. On Your Feet. Love Never Dies. Rent. The Humans. Aladdin. Hamilton. SO glad we don't have to keep all the news a secret anymore.— Playhouse Square (@playhousesquare) March 1, 2017
At the KeyBank Broadway Series announcement at the State Theatre -- largest audience to attend the kick-off party ever. #BWYinCLE— Andrea Simakis (@PDPopDiva) March 1, 2017
KeyBank pledges to fund Broadway Series for another five years. #BWYinCLE— Andrea Simakis (@PDPopDiva) March 1, 2017
What Others Say
Here are other blog posts and articles about the PlayhouseSquare 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series. We always like to share what other creative people have written.
2017-18 KeyBank Broadway Series brings Tony-winners 'Hamilton' and 'Aladdin' to Playhouse Square
By Andrea Simakis, The Plain Dealer (@PDPopDiva - @ClevelandDotCom) on February 28, 2017 at 9:09 PM, updated March 01, 2017 at 12:17 PM
Sara Bareilles gives impromptu performance of 'She Used to Be Mine' from Broadway's 'Waitress' in Cleveland (video)
By Andrea Simakis, The Plain Dealer (@PDPopDiva - @ClevelandDotCom) on March 03, 2017 at 8:00 AM, updated March 03, 2017 at 8:11 AM
We also recommend that you regularly read the "At The Theater" section of Alicia Hansen's (@AliciamHansen) blog to go behind the scenes at Playhouse Square (@PlayhouseSquare). We have attended ten of the Playhouse Square shows that Alicia Hansen has written about in her blog!
I serve as Playhouse Square‘s Community Engagement and Education’s blogger for the KeyBank Broadway Series. Join me as I to take you behind the scenes to interview a member of the featured show’s cast, crew or creative team.
My previous interviews include:
Related Blog Posts
Since July 2012, starting with our blog post Ohio Blogging Association Theatre Tour with Playhouse Square Partners, we have written 14 blog posts about PlayhouseSquare which you can read by clicking here.
We greatly appreciate being invitied to our third Launch Party again this year. Here are our posts from the last two years:
Blog Date: March 30, 2016 - PlayhouseSquare 2016-2017 Broadway Series: Broadway Glamour in Cleveland!
Blog Date: April 8, 2015 - PlayhouseSquare 2015-2016 Broadway Launch Party!
We enjoy attending many plays and other events in PlayhouseSquare (@PlayhouseSquare), and plan to continue to do this. We recommend you visit this second largest theater venue in the United States, and find out what it has to offer!
Disclosure: We received two general admission tickets from PlayhouseSquare to attend the 2017-2018 Broadway Launch Party event. We were also PlayhouseSquare's guests for the Broadway Series Launch after party, where we enjoyed free desserts.
We were approached to attend because of our support of PlayhouseSquare via our @sos_jr Twitter feed and past blog posts about PlayhouseSquare. We enjoyed the event, and wrote this blog to share our experience and our opinion of the event.