The BIG Event: The PlayhouseSquare 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series Launch Party!

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The BIG Event: The PlayhouseSquare 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series Launch Party!

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!

Tickets for PlayhouseSquare Launch Party for the KeyBank Broadway Series
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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.

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Julie and Stuart at the Broadway Series Launch After Party!
 ​Thank you, PlayhouseSquare, for the fun at the Broadway Series Launch After Party!  Julie and Stuart at the Broadway Series Launch After Party!


PlayhouseSquare Success Stories

PlayhouseSquare Success Stories Announcements
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In addition to the the new season, there were several other exciting announcements:

  • We were thrilled that KeyBank (@KeyBank) stated that they have renewed their commitment to support the Broadway Series for the next five years!

  • 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!

    Help us meet the Dazzle Challenge!

    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.

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Dazzle Challenge 2017!
Dazzle Challenge 2017!


Announcing the 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare!

Announcing the 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare!
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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:

2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Season informational PDF
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2017-2018 Broadway In CLE
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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!

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: Waitress

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.




Julie is familiar with and enjoys Gloria Estefan's music. On Your Feet looks like a very high-energy show!

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: On Your Feet

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.




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.


Official PlayhouseSquare description of: Love Never Dies

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.

The MusiGals women's choir, of which Julie is a member, is currently rehearsing the song, "Seasons of Love," from RENT for their spring concert.

Be sure to see scroll down to watch the three videos from the show here:

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: RENT

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 website.

"The Humans" has won these awards!
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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.

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: The Humans

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!

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: Aladdin

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!!!

Official PlayhouseSquare description of: HAMILTON

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

Our @sos_jr tweet up in lights on PlayhouseSquare's BIG outdoor sign!
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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!

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.

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!

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:

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.