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Cleveland Play House Production of A Christmas Story Returns for It's 10th Year

Posted November 2, 2017 in Press Releases

CLEVELAND, OH (November 2, 2017) Everyone’s favorite characters from Cleveland Street are back for their 10th production with Cleveland Play House (CPH) during the 2017 holiday season. Based on the original motion picture filmed in Cleveland, CPH’s production of A Christmas Story has quickly become an annual holiday tradition for families of all generations. Each year, these performances attract thousands of new guests to live theatre at Cleveland Play House.

“We are so excited to bring back a family favorite this year with A Christmas Story,” says CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. “This show is appropriate for all ages and we are thrilled to bring in thousands of new faces to the theatre each year. We look forward to the holiday season with our annual production of this hilarious Christmas classic.”

Serving as the primary sponsor for this year’s production of A Christmas Story is WOW! Internet, Cable & Phone (NYSE: WOW), a leading broadband and communications service provider serving the greater Cleveland region with both residential and business offerings. To date, WOW!’s network passes over 192,000 homes throughout the area- offering seamlessly bundled Internet, TV and phone packages.

As a result of WOW!’s sponsorship, 30 tickets will be donated for students at Cleveland Metropolitan School District’s Bolton Elementary School to attend a showing, with lunch and transportation provided on behalf of the company.

“Experiencing A Christmas Story at Cleveland Play House has been a longstanding tradition for families all across northern Ohio,” says WOW! Cleveland/Akron System Manager Michael Kazmarski. “We’re excited to be involved in this tradition, give students at Bolton Elementary an opportunity to see the show, and continue to be a part of the community here in northern Ohio.”

Running Nov. 24 – Dec. 23 in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square, audience members are encouraged to arrive early to take advantage of another CPH holiday tradition: the Festival of Trees sponsored by Dominion Energy. New this year is the Wreath Raffle. Six limited edition holiday wreaths have been designed and handcrafted exclusively for CPH by Plantscaping. To purchase raffle tickets, call our holiday specialists at CPH: 216.400.7021 or 216.400.7022 between 9:00am-5:30pm (Mon-Fri). Tickets can also be purchased in the Allen Theatre lobby during Festival of Trees viewing hours: Tue, Nov. 21 thru Thu, Nov. 30 at noon. The winners will be announced December 1st. As a thank you for your raffle purchase, you'll receive a promo code for discounted tickets to see CPH's production of A Christmas Story! More information will be released about both of these exciting events soon. All proceeds of the Festival of Trees and Wreath Raffle benefit the Artistic and Education programs of your CPH.

A Christmas Story Cast

ELLA BROKAW (Understudy: Helen and Esther Jane) is excited to be a part of her first production with Cleveland Play House. A recent cast member of School House Rock (Beck Center for the Arts), Ella began acting classes at age 7. Now 10, she keeps busy when off stage with soccer, basketball, choir, and spending time with her family and friends.

SAMONE CUMMINGS (Helen) is extremely proud to be making her first appearance at Cleveland Play House. Most recently seen as the shadow, king and jester in The Knight and The Shadow at Dobama Theater for Marilyn Bianchi kid’s playwriting festival. Samone began acting at the age of five with her church as an angel in Jesus is Born. Now eleven, in the seventh grade at Dike School of The Arts, Samone has been cast in a number of local productions including 2 runs as Ensemble Theater in Objectively Reasonable: A Community Response to the Shooting of Tamir Rice 11/22/14 (Playwrights Local); Ensemble in Maya the Poet (Station Hope); Annie Moffat in Little Women (Hathaway Brown Theater Institute); and a variety of school productions. Samone trained with Dike School of the Arts, Hathaway Brown Theater Institute; Tri-C Creative Arts Dance Academy; and Karamu choir. When Samone is off stage she studies voice, dance and piano. She also enjoys making clothes for her doll collection and ministering at her church.

JOSEPH DASO (Scut Farkas/Understudy: Ralphie) is hyped to make his debut on the Cleveland Play House stage! He began his journey into the world of singing, acting, and dancing at the Beck Center for the Arts in Lakewood at the age of 7. His favorite previous roles include Michael Banks in Mary Poppins and Billy Kopecki in Big, The Musical (Beck Center for the Arts); Jewell Estes in Floyd Collins (Blank Canvas Theatre); and Young Clyde in Bonnie and Clyde (French Creek Theatre). Joey lives in Lakewood, is 13 years old, and enjoys playing the marimba and drumset, composing music, and browsing through dank memes on Reddit.

CHRISTOPHER GERSON (The Old Man) is thrilled to be returning to Cleveland Play House to reprise his role as The Old Man. Some recent credits include Horatio in Hamlet at The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the title role in Richard III at The Great River Shakespeare Festival, The Price at Triad Stage, and The Little Prince at The Pearl Theatre in New York. Other NY credits include the Red Bull Theater, Lark Theatre Company, and New Georges. Regional credits include South Coast Repertory, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, Pioneer Theatre, Actor’s Gang, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, and A Noise Within. Television and Film credits include Mr. Robot, Younger, Desperate Housewives, Days of our Lives, Chicago Hope, The Language of Kickball, Fort Greene, Echo’s Hammer, and Darwin: The Series.

MADELEINE MABY (Mother) is thrilled to be back at Cleveland Play House doing A Christmas Story! Favorite NY credits include Weekend at an English Country Estate and The Girl in the Flammable Skirt (The Ateh Theater Group, of which she is a founding member); And to the Republic and The Tragedy of King Arthur (Guerrilla Shakespeare Project); and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Atlantic Theater Company). Favorite regional credits include Boeing-Boeing and Witness for the Prosecution at The Barnstormers Theatre in New Hampshire. Madeleine went to NYU Tisch School of the Arts where she studied at The Atlantic Theater Company and in London at RADA. In addition to being a theater actor, Madeleine is an award-winning audiobook narrator.

LAURA PERROTTA (Miss Shields) is a native New Yorker who has called Cleveland home for the last 21 years. She has appeared on television, Off Broadway, toured nationally, and worked regionally. She appeared this season as Mrs. van Daan in The Diary of Anne Frank, and is honored and happy to return to Cleveland Play House with A Christmas Story. lauraperrottaford.com

ARTHUR SCHMIEDL (Understudy: Flick, Schwartz, and Scut Farkas) is thrilled to be making his Cleveland Play House debut with the 2017 production of A Christmas Story. Recently, Arthur portrayed the role of William in Johnny Appleseed at the Lantern Theatre, a play which was developed in the Children’s Series at Cleveland Play House. Arthur is a proud sixth grader at Monticello Middle School. As a musician, he has studied the bass for five years with Dr. Anne Gilbert at the Music Settlement School. He is an avid swimmer and has been a member of the Cleveland Heights Tiger Sharks swim team for three seasons, and is also a speed skater with the Cleveland Heights Skating Club. Arthur is also a fan of the musical Hamilton as well as the Harry Potter series.

KATIE SCHULER (Esther Jane) is thrilled to be making her debut at the Cleveland Play House. She has just finished performing as part of the ensemble in Bonnie and Clyde at French Creek Theater. Katie also appeared at French Creek Theatre in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat this past spring. Katie loves to sing and dance. She has completed 8 years of dance with experience in tap, ballet, and contemporary. Besides performing, Katie also enjoys playing volleyball, painting, and spending time with family. She is 10 years old and in fifth grade at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Avon, Ohio.

JAKE SPENCER (Ralphie) is returning to Cleveland Play House in A Christmas Story for the third time having previously played Randy in 2014 and Flick in 2016. He is honored to be returning to his holiday home on “Cleveland St.”, where he is sharing the stage with his real-life brother. Jake has performed all over Northeast Ohio in regional and community theatre. He was most recently seen in Waiting for Godot (Beck Center for the Arts), The Music Man in Concert (Cain Park), and To Kill a Mockingbird (Brecksville Theatre). Jake is a Curtain Puller in the CPH Theatre Academy and has participated in the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre Youth Program. He is a fifth grader at Kenston Intermediate School in Bainbridge, Ohio. Jake enjoys Pokémon, hot sauce, and video games.

SAM SPENCER (Randy) is honored and excited to be returning to Cleveland Play House in A Christmas Story where he was understudy for Randy in 2016. He was most recently seen in The Music Man in Concert (Cain Park) and Princess Diana the Musical (Geauga Lyric Theatre). Sam has appeared at the Chagrin Valley Little Theatre in various Youth Theatre productions. He is also a proud student of the CPH Theatre Academy in its inaugural year. Sam is thrilled to be sharing the stage with his real-life big brother in this endearing story that is an American tradition and a family favorite. He is a second grader at Timmons Elementary in Bainbridge, Ohio. Sam likes wrestling, Pokémon, pizza, and art.

JEFF TALBOTT (Ralph) is thrilled to be back with his many friends in the CLE for the holidays. He has been on Broadway (Sly Fox, Fortune’s Fool); off-Broadway (Abundance, Such Good Friends, Home of the Brave); and has extensive regional credits, including: The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Odd Couple, Race, circle mirror transformation, Frost/Nixon, and Doubt at theatres including Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Pioneer Theatre Company, Paper Mill Playhouse, Goodspeed Opera House, Actors’ Theatre of Louisville, and Yale Repertory Theatre, among many others. He has been on film (Julie & Julia) and TV (The Blacklist, Orange is the New Black, Unforgettable, Boardwalk Empire, The Sopranos, all the Law & Orders, One Life to Live, and As the World Turns). As a writer, his play The Submission (Laurents/Hatcher Award, Outer Critics Circle’s John Gassner Award) was produced off-Broadway by MCC Theater and has been performed across the country. This past March, his play The Gravedigger’s Lullaby had its world premiere off-Broadway at TACT. After A Christmas Story this year, he has two world premieres coming up: the romantic drama "i" at Pioneer Theatre Company and Civics and Humanities for Non-Majors, which was commissioned by Montclair State University. He writes musicals with composer Will Van Dyke. They have written Imagine Harry, Wintersong, Seven Broken Hearts, and the just-completed The Circle. They also released an EP of their songs called A View of the River (available on iTunes). Jeff is a graduate of the Yale School of Drama. jefftalbott.com

TYLER THOMPSON (Schwartz) is so elated to be a part of the cast of A Christmas Story here at Cleveland Play House. Tyler is currently a sixth grader at St Agatha St. Aloysius. He set his mind on acting on stage two years ago after seeing a play at the Beck Center for the Arts, shortly after that landing his first role as Lazarus in God Spell at Near West Theater. Tyler enjoyed being a part of the ensemble at the Cultural Centre in the production of The Music Man. Tyler’s most recent role was in the musical production of The Wiz where he had several roles: The Winged Monkey, a Munchkin and an Emerald City Citizen. In his down time, he loves drawing, dancing, swimming, and making music videos. His dream is to make it to the big screen.

NOLAN TIECH (Flick) is excited and honored to have his debut performance here at Cleveland Play House! Nolan has been on stage since he was five years old in numerous community theatre, University, and Youth Theatre productions. Some of his favorite roles include: Ralphie in A Christmas Story: The Musical and Tiny Tim in Scrooge (Fort Findlay Playhouse); Pugsley Addams in The Addams Family (The University of Findlay); Lefou in Beauty and the Beast, Charlie Buckett in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and JoJo in Seussical, the Musical (Findlay Youtheatre). Nolan can also be seen in a commercial for Hope House through Timber and Frame Productions. He enjoys singing with The Hancock County Children’s Choir and recently performed for American Young Voices in Washington D.C. Nolan is a sixth-grade student at Donnell Middle School in Findlay, Ohio. When off stage, he enjoys reading, playing video games, hanging out with friends and family, and playing the bass in the school orchestra.

VAUGHN ULLOM (Understudy: Randy) is so excited to be working on his first production with Cleveland Play House. Vaughn has performed locally with Playmakers Youth Theatre and has participated in workshops and performances with Inlet Dance Theatre and The Lillian and Betty Ratner School drama program. When he is not involved in theatre productions, Vaughn enjoys playing the violin and guitar, singing as a soloist in his church choir, and he simply loves sports – frequently watching and playing both baseball and soccer.

A Christmas Story Creative Team

JOHN McCLUGGAGE (Director) is delighted to return to Cleveland Play House and A Christmas Story. He has directed, taught, and performed throughout the country over the past 30 years. Credits include Enchanted April, Cyrano, A Flea in Her Ear, Phantom, Fiddler on the Roof, Old Wicked Songs, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and The Pajama Game. Theatres include San Jose Repertory Theatre (associate artistic director), The Barnstormers Theatre, Studio Arena Theatre, Webster University Conservatory of Theatre Arts, Cabrillo Stage, Children’s Musical Theatre of San Jose, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, the Clurman, and Beckett Theatres in New York and Seacoast Repertory Theatre (artistic director). Like Buck Hill Productions on Facebook!

The Design Team for A Christmas Story includes: ROBERT MARK MORGAN (Scenic Designer), DAVID KAY MICKELSEN (Costume Designer), MICHAEL BOLL (Lighting Designer), JAMES C. SWONGER (Sound Designer), WIGS & WHISKERS (Wig Design), The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT, and Assistant Stage Manager TOM HUMES.

Ticket Information

A Christmas Story will take place in the Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square from November 24-December 23, 2017. Tickets range in price from $25-$110 each, $15 rush tickets for currently enrolled students under age 25 with valid student ID, and Young Professional discounts available with YP-CPH Membership. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com. Groups of 10+ save up to 50% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Subscriptions: Subscribers save up to 17%. Full and flexible season packages range from $262 – $440. To purchase subscriptions or get more information, call 216-400-7096 or visit clevelandplayhouse.com

BEHIND THE SCENES INFORMATION

Christopher Gerson and Madeleine Maby are back as "The Old Man" and "Mother" in A Christmas Story for the fourth consecutive year! Though these actors are returning to familiar roles, every year means a new crop of talented young actors playing Ralphie, Randy and the rest. In this informative and engaging workshop, Christopher and Madeleine share their experiences with introducing new cast members to a perennial favorite. They'll also share with us the warm-ups and focus exercises that they employ to keep the show pitch-perfect night after night.

ABOUT WOW! INTERNET, CABLE & PHONE

WOW! is one of the nation’s leading broadband providers, with a service area that passes over three million residential, business and wholesale consumers. WOW! provides service in 19 markets, primarily in the Midwest and Southeast, including Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. With an expansive portfolio of advanced services including high-speed Internet services, cable TV, phone, business data, voice and cloud services, the company is dedicated to provide outstanding customer service at affordable prices. Visit wowway.com for more information.

ABOUT CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE

CLEVELAND PLAY HOUSE, founded in 1915 and recipient of the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is America's first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, CPH has remained dedicated to its mission to inspire, stimulate and entertain diverse audiences in Northeast Ohio by producing plays and theatre education programs of the highest professional standards. CPH has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,600 productions. Today, Cleveland Play House celebrates the beginning of its second century of service while performing in three state-of-the art venues at Playhouse Square in downtown Cleveland. www.clevelandplayhouse.com

Cleveland Play House is made possible in part by state tax dollars allocated by the Ohio Legislature to the Ohio Arts Council (OAC). The OAC is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically.

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