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Box Office (216) 241 6000

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Joy and Nostalgia Abound in "How We Got On"

Posted October 7, 2014 in Press Releases






Press Opening Night: Oct 29 at 7:30 p.m.

CLEVELAND, OH (October 7, 2014) Cleveland Play House proudly introduces their production of How We Got On, the coming-of-age story of three teens whose passion for hip-hop and determination to succeed generates creativity, artistry and friendship. Playwright Idris Goodwin’s How We Got On will delight Cleveland audiences with its uplifting message and great grooves. Directed by Jaime Castañeda, and featuring an eclectic cast of actors including Cleveland School of the Arts graduate Cyndii Johnson, How We Got On is sure to have audiences of all ages feeling the beat October 24 – November 16 in the Outcalt Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. This production of How We Got On is sponsored by Cleveland Clinic.

Theatregoers will experience a palpable sense of joy as How We Got On follows a trio of 15-year-olds living in a Midwestern suburb referred to as “The Hill.” Their unwavering desire to make something of themselves as rappers, despite the objections of their parents, culminates in their self-discovery and success. Equally enjoyable for audiences with no knowledge of hip-hop to those with a comprehensive knowledge of the genre, this gentle guide to hip-hop offers a modern take on poetry. With a “theatre DJ” looping, spinning and remixing the action on stage, How We Got On takes its audience on an uplifting lyrical journey of dreaming big and discovering your voice.

“This season’s shows not only reflect our theme of “Legacy”, but also family and the value of the next generation, and no new play I’ve read better represents that value than How We Got On,” states CPH Artistic Director Laura Kepley. “The play celebrates loyalty, friendship and discovering your own voice in a world that doesn’t always listen to young people. It is one of the most joyous and uplifting plays I have ever read.”

Play contains: a few instances of profanity

How We Got On Cast

KIM FISCHER (Julian) is thrilled to be making his regional debut at Cleveland Play House. He has been performing in the immersive off-Broadway dance show Fuerza Bruta for the past year. Other New York credits include Untitled Biopic Project, The New Ohio; and Skin in the Game, a workshop with New Dramatists. He was an acting apprentice during the 2012/13 season with Actors Theatre of Louisville, where he performed in Romeo and Juliet and new plays by Lucas Hnath and Rinne Groff. Television credits include One Bad Choice, MTV. Playwriting credits include Wake Up!, a play about an Asian boy who wants to be Black, which recently made its New York City debut at the New York Fringe Festival and was a critic’s pick at the New Orleans Fringe Festival. Kim is an alumnus of NYU Tisch School of the Arts.

CYNDII JOHNSON (Luann). Regional credits include Remix 38 and The Christians, The Humana Festival; and Our Town and The Tens: Urban Legend, Actors Theatre of Louisville. She was also part of the Papermill Theatre’s Touring Children’s Company. In 2009, she was part of PlayhouseSquare’s Slam U slam poetry series, which led to her inclusion in the Brave New Voices competition. Cyndii is an alumnus of Cleveland School of the Arts and received her BFA in acting from Wright State University.

ERIC LOCKLEY (Hank) is a performer, playwright and producer. A graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Eric’s most recent stage credits include Game On, National Black Arts Festival in Atlanta and Black Odyssey, Denver Center for the Performing Arts. Other stage credits include The Colored Museum, Hope Speaks, Cato: A Tragedy, The Winter’s Tale and Spunk. Eric has also written, performed and produced two solo shows: Last Laugh and Asking For More. Asking For More, a show that encourages diet and fitness education in urban communities, was most recently performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem in the Healthy Soul Festival. Eric’s work in film and television has been showcased in various festivals and can be seen on HBO, MTV and BET. Eric plays the lead role of Gregory in the upcoming film Knockout Game, about the consequences a group of teens experience after toying with unsuspecting strangers' lives.

PORTIA (Selector). Theater credits include Fences, McCarter Theater and Long Wharf Theater co-production; Our Town, Ford’s Theatre; Pulitzer Prize winning play Ruined, Manhattan Theatre Club, Intiman Theater and The Geffen Playhouse; and In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, Our Lady Of 121st Street, Guinea Pig Solo, Dutch Heart of Man, Labyrinth Theater Company. Television and Film Credits include Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List, The Messenger, Please Give, The Greatest, Freedomland, CSI, Hart of Dixie, Good Luck Charlie, Law & Order, 30 Rock, and Ugly Betty. Portia is a member of AEA and Labyrinth Theater Company.

How We Got On Creative Team

IDRIS GOODWIN (Playwright) is an award winning playwright, essayist and spoken word artist. His play How We Got On was developed at The Eugene O'Neill Theater Center and premiered at Actors Theatre of Louisville's 2012 Humana Festival. The play was nominated for an ATCA Steinberg New Play Award. Critically acclaimed and published by Playscripts, How We Got On is being widely remounted across the country. Goodwin was back at Humana Festival this year as co-writer of Remix 38. Upcoming productions include This Is Modern Art (co-written with Kevin Coval) at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, And In This Corner: Cassius Clay at StageOne Family Theatre and Bars and Measures at B Street Theatre. His play The Realness was featured in The Araca Group’s New Play Reading Series with American Theatre Company. He is the recipient of InterAct Theater’s 20/20 Commission Award. Goodwin has been a writer in residence at Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor Program, The Kennedy Center and New Harmony Project. Goodwin is a Core Writer with The Playwrights' Center and a proud member of the Dramatist Guild. An accomplished poet and essayist, his book These Are The Breaks was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Goodwin has performed on HBO, Discovery Channel and Sesame Street. Goodwin currently teaches performance writing and hip-hop aesthetics at Colorado College.

JAIME CASTAÑEDA (Director). Regional credits include The Royal Society of Antarctica, Portland Center Stage, JAW festival; Tiger Style!, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center; The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Dallas Theater Center; Chimichangas and Zoloft Atlantic Theater Company; The Motherf**ker with the Hat, Kitchen Dog Theater; Welcome to Arroyo’s, The Old Globe, American Theater Company, Summer Play Festival; Red Light Winter, Perseverance Theatre; A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Harold Clurman Lab; Biggest A**hole Ever Born, INTAR Theatre; Timberbrit, Ontological-Hysteric Theater; One for the Road, Directorfest; This Is How It Goes, Amphibian Stage Productions; and Blue/Orange and Sonnets for an Old Century, FireStarter Productions. Jaime is a Drama League fellow and has received the Princess Grace Award and the TCG New Generations Grant. Jaime is an ensemble member at American Theater Company in Chicago and spent five seasons as the Artistic Associate with the Atlantic Theater Company. He received his M.F.A. in Directing at the University of Texas at Austin.

SHAMMY DEE (Musical Director) is a Los Angeles-based multi-faceted talent in entertainment. He has had success as a DJ, performer and actor. He's been the DJ for some of the world's top brands such as Louis Vuitton, Jimmy Choo and Burberry as well as recognized celebrities such as Michael Bublé, the Kardashians and 50 Cent. He has also played around the nation as a touring DJ. His original music charted three number one singles off his debut album, Transcripted Thoughts. Television credits include the “Bad Game” Gamefly commercial and How I Met Your Mother. Musical direction credits include Kristoffer Diaz’s Welcome To Arroyo’s, The Old Globe. Sound design credits include Will Power’s The Seven, Occidental College.

The Design Team for How We Got On includes: LAUREN HELPERN (Scenic Designer), JESSICA FORD (Costume Designer), BRIAN SIDNEY BEMBRIDGE (Lighting Designer) and MIKHAIL FIKSEL (Sound Designer). The Stage Manager for this production is JOHN GODBOUT.

How We Got On Special Events

Script Club: How We Got On

October 14, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:15pm (Beachwood Branch)

October 22, 2014 @ 7:00pm - 8:15pm (Medina County District Library and Heights Library)
Everything you love about a book club – but with a play in the spotlight! Check out a copy of the script from one of our partner libraries and read it at home. Then join CPH Artistic Staff at the library for a free-flowing exploration of the story and characters, with special insight on how CPH artists take a play from page to stage!

RSVP required. Call 216-831-6868 or (Beachwood Branch)

Call 216-932-3600 or visit (Heights Library)

Call 330-725-0588 or visit (Medina County District Library)

Tech Night: How We Got On

October 21, 2014 @ 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Hear from the director and designers, then sit in on a technical rehearsal (“tech”) to see how set, lights, sound, costumes and actors all come together as opening night nears! All Tech Night events run from 6:30-8:30pm.

RSVP to required. Details sent upon registration

Behind-the-Scenes: Rhyme and Reason

October 25, 2014 @ 11:00am - 12:30pm
What do Shakespeare, Kerouac and your cheesy teenage love poems all have in common with How We Got On? A lot! Playwright Idris Goodwin leads an immersive exploration of how the poetry of early hip-hop takes the play’s characters—and audience—on a joy-filled journey of language, rhythm and rhyme in this universal coming-of-age story.

RSVP to required. Details sent upon registration.

Interactive Workshop: How We Got On

October 25, 2014 @ 2:00pm – 4:00pm

Hear and talk about the art and the health of hip-hop. Cleveland Play House and Cleveland Clinic invite you to experience a free interactive workshop around How We Got On, combining performance, cultural context and hands-on activities to connect hip-hop’s use of self-expression, language, rhythm & rhyme to our daily lives. The event will feature educators from Cleveland Play House and will be held in the Langston Hughes Health and Education Center.

Limited capacity. Please pre-register for this event 216-448-1244 or

Talkback: How We Got On

November 02, 2014

November 04, 2014

November 09, 2014
Stay after the show to continue the conversation our plays start! TalkBacks offer the chance to interact with members of the cast and CPH Artistic Staff in an open and lively Q&A about the play and the questions it raises.

Ticket Information

How We Got On will take place in the Outcalt Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. Tickets range in price from $29-$59 each. Students under the age of 24 with a valid ID will be offered a special $15 ticket price. Tickets are also just $25 for anyone under age 35, sponsored by Scene Magazine. To order single tickets please call 216-241-6000 or visit Groups of 10+ save up to 40% off single ticket prices; call 216-400-7027.

Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House is America’s first professional regional theatre. Throughout its rich history, Cleveland Play House 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. It has produced more than 100 world and/or American premieres, and over its long history more than 12 million people have attended over 1,300 CPH productions. Cleveland Play House looks toward its centennial while performing in three state-of-the art venues at PlayhouseSquare in downtown Cleveland.

The Ohio Arts Council helped fund Cleveland Play House with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. We also thank the residents of Cuyahoga County for supporting Cleveland Play House through Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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