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CPH Renaissance Gala Offers Live Performances, Food, Dancing, and Exciting Auction Packages

Posted June 1, 2024 in Press Releases

(Cleveland, OH) Cleveland Play House (CPH) is thrilled to host Renaissance: Cleveland Play House Gala, a Night of Revelry and Renewal, on Saturday, June 1, 2024, at 5:30 p.m. in the Allen Theatre, located in the heart of Playhouse Square. Cleveland Play House is pleased to welcome Northeast Ohioans back to the Allen Theatre to celebrate and support live theatre, with the return of the CPH Annual Gala, an exuberant evening filled with renewed excitement, delicious food, and fun-galore to honor Dr. Roland and Dale Anglin and Paul E. Westlake Jr.

CPH Board Chair Mike Meehan says, "This year’s Gala celebrates the renaissance and renewed joy at Cleveland Play House under the new leadership of Artistic Director Michael Barakiva and Managing Director Rachel L. Fink. The future is bright at CPH!”

Renaissance will reawaken guests to the magic invoked by the bold, dynamic, and thrilling theatre programming as well as the groundbreaking educational programs provided by Cleveland Play House, serving audiences and scholars in Northeast Ohio and beyond. While the evening celebration commemorates Cleveland Play House’s historic and Tony Award-winning legacy, Renaissance also provides theatre-lovers an opportunity to show their much-appreciated support to America’s premiere regional theatre company. In the spirit of renaissance, the notable event will inspire attendees to look toward the bright future of Cleveland Play House as the theatre company continues to bring thought-provoking art to Northeast Ohio with the help of the community. Cleveland Play House recognizes the transition to new leadership under Artistic Director Michael Barakiva, and Managing Director Rachel L. Fink, who are dedicated to rejuvenating the CPH vision to become a regional theatre that is welcoming, diverse, distinctive, and essential to the community.

Kim Meisel Pesses, a co-chair of the event’s Host Committee and a vice-chair of the CPH Board says, “We are thrilled and excited to bring the Gala back this year. During the pandemic, we all learned how much live theatre means to each of us and how it enriches our lives in so many ways. This year, we can’t wait to celebrate together with our fellow theatre lovers, raise crucial funds for our artistic and education programs, and toast the next chapter for Cleveland Play House!”

Attendees can expect a bright, colorful, and fresh atmosphere with wandering artists throughout the evening, and are enticed to treat themselves to delicious dinner, open bars, and revelry on the dance floor. Event designer Christopher Kascsak of Design Studio Cleveland, LLC returns to transform the Allen Theatre lobbies, whose signature style will infuse the entire experience with elegance and excitement around every corner. Those attending this black-tie event are invited to wear Renaissance-inspired attire and accessories if they choose.

Headlining Renaissance is the funk and soul band, Apostle Jones, a well-known ensemble recognized as the 2023 Cleveland Scene Best Band, the 2023 Cleveland Magazine Reader’s Pick Best Music Artist, and recipient of the 2023 Cleveland Music Award for Best Blues Band. Additional performers for the evening include: Inlet Dance Theatre; violinist Darnell Weaver, “Maestro Flux”; drag performers Samantha Echo, Erica Martinez, Dr. Lady J, and Empress Dupree; the cast of CPH’s In The Heights; Colleen Jackson; and more.

Driftwood Bars & Catering will provide a tasty menu of food selections (vegetarian, vegan, and gluten free options will be available). Mitchell’s Ice Cream will also be served on site for a sweet treat.

During the festivities, a live auction will be conducted by Mark Schroeder of Auction Brio LLC that awards one-of-a-kind auction packages to multiple winners. For those hoping to vacation, winners can bid on an eight-day getaway to Tuscany, Italy for up to four, a relaxing vacation to Hilton Head, South Carolina for sixteen, or a theatre-lovers trip to New York City for two to see exciting, on-Broadway productions Eureka Day, The Notebook, The Who’s Tommy, and Stereophonic. Additionally, two Cleveland Play House packages will be available for auction. The CPH Backstage Pass package allows the winner to spend a day as an assistant director to Artistic Director Michael Barakiva, tour backstage, eat dinner with CPH leaders, and more. The Cleveland Play House Walk-On-Role package gives the winner an opportunity to make their debut in a CPH production with a walk-on-role in the CPH 2024-25 show, Fiddler On The Roof, as well as meet the cast, crew, and CPH staff.

CPH Managing Director Rachel L. Fink says, "The energy and excitement buzzing in Cleveland and at CPH are palpable, and we can't wait to share this vibrant atmosphere with our supporters at Renaissance. Together, we’re ensuring that CPH continues to thrive and make a meaningful impact for generations to come.”

Tickets for Renaissance are now on sale exclusively at All proceeds from Renaissance will support Cleveland Play House’s nationally recognized artistic work and transformational educational programs.


Roland Anglin’s career spans more than 30 years of working in the public, educational, and philanthropic sectors. In all his professional positions, Roland has focused on promoting economic and community development in and for low-income communities. Currently, he is professor of public affairs at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Public Affairs and Education at Cleveland State University. Immediately prior to this position, Roland was Dean of the College. Before coming to Cleveland State, he served in leadership roles at Rutgers University-Newark, the Ford Foundation, and Seedco. Roland has published three books: Promoting Sustainable Local and Community Development, Katrina's Imprint: Race and Vulnerability in America (with colleagues), and Resilience and Opportunity (with colleagues).

Dale Anglin is the inaugural Director for Press Forward: a national initiative to support the revitalization of local news. A coalition of national and local funders is raising and investing more than $500 million to support local newsrooms, close longstanding gaps in journalism, advance public policy that expands access to local news, and scale infrastructure the sector needs to achieve sustainability. As the former Vice President of Proactive Grantmaking at the Cleveland Foundation, Dale was involved the last few years in the Foundation creating strategies with partners to improve our local news and information system by launching Documenters and Signal Cle/Ohio and supporting groups like the Land and Buckeye Flame. At Press Forward she is doing the same work, but nationwide.

Roland and Dale have been involved with Cleveland Play House for years. As a member of our Board of Directors, Roland’s love of theatre came from growing up in Brooklyn and seeing shows in New York City and, especially, at Crossroads Theatre in New Jersey. Similarly, Dale fell in love with theatre at a young age when she would attend performances with her parents or through her school’s student matinee program. Dale participated in the Goodman Theatre’s renowned apprenticeship program (and still has her acceptance letter!). Both Roland and Dale are passionate about arts education and the power of theatre to shine a light on important topics in a way that nothing else can.

Paul E. Westlake, Jr. is a Senior Principal and Lead Designer of DLR Group, an integrated, multi-disciplinary design firm with 33 offices worldwide. Prior to merging with DLR Group in 2016, Paul was Managing Principal of the legacy firm Westlake Reed Leskosky, headquartered in downtown Cleveland since 1905, and ranked #1 overall among U.S. architectural firms in Architect Magazine’s 2014 AIA Top 50 ranking. Over the course of his 40+-year career, Paul has designed a range of award-winning and technically challenging projects including major arts and cultural facilities such as theaters, amphitheaters, museums, and academic arts buildings. His body of work in both renovation and new construction has received more than 200 design awards. Over the course of his career, Paul has been personally involved in the design of more than 100 performing arts facilities in the United States, Asia, and Africa. This includes work on four of the nation’s six largest performing arts centers and theater districts in New York, Los Angeles, and Cleveland. Paul has worked with Cleveland’s Playhouse Square, including its many theaters and Ideastream Public Media, for four decades and was the lead designer of the Allen Theatre Complex serving the Cleveland Play House. Additional performing arts projects in Ohio include renovations of Severance Hall and Blossom Music Center; the Kohl Jazz Building and other projects at Oberlin College & Conservatory; and the Ohio State University Arts District.


MICHAEL BARAKIVA (Artistic Director) is an Armenian-Israeli American director and writer who has staged new plays, revivals, and classics in New York City and around the country. Michael was appointed Artistic Director of Cleveland Play House in December 2023, where he served as director of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as well as co-director of CPH’s world premiere production of Ken Ludwig’s Moriarty: A New Sherlock Holmes Adventure. Barakiva’s work has been seen at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Primary Stages, Syracuse Stage, TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, and the Hangar Theatre, where he served as Artistic Director. He founded The Upstart Creatures, a theatre company that creates community through performance and food, as well as the Leadership Initiative Project, which equips historically excluded artists with the tools to succeed in leadership positions. Barakiva has received three Drama League directing fellowships, the Phil Killian Directing Fellowship (OSF), the David Merrick Prize in Drama, and was a Granada Artist-in-Residence at UC Davis. He led a week-long workshop on musical theatre at the International Puppet Theater in Sofia, Bulgaria, and was a presenter at the International University Theatre Festival at UNAM in Mexico City. He served as producer of Summer Camp 6 (Soho Rep) and as the Readings and Workshops Coordinator at New York Stage and Film, as well as a Primary Coach on Season 2 of MTV’s Made. As a writer, Barakiva is the recipient of a Red Bull Commission for his adaptation of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, an EST/Sloan Project Commission, and a co-author of String Theory (Connotation Press). His young adult novels have been named to the Rainbow List, Equality Family Council Reading List, The Barnes and Noble’s Perfect Valentine’s Day YA Novels list, spending over a year as Goodreads #1 LGBTQ YA Novel. Education: Vassar College, The Juilliard School.

RACHEL L. FINK (Managing Director) is thrilled to be returning home to Northeast Ohio after 25 years. Her childhood was filled with fundamental and rich Cleveland arts experiences — and it was at Heights High (Go Tigers!) that Fink’s passion for arts access, social justice, and inclusive, equitable practices was ignited. She carried those values with her as she enrolled at Case Western Reserve University, where an astute professor introduced her to the field of arts administration, and she hasn’t turned back since. The experience at CWRU led to an internship at Cleveland Play House, followed by earning an MFA in theater management at the Yale School of Drama (now the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale). After graduate school, Fink ventured west to Berkeley Repertory Theatre in Berkeley, California, where she founded and grew the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre into a nationally-recognized learning hub which centered theatre as an essential education and engagement tool for all ages, providing direct service and support to more than 300 theatres and 2,000 artists across the San Francisco Bay Area. Most recently, Fink served as the executive director of the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago, Illinois. Producing highlights include Plantation! by Kevin Douglas and directed by David Schwimmer; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, written and directed by David Catlin; Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by J. Nicole Brooks (holiday radio broadcast in partnership with local NPR affiliate, WBEZ); Steadfast Tin Soldier, written and directed by Mary Zimmerman; and Lookingglass Alice, written and directed by David Catlin. Fink has held professional distinctions including co-leading the Professional Association of Chicago Theatres; and serving as a Fellow at the Civic Leadership Academy at the University of Chicago/Harris School of Public Policy; as the US delegate for the British Council’s Cultural Leadership International Programme; as a member of the American Express/Aspen Institute Fellowship for Emerging Nonprofit Leaders inaugural class; and as a 2016 artEquity facilitator cohort member.


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 across 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. 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. Cleveland Play House is supported in part by the residents of Cuyahoga County through a public grant from Cuyahoga Arts & Culture. To learn more,


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