In the spotlight: NWT actor Patrick Ciamacco

Patrick Ciamacco

Patrick Ciamacco

Look closely and you may recognize the leading ogre in Shrek the Musical, the first-ever main-stage show in Near West Theatre’s brand-new performance venue, opening April 24. He’s played by Patrick Ciamacco, who since 1996 has made dozens of appearances at Near West’s old Ohio City venue and on many other Cleveland-area stages. Perhaps you’ve seen him at his very own Blank Canvas Theatre, which he founded in 2011. He even played Shrek once before, in Mercury Summer Stock’s 2013 production of the musical, alongside Justin Woody, who likewise is reprising the role of Donkey at Near West.

Patrick with Katie Klaus in The Baker's Wife (2002)

Patrick with Katie Klaus in The Baker’s Wife at Near West (2002)

Patrick and buddy Joe Kenderes came in from suburban Brunswick to audition for Near West’s youth production of South Pacific in 1996. It was the start of a long relationship with Near West, where both of them have performed many times since and where Patrick has also directed and assisted in other capacities over the years.

Patrick as Che Guevara in NWT's producton of Evita (2002)

As Che Guevara in Evita (2002)

“I remember walking up to St. Pat’s for that first audition and not being sure if we were in the right place,” Patrick says. “When we got upstairs, I was scared, thinking, ‘There are so many teens here.’ I ended up getting cast in the ensemble and had no idea it would change my life like it did: performing in so many shows, directing, working with some amazing kids, and now seeing those kids all grown up. It has brought so many friends and ‘family’ into my life.”

As one of the four narrators in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2004), with, from left Kristy Cruz, Trinidad Snider, Carlos Cruz, and Ralph Pack as Jacob

As one of the four narrators in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2004), with, from left, Kristy Cruz, Trinidad Snider, Carlos Cruz, and Ralph Pack as Jacob

Patrick graduated from Brunswick High School in 1998 and recently became the youngest inductee into its Alumni Hall of Fame. He now lives in the Detroit Shoreway neighborhood, close to Near West’s new Gordon Square theater and Blank Canvas’ West 78th Street venue, where he spends long hours. “I love that I can produce smaller musical and non-musical shows there that can also provide entertainment and community outreach. We are about to open Extremities, a searing play about an attempted rape and its aftermath as the victim turns the tables on her attacker. It explores themes that are part of a national conversation about domestic abuse, rape and assault. We’ve even partnered with the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center. They’ll be doing talk-backs after some of our shows.”

As Mr. Bumble in Oliver! (2011), with Skipper Rankin as Oliver and Gwen Stembridge as Mrs. Bumble

As the Beadle in Oliver! (2011), with Skipper Rankin as Oliver and Gwen Stembridge as Mrs. Bumble

He answered an e-mail in the middle of the night, in a week filled with Near West rehearsals and Blank Canvas tech, to answer three questions about Shrek the Musical. It’s on stage April 24 through May 17 at 6702 Detroit Ave. Tickets are available online or by calling 216-961-6891, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays.

1. What’s unique about Near West’s take on Shrek the Musical? The actors and staff who are telling the story. The process of developing any production at Near West Theatre allows the cast to really put themselves into the story: their experiences, their feelings, their heart. You’ll see that on this wonderful new stage. All of them, from the Donkey to the Gingerbread Cookie, are pouring their souls into the show.

2. What’s the greatest challenge in playing the role of Shrek? Living up to the expectations people have while still exploring the role from an actor’s point of view. It’s a character we all know and love. My goal is to put my own nuances into the role while balancing what the audience comes expecting to see and hear. I don’t want to reinvent Shrek. Kids, especially, want to see the green ogre they have watched over and over again. The smile on their faces after a show is better than anything.

3. What kind of an era do you hope you’re helping to launch with this first show ever in this brand-new venue? This show is a giant fairy tale. It quite possibly could be one of the largest shows NWT has ever done. Ogres, donkeys, dragons, castles — it’s huge! This show will bring in the era of Broadway-esque spectacle and magic that this neighborhood has not yet ever seen.

— Hans Holznagel

As Harold Hill, with Joe Kenders as Marcellus, in The Music Man (2006)

As Harold Hill, with Joe Kenderes as Marcellus, in The Music Man (2006)

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Near West Theatre’s 2015 opening events, including Shrek the Musical, are presented by Thompson Hine and its subsidiary, PMC. Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


Near West Theatre documentary at the film fest tonight

You’ve got one more chance tonight to see Ted Sikora’s energetic documentary about Near West Theatre at the 39th Cleveland International Film Festival. It’s at 8:45 p.m. at Tower City Cinemas. Advice to first-time festival-goers: Act now. Get on the Festival’s box office page, get your ticket, get downtown early to park (or better yet, take the RTA) and find the right color-coded line to stand in. The showing’s code is MOVE24.

Near West Theatre's Move On!, June 2014. Photo by Terry Schordock

Move On! on stage, June 2014. Photo by Terry Schordock

You’ll be glad you did. Ted started coming to rehearsals in the spring of 2014 for the musical Move On!, our farewell to the St. Pat’s Club Building, our home of 36 years. His goal was an 8- to 10-minute fundraising piece. He was so taken with our process and our people that he kept coming back for dozens of hours of shooting. The result was this 88-minute documentary that really does catch the spirit of how we use theater to bring people together, build community, and by the way, stage a darned good, professionally produced show with a huge cast of ordinary people. Theater critic Andrea Simakis gave the film an “A” in The Plain Dealer (March 23, Page A2) and online at Cleveland.com.

CIFF_39season_stampTonight’s screening follows a packed neighborhood showing at the Capitol Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District on Sunday, March 22, and a screening downtown on Monday afternoon, March 23. Audiences seem to be liking it. If you do, too, don’t forget to tear off that little “excellent” corner of the CIFF ballot you’ll receive tonight. And say hi to Ted. He’ll be there for a director’s Q&A. — Hans Holznagel

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The film Move On! was made possible by special support from Char and Chuck Fowler and from The George Gund Foundation. Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares; for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences; and to our 2015 Presenting Sponsor, Thompson Hine.


Our new home’s the star at our gala this Sat., March 21

led board benefit 2 no place like

Our new home in the Gordon Square Arts District will be the “star,” and two longtime supporters who helped make it possible will be honored, in a high-energy, red-carpet, grand-opening event this Saturday, March 21. Actors, supporters and the community will gather for Near West Theatre’s Annual Benefit and Gala from 7 to 11 p.m. in our new performance space, 6702 Detroit Ave. After years of holding our big fundraising party at such locations as Trinity Cathedral, PlayhouseSquare and the old Cleveland Play House, we can now throw what a local journalist has called “one of the most authentic, genuine and satisfying benefit events of the year” in our own new home. The theme: “No Place Like Home.”

TH_Logo_rev_300dpiAdmission includes plentiful food, drink, dessert, dancing, a silent auction and the evening’s centerpiece: a passionate musical performance by a large, intergenerational Near West Theatre cast. Tickets, $100, benefit Near West Theatre’s mission of using theater as a process to build lives, relationships and community among diverse people of all ages. Tickets are available online in advance or can be purchased the door. They are also available by phone, 216-961-6391, until 4 p.m. Friday, March 20. The March 21 gala runs from 7 to 11 p.m.This event and the entire series of opening events and shows in our new theater are made possible by Presenting Sponsor Thompson Hine and the generous support of other season sponsors listed below.

groundbreakingschoffpodium121127a

Jim and Anne Schoff spok at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new theater on Nov. 27, 2012. Photos by Gregory Wilson

Anne and Jim Schoff spoke at the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new theater on Nov. 27, 2012. Photos by Gregory Wilson

Honorees. This year we honor longtime supporters Jim and Anne Schoff. “They first encountered Near West Theatre in 1995,” wrote founding Executive Director Stephanie Morrison Hrbek. “Anne says that is when ‘the love affair began.’ As steadfast supporters ever since, they have been pivotal in making the dream of our new home a reality. Besides their own leadership in giving, they brought us into their remarkable network of relationships, linking us to such generous supporters as Char and Chuck Fowler, Project Management Consultants through Thompson Hine, and the Barrington Wine Classic, to name just a few. They have even opened their home to us. When they lived at Barrington in Aurora, Ohio, they held special getaway parties so our young cast members could enjoy the swimming pool and other amenities there. They hosted special performances by Near West Theatre actors, where their own friends and neighbors were introduced to our spirit and mission. Jim and Anne have both served on our Board of Trustees (Jim as President, 2001-2006), as committee chairs, and as working chairs of our Annual Benefit – all the while, making connections with the people Near West Theatre. They always remind us that relationships with the children, teens, and adults of Near West are what has fueled their passion. They value hearing the stories of struggle and triumph of the people who come through our doors.

“Jim and Anne are one of those outstanding couples who have balanced raising three children – and now are enjoying nine grandchildren – while also being deeply involved as civic leaders. They both now serve on advisory boards at University Hospitals, and between them have served such organizations as the Cleveland Ballet, the Diversity Center, Western Reserve Historical Society, Cleveland Social Venture Partners, Sovereign Order of St. John, the Cleveland Play House, City Year Cleveland, and The Centers for Families and Children.”

Parking and transit information. Free valet parking will be available at the corner of Detroit Avenue and West 67th Street, and free self-parking can be found around the neighborhood the neighborhood. There’s a lot going on in the neighborhood Saturday night, so if you self-park, give yourself time to find a spot. The map below shows lots and streets where you can park free (our theater is the blue square!). You can also use the parking lots at Neighborhood Family Practice, W. 65th and Franklin; or Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 6928 Detroit Ave., after its 6 p.m. Saturday Mass is over. Public transit is also a good option. RTA buses stop at W. 65th and Detroit: Route 26 twice each hour on Saturdays, and Route 45 once an hour. Hardy winter bicyclists will find bike racks on Detroit Avenue.

GSAD_Parking

Sponsors. In addition to Presenting Sponsor Thompson Hine, the following season sponsors have also provided generous support. Patron Sponsor: Consolidated Solutions. Producer Sponsors: American Limousine, Char and Chuck Fowler, Majic Family Fund, PNC, and an anonymous donor. Choreographer Sponsors: First Federal Lakewood, KeyBank, Medical Mutual, Ray and Katie Murphy, and Panzica Construction Co. We are also grateful to the Actor Sponsors and other Season Sponsors who will be listed at Saturday’s gala.

 — Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


5 ways to enjoy our dance party this Sat., March 14

DANCE PARTY online adIt’s another first for Near West Theatre as we turn our new performance space into a dance floor from 8 p.m. to midnight this Saturday, March 14. If you’re 18 or over, we hope to see you there for this latest in our series of opening events in the Gordon Square Arts District. Your $20 ticket and anything you spend inside helps support our mission of building community and changing lives through an amazing process and great theater.

We’re really looking forward to getting some crazy energy going as one way of imbuing the place with the fun, communal spirit of Near West Theatre. Here are five tips on what to expect and how to enjoy the evening:

  1. Hot band, hot DJ. Wondering about the music you’ll groove to? Check out this article (with video) on Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites, and sample some DJ Donkis mixes here. They’ll alternate throughout the evening on the Bob Navis Jr. Stage in the Morrison Hrbek Theater, on the main floor.
  2. What to wear? This is Near West Theatre, after all. Go crazy. Funky. Ordinary. Formal. Casual. Business. Glam. Costume. Drag. Uniform. Preppy. Industrial. Whatever. It’s all good! We just want you. Dancing.
  3. Bring a photo ID. We’ll check ages at the door for this 18-and-over event. We have a system to make sure that only those 21 and older will be sold alcohol.
  4. Food! Drink! Souvenirs! You’ll find them upstairs and down, as follows: Snacks, soft drinks and coffee, $1 each, will be available in our lower-level concession area. The snack menu includes hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and pretzels. Alcoholic beverages for those of age will be available for purchase both there and at a bar in the theater dance area. Drink tickets, available at specially designated tables, are $4 each. Beer and wine are one ticket each. Selected mixed drinks will be available for two tickets each. When you visit the lower level, visit our gift shop for a special opening-event T-shirt or mug featuring the artwork from our colorful lobby mural. Great way to tell your friends, “I was there!”
  5. Plan your parking or transit strategy. There’s free parking scattered around the neighborhood. We’re expecting a crowd, so share a ride and give yourself time to hunt for a spot. Public transit is also a good option. RTA buses stop at W. 65th and Detroit: Route 26 twice each hour on Saturdays, and Route 45 once an hour. Hardy winter bicyclists will find bike racks on Detroit Avenue.

GSAD_ParkingThis map shows lots and streets where you can park free (our theater is the blue square!). You can also use the parking lots at Neighborhood Family Practice, W. 65th and Franklin; or Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 6928 Detroit Ave.

Drop-offs: Here’s how you can help when dropping off passengers: (1) Choose one of two places named below; (2) get your riders ready before you arrive; (3) have them get out the right-hand (curb) side of your vehicle; and then (4) pull away promptly to avoid backups. The two drop-off locations are in front of our still-under-construction plaza, in front of the fence with the Grand Opening signs; and West 67th Street, on the right-hand (east) curb, across from the theater, north of Detroit Avenue. NOTE: West 67th is a one-way street, northbound, and narrowed because of a construction fence that is still there so we’ll really need to work to keep traffic moving!

Enjoy the District: And, of course, we hope you’ll visit one or more of the many neighboring shops, restaurants, galleries and theaters. Say hello to them from their new neighbor, Near West Theatre!

Ready to party, then? Good. In honor of our soon-to-be-staged opening show, let your freak flag fly and dance your, uh — dance your donkey off! See you there. — Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


Come see our new theater this Sat., Feb. 28

communityopenhouseimagesmallBWe did it! We took occupancy of the new Near West Theatre in the Gordon Square Arts District, 6702 Detroit Ave., just over a week ago. We’ve been moving in ever since, and we’re still at it, but it’s time to throw the doors open. You’re invited to take a look inside and imagine the possibilities during a free Community Open House this Saturday, Feb. 28, from 1 to 5 p.m. There’ll be tours, refreshments, fun photo opportunities, a 3 p.m. ritual in the center of the space, and plenty of time to greet Stephanie Morrison Hrbek, Bob Navis Jr. and other friends, old and new. Come as you are and for whatever part of the afternoon you can. We’re still very much in “moving in” mode, and we’ll have a clearly marked path around the construction fence that’s still up because of continued work on the plaza and front sign. We want you, the NWT family and the wider community, to come inside and help invoke the spirit of past, present and future in this new space. For a complete list of this and other activities that will inaugurate our new home, visit the “Opening Events” page at our website.

GSAD_ParkingGet the most out of your visit to Near West Theatre: plan ahead! There’s free parking scattered around the neighborhood. We’re expecting a crowd, so share a ride and give yourself time to hunt for a spot. Public transit is also a good option. RTA buses stop at W. 65th and Detroit: Route 26 twice each hour on Saturdays, and Route 45 once an hour. Hardy winter bicyclists will find bike racks on Detroit Avenue.

This map shows lots and streets where you can park free (our theater is the blue square!). You can also use the parking lots at Neighborhood Family Practice, W. 65th and Franklin; or Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, 6928 Detroit Ave. At Our Lady, please depart by 5 p.m. to make room for a 6 p.m. event.

Drop-offs: Here’s how you can help when dropping off passengers: (1) Choose one of two places named below; (2) get your riders ready before you arrive; (3) have them get out the right-hand (curb) side of your vehicle; and then (4) pull away promptly to avoid backups. The two drop-off locations are in front of Near West Lofts, 6710 Detroit Ave.; and West 67th Street, on the right-hand (east) curb, across from the theater, north of Detroit Avenue. NOTE: West 67th is a one-way street, northbound, and narrowed because of a construction fence that is still there so we’ll really need to work to keep traffic moving!

Enjoy the District: And, of course, we hope you’ll visit one or more of the many neighboring shops, restaurants, galleries and theaters. Say hello to them from their new neighbor, Near West Theatre!

Thank you to our 2015 Season Sponsors, whose generous support is making our Feb. 28 Community Open House and all our opening events possible. Our leading sponsors include the following. Presenting Sponsor: Thompson Hine. Patron: Consolidated Solutions. Producers: American Limousine, Char and Chuck Fowler, Majic Family Fund, PNC, Anonymous. Choreographers: KeyBank, Medical Mutual of Ohio, Panzica Construction Co. Actors: Calfee, Halter & Griswold L.L.P., Euro USA, FirstMerit Bank, Richard Fleischman + Partners Architects, Forest City Enterprises, Inc., Frantz Ward L.L.P., Donna and Stewart Kohl, Geoff and Jan Thrope.

Interested in sponsoring our season? It’s not too late, and there’s an attractive list of benefits that stretch across our opening events and performances. Contact Director of Development Joseph Castellano, jcastellano@nearwesttheatre.org, 216-961-9750.

 

Scenic artist Jenny HItmar Shankland leads a team installing the lobby mural. Photo by Hans Holznagel

Scenic Artist Jenny Hitmar Shankland is leading a team in installing the lobby mural that she and Designer Laura Carlson Tarantowski created. Photo by Hans Holznagel

— Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


In the spotlight: NWT alumna Mariah Burks

Mariah Burks during a recent benefit performance at Bowling Green State.

Mariah Burks during a recent benefit performance at Bowling Green State University.

Mariah Burks (right) with Molly Nagin in The Truth About Cinderella (2002).

Mariah (right) with Molly Nagin in The Truth About Cinderella (2002).

Mariah Victoria Burks, a 3rd-grader at Cleveland’s Benjamin Franklin Elementary School, was living right around the corner from Near West Theatre when she first took the stage as one of the orphans in Annie (2001). She was a regular cast member for years to come, even after her family moved to North Royalton, where she graduated from high school in 2011. At Near West she played leading roles in The Wiz (2009), Rent (2010) and Miss Saigon (2011), and was most recently seen at NWT in Move On! (2014), our farewell show at the St. Pat’s Club Building. A recent Region II winner of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival’s Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship competition, she’ll compete nationally in April in Washington, D.C. She will graduate from Bowling Green State University this spring with a B.A. degree in communications with a specialization in musical theater. This fall she’ll enter the three-year Master of Fine Arts acting program at Case Western Reserve University. We recently asked her three questions.

Mariah as Dorothy in The Wiz (2009) with Pat Ciamacco (foreground) and (from left) Darius Stubbs, Edwin Smith and Cory Zukoski.

Mariah as Dorothy in The Wiz (2009) with Pat Ciamacco (foreground) and (from left) Darius Stubbs, Edwin Smith and Cory Zukoski.

1. What’s something you learned at Near West Theatre that sticks with you, even now, as an advanced student of acting? No matter what you’re going through, you too have a story to tell that can change and impact anybody, anywhere, as long as you, the performer, are open and willing to let your story constantly change something in you. That way, your story never becomes old but consistently refreshed and revived.

Mariah as Kim, with Michael Glavan as Chris, in Miss Saigon (2011).

Mariah as Kim, with Michael Glavan as Chris, in Miss Saigon (2011).

2. Any thoughts on growing up on West 41st Street, then moving away but staying connected to NWT? At first it was a challenge to have moved away from the place I knew I could easily go to just to have fun and let loose. But even after moving, I found that the pull of NWT was even stronger and that I had to be part of it some way, somehow. I could not let myself not be in this closely knit family. Even now, knowing that my collegiate schedule conflicts with the Annual Benefit is always a heart breaker for me. But I know that no matter where I go, I always have NWT family and friends that will welcome me back with open arms and hearts!

3. What are your hopes for Near West as we open a new building and a new chapter in our history? My hope is that for every show that is produced, hundreds and hundreds upon hundreds of people will flock to see what makes NWT not just a diamond in the rough, but the epitome of raw, cultured and love-woven theater. I truly hope that NWT and its people flourish in whatever they do!

Mariah (in headband) in Move On! (2014).

Mariah (left center, in headband) in Move On! (2014).

 — Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences.


In the spotlight: NWT alumna Autumn Smith

Autumn Smith

Autumn Smith

Autumn Smith started hanging around Near West Theatre at age 3. She’s now about to finish college, majoring in East Asian studies and Japanese language. “My family had been doing Near West for a long time, so it was only natural I join in,” she says of her years growing up on Cleveland’s Near West Side. “My mother, Julie Smith, worked in shows and on costumes.” Autumn got on stage at age 7 in Follow the Yellow Brick Road (2001) and many more appearances followed — in Snoopy! (2003), Aladdin Jr. (2006) and Finian’s Rainbow (2008), to name a few. She graduated from St. Martin de Porres High School in 2011; is now a senior at Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio, where overseas studies have taken her to Japan and China (and where she hasn’t been afraid to speak out for justice on campus); and is looking at graduate schools in Colorado and England. “I was interested in Japanese studies because of a draw to the language and the sounds of the language itself. I am pursuing them now with the aim of exploring intercultural relations, identity, and globalization as manifest through Japanese literature and how they can relate to the big-scale cultural gaps between Japan and the United States.”And she’s an accomplished poet. Check out her blog of verse, “I Am Aki,” here. We recently asked her three questions.

1. What’s one strong memory from your years at Near West Theatre?
Autumn Smith (right) as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin Jr. (2006).

Autumn Smith (right front) as Princess Jasmine in Aladdin Jr. (2006), with Jason Dugger as Aladdin.

My strongest memories of Near West are the Annual Benefit and the pumpkin pals/secret pals aspect. I met my best friend through “Meat Pie Pals” during Sweeney Todd (2009) and I am still lucky enough to call her my sister. The Benefit shows, for me, were like one big reunion every year, of people I grew up with and loved, and the opportunity to not only be in one show but in an amalgam of them. They were always my favorite time of the year. I remember one year, a particularly hectic one for me, I came into the Benefit space that was full of hugs and tears and how-have-you-been’s. No matter how many times or how few times I come back to NWT, it’s nice to know that I have people there that will always make it feel like a homecoming.

2. You’re clearly a “words” person. Any connection between your stage experiences and your poetry and language studies?
Autumn (right) belting it out with the Snoopy cast in 2003.

Autumn (right), pencil in hand, in Snoopy! (2003).

I think I mostly got interested in language because it’s a new world you enter when you get the language itself down. Just like poetry, if you get the language down, you can completely transform the way you see the world. When I speak in Japanese, I feel like I enter a different reality, like I can somehow shape it. Obviously, there is a correlation with the stage there. Words give me a medium to interact with the world around me and shape it with the way I use them. It’s my favorite type of Art. People underestimate how much words have brought us to where we are now, but honestly, words have defined everything. Without them, there wouldn’t even be a reality to talk about. Literally though, someone defined reality and made it exist. Think about it.

3. What’s your hope for Near West Theatre now that we’re opening our long-awaited new building and a new chapter in our history?

I’m really excited to see the new and creative ways in which Near West is bound to tackle this new space! I want to see poetry, I want to see one-acts — all the things our old space didn’t really have the room for. I know if anyplace knows how to bring the potential out of the space it is given, it’s Near West! I can’t wait to come home to see the legacy live on in its new reincarnation!

Autumn (left) in Follow the Yellow Brick Road (2001).

Autumn (second from left) in Follow the Yellow Brick Road (2001).

— Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing operating support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares, and for special support from Ronald McDonald House Charities of Northeastern Ohio for equipment used by young people in technical workshops and other backstage experiences. A version of this article will also be featured in the March 2015 edition of Near West Theatre’s e-newsletter, The Near West Circle.


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