Tag Archives: geoff short

That wacky ‘Hairspray’ poster

We love our publicity images at Near West Theatre, and the crazy-colorful one below for Hairspray, the Broadway Musical — opening Friday, July 20 — is an exceptionally good example. Director Bob Navis Jr. and Scenic Designer Laura Carlson Tarantowski came up with the concept.  Photographer Geoff Short took lively face shots of the actors, with makeup by Heather Brown (and assistance from her husband, Nick), against a plain white background in our costume room.  Laura then designed and produced the entire image, including the over-the-top, graphically added hairdos and headgear and the words, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” the title of one of the show’s musical numbers.  Ann Palotta Nagin used the image as the centerpiece of our publicity poster, postcard and fliers, which are now up in West Side windows and arriving in mailboxes. Versions of the image also appear at our Facebook page and website. You’ll see a black-and-white version on the playbill when you come to the show.

Pictured (left to right) are, top row, Oliver Deak as Corny Collins, Mariah Burks as Motormouth Maybelle, Anna Kukelhan as Prudy Pingleton; middle row, Jordan Cooper (also the show’s musical director) as Edna Turnblad, Jacqueline Uhlik as Tracy Turnblad, Perren Hedderson as Wilbur Turnblad; bottom row, Justin Woody as Seaweed Stubbs, Becca Frick as Velma Von Tussle, and Hayden Neidhardt as Little Inez.

Advance tickets are available online anytime or by phoning 216-961-6391 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., during which hours you can also stop by our business office, 6514 Detroit Ave., and purchase in person. Any remaining tickets will be sold starting at 6:30 p.m. at the ticket table at our performance space, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland. Curtain is at 7:30 p.m. Friday, July 20, and Saturday, July 21, as we kick off an eight-performance run through Aug. 5. See performance times and show info at this page at our website.

"Hairspray" poster 2012

Director Bob Navis Jr., photographer Geoff Short, and, mostly, designer Laura Carlson Tarantowski came up with the publicity image for Hairspray, running July 20 through Aug. 5, 2012.


Come to our outdoor stage Saturday, June 9

Free public performances in the afternoon and a free public “open mic” in the evening will be featured on the Near West Theatre Stage at Discover Gordon Square Arts District Day, this Saturday, June 9, 2012. The stage will be under a tent along West 67th Street just north of Detroit Avenue (near the festival’s beer garden), on the future site of the theater’s new performance center. A picnic next to the tent will offer hot dogs and the “cornhole” bag-toss game. Afternoon stage performances, in 20-minute segments on the hour and half-hour, will include excerpts from recent Near West Theatre musical productions and performances by young NWT actors and alumni. DJ Karluis will fill in the gaps with danceable tunes. The evening open mic, from 7 to 9 p.m., will feature Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr. accompanying on the piano. He’ll have Broadway and pop collections, or bring your own sheet music to sing from; or read a poem or accompany yourself on guitar. The schedule below features Jordan Cooper as musical director and accompanist from 2 to 6 p.m. and Bob Navis Jr. in the evening.

[SCHEDULE CORRECTED 6/5/12: We had inadvertently left out the “Into the Woods” segment! And corrected again 6/6/12: Molly’s now at 4:30 and Luke at 5:30.]

2:00 p.m.: Selections from Ragtime, the Musical. Performers include Geoff Short, Nikki Sumlin, Hans Holznagel, Skipper Rankin and Winter Castro. Selections include “Gliding,” “Wheels of a Dream,” “Sarah Brown Eyes.”

2:30: Solos by NWT actor Mariah Burks. A veteran of NWT’s children’s, youth and intergenerational shows who will be appearing in this summer’s production of Hairspray, the Broadway Musical, Mariah is a student at Bowling Green State University.

3:00: Selections from Oliver! Performers include Jeffrey Braun, Faith Green, Jonas Kukelhan, Skipper Rankin, Winter Castro, Edwin Smith, Gwen Stembridge, Perren Hedderson and Kelcie Dugger. Selections include “You’ve Got to Pick a Pocket or Two,” “Where is Love,” “Who Will Buy?”

3:30: Selections from Miss Saigon. Performers include Anthony Williams, Izzy Sansom and Mariah Burks. Selections include “I Still Believe” and “Bui-Doi.”

4:00:  DJ break. Picnic continues while DJ Karluis cranks dance tunes under the tent.

4:30: Performance by Molly Andrews-Hinders. A veteran of NWT children’s, youth and intergenerational shows and a theater graduate of Wright State University, Molly is an actor (currently appearing in Cleveland Public Theatre’s Akarui), playwright and stage manager.

5:00: Selections from Ragtime, the Musical. Same program as 2:00.

5:30:  Solos by Luke Wehner. Luke’s NWT credits include The Who’s TommyThe Secret Garden and Rent.

6:00: Selections from Into the Woods.  Performers include Patrick Ciamacco, Joe Kenderes, Luke Wehner, Kelcie Dugger, Faith Green, Jonas Kukelhan, Skipper Rankin and Winter Castro. Selections include “Agony,” “Giants in the Sky” and “Children Will Listen.”

6:30:  Original music by Perren Hedderson, Noah Hrbek and Alexis Hedderson. Perren is NWT’s Assistant Technical Director. All three performers are veterans of NWT’s children’s, youth and intergenerational shows.

7:00 to 9:00 p.m.: Open mic! The featured act is you! All are welcome to take a try at our open mic. NWT Artistic Director Bob Navis Jr. will accompany all comers. Bring your own sheet music for him to play, or make a selection from a few Broadway and pop collections he’ll have on had. Or accompany yourself on guitar. Poetry readings are also welcome. Or, of course, bring your own coffee, relax under the tent and listen. Invited performers you might see at the mic include comedian Matt Allard, poet Autumn Smith, and singers/actors Kelcie Dugger, Mo Eutazia, CoCo Smith and Xavier Reminick.

Summer youth auditions: now!

Summer youth auditions start tonight at Near West Theatre! What are they like? Check out the “No Experience Necessary” video below, shot at auditions for our 2010 summer production of Rent. Then just do it: come on down to 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland, and audition for Hairspray, our 2012 summer show. Pick one night (Tue., May 22, Wed., May 23, or Thu., May 24), arrive at 6:45 to register, and plan on staying from 7 to 10 p.m. No preparation is needed. Just show up ready for movement and fun. If you want to know more, you can read show and audition details at our website. Add your name to our Facebook audition “event.” Guys, read this. Bring a friend. See you there!

‘Ragtime’ on the radio, May 9, ‘Around Noon’

Ragtime actors Geoffrey Short (Coalhouse) and Nicole Sumlin (Sarah), Director Bob Navis Jr., and Near West Theatre Executive Director Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek will be featured on a live segment of “Around Noon” Wednesday, May 9, on WCPN (90.3 FM), Cleveland’s NPR affiliate. Host Dee Perry will interview the guests. Short and Sumlin will sing. “Around Noon” airs from 12 noon to 1 p.m. ET.  The 20-minute Ragtime segment is scheduled to start at 12:35 p.m. (subject to change). Listen over the air, by live webstream, or via archived podcast afterwards.

Geoffrey Short and Nicole Sumlin sing “Wheels of a Dream” at an April rehearsal of Ragtime.

Ragtime’s Tony Award-winning score includes compelling solos and duets by Coalhouse and Sarah.  They are sung powerfully in the Near West Theatre production by Short, a local singer, actor, director, band member and video producer, and Sumlin, who teaches music in the South Euclid-Lyndhurst City Schools.

Tickets are available for this week’s 7:30 p.m. performances of Ragtime (Thursday, May 10, through Saturday, May 12); for the 3 p.m. show on Sunday, May 13; and for the three final performances the following weekend. Purchase online anytime or phone 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m weekdays.

‘Ragtime,’ behind the scenes

We’re grateful to Geoff Short for this 11-minute, behind-the-scenes glimpse of our May 2012 production of Ragtime, opening this weekend for a nine-show run. If you like his camera work, just wait till you see him on stage in the lead role of Coalhouse Walker. Tickets: 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. ET weekdays, or online anytime here.