Tag Archives: nikki sumlin

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.


‘Ragtime,’ its mothers and Mother’s Day

Skipper Rankin (Little Boy) and Ryann Angelotti (Mother) in Near West Theatre’s May 2012 production of Ragtime. (Photo by Laura Carlson Tarantowski)

Theirs are beautiful, poignant stories, two of many that intertwine in Ragtime. One character, known simply as Mother, is part of the wealthy, white establishment in New Rochelle, N.Y., 100 years ago. As her husband goes to sea she wishes for a journey of her own. A jarring circumstance arises in her own backyard, she makes a courageous choice, and we see her engage a changing world with grace, anxiety, good humor and resolve. By the time of Mother’s Act II solo, actor Ryann Angelotti has literally let her hair down to sing “We Can Never Go Back to Before.” The other character, Sarah, from Harlem’s African American community, faces more severe challenges, including a crisis pregnancy. She too musters courage as she comes to terms with her role as a mother and discerns whether to reunite with her child’s father. Actor Nicole Sumlin gives bittersweet voice to Sarah’s struggle in her Act I solo, “Your Daddy’s Son.” And there are others: Harry Houdini’s mother (played by Sarah Michalski) appears briefly, but lives on mystically in her famous son’s mind. Immigrant mothers appear and move on, babies in arms.

Join us on Mother’s Day for the 3 p.m. performance of Ragtime on Sunday, May 13. It’s only $8. Tickets are available weekdays at 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Or you can order online here. Our advance-sales box office is closed weekends, but any remaining tickets are available at the door starting one hour before show time at our performance space, 3606 Bridge Ave., Cleveland. There are also six other performances between May 10 and 20:  see all the dates here.

Nicole Sumlin (Sarah) in Near West Theatre’s May 2012 production of Ragtime. (Photo by Terry Schordock)


‘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.