Tag Archives: tickets

Our ‘Superstar’ venue: what to expect

West Side UCC is on the same side of Bridge Avenue as our former home, the St. Patrick's Club Building. Photo by Hans Holznagel

West Side United Church of Christ viewed from Bridge Avenue, with our old St. Pat’s home in the background. Photos by Hans Holznagel

Our Nov. 21–Dec. 7 performances of Jesus Christ Superstar are at West Side United Church of Christ, West 38th Street and Bridge Avenue, Cleveland, across from our longtime home, the St. Patrick’s Club Building. While the church is familiar to some of us – its basement has hosted our children’s programs and many benefit rehearsals – this is our first time upstairs, in the sanctuary. Here are some tips about what to expect.

  • Free parking is available in the St. Pat’s lot at West 38th Street and Bridge Avenue and on neighboring streets. Nearby spaces will fill up rapidly, though, so allow yourself time to find a parking space and walk.
  •  Come in at the church’s Bridge Avenue entrance. There you’ll be welcomed at our ticket table. If you bought tickets in advance, simply give your name there and your tickets will be waiting. Any unsold tickets will also be sold there at the door. Cash, check, VISA and MasterCard are accepted.

    Look for this banner at the corner of West 38th and Bridge. That parking lot in the background is available, but expect it to fill up fast.

    There’s a “Superstar” banner on the corner of the West Side UCC building at West 38th and Bridge. The parking lot in the background, across West 38th, is available, but expect it to fill up fast.

  • Seating is in wooden church pews. If you have a reserved Star Seat, you will find a specific pew marked with the name of your party. All other seating is general admission. Please work with our ushers to make room for everyone!
  • The site is accessible to wheelchair users and people with mobility difficulties. Patrons needing to use the chair lift leading to the sanctuary should mention it when entering. Our house management staff will assist you.
  • Food and drink will be limited. We’re grateful to the people of West Side UCC for hosting us and we support them in preserving the beauty of their historic worship space. That’s why we’re offering only bottled water at our concession stand before the show and at intermission – and why we ask you not to bring other food or beverages into the space. We’ll all miss the wonderful baked goods that have been offered at our concession stand for decades. They’ll be back next year!

Tickets are available in advance online; or by calling 216-961-6391 weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; or by coming to our business office, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9, during those hours.

— Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic 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.

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Near West Theatre’s community theater production of

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Lyrics by Tim Rice       Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber


‘Superstar’ cast announced, volunteers sought

JCS publicity imageA record number of children, teens and adults – 118 of them,  including 68 newcomers! – turned out this month to audition for Near West Theatre’s fall 2014 production of Jesus Christ Superstar. Director Bob Navis Jr. broke the casting news to all of them by e-mail on Friday, Sept. 12. A postal letter was also mailed the previous day. Principal roles will be assigned after further callback auditions are held between now and the start of community-building activities and rehearsals on Sept. 21. The entire ensemble is listed below.

Picking an intergenerational cast of 58 people is a delight, but also bittersweet when 60 more hopeful people have to be told no. “We’re grateful to the actors of all ages who brought such energy and vulnerability to the auditions,” Navis said. “Several went out of their way to tell us the audition itself was a great experience, and we’re always delighted to hear that. Even a single night of auditions should be a way of carrying out our mission. The turnout was one more sign of vitality as we look ahead to the future in our new theater.”

“Thank you, NWT, for affecting change in me in just one night,” wrote one adult who auditioned. “I haven’t felt this ‘OK-to-be-all-me’ in a really long time. Even if tonight’s audition is as far as my JCS journey goes, it was just like Bob Navis said he hoped it would be for us all: a special, stand-alone experience.”

“Well, I didn’t chicken out last night,” wrote another. “I went to a very different audition where, for two-and-a-half hours, I had no idea what was going to be thrown at me next. At one point, Kelcie Dugger, the assistant director, said to me, ‘That was so great! I forgot your voice could do that!’ That meant the world to this middle-aged ‘teen’ who is still trying to bust out of his shell.”

Navis is particularly pleased with the balance of ages, genders and neighborhoods that were represented at auditions for the rock opera, to be staged at West Side UCC this November and December. The Superstar cast members, diverse in racial identity, range in age from 7 to 57. Just under two-thirds of them live in the City of Cleveland; the rest are from surrounding communities, mostly inner-ring suburbs. There are 16 girls and 12 boys, ages 17 and under; and 15 men and 15 women, ages 18 and over.

Now Near West has backstage and front-of-house Superstar roles to fill. Click here to learn more and volunteer. Also, tickets are now on sale for performances, Nov. 21—Dec. 7, at 216-961-6391 (weekdays, 11 to 4) or online anytime, here. — Hans Holznagel

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Near West Theatre’s community theater production of

JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR

Lyrics by Tim Rice       Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber

Cast: Felix Albino, Edie Barcelona, Angie Bendahan, Raymond Boyd, Jeffrey E. Braun, Sara Danielle Chapman, Bridget Chebo, Kevin Conroy, Carlos Cruz, Sharron DeCosta, Lauren Dockery, Cole Emerine, Angela Galarza, Venchise Glenn, Lindsay Hajostek, Chris Holovacs, Hannah Horton, Hillary Horton, Corinne Howery, Sophie Hull, Angellise Irizarry, Rachel Johanek, Louis Johnson II, Kevin Joseph Kelly, Meg Kilbane, Bryen Kilbane, Sabrina Kim, Alice King, Jason Knauer, Mike Knobloch, Jonas Kukelhan, Christine Larson, Elliot Lockshine, Shannon McPeek-Korth, Amaya Moore, George Morgan, Finn O’Malia, Dante Palmer, Jocelyn Perkins, Aaron Phillips, Jesse Phillips, Mary Prucha, Eric Ritter, Daniel Ross, Lillian Ross, Nathan Rutz, Jennifer Ryan, Brandon Schumacker, Tonya Smith, Darius Stubbs, Cole Tarantowski, Ava Trevino, Nora van Lier, Kyanie Vazquez, Colin Wheeler, Connie Wynn, Lawrence Young, Bob Zombar.

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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.


Ticket tips & info for ‘A Christmas Story, the Musical’

Tickets sales are brisk for A Christmas Story, the Musical, running Nov. 15 through Dec. 8, so here’s a refresher on Near West Theatre’s ticketing system: how to get a seat, what happens if there’s a sellout, what to do if you buy a ticket and then can’t come, and other helpful tidbits.

There are 220 seats for each of the 13 performances. As of the end of the business day on Thursday, Nov. 14, a day before opening weekend, it was clear that you shouldn’t wait till the last minute. For more than half the shows, at least two-thirds of the seats were already gone. Our leading sellers at that moment, in order,  were Fri., Nov. 29 (180 tickets sold); Sun., Dec. 8 (161), Sun., Nov. 17 (157); Sat., Nov. 23 (155); Sat., Dec. 7 (150); Sat., Nov. 30 (147) and Fri., Nov. 15 (142), with several other dates close behind. [UPDATE, Nov. 24, 2013 — All performances are now sold out.]

Lots of people want tickets, as these did for Children of Eden (2012). Call if you're not coming! Photo by Terry Schordock

Lots of people want tickets, as these did for Children of Eden (2012). Call if you’re not coming! Photo by Terry Schordock

Advance sales and walk-ins will only heat up further with the show now being listed in every “Friday!” section of The Plain Dealer and news coverage increasing. So far we’ve seen stories in the The Plain Dealer,  Cleveland.com and FreshWaterCleveland.com. A “Sound of Applause” segment is due Nov. 21 on 90.3 FM, and a “Reel Cleveland” feature is coming in a couple of weeks on Time Warner TV20.

And now, the tips:

Basic ticket info. You can buy: (1) online anytime; (2) by phone, 216-961-6391, weekdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; (3) in person during those same hours at our business office in Cleveland’s Gordon Square Arts District, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9; or (4) — if you want to take your chances — at the theater ticket table, 3606 Bridge Ave. in Cleveland’s Ohio City neighborhood, starting one hour before show time.  Prices are $20 for a reserved Star Seat (described below), $10 for adult general admission, and $8 for child general admission (12 years of age and younger). Tickets purchased in advance will be waiting for you at the theater ticket table. You can arrive up to one hour before show time, and please arrive no later than 10 minutes before show time so that everyone can get situated for an on-time start. If you arrive 30 minutes or more before the show starts, you’ll line up with all other ticket holders in order of your arrival at the theater. When the house opens, 30 minutes before show time, general-admission ticket holders are free to choose any seat that is not marked as reserved. For forms of payment and other information, click here.

How to find out if tickets are still available. [UPDATE, Nov. 24, 2013 — All performances are now sold out.] Calling 216-961-6391 during the designated hours above, or going online and trying to buy tickets, are two ways to know if seats are still available for the show you want to see. Whenever possible, we also use Facebook and Twitter (@NearWestTheatre) to let the world know when there’s a sellout.

What happens if there’s a sellout. If a show is sold out (see above about how to find out), you can come to the theater, 3606 Bridge Ave., as early as one hour before show time, speak to the people at the ticket table and get on a waiting list to see if any tickets become available. The only way we can release seats that have already been reserved is if the people who bought them tell us they aren’t coming and give us permission to re-sell their tickets. So…ACSTMproductionimage

If you can’t come, please tell us! We can’t offer you a refund, but with you’re permission we’ll free up the seats you won’t be using and sell them to patrons who can come to the show. You can let us know by calling 216-961-6391 weekdays, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; sending an e-mail to Kelcie Dugger (kdugger at nearwesttheatre.org); telling us in person at the theater as early as one hour before any show; or calling 440-665-1796 after 4 p.m. weekdays or anytime on the weekend.

What’s a Star Seat? Your $20 ticket is first and foremost a wonderful way to support Near West Theatre’s art and mission and help keep our general prices affordable. Thank you! It also gets you a reserved seat of your choice, a free item at our gift shop (window cling, button, or wrist band), a gift shop discount and a free soft drink at our concession stand. To choose your seating location, just call 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on any weekday before the performance you’re attending and tell us whether you want to sit in a front, middle or back row, and to the left, center or right as you face the stage. On the night of the show, you’ll find your chair marked with your name (or the name of the party you’re with).

See you at the theater! — Hans Holznagel

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Supporters of this production of A Christmas Story, the Musical, include the City of Cleveland, Department of Community Development, and a presenting sponsor, Hinkley Lighting. Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

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A Christmas Story, the Musical

Musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul,

 based upon A Christmas Story © 1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.

A Christmas Story, the Musical, is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., of Woodstock, Illinois. Produced with permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.


Website down? Tickets here!

The best time for a website to go down is — well, never. Or, anyway, not when the post card publicizing A Christmas Story, the Musical, is landing in people’s mailboxes and encouraging them to buy tickets online. Such, however, is the case at Near West Theatre, where we’re repairing a couple of technical problems at http://www.nearwesttheatre.org. We should be up and running again by Monday, Oct. 21, and maybe even intermittently between now and then.

ACSTMlogoBroadwayIn the meantime, if you can’t connect to the website, you can still buy tickets online at this link:  http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/nearwest/eventcalendar

Or, as always, you can purchase phone, 216-961-6391 (weekdays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or in person at our business office in the Gordon Square Arcade Building, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9, during the same hours. — Hans Holznagel 

 ———-

Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

———-

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul,

 based upon A Christmas Story © 1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.

A Christmas Story, the Musical, is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., of Woodstock, Illinois. Produced with permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.


Don’t wait on tickets for this one

If you’re excited to see A Christmas Story, the Musical at Near West Theatre, reserve early. With just under two months till opening night, we are already seeing encouraging early ticket reservations.

ACSTMlogoBroadwaySales began long before the Sept. 15 start of rehearsals. Among them were six Star Seats purchased by a New York City patron and a block of 25 tickets reserved by a local group. It’s no surprise that people are excited. This Cleveland premiere of A Christmas Story, The Musical, on stage Nov. 15 through Dec. 8, is part of a citywide celebration of the 30th anniversary of the beloved movie A Christmas Story – the saga of a little boy whose happiness back in 1940 depends on getting a Red Ryder carbine-action BB gun under the tree. This brand new musical version is a small-town slice of mid-America that wraps its way into your heart like the smell of hot chocolate and fresh baked Christmas cookies. It’s based on the film, which was shot mostly in Cleveland.

Near West Theatre will bring a special hometown touch to this newly minted Broadway favorite. On the NWT stage, you’ll see a diverse hometown cast of over 50, including more than 30 children and teenagers. They’ll play out Ralphie’s heroic fantasies of saving his family from wild-west villains, while his Dad dreams of winning a “Major Award,” complete with dancing leg lamps! With a stunning set showcasing 1940s Cleveland Christmas memorabilia and downtown shopping at Higbee’s, this production is a trip down memory lane that the whole family will enjoy.

Filled with big production numbers, A Christmas Story, The Musical premiered on Broadway in 2012 and was honored with three Tony Award nominations for Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical and Best Original Score. Like the film, it is based on stories by legendary radio humorist Jean Shepherd.  It features funny and heartfelt songs by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and a faithful yet inventive book by Joseph Robinette.

Tickets are available online here; by calling 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays; or by visiting our business office in the Gordon Square Arcade Building, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9, during those same hours. Any remaining tickets will be sold at our performance site, 3606 Bridge Ave., starting one hour before each show. General admission is $10 for adults and $8 for children 12 and under; or support Near West Theatre’s art and mission by purchasing a $20 reserved Star Seat with special benefits. Sign-language interpretation will be offered at the performance on Thursday, Dec. 5. — Julie Cajigas

 ———-

Near West Theatre is grateful for ongoing programmatic support from the Ohio Arts CouncilCuyahoga Arts and Culture, and Greater Cleveland Community Shares.

———-

A Christmas Story, the Musical

Musical by Joseph Robinette, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul,

 based upon A Christmas Story © 1983 Turner Entertainment Co., distributed by Warner Bros., written by Jean Shepherd, Leigh Brown and Bob Clark, and on the book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd.

A Christmas Story, the Musical, is produced by special arrangement with THE DRAMATIC PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., of Woodstock, Illinois. Produced with permission of Warner Bros. Theatre Ventures, Inc.


Weekend ticket info by phone

You can now phone in over the weekend to see if tickets are available for Near West Theatre shows — or to tell us you won’t be using tickets you bought. Here’s how it works, in a new procedure we first tried in the spring of 2013:

Lots of people want tickets, as these did for Children of Eden (2012). Call if you're not coming! Photo by Terry Schordock

Lots of people want tickets, as these did for Children of Eden (2012). Call if you’re not coming! Photo by Terry Schordock

Ticket sales by telephone close for the weekend at 4 p.m. each Friday. After that you can still make advance purchases online. Or you can buy in person at the performance site starting 1 hour before show time. What’s new is that we’ll keep our box office phone line open over the weekend for two reasons:

  1. in case you want to ask about ticket availability; or,
  2. so you can tell us you won’t be using tickets you purchased in advance, allowing us to free up your seats and accommodate other patrons. We can’t offer refunds, but your courtesy in calling us is much appreciated. It authorizes us to resell your seats, and it means people who might otherwise be shut out can see a show on a sold-out night.

Just call our regular ticket line, 216-961-6391, and you’ll reach a mobile phone answered by cheerful, efficient Near West staffer Kelcie Dugger (or you’ll reach voice mail if she’s swamped or it’s the middle of the night). Please note: she can’t make reservations for you if it’s not 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on a weekday. But she can help you with items (1) and (2) above. See you at the show!


Sign up to volunteer!

Volunteering at a show is great way to support and experience Near West Theatre’s community-building mission. Now we need people of all ages — including you — for May performances of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. There are many ways to help: Join the team that staffs the concession stand, gift shop or ticket table. Greet patrons and hand out playbills. Serve as a house manager or assistant. Bake a batch of cookies or brownies. Pop popcorn. Please consider volunteering for one or more of these performances.  Arrival time is 6 p.m. (or 1:30 on Sundays):

Sue Stewart, our friendly Volunteer Coordinator (shown here at the center of box-office action during the 2012 production of Rent) will sign you up to help in one of many ways.

Sue Stewart, our friendly Volunteer Coordinator (shown here at the center of box-office action during the 2010 production of Rent), will sign you up to help in one of many ways.

  • Friday, May 3
  • Saturday, May 4
  • Thursday, May 9
  • Friday, May 10
  • Saturday, May 11
  • Sunday, May 12
  • Friday, May 17
  • Saturday, May 18
  • Sunday, May 19

Besides the fun and satisfaction of volunteering, you’ll also experience the excitement of show time at the theater – and you can see the show for free (unless it’s sold out!). Please sign up by contacting Volunteer Coordinator Sue Stewart, susanstewart11@aol.com, 216-861-0318.

Running a spotlight (as Noah Utterback did for Children of Eden in 2012) is one of many tasks handled by our volunteer crew.

Running a spotlight (as Noah Utterback did for Children of Eden in 2012) is one of many tasks handled by our volunteer crew.

Crew needed, too. Volunteer backstage and balcony crew members are needed from April 21 through May 19, for the last two weeks of Brel rehearsals and the run of the show. It’s fun, active and team-oriented. To volunteer for the crew, contact Kelcie Dugger, kdugger@nearwesttheatre.org, 216-961-9750.

Don’t forget our new Star Seats! Forty years ago this month, Jacques Brel opened in the State Theatre lobby and helped save Cleveland’s Playhouse Square. Now Near West Theatre revives this iconic musical, not with four performers on cabaret stools but with a diverse castBREL poster 2013 of 32 community actors! Don’t miss these high-energy, dramatic songs and stories of passion, personal struggle and social critique. Consider supporting our art and mission – and ensuring affordable community prices – by enjoying a $20 reserved Star Seat with additional benefits. Our regular community ticket prices are also available, of course: $8 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under (mature themes; parental discretion advised), general admission.  Order online; call 216-961-6391 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. weekdays; or visit our business office, 6516 Detroit Ave., Suite 9, during those same hours. Any remaining tickets will be sold at the performance site, 3606 Bridge Ave., starting an hour before show time.

Crew members from a couple years back take a break by concessions: (l. to r.) Jason Dugger, Alicia Cleveland, Emily Suma, Rod Cardwell, Leland Pestak, Hayden Neidhardt, Mo Eutazia, Carter Smith.

Crew members from a couple years back take a break by concessions: (l. to r.) Jason Dugger, Alicia Cleveland, Emily Suma, Rod Cardwell, Leland Pestak, Hayden Neidhardt, Mo Eutasia, Carter Smith.