Mason Stewart (JACQUES BREL IS ALIVE AND WELL & LIVING IN PARIS and I DO! I DO!) and Don Disantis (EDDIE!) will star in Chagrin Studio Orchestra's TITANIC
Mark and Bill Corcoran of Theatre in the Circle revive the storied musical revue "The All-Night Strut" Sept. 21-24 at Judson Manor.
Click "THE ALL NIGHT STRUT" logo to hear the recent interview on WCLV with Jacqueline Gerber, published Sept. 19, 2017
CLEVELAND, Ohio - The Theatre in the Circle made a dramatic arrival on the scene earlier this year, with a nod to Cleveland's past. They presented the beloved musical "Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris" to three sold-out audiences at their University Circle home.
"We were really trying to tap into Clevelanders' love affair with that show," Managing Director Mark Corcoran told The Plain Dealer.
It was the 1968 "Jacques Brel," that helped save Playhouse Square in the 1970s. The aging, 1920s-built theaters had fallen into disrepair. Enter the Junior League of Cleveland, led by Lainie Hadden, a visionary named Ray Shepardson and "Jacques Brel."
Shepardson's production featuring the songs of the influential Belgian artist - translated into English by writer Eric Blau and composer Mort Shuman, who together scripted the narrative that ties the revue together -- played for two years and 522 performances in the crumbling State Theatre lobby.
The production that ran from 1973 to 1975 raised awareness and funds for the Playhouse Square preservation campaign. It was the hot ticket in town for nearly two years. Mark Corcoran, who founded Theatre in the Circle with his husband Bill, was among the audience who fell in love with the show. And theater in Cleveland.
Now the Corcorans are following up that historic act with another nod to Cleveland's past. Their latest production, playing this weekend at the historic Judson Manor on East 107th Street, is the swinging "The All Night Strut." The show written and directed by Clevelander Fran Charnas premiered at Pickle Bill's in the Flats in 1976. It then moved to pre-restoration Playhouse Square, following up "Jacques Brel ..."
"The piece was born and bred right here and ran on the heels of 'Jacques Brel' at pre-restoration Playhouse Square after its debut at Pickle Bill's in The Flats," says Mark Corcoran.
Like "Brel ...," the show helped bring more attention to the theater's restoration campaign.
The jazzy celebrates the music of the 1930s and '40s on a ride through the Great Depression, World War II and the post-war boom. It includes jazz, blues, bebop and American songbook standards, featuring the music of Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins.
The All Night Strut
Where: Theater in the Circle, Judson Manor, 1890 East 107th St., Cleveland.
Thursday, Sept. 21, at 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 22, at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Sept, 23, at 2 and 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 24, at 2 p.m.
Swing's the thing in The All Night Strut! Conceived and directed by Clevelander Fran Charnas, this jumpin’ jive show premiered at Pickle Bill’s in the Flats in 1976 then moved to pre-restoration Playhouse Square to further efforts to save our theaters in the tradition of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living Paris. From touring with the Glenn Miller Orchestra to performing with the Boston Pops, this classy, sassy musical revue has played the world over to record-breaking houses and garnered rave reviews from critics.
The All Night Strut! moves through the Depression, World War II and the post-war boom in a two-act musical celebration of the 1930s and '40s, filled with jazz, blues, bebop and American songbook standards. Weaving together the work of legendary songwriters such as Hoagy Carmichael, Frank Loesser, Duke Ellington, Johnny Mercer, Cab Calloway and the Gershwins, the story moves through time and place to highlight a slick slice of yesteryear and capture a beloved American era.
Four performers welcome you, full-throttle, on board the “Chattanooga Choo Choo.” It’s a place where sad stories are told with optimism and flair. “Minnie The Moocher” tells a story about a big-hearted gal gone wrong. The world seems to have turned its back on a man who plaintively asks “Brother, Can You Spare A Dime?”
We switch gears to happier moments and experiences: jitterbugging and getting “In The Mood” and a Saturday night bash in Harlem where old Hannah Brown says “Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer.” Romantic memories from Old London Town cast their spell in “A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square.” We become mesmerized with the syncopations of a “Crazy Rhythm” and seduced by the odd and mellow lure of coffee and other things with “Java Jive.”
Reflections of war in a medley of songs make us experience a range of emotions from discomfort, hope (“Shoo Shoo Baby”), homesickness (“White Cliffs Of Dover”), opportunity (“Rosie The Riveter”), to madness (“Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition”) and heartache (“I’ll Be Seeing You”). The act ends with lingering memories of what was and what might have been.
Act Two begins with a questionably sincere promise of fidelity (“Ain’t Misbehavin’”). Love and sincerity are shown in other ways, such as faith in the gospel-inflected “Operator,” as hopeful fantasy in “Dream,” and as pure fun ‘jamming’ in “Beat Me Daddy, Eight To The Bar.”Two couples square off in a battle of one-upmanship. They are sophisticated, funny and flirtatious as they complain of their stalled affair (“A Fine Romance”). Things then get sultry in the South with slow, steamy moves to dance the night away (“Tuxedo Junction”). The mood suddenly perks up and we swing and sway to “Jukebox Saturday Night.”
Even as the world changes, we are reminded that sentiments such as love and passion never fade or go away (“As Time Goes By”). Keeping spirits up — jivin’, swingin’ and singin’ — give the finale the feel of a great time (Medley: “Hit That Jive Jack,” “Billie’s Bounce,” “It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing”). As the cast bows, the excitement and optimism of a world long gone still reverberates in the sweet sentiments of “Lullaby Of Broadway.”
1 Chattanooga Choo Choo - All
2 Minnie The Moocher - All
3 Bother, Can You Spare A Dime? -Miguel, All
4 In The Mood - JIll, All
5 Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer - Neda, All
6 A Nightingale Sang In Berkeley Square - Robert, All
7 Crazy Rhythm - All
8 Java Jive - All
9 World War II Medley - All
10 Ain't Misbehavin' - Miguel, All
11 Operator - Neda, All
14 Dream - All
15 Beat Me, Daddy, Eight To The Bar - Soprano, All
16 A Fine Romance - All
17 Tuxedo Junction - All
18 As Time Goes By - Jill, All
19 Finale - All
20 Lullaby Of Broadway - All
When Theatre in the Circle debuted its first show EDDIE! in 2016, many of you loved the magnificent original musical score by Artistic Director, Bill Corcoran and the musicianship of our cellist, McKinley Glasser, and clarinetist, Linda Simon-Mietus. Well, they’re back joining Bill at the keyboard as The Eldorado Trio for a free concert in our home, the historic Judson Manor Ballroom, on Tuesday, September 5 at 7:30 p.m. It’s free, no tickets or reservations needed.
Join us and listen to the sometimes haunting, sometimes hip arrangements of music from EDDIE!, Rogers & Hammerstein, George Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein and Count Basie.
The Eldorado Trio - FREE CONCERT
Tuesday, September 5, 2017, 7:30 p.m.
Judson Manor Ballroom. 1890 East 107th Street, Cleveland OH 44106
(corner of Chester Avenue and E. 107th Street)
Ample free parking
for our 2017-18 shows:
SEASON TICKET SUBSCRIPTIONSWe were so thrilled we sold-our every performance of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living In Paris and had very limited seating at our I Do! I Do! matinees, but we heard you loud and clear when you couldn’t get tickets to see . . Brel . . or couldn’t get matinee tickets for I Do! I Do!
Now you can see our shows when you choose with our new Season Ticket Subscriptions. Choose to join us on opening night (Thursdays @ 7:30 p.m.) for each show or any of the other 4 performances on Friday (7:30 p.m.), Saturday (2:00 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.) or at the closing performances on Sunday afternoons (2:00 p.m.). If you’re thinking matinees, think early since our matinees are very popular and sell quickly.
Come see and swing with The All Night Strut, a new holiday tradition The Gift of the Magi, our Valentine’s gift Love Letters (with Dorothy Silver and George Roth) and the hilarious gender-bending Nunsense A-Men.
Oh yeah, when you choose any Season Ticket Subscription, you save $12 ($3 off each ticket) from single ticket prices!
September 21 thru 24
Theatre in the Circle presents another Cleveland musical chestnut, The All Night Strut, with a stellar cast of musical theatre professionals. The show premiered in 1976 at Pickle Bill’s in the Flats, then moved to the State Theatre in the pre-renovation days of Playhouse Square.
Everybody’s favorite boy-next-door, Robert Kowalewski, is taking the radio-idol tenor role in The All Night Strut quartet. He has appeared in many productions at Pittsburgh Musical Theater (Les Miz, Sound of Music, Spring Awakening, Chess), Cassidy Theatre (Big: the Musical, Titanic) True North (Next To Normal, South Pacific) and most recently as Albert Einstein at Blank Canvas in Picasso at the Lapin Agile. Robert’s impressive voice and interpretive instincts serve him (and us) well in capturing the hope, joy, frivolity of a time when our country grew by leaps and bounds, but the specter of war and loss loomed large.
Miguel D. Osborne, actor, choreographer and costume/fashion designer, joins the cast as the quartet’s bass. Miguel has graced the Karamu House stage in Dreamgirls, Julius Caesar, Aint’ Misbehavin’, God’s Trombone and at Tri-C Metro in You Can’t Take It With You and Cassidy Theater in Victor/Victoria. Film and television credits feature prominently in his resume. Miguel’s plaintive “Brother Can You Spare A Dime?” in The All Night Strut captures the boom times and the bum times of the show’s era.
Lakewood resident and theatre veteran, Neda Spears, ably carries the alto part of The All Night Strut’s tight harmonies. Neda was Susannah at Actor’s Summit in Tintypes, Mona Lisa in A Song for Coretta and Kali in Huck and Holden at Ensemble Theatre. She has appeared in over a dozen shows in Alabama and the Chicago metro area. Neda brings a sassy, sultry, world-weary awareness to this show’s musical time capsule.
After playing long list of ingenue leads all over NE Ohio: Geauga Lyric Theater (Diana, the Musical, Mary Poppins), Beachwood Theater (Beauty and the Beast), True North (South Pacific, Happy Days), Brecksville Theater (Guys and Dolls), Jill Marie Zeszut makes her Theatre in the Circle debut in The All Night Strut. Jill brings a very nuanced voice and a ton of pizazz to this production. This talented young lady’s rendition of “I’ll Be Seeing You” will leave not a dry eye in the house.
We are blessed to have at the boundless energy, infectious enthusiasm, and seasoned creativity of Jen Justice as choreographer for The All Night Strut.
Join us to see this splendid cast sing, shimmy, scat and soar through this wonderful trip down memory lane with songs like “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, “Minnie the Moocher”, “Java Jive”, “White Cliffs of Dover”, “A Fine Romance”, “In The Mood”, “As Time Goes By” and many, many more.
The All Night Strut opens Thursday, Sept. 21 at 7:30 p.m. and continues on Friday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 23 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and closes on Sunday, Sept. 24 at 2:00 p.m.
THEATER & DANCE11:00 AM ESTJune 21, 2017 0Story:Kristen HampshireArt:Heather Linn YoungCleveland Magazine/Lake Effect
Bill Corcoran first spotted the lounge at Judson Manor senior living center after moving there in 2013 with his partner, Mark Corcoran. He could envision the room as an intimate theater with a stage and seats filled with residents and community members.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of excuses not to do it,” says Bill, a retired Cleveland Play House musical director.
In fall 2016, the idea morphed into community theater upstart Theatre in the Circle.
“Judson has an ambitious music program, and we have visual arts,” says Mark. “But we didn’t have any regular theater programing here, and the residents who live here are longtime theatergoers.”
The couple has the experience to put on a good show. Mark, who previously worked in public relations, has been involved in theater since childhood. He even co-authored a musical and founded a cabaret theater group in Maryland during the ’70s.
Bill has composed 14 original musicals, served as music director for shows from My Fair Lady to Man of La Mancha, and taught music theory at Indiana University Southeast and Hanover College.
“Musical theater is the ultimate form of communication,” Bill says. “It’s a collaboration of words, music and images. That’s why I was so attracted to theater initially and why I chose to make a career of it.”
It’s also about pushing yourself artistically, says Mark. “Theater is not just pretending to be someone else, but an opportunity to get in touch with another, maybe unexplored, part of yourself,” he says. “Whether you’re acting or directing, it’s telling stories. And it’s magic. I’m a sucker for glitter, bright lights and rabbits hopping out of hats.”
Theatre in the Circle opened with Eddie! in the lounge. In February, it moved to the ballroom, where it sold out three performances of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well & Living in Paris.
Now, the Corcorans are preparing for a third show, I Do! I Do!, with five performances June 22-25 in the Judson ballroom.
Auditions are open to community members and professionals. The Corcorans select shows with small casts of just two to four actors, which suits the venues at Judson. The company includes members who create the set and costumes, all of which is overseen and artistically driven by the Corcorans. Cleveland Institute of Art students who are artists-in-residence at Judson have helped design and build sets.
“We are exploring the possibility of theater internships in backstage concerns: stage management, set design, sound, lights,” Mark says.
As for show selection, the Corcorans consider their seasoned audience. For example, I Do! I Do! is the story of a 50-year marriage, beginning on the wedding day and concluding with moving out of the family home.
“Residents will love watching a young couple as they wed, raise their children, suffer through their midlife crises and settle into retirement after their 50-year roller coaster ride of marriage,” Mark says.
For the couple, this theater company is an extension of their careers and a lifelong passion for the stage.
“We see what this theater has done for the community here, and people really look forward to it,” Mark says. “If we can touch lives, what else do we need?”
Baby boomer brings more opportunities, Judson Manor resident says
BECKY RASPE | SPECIAL SECTIONS STAFF REPORTER
firstname.lastname@example.org May 12, 2017
Baby boomers are at a transitional point in their lives. Some are getting ready to retire, others already have retired and are looking for activities to keep busy and still others are working and may not have much time on their hands.
Though staying active and social is important for all ages, boomers really can develop and gain from taking on new hobbies and activities at this point in their lives. Mark Corcoran, a resident at Judson Manor in Cleveland, boomer and managing director of Theatre in the Circle, said being a boomer doesn’t mean you can’t get involved with something new.
“For me, (being involved) is the only way to stay connected to our world,” Corcoran said. “Just because you’re of a certain age, it doesn’t mean you aren’t going to continue to grow or to be challenged. When you get to that age, you’re able to choose a large life or a small life. The large life is far more fulfilling to me.”
Corcoran co-created Theatre in the Circle with his husband, Bill, in their retirement. Corcoran said that when looking for retirement communities and things to get involved in as boomers, they were instantly drawn to Judson Manor’s space.
“When we saw Judson, we thought what a perfect venue for productions,” he said. “The space was crying to be used in creative ways. We have an extremely vigorous music program here at Judson Manor. We’re also in the process of further developing and enriching the art program. So, it was like the theater was the missing component. From our research, Judson Manor is the only senior community with a semi-professional theater company that is resident driven.”
Corcoran said a reason why he pursued the theater company is because he and his husband were involved in professional theater their entire lives.
“We missed the creative challenge that a theater presents,” he said. “We were in a position of people asking (why we created the company) and our exact response was why not? If we can do something to further enrich a community that we can spend the rest of our lives in, why not?”
Corcoran said it’s important for boomers to recognize going to a retirement community is not the beginning of the end. For Corcoran and his husband, it was more like the beginning of a new life.
“Judson is really at the heart of this company,” he said. “People don’t come to these communities to die. They come to live and live in ways they never did before. My husband and I found moving (to Judson Manor) to be very liberating and freeing.”
Corcoran said since moving to Judson Manor, he has worried less about the small stuff, like who will fix things around the house or mow the lawn.
“My very best piece of advice to someone who doesn’t know what to do with their newly found time since retirement is to volunteer somewhere,” he said. “You’ll find something that you’ll connect with.”
He said not everyone will find something to connect with right away and that’s OK.
“You just have to find it,” Corcoran said. “And if you don’t find it – create it. Originate your future.”
The Theatre in the Circle will have its next show, “I Do! I Do!,” premiere on June 22. The show will be directed by Bill Corcoran.