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Big Book of Cleveland: Sound and Stage

From symphonies to Shakespeare, the fine arts get no finer than this


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Innovative, contemporary, and adventurous are just a few of the ways we describe Cleveland's vibrant theater scene. In the list below, we let the city's top companies describe their mission in their own words.

Playhouse Square: The nonprofit Playhouse Square is the world’s largest theater restoration project and the country’s largest performing arts center outside New York (eclipsed only by Lincoln Center) and is Northeast Ohio’s home for touring Broadway shows, concerts, comedy, opera, dance, and children’s programming. 14th Street Theatre, 2037 East 14th St.; Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St.; Palace Theatre, State Theatre, Ohio Theatre, Kennedy’s Cabaret (in the basement of the Ohio Theatre), 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-241-6000, playhousesquare.com

Dobama Theatre: Dobama Theatre's mission is simple: to premiere the best contemporary plays by established and emerging playwrights.

2340 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-932-3396, dobama.org

Ensemble Theatre: Ensemble Theatre is dedicated to producing works that celebrate the human spirit drawn from the rich cannon of modern American classics as well as other significant contemporary plays. The theater is committed to non-traditional casting and to providing culturally diverse programming that speaks to issues of contemporary life.

Cleveland Heights, 216-321-2930, ensemble-theatre.com

Karamu House Theatre: With a rich history dating back almost 100 years, Karamu House's mission is to provide a joyful place of gathering where all people can learn about and experience multicultural arts, foster an awareness of cultural diversity, and inspire an appreciation for the richness of African American cultural heritage.

2355 East 89th St., 216-795-7070, karamu.com

Oddy Festival (inside the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Main Library's Brody-Nelson Room): Usually, new theater companies have a mission: to change audiences' perspective, make them more socially aware, broaden their horizons, etc., etc. We got nothing like that. We're just going to stick to doing good (if not better-than-good) theater.

2345 Lee Rd., Cleveland Heights, 216-926-8641, twitter.com/OddyFest

Beck Center for the Arts:

Beck Center's professional theater productions include a traditional yet diverse combination of musicals, dramas, and comedies on two separate stages, serving an average of 30,000 patrons each year.

Mackey Main Stage, Studio Theater, 17801 Detroit Ave., Lakewood,

216-521-2540, beckcenter.org

Cleveland Public Theatre:

CPT develops new, adventurous work and nurtures Northeast Ohio artists — particularly those whose work is inventive, intelligent, and socially conscious.

CPT Storefront Studio, Gordon Square Theatre, James Levin

Theatre, 6415 Detroit Ave.,

216-631-2727, cptonline.org


Convergence-Continuum offers experiences that expand the imagination and extend the conventional boundaries of language, structure, space, and performance while challenging the conventional notions of what theater is.

The Liminis, 2438 Scranton Rd., 216-687-0074, convergence-


Theater Ninjas: Theater Ninjas was founded to create accessible and entertaining live performances while attracting new and young audiences to the theater. The company performs original works and interpretations that draw on elements of film, dance, improvisation, physical theater, graphic novels, and music.

10311 Lakeshore Blvd., Bratenahl, 216-245-3514, theaterninjas.com

Cleveland Play House: Founded in 1915, Cleveland Play House was America's first regional theater. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Bloom and Managing Director Kevin Moore, the Play House is an artist-driven theater that serves Greater Cleveland by holding true to its mission: to inspire, stimulate, and entertain diverse audiences by producing plays and theater education programs of the highest professional standards.

Allen Theatre at Playhouse Square, 1519 Euclid Ave., 216-795-7000, clevelandplayhouse.org

Great Lakes Theater Festival: Through its main stage productions and educational programs, Great Lakes strives to bring the pleasure, power, and relevance of classic theater to a wide audience. Since the company's inception in 1962, programming has been rooted in Shakespeare, but its commitment to great plays spans the breadth of all cultures, forms of theater, and time periods.

Hanna Theatre, 2067 East 14th St., Ohio Theatre, 1519 Euclid Ave.,

216-241-6000, greatlakestheater.org

Home of the Cleveland Institute of Music, Baldwin-Wallace College, Oberlin Conservatory, and the world-class Cleveland Orchestra, the region possesses a plethora of musical performance groups. Here's what some of the best would like you to know:

Apollo's Fire, the Cleveland Baroque Orchestra: Apollo's Fire was founded in 1992 as an ensemble dedicated to the baroque ideal that music should evoke the various passions in listeners. Hailed as "one of America's leading baroque orchestras" (The Boston Globe) and "a front-runner among America's finest baroque orchestras" (The Independent, London), Apollo's Fire enjoys sold- out performances at venues throughout the region.

216-320-0012, apollosfire.org

Blue Water Chamber Orchestra: Blue Water is dedicated to sharing great music with new audiences. With a particular focus on Cleveland's West Side and suburbs, the BWCO is in residence at the Breen Center for the Performing Arts at St. Ignatius High School. Carlton R. Woods conducts.


CityMusic Cleveland: CityMusic was founded in July 2004 with the belief that music should be enjoyed by every citizen, young and old. Their concerts are a place to gather friends, families, and colleagues, and meet up with exciting young professional musicians.

216-321-8273, citymusiccleveland.org

Cleveland Chamber Music Society: This nonprofit has presented an annual series of seven chamber music concerts for Cleveland audiences for the past 60 years.



Cleveland Institute of Music: CIM offers free concerts throughout the year and utilizes an extensive outreach program of concerts and classes in Greater Cleveland.

11021 East Blvd., 216-791-5000,


Cleveland Jazz Orchestra: Their self-proclaimed mission is to enrich the cultural and intellectual fabric of the community through jazz.

440-942-9525, clevelandjazz.org

Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra: Founded under the auspices of the Cleveland Orchestra, the Youth Orchestra provides talented young musicians with a pre-professional orchestral experience of the highest standard.

Severance Hall, 11001 Euclid Ave.,

216-231-7352, clevelandorchestra


Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra: Founded in 1938, the Philharmonic is a full symphony orchestra that provides musicians of all ages and professions with a means of learning and performing symphony music. The orchestra plays six concerts each season at various Cuyahoga Community College campuses.

216-556-1800, clevephil.org

Cleveland Pops Orchestra: Now in its 15th season, the Cleveland Pops plays diverse, innovative, and electrifying programs to audiences in Severance Hall and other venues across Northeast Ohio.

216-765-7677, clevelandpops.com

Heights Chamber Orchestra: HCO comprises some 45 professional and amateur musicians who reside predominantly in the eastern suburbs. Free concerts are presented in various venues.


Les Délices: Founded in 2006, Les Délices focuses on dynamic performances of masterpieces and little-known works from the French Baroque era, all played on period instruments.


Ohio Philharmonic Orchestra: Led by founder and Artistic Director William Laufer, and Music Director and Conductor Domenico Boyagian, the Ohio Philharmonic offers musical education, active outreach, and free concerts.

216-647-5001, ohiophilharmonic. com

Opera Circle: Opera Circle presents live performances of operatic masterpieces for the enjoyment of the general public in Cleveland.

216-441-2822, operacircle.org

Quire Cleveland: This professional choral ensemble founded in 2008 to perform the glorious choral masterpieces of the late Medieval, Renaissance, and Baroque eras, and beyond.

216-223-8854, quirecleveland.org

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