Beck Center's 85th Theater Season Includes A Regional Premiere And Blockbuster Family Musicals

Beck Center for the Arts is pleased to announce its 2018-2019 professional theater season filled with their signature eclectic titles that include modern classics and the eighth collaboration with Baldwin Wallace University Musical Theatre program. "Maybe one of these springs I’ll feel all calm and blasé’ about our upcoming season, but that’s not this spring!” says Scott Spence, Beck Center Artistic Director (now heading into his 29th season at Beck).”I am truly ecstatic about the 2018-19 season lineup and can’t wait to hear Northeast Ohio’s take on this parade of amazing shows.”

Season Tickets and Flex Passes for the 2018-2019 season are on sale now. For more information, call Beck Center Customer Service at 216.521.2540 x10. Individual tickets may be purchased beginning Wednesday, August 1, 2018 with ticket prices from $12 to $33. Curtain times are 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays; however, performance times vary for "Shrek The Musical," and "Once." Preview performances are the Thursdays before opening night. Beck Center is located at 17801 Detroit Avenue in Lakewood, just ten minutes west of downtown Cleveland. Free onsite parking is available. For more information visit


"An Act of God"
Written by David Javerbaum
Directed by William Roudebush
September 14 – October 7, 2018; Mackey Theater

Written by 13-time Emmy Award® winner David Javerbaum (The Daily Show with Jon Stewart), this exceptionally witty comedy delivers a new meaning to the phrase divine intervention. In "An Act of God," the Almighty is back and he's got a lot to say. God, and his devoted angels, answer some of the deepest questions that have plagued mankind since Creation. The One with the first and last word on everything has finally returned to set the record straight… and he’s not holding back!

 “The Funniest 90 minutes on Broadway! Comedy Heaven!” – The New York Times 

"Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"
Written by Edward Albee
Directed by TBA
October 5 – November 4, 2018; Studio Theater

Winner of five Tony Awards®, including Best Play, "Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" is considered one of the masterworks of American drama, with dazzling language and unforgettable characters. George, a professor at a small college, and his wife, Martha, have just returned home, drunk from a Saturday night party. Martha, much to her husband George’s displeasure, has invited the opportunistic new professor and his wife to their home for a night-cap. Over the course of the evening, George and Martha use their guests as pawns in increasingly cruel mind games, leading to a devastating revelation.

"…a scorching, scalding, revealing, and completely engrossing drama." — Women's Wear Daily

"Shrek The Musical"
Book and Lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire
Music by Jeanine Tesori
Based on the DreamWorks Animation Motion Picture and the book by William Steig
Originally produced on Broadway by DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions
Directed by Scott Spence; Musical Direction by Larry Goodpaster; Choreography by Martín Céspedes
December 7, 2018 – January 6, 2019; Mackey Theater

Based on the smash-hit DreamWorks Animation film, "Shrek The Musical" is a Tony Award®-winning fairy tale adventure. "Once upon a time, there was a little ogre named Shrek...." And thus begins the tale of an unlikely hero who finds himself on a life-changing journey alongside a wisecracking Donkey and a feisty princess who resists her rescue. Throw in a short-tempered bad guy, a cookie with an attitude and over a dozen other fairy tale misfits, and you've got the kind of mess that calls for a real hero. Luckily, there's one on hand... and his name is Shrek.

“This one is pure fun. Tesori’s music is do full of life and whimsy. And stoked to welcome back long-time Beck actor Gilgamesh (G.A.) Taggett in the title role, after his return from being on the national tour of Annie for the past three years.” – Scott Spence

“'Shrek The Musical' is sweet, big, and extremely lovable.” Newsday


Book by Enda Walsh
Music and Lyrics by Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová
Based on the Motion Picture Written and Directed by John Carney
Directed by Victoria Bussert
In collaboration with Baldwin Wallace University Music Theatre Program
February 8 – February 24, 2019; Mackey Theater
Special Wednesday and Thursday evening performances February 14, 20 & 21

A testament to the transcendent power of love and music takes center stage with Beck Center’s eighth annual collaboration with the esteemed Baldwin Wallace University Music Theatre Program. "Once" follows a Dublin street musician and a Czech immigrant who are drawn together by their shared love of music. Over the course of one fateful week, an unexpected friendship and collaboration quickly evolves into a powerful but complicated love story, underscored by emotionally charged music. Winner of eight Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, a Grammy Award® for Best Musical Theatre Album, and four Drama Desk Awards® including Outstanding Musical, "Once" speaks to the power of music to connect us all.

"An exquisite reminder of theater's singular capacity to transport us." – The Hollywood Reporter 

"Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill"
Written by Lanie Robertson
Directed by Scott Spence
Featuring Nicole Sumlin as Billie Holiday
March 15 – April 14, 2019; Studio Theater

Nicknamed “Lady Day” by saxophonist Lester Young, Billie Holiday was one of the greatest jazz voices of all time. The award-winning "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill" takes place in1959 at a small Philadelphia club where she takes to the stage for one of the last shows of her accomplished, yet turbulent life. More than a dozen musical numbers, including “God Bless the Child” and “Strange Fruit,” are interlaced with salty, often humorous, reminiscences to project a riveting portrait of the lady and her music. Most recently seen on Broadway with a captivating, Tony Award®-winning performance by Audra McDonald.

“The term icon could easily have been coined for Billie Holiday. To get a chance to surround myself with her amazing music and life story for a few months is a joy. Local favorite Nicole Sumlin as Holiday is going to knock this out!” – Scott Spence

"A searing portrait of a woman whose art was triumphant." - OnStage

"King Lear"
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Eric Schmeidl
May 31 – June 30, 2019; Studio Theater

In William Shakespeare's royal-family tragedy, the aging King Lear divides his estate between his three daughters, ultimately refusing his youngest and favorite her share because she won't publicly admit her love for him. The decision leads to chaos and treachery within the kingdom and madness for its monarch. King Lear is a classic tale of love, loss, and legacy.

“We are very excited to transport the majesty of Lear in to our intimate Studio Theater. As we’ve done with past classics such as The Seagull and A Doll’s House, the emphasis is on the magnificent storytelling and the immersive honesty of the text.” – Scott Spence

 "No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear." – George Bernard Shaw

"Matilda The Musical"
Written by Roald Dahl
Book by Dennis Kelly
Music and Lyrics by Tim Minchin
Directed by Scott Spence; Musical Direction by Larry Goodpaster; Choreography by Martín Céspedes
July 12 – August 11, 2019; Mackey Theater

Winner of over 85 international awards, including five Tony Awards® and 16 for Best Musical, "Matilda The Musical" is based on the beloved novel by best-selling author Roald Dahl. Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind whose talents are constantly belittled by her cruel parents and headmistress. Dreaming of a better life for herself, she dares to take a stand against these oppressive forces and takes her destiny into her own hands.

“I never see shows on Broadway more than once – except for this one. Three times! I love the comic darkness that is Roald Dahl. This title is a real coup for Beck Center.” – Scott Spence

"Once in a blue moon, a show comes out blazing and restores your faith in Broadway. Matilda The Musical is that show." – The New York Post 

Programming at Beck Center for the Arts is made possible through the generous support of the Ohio Arts Council. Beck Center gratefully acknowledges the generous funding provided by the citizens of Cuyahoga County through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. Beck Center for the Arts is a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization that offers professional theater productions on two stages, arts education programming in dance, music, theater, visual arts, early childhood, and creative arts therapies for individuals with special needs, free gallery exhibits year-round, and outreach education programming.

Beth Kretschmar

Director of Marketing, Beck Center for the Arts

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Volume 14, Issue 11, Posted 10:43 PM, 06.05.2018