2014 – 2015 Season

Woodland Cemetery Arts TourWoodland Cemetery Arts Tour

WordStage Artists participate in the Woodland Cemetery Foundation’s 2014 Arts Tour

Artists on our WordStage roster will launch our 2014 season through their participation in the Woodland Cemetary Foundations’ 2014 Arts Tour to be held on Sunday, September 14th from 1:00 – 4:00 pm at the recently restored  Historic Woodland Cemetery – 6901 Woodland Road in Cleveland. The Arts Tour will feature performances and exhibits of artists, photographers, dancers, actors, poets, craftsfolk and musicians featuring the Federal Rebels Civil War Band

WordStage Artists Deborah Magid, Peter Toomey and myself will portray three of Cleveland’s notable figures in the worlds of the fine and performing arts. Begin your tour at the Flag Oval in the center of the cemetery and then visit the grave sites of 15 of our city’s notable artisans and patrons of the arts, where 15 actors will portray them and share information about their lives and accomplishments. Ms. Magid will create an historical representation of Sarah Kimball, the founder of the Cleveland Institute of Art.  Mr. Toomey takes on the role of Charles Dickinson, a notable actor and musician, and member of the legendary original Federal Rebels Band.  I will be re-enacting the part of Johann Heinreich Beck, a noted Cleveland composer, violinist and  music educator who, among other accomplishments, helped to found The Cleveland Symphony Orchestra the ensemble which evolved into our world renowned Cleveland Orchestra.

Join us and a host of other area visual and performing artists, writers, musicians and craftspeople for an afternoon of education and entertainment!  We hope to see you there!

For more information, please visit the Woodland Cemetery Foundation’s web site at www.wcfcle.org

North Presbyterian Church Arts Outreach ProgramArts Outreach

North Presbyterian Church’s Arts Outreach program

North Presbyterian Church

WordStage is honored to have been invited to participate in the North Presbyterian Church’s Arts Outreach program.  Actor/Storytellers Deborah Magid and Tim Tavcar will be interpreting five Folk Tales from the African continent.  The stories are drawn from a collection of wonderful legends originating in a variety of African countries.  There subjects arrange from a narrative about  How Storytelling Began to fables about the Sun and Moon and Lightning and Thunder,  and  ending with a tale about the World’s Wisest man.  The colorful words will accompanied and enhanced by indigenous Folk Music adapted for solo violin played by noted Cleveland violinist, Mary Beth Ions.

The program is scheduled to be given on Saturday afternoon, October 4th at 4:30pm.  A Reception with the artists follows the program.

Admission is free and all are welcome to attend.

Bloomsbury and The Great WarBloomsbury and the Great War

A Literary Drama with Music from WordStage

Lakewood Public Library

Originally commissioned by the Shaker Height Arts Council, Bloomsbury and the Great War is an original one-act play written by WordStage Artistic Director, Tim Tavcar, that takes us to Garsington, the ‘country cottage” of Lady Ottoline and Philip Morrell. It is 1914 and Word War I has begun in earnest. Lady Ottoline and her liberal Parliamentarian husband discuss the ramifications for them and their artistic and literary pacifist friends with Leonard and Virginia Woolf.

Leonard and Virginia are in the process of launching their Hogarth Press which would go on to publish many of the leading pacifist writers of the day, including T.S. Eliot, James Joyce, Siegfried Sassoon, Vita Sackville-West, Robert Graves and, of course, the “Woolves” themselves.. The script is full of reflections on the War, amusing anecdotes about the characters onstage as well as some of their fellow “Bloomsberries.”  The text will be heightened and illustrated by music of British composers of the era – including Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gustav Holst, and Edward Elgar.

The performance is generously supported by the Friends of the Lakewood Library and will be presented on Sunday afternoon, October 12, 2014 at 2:00pm in the Main Library Auditorium.

Civil War Love LettersCivil War Love Letters

“I am in hopes that I will get a whole package of letters from you in a few days.


Cleveland Heights/University Heights Public Library
When he wasn’t marching, fighting, or setting up camp, the Civil War soldier might take a few moments to write to his loved ones at home. These letters often contain accounts of battles, life in camp, and general news. But many soldiers, as they marched off to face the enemy, had left behind a wife or sweetheart, and to them they would compose sweet, poignant, and occasionally funny letters that give life and personality to the participants in this great national conflict. These letters show their sorrows of being apart, fears that the soldier would not return home, and hopes for the future after the war’s end.  The letters, presented by WordStage readers Tim Tavcar and Agnes Herrmann and underscored with the poignant music of the Civil War Era played by Jan C. Snow on the Hammered Dulcimer, portray many sides of the soldier in love.

The performance will take place at the Lee Road location of the Cleveland Heights/University Heights Library on Thursday evening, February 12th at 7:00pm.

At Wit's EndAt Wit’s End

The Algonquin Round Table

Rocky River Senior Center


The Algonquin Round Table was a celebrated group of New York City writers, critics, actors and wits. Gathering initially as part of a practical joke, members of “The Vicious Circle,” as they dubbed themselves, met for lunch each day at the Algonquin Hotel from 1919 until roughly 1929. At these luncheons they engaged in wisecracks, wordplay and witticisms that, through the newspaper columns of Round Table members, were disseminated across the country.

Daily association with each other, both at the luncheons and outside of them, inspired members of the Circle to collaborate creatively. The entire group worked together successfully only once, however, to create a revue called No Sirree! which helped launch a Hollywood career for Round Tabler Robert Benchley.  In its ten years of association, the Round Table and a number of its members acquired national reputations both for their contributions to literature and for their sparkling wit.

In addition to the daily luncheons, members of the Round Table worked and associated with each other almost constantly. The group was devoted to games, including cribbage and poker. The group had its own poker club, the Thanatopsis Literary and Inside Straight Club, which met at the hotel on Saturday nights. The group also played charades (which they called simply “The Game”) and the “I can give you a sentence” game, which spawned Dorothy Parker’s memorable sentence using the word horticulture: “You can lead a horticulture but you can’t make her think.”

The Epic of GilgameshThe Epic of Gilgamesh

Love, Sex, Murder, Jealousy, Heroism, Vanity, Lust

Lakewood Public Library

All that and more can be found in the first great masterpiece of world literature, The Epic of Gilgamesh. This sweeping saga recounts the adventures of a legendary king and is based in all likelihood on an actual historical figure, Gilgamesh, the ruler of the Babylonian city of Uruk around 2700 B.C.  Credited with erecting the massive wall around Uruk, the first major city, Gilgamesh emerged over the centuries as the hero of a cycle of poems, and eventually of the 3,000-line epic, which reached final form around 1200 B.C.

Like all ancient Mesopotamian literature, the epic of Gilgamesh was lost to historical memory with the eclipse of the ancient cultures of Assyria and Babylonia in the centuries before Christ. Only in the mid-19th century did British and French archaeologists begin to explore the mysterious mounds in present-day Iraq that held the remains of the first urban societies. A particularly rich find was the library of Ashurbanipal, last great king of Assyria: in the 1850s, British archaeologist Austin Henry Layard and his Iraqi associate, Hormuzd Rassam, unearthed it in the ruins of Nineveh. They shipped 100,000 tablets and fragments home to the British Museum; gradually scholars began to piece them together and decipher the ancient texts.

In 1872, the young curator George Smith created a sensation when he unearthed Gilgamesh’s broken tablets in the museum’s collection. Smith immediately perceived that the character of Uta-napishtim, Gilgamesh’s ancestor, constituted an early version of the Bible’s Noah—a striking parallel at a time when Victorian debates over religion and science were at their height.

This performance, commissioned by the Lakewood Public Library, will feature five actors and incredible incidental music, created and performed by Master percussionist – Paul Stranahan.

A Thurber Carnival

Sunday, June 14 at 2:00 pm
Lakewood Public Library, 15425 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood, OH 44107

Sundays With Friends

A Thurber Carnival


The Lakewood Public Library Main Auditorium

The celebrated author of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and the creator of numerous New Yorker magazine cover cartoons, stories, social commentaries and chronicles of the human condition, James Thurber was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 8, 1894. One of the foremost American humorists of the 20th century, his inimitable wit and pithy prose spanned a breadth of genres, including short stories, modern commentary, fiction, theater, children’s fantasy and letters.

The artists of WordStage will create an amusing, and sometimes, poignant text from Mr. Thurber’s prose, diaries and letters and underscore it with quirky tunes that reflect the trenchant observations Mr. Thurber shared with his readers, colleagues and intimate friends throughout his life,  and which are beloved by lovers of laughter-inducing literature right up to the present day.

June 14th, 2015 at 2:00PM.  This, and all WordStage performances and special events at the Lakewood Library, are Free and Open to the Public