2016-2017 WordStage Season

George Bernard Shaw’s How He Lied to Her Husband

Shaw's "How he lied to her husband"Friday, September 30, 2016 at 7:30 PM

Shaw stated that, “Nothing in the theatre is staler than the situation of husband, wife and lover, or the fun of knockabout farce. I have taken both, and got an original play out of them, as anybody else can if only he will look about him for his material instead of plagiarizing Othello and the thousand plays that have proceeded on Othello’s romantic assumptions and false point of honor.”

Shaw wrote this One Act Comedy of manners and mores of British society over a period of four days while he was vacationing in Scotland in 1904. In its preface he described it as “a sample of what can be done with even the most hackneyed stage framework by filling it in with an observed touch of actual humanity instead of with doctrinaire romanticism.” The play has often been interpreted as a kind of satirical commentary on Shaw’s own highly successful earlier play Candida (which one of the characters gets tickets to see).

Cast:   Bryan Ritchey – Deborah Magid – Tim Tavcar – Patrick Wickliffe, piano

Gorey Stories

Gorey StoriesFriday, October 28, 2016 at 7:30 PM

The ghoulish meanderings of the macabre mind of Edward Gorey—a pre-Halloween revel in the madcap, macabre world of an American original.

Edward St. John Gorey (1925-2000) gave to the world over one hundred works, including The Gashlycrumb Tinies, The Doubtful Ghost and the West Wing; prizewinning set and costume designs for innumerable theater and dance productions from Cape Cod to Broadway (including two Draculas for a theater production starring Frank Langella and Mikhael  Barishnykov’s Ballet for the American Ballet Theatre; a remarkable number of illustrations in publications such as the New Yorker and the New York Times; and the instantly recognizable animations for PBS’s Mystery! series.  Gorey’s masterful pen and ink illustrations and his ironic, offbeat, macabre humor have brought him critical acclaim and an avid following throughout the world.

Cast:  Agnes Herrmann – Paul Slimak – Tim Tavcar – Patrick Wickliffe, piano – Mary Beth Ions, violin

Wagner’s Visit To Rossini

Wagner's Visit to RossiniFriday, November 18,  2016 at 7:30 PM

An eyewitness account from Parisian Musician, Critic and Journalist Edmond Michotte.

In 1860 Wagner went to Paris for the opening of his new opera, Tannhauser.  While there he made the obligatory visits to the great composers living in and around the city.  His visit to Rossini was memorable as the older Bel Canto school composer had reportedly made some very discouraging remarks about Wagner’s music, so Wagner went with more that a bit of trepidation.  These rumors proved to be false and what ensued was an afternoon of an exchange of musical ideas and reminiscences about their careers and accomplishments, in which they shared opinions on and cited influences of a number of the great composer of their era.  All this was recorded by the Parisian musician and journalist, Edmond Michotte.

The conversation between these two musical giants yields a treasure trove of humor, sagacity and mutual admiration.

Cast:  Tim Tavcar – Pete Ferry – Patrick Wickliffe, piano – singers TDB

Stories and Poems from “The Auld Sod”

Stories and Poems from the Auld SodFriday, March 17, 2017 at 7:30 PM

In Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day 2017

Join WordStage Actors as they present another evening of Poetry, Folk and Faerie Tales selected from the huge treasure trove of Irish Literature.  Poems and stories about Banshees, Faerie Doctors, Changelings, Pookas, Ghosts and the Devil will be accompanied by traditional Irish tunes played on the Hammer Dulcimer by Guest Artist Jan C. Snow.

Cast:  Agnes Herrmann – Skip Corris – Peter Toomey – Jan C. Snow, hammer dulcimer

The Literary Legacy of the Beat Generation

The literary legacy of the Beat GenerationFriday, April 21, 2017 at 7:30 PM

Like the French Impressionist artists of Paris, the Beat writers were a small group of close friends first, and a movement later. The term “Beat Generation” gradually came to represent an entire period in time, but the entire original Beat Generation in literature was small enough to have fit into a couple of cars.

The core group consisted of Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Neal Cassady and William S. Burroughs, who met in the neighborhood surrounding Columbia University in uptown Manhattan in the mid-40’s. They picked up Gregory Corso in Greenwich Village and found Herbert Huncke hanging around Times Square. They then migrated to San Francisco where they expanded their group consciousness by meeting Gary Snyder, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Michael McClure, Philip Whalen and Lew Welch.

Most of them struggled for years to get published.  Their moment of fame began with a legendary poetry reading at the Six Gallery in San Francisco.

After the first wave of Beat writers became famous, a second wave followed. Some later arrivals to the crowd include Bob Kaufman, Diane DiPrima, Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, Ray Bremser and  Leroi Jones. The “latter day beats” added some much needed cultural diversity, as well as an infusion of new ideas, writings from the feminine point of view and  fresh talent, to the core of white male friends that were the “classic beats.”

The program features a newly composed Soundscape by Master Percusionist, Paul Stranahan.

Cast:  Jeff Grover – Agnes Herrmann – Paul Slimak – Tim Tavcar – Paul Stranahan, percussion

Poe And Fiends

Wordstage Ohio presents Poe and FiendsTales and Poems of Mystery and the Macabre!


Sunday, October 30, 2016 at 3:00 PM

Poe was best known to his own generation as an editor and critic. His poems and short stories commanded only a small audience. But to some extent in his poems, and to an impressive degree in his tales, he pioneered in opening up areas of human experience for artistic treatment at which his contemporaries only hinted.

This spine-tingling compilation of phantasmagoric poetry and prose will be underscored and enhanced by properly eerie and atmospheric music, played by Master percussionist, Paul Stranahan.

Cast:  Michael Mauldin – Skip Corris – Tim Tavcar – Marci Paolucci – Paul Stranahan, percussion

Winter Words

WordStage Ohio presents WinterWordsPoems and Stories of the Season

Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 3:00 PM

“Thy breath be rude,” William Shakespeare famously told winter in “As You Like It,” invoking a common complaint about the season: winter is cold, windy, bleak, awful. Five centuries later, poets have much the same complaints.

Cast:  Tim Tavcar – Agnes Herrmann –Paul Slimak –  Patrick Wickliffe, piano – Mary Beth Ions, violin


Lyrical Langston

WordStage Ohio presents Lyrical Langston HughesThe Life and works of Langston Hughes

Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 PM

“An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”

James Mercer Langston Hughes, the African-American poet, playwright, novelist and voice of the Harlem Renaissance, was born in Joplin, Missouri, but moved to Cleveland in 1916 where he first began writing seriously as a student at Central High.  His earliest efforts were encouraged by Russell and Rowena Jelliffe, founders of the Playhouse Settlement, which became Cleveland’s famous Karamu House, where several of his plays were first staged.

WordStage’s Literary concert offers an innovative biographical narrative embedded with Hughes’s own poetry, prose and live music and song inspired by his work.

Cast:  Gregg White – Angela Winborn – Mary Beth Ions, violin


Diamonds—The Poetry Of Baseball

Diamonds-the Poetry of BaseballThursday, April 7th at 7:00 pm

Celebrate America’s Game in song and literature as we present ruminations on the game of baseball by such diverse poetic voices as Marianne Moore, William Carlos Williams, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gregory Corso and Grantland Rice.


Hart Crane—Poems And Letters

Hart Crane Poems and LettersSunday, April 30th at 2:00 pm

Born in Garrestville, raised in Cleveland, drawn to the creative energies of Brooklyn, NY, Hart Crane’s life and work has been the subject of controversial lectures, debates, documentaries, biopics and wild speculation.  Beginning with a seven minute video, the program is culled from letter, diary entries and excerpts from some of Crane’s most iconic poetry – which had a profound influence on many great poets and writers to follow.