Cleveland Play House's 100th Birthday Bash, This Weekend

Joel Grey as a new Play House actor (Cleveland Play House archives)
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by David C. Barnett

The Cleveland Play House takes center stage this weekend with a one-hundredth-birthday bash, featuring performances, panel discussions, and a big cake. Plus, some noted alums will be on hand for the party. This past June’s Tony Awards celebrated some of the latest work on Broadway. But, there was also an honor given to a regional theater with deep roots - the Cleveland Play House.

Artistic Director Laura Kepley told the audience that the Play House, “was founded in 1915, and through those 100 years we have never missed a season.”

The Tony win helped kick-off the Play House’s centennial celebration, which continues this weekend with a number of birthday events, including a homecoming for past actors, directors and others associated with the company’s long history - like theater and film star Joel Grey, who made his stage debut at the age of 9.

“The Cleveland Play House gave me my life,” he recalls. “It gave me my professional world.  And, it’s been very difficult ever since to find that sort of high standard.”

And that standard has been nurtured for a century. The Play House is the nation’s oldest, continuously-running regional theater.

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