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Nov. 2012 Issue:
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In the Spotlight:

3 Questions with...

Linette (Caraballo) Pacheco


West Sider Linette Pacheco served on the crew of Godspell (1994) as a 6th-grader, then got on stage for four more shows, up through Into the Woods (1997). She got a Communication degree from John Carroll University in 2004, worked in fundraising, and now, after a career switch, is an assistant teacher at South Suburban Montessori in Brecksville. Her nephew, Felix Albino, is in the cast of Children of Eden.

1. What role did Near West Theatre play in preparing you for college and a professional career?

Near West Theatre allowed me to be ME and to find myself and my confidence at a very young age. I felt safe to be myself around my peers and that my contributions to the group were important and that they mattered - that I mattered.

2. Among the people and institutions that supported you growing up, what was Near West Theatre's unique contribution to your development? 

NWT taught me to respect people from all different walks of life. [I learned] that at the end of the day, people are just people, and that we are all just as vulnerable as the next person, regardless of race, socio-economic status, etc.

3.What do you hope your nephew will experience at Near West Theatre?

I hope he experiences the magic that is NWT - that wonderful transformation that occurs when you give yourself whole heartedly to an NWT production, and you come out of it being a new you, a better you. I Love NWT!
SEASON 2012-2013

Nov. 16 - Dec. 2, 2012

May 3 - May 19, 2013

July 19 - August 4, 2013

July 25, 27 & 28, 2013

arts and culture shares 2 ohio arts council

The Near West Circle 
Editor: Hans Holznagel
Writer: Julie Cajigas
Designer: Sara Radak

Milestones2012-2013 Season kicks off
with Children of Eden:
Friday, November 16


There are few things in life that we can all identify with the way we can identify with the age-old conflict between parents and their children. Even as family dynamics and definitions change, the struggle still remains the same: "the hardest part of love is letting go." Near West Theatre has brought together a cast of 51 actors from all walks of life to help share this beautiful and sometimes heartbreaking life lesson in a fresh new imagining of Children of Eden.

Opening the 2012-2013 season, Children of Eden is a two-act musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell, Pippin) and book by John Caird (Jane Eyre). The story is loosely based on stories from the book of Genesis and the relationships between the members of beloved biblical families. Near West Theatre's interpretation promises to be a spectacle of the symbolic.

Opening night will bring together the cast, crew and community for the exciting revelation of Near West Theatre's unique production design and approach.

"As this play strives to encourage new insight and vitality around familiar bible characters and stories, so too the designers and I have envisioned a production that does not serve up the familiar 'bible-time' world," says director Bob Navis Jr. "In our Children of Eden, the 'beginning' is not the 'first' beginning. Adam and Eve are not the first humans to walk the earth. The post apocalyptic and futuristic setting suggests this story has played out before, (and ended badly)... yet begins again every time a child is born, every time one of us makes a choice to accept or reject, welcome or banish, join or alienate, help or hurt," he says.

"I am very pleased that our show is being designed to surprise, startle and engage the audience in experiencing a story of creation daringly and imaginatively told," explains Navis Jr. "It is, after all, the story of each one of us. And we are still writing it today."

Ten performances of Children of Eden are offered Nov. 16 through Dec. 2 at Near West Theatre's Ohio City performance space at 3606 Bridge Ave. Thursday, Friday and Saturday performances are at 7:30; Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased at www.nearwesttheatre.org, or by calling the box office at 216-961- 6391 between 11:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. weekdays. Star Seats, with special benefits described below, are $20; regular tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for children 12 and under. Learn more about our new and improved Star Seats here.

EdenvolBackstage and front-of-house volunteers still needed for Eden

Even though auditions are over and the show has been cast, you can still get involved with our exciting season opener by volunteering for backstage or front-of-house duties for Children of Eden, Nov. 16 through Dec. 2. What do volunteers do? They take tickets, work the box office, hand out playbills, bake concession goodies, work the concession stand and gift shop, and much more. We are also looking for members of the backstage crew who will participate from early Nov. through Dec. 2.

 Interested in a behind-the-scenes experience? Click here  for a description of front-of-house volunteer opportunities. To learn more, sign-up or learn about backstage opportunities, contact Business and Operations Director Carol Leiblinger-Hedderson at 216-691-9750 or chedderson@nearwesttheatre.org.

The groundbreaking date is set -  

and you're invited! benefit


The time is here! Near West Theatre will hold a groundbreaking for its new performance venue in Cleveland's Gordon Square Arts District on Tuesday, Nov. 27, at 4 p.m. Please mark your calendar and join us. Everyone related to NWT is encouraged to take part: actors, volunteers, alumni, supporters, crew, musicians, audience members, friends, and people throughout the Near West Side and the Greater Cleveland arts community. We'll all join in a brief outdoor groundbreaking ceremony at the new home of Near West Theatre (West 67th Street near Detroit Avenue) and then walk to the nearby Capitol Theatre for an indoor celebration. Watch for details in the coming weeks via e-mail and our website.

Leadership donors Char and Chuck Fowler to be honoreddonorshonoredbenefit


Longtime friends of Near West Theatre and leadership gift givers Char and Chuck Fowler will be the guests of honor at the NWT 35th Anniversary Benefit You Can't Stop the Beat, on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013. "We want to lift Char and Chuck up for their incredible generosity, which has contributed to our 82% attainment of our $6.8million goal with Gordon Square Arts District, making our new space possible," says Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek, Executive Director of NWT.

The Fowlers have been audience members and friends of the theatre for more than 10 years. In August of 2010, Stephanie received a call from the Fowlers, who wanted to step up and assist with the campaign to build a new performance space. The couple met with NWT the following month to discuss the construction project in the Gordon Square Arts District. "They provided us with a $1 million challenge grant that year," says Morrison-Hrbek. "We met the challenge, and since that time they have hosted an event on our behalf to promote our project and have made two more pledges, bringing their total giving to our campaign to $2 million."

We hope you will join us in honoring the Fowlers at You Can't Stop The Beat, our 35th Anniversary Benefit on Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 at Trinity Cathedral in downtown Cleveland. The evening will also include a powerful performance by Near West cast members, Edna Turnblad from Near West Theatre's summer production of Hairspray as emcee, great food, drink, and music from the 60s, dancing, a Green Stamp raffle, a silent auction, and an effusive energy not found at other events.

Tickets and sponsorships for the benefit are available now! Call or email Lindsay at 216-961-9750 or ldoerr@nearwesttheatre.org for more information!

Community helps prepare for Edencommday


Forty-one community members, including cast, parents, staff and supporters, volunteered their time and talent on Saturday afternoon, Oct. 27, to prepare for NWT's coming performances of Children of Eden. Volunteers worked tirelessly preparing sets, costumes, house and backstage for rehearsals and ultimately for the performances. "We are so grateful to everyone who came out and helped us get ready for Children of Eden," says Kelcie Nicole Dugger, who helped coordinate the Community Work Day. "Near West Theatre is an organization that is deeply rooted in the community, and that is never more apparent than during these work days," she says.  

Scenic designer Jen Hitmar-Shankland shows Rafael and Karen Velez how to paint set pieces.

We've moved!move


No, we haven't moved into our new theatre space yet, but we have relocated into a new office space at 6516 Detroit Avenue, Suite 9, Cleveland, Ohio 44102. Even though we've moved, you can still reach us at our old office phone (216-961-9750), box office phone (216-961-6391) and fax (216-961-6381) numbers. The new space is located directly across the Arcade from the old office and previously housed the administrative staff for the Gordon Square Arts District, who have graciously relocated to smaller quarters to make room for our staff and volunteers.   


Stephanie Morrison-Hrbek clears out her desk in NWT's mostly emptied office at 6514 Detroit Ave. on Oct. 25.

"We're delighted that new and relocated businesses keep finding the Gordon Square Arts District attractive, and we're happy to make room for one," says Hans Holznagel, NWT's Chief Operating Officer. "In the meantime, our new space is attractive and comfortable." The move also prompted the staff to do some file weeding that will help when they make their final move into the theatre's brand new building.

NWT will also keep the two basement storage units where the theatre's archives are stored, which will be accessible from an inside basement hallway. The stairs in the old office will be sealed off before a new tenant moves in.

The move was final on October 25, 2012. Saying goodbye to the previous office was bittersweet. The space holds many memories since the NWT staff moved there from the United Office Building in December of 2005.

Carole Leiblinger-Hedderson supervises NWT's office move across the hall on Oct. 25. Entering behind her are Nick Baker and "Dollar" of Parma Movers. Photos by Hans Holznagel




Here are the thoughts of some of the theater world's most honored and respected actors, directors, designers, choreographers, composers and writers.  My hope is that this feature will offer inspiration to all the NWT family for living each day with radical expectation, eternal zest and joyous satisfaction.   - Bob Navis Jr, Artistic Director       


I am in the midst of a swirling vortex of actor and designer creativity, with Children of Eden set to open in a few weeks. At every rehearsal we walk the journey from void to form, nothingness to something-ness and separateness to joining. An astoundingly personal and powerful production is coming to life before our very eyes. And we are creating it...together. I give great personal thanks to all who are partnered with me in playfulness and humor, despite the enormity of the project and the deadlines that must be honored. This is truly becoming a piece of theatre that will shape our futures...as, through the act of artistic creation, we fall in love with each other, again and again, and with life itself.

My heart is bursting with pride,
Bob Navis Jr. 


"We all operate in two contrasting modes, which might be called open and closed. The open mode is more relaxed, more receptive, more exploratory, more democratic, more playful and more humorous. The closed mode is the tighter, more rigid, more hierarchical, more tunnel-visioned. Most people unfortunately spend most of their time in the closed mode. Not that the closed mode cannot be helpful. If you are leaping a ravine, the moment of takeoff is a bad time for considering alternative strategies. When you charge the enemy machine-gun post, don't waste energy trying to see the funny side of it. Do it in the 'closed' mode. But the moment the

action is over, try to return to the 'open' mode-to open your

John Cleese
Photo by: Garry Scott-Irvine

mind again to all the feedback from our action that enables us to  

tell whether the action has

been successful, or whether further action is need to improve on what we have done. In other words, we must return to the open mode, because in that mode we are the most aware, most receptive, most creative, and therefore at our most intelligent."    - John Cleese, Actor  


"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

Near West Theatre is an open and affirming organization.