An Interview with Michael Lanphear from PIPPIN (a guest post at PlayhouseSquare’s Behind the Curtain blog)

As I serve as PlayhouseSquare‘s Community Engagement and Education’s blogger department this year, I will take you behind the scenes of each KeyBank Broadway Series show and interview a member of the show’s cast, crew or creative team. The fourth show in the 2014-2015 series is PIPPIN The Musical

Visit the PlayhouseSquare’s Behind the Curtain blog to read my interview with Michael Lanphear, the show’s Acrobatic Coordinator.

Pippin the Musical

My next Broadway-inspired confession: The first time I saw Pippin (at my high school the year after I graduated), I walked out incredibly upset at the close of the show — I hated the ending! Which is mildly hilarious when I look back on the second time I saw it — a year after I graduated college, at Cain Park. And which is why I was so excited to see it again.

After attending this past Wednesday night’s performance, I say this production is a MUST SEE. The addition of the circus arts as a concept takes this musical to a new place, heightening audience members’ enjoyment from start to finish. The skill of the entire cast — the singers, dancers, circus performers — is top notch. Plus I was reminded just how much I love the score — such catchy songs embedded throughout!

…As for the ending? It makes a lot more sense at the age of 31 than it did at the age of 18… 

PIPPIN the Musical is in Cleveland February 3 – 15 at the Connor Palace Theatre at PlayhouseSquare. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the PlayhouseSquare website.

Many thanks yet again to the fantastic staff at PlayhouseSquare for including me as a PlayhouseSquare blog contributor for the Broadway Buzz program KeyBank Broadway Series. Next up:  Dirty Dancing…  

Want to read my previous interviews? Check out:

Learn more about PlayhouseSquare: follow PlayhouseSquare on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare, or on Instagram at @playhousesquare.

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Heinen’s Game Day Recipe (& GIVEAWAY): Pork Brats Chili

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Craving a brat before the big game, but don’t want to involve the grill? Get more than one football-watching favorite with this slow-cooker combo creation featuring ingredients from your local Heinen’s grocery store. 

pork brat chili ingredients collage

Pork Brats Chili
Serves approximately 6 or so hearty bowls

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 raw pork brats (regular or hot, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 (28 ounce) can of petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 (15 ounce) can dark red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 heaping cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds removed and minced (optional, depending on your spice preference)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 tablespoon of sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • your choice of chili fixings (see note below)

METHOD

  • Turn your slow cooker on to high.
  • Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker, starting with the brats*. Do your best to equally distribute everything.
  • Put the lid on the slow cooker and leave it be for four to six hours. Don’t lift the lid!
  • When ready (when the brats are cooked through), give the mix a good stir, and scoop desired servings into bowls, grabbing a brat from the bottom for each serving.
  • Serve with your favorite chili fixings: rice, pasta, corn chips, sour cream, Greek yogurt, cheddar cheese, Oyster crackers, hot sauce, black olives, chives, etc.  You can also even serve the brats on hoagie rolls and top with your accompanying chili mix as you cheer on your favorite team!

*ALTERNATIVE METHOD: Instead of cooking the brats whole, you can de-case the brats as you place them in the slow cooker, breaking it up into more of a “ground pork” consistency. 

pork brat chili

So in prep of the big game, why not head over to Heinen’s? I’ll make it even sweeter — how about going with a $50 gift card in your pocket? Enter to win at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until Tuesday, January 27th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning.

Remember to stay in touch with Heinen’s via their social media feeds: on Facebook, on Twitter at @heinens and on Instagram at @heinens.

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this recipe and running a giveaway for a gift card for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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sights and sounds {new year’s edition}

I realized I forgot to share one last resolution on Thursday: I’d love to get in some regular “day in the life” blogging again. Little bit of structure, run-of-the-mill, top-of-my-head ramblings. Maybe even kick around a few vlogs from time to time — we’ll see where 2015 takes us…

Like 99% of us, the end of the holidays means the beginning of a return-to-normal dietary regimen, which I happily have already been embracing with green smoothies since Christmas. But knowing a dinner at one Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants was on the calendar for the first weekend of the new year, I left room for one more splurge at Pier W this past Saturday night.

pier w full collage

A sampling of the food served ordered that night — I’m on a salmon kick at the moment, forgive me.

I do love dining with a group of close friends you know so well — the conversation is lively (℅ a few random Cards Against Humanity cards) and they are down for sharing the infamous Pier W seafood tower. Check one off the bucket list! Our server Erin was phenomenal, the food was spot-on across the board and the complimentary champagne (& flutes to take home) in celebration of the restaurant’s 50th anniversary was the perfect surprise! Now when can we go back for happy hour…

Speaking of those smoothies, an orange a day keeps the doctor away:

smoothie

I’ve been keeping my annual & dreaded beginning-of-the-year cold at bay with a combo of vanilla almond milk, protein powder, greens (either kale or spinach), frozen berries and one orange. The burst of vitamin C is working!

As for the current yoga playlist selections to adore: I just stumbled upon James Vincent McMorrow and I must say I’m in love with the soul coming out from his music — or just the fact that there’s a flamingo on one of his album covers.

You also have got to check out his Higher Love cover. It’s my new favorite tune to start out class as we get grounded and moving.

As for something more lively, I’m still grooving to this mashup:

Two of my favorite songs from last year, all in one fab track. The Evolution Yoga yogis had a blast flowing to this during my Christmas morning Holiday Sweet Heat Flow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since then! Our Christmas tree came down town — I must admit I miss the twinkle lights in our family room.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m very content it’s January. Based on the conversations I’ve had with my yoga students, friends and family, it seems like most of us are ready for some routine and normalcy again — all while figuring out what changes await us in the new year. I’m processing the process myself, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding that sweet spot in a new situation. Here’s hoping the balance comes to us all sooner rather than later!

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