An Interview with Monica Patton from The Book of Mormon (a guest post at PlayhouseSquare’s Behind the Curtain blog)

As I serve as Playhouse Square‘s Community Engagement and Education’s blogger, I’ll 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 final show in the 2014-2015 series is The Book of Mormon

Visit the Playhouse Square’s Behind the Curtain blog to read my interview with Monica Patton, an actress who plays Mrs. Brown as a  part of ensemble of the tour.

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The Book of Mormon plays in Cleveland August 25 – 30 at the State Theatre at Playhouse Square. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the Playhouse Square website.

Want to read my previous interviews? Check out:

All my gratitude again to the Playhouse Square team for this fantastic opportunity to serve as a Playhouse Square blog contributor for the Broadway Buzz program KeyBank Broadway Series. Stay tuned as I continue my “role” of Education Blogger with interviews during the 2015-2016 KeyBank Broadway Series!

Learn more about Playhouse Square: follow Playhouse Square on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare & on Instagram at @playhousesquare.

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Great Lakes Brewing Company’s Burning River Fest (+ #BRF15 GIVEAWAY)

Disclosure: Great Lakes Brewing Co. invited me to attend a private blogger tour of their facilities and to their Burning River Fest in return for advance promotions including a ticket giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

I may not drink all that much beer anymore (thanks, gluten), but a six pack of Great Lakes Brewing Co. brew is always in our fridge. It’s no question that Hans is a huge fan, like most Clevelanders. Personally, I still get a kick out of knowing a locally made offering has such a reputation for being a high quality product served in 14 states plus our nation’s capital.

I had the chance to get to know GLBC even better last night at their Burning River Fest Blogger Preview at their new Beer Symposium/Tasting Room in Ohio City.

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After a welcome beer and some delicious appetizers featuring GLBC’s new mustard collaboration with Bertman’s (HOLY YUM), we got to know their team a bit better. But we had no idea that we’d have an extra special guest joining us: Pat Conway, one of the co-founders of GLBC. As I shared on Instagram, Pat was incredibly passionate about all things Cleveland, but especially the environmental efforts since that little fire that happened on a certain river nearly 50 years ago. He filled us in on the Burning River Foundation, which “is dedicated to improving, maintaining and celebrating the vitality of our regional freshwater resources.” (from the fest’s website)  The Burning River Fest benefits the Foundation, which has provided more than $400,000 to local non-profit organizations. I had no idea of GLBC’s commitment to a “green” lifestyle, fully embracing the “reduce reuse recycle” mantra.

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 From left to right: Pat Conway talking with his hands (#mykindofguy); tanks on the tour; Adam our tour guide and my fellow bloggers

After our brewery tour lead by GLBC’s community events coordinator, Adam (who is probably the happiest brewery tour leader EVER — so adorable), my fellow bloggers were the very first to taste the brand new GLBC year round beer – Steady Rollin’, a session IPA. This citrus inspired beverage smelled amazing — the grapefruit smell is very apparent, which is going to be a huge hit with a certain red head I know. It’s ABV of 4.8% makes it an easy one to enjoy over and over… and even over again.

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If you’re interested in trying the new brew yourself, you can be among the first to do so at the 2015 Burning River Fest, taking place next weekend — August 28 & 29 – from 6-11 pm at the historic Coast Guard Station at Whiskey Island. This year’s features include:

…or enter to win my GIVEAWAY of two tickets to this event! Use the Rafflecopter to enter today:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until this Monday, August 24 at 11:59PM EST to enter. The winner will be announced the following morning. As this is a local event taking place in Cleveland on August 28 & 29, I highly encourage entries by those that can attend the event – or would like to win them for someone that can go! Many thanks to the GLBC team for making this #BRF15 giveaway possible!

Keep up with the Great Lakes Brewing Co. by visiting their website, greatlakesbrewing.com, and following them on FacebookTwitter and InstagramStay in the Burning River Fest know by checking out their website, burningriverfest.org, and following them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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Vindicated. (a @ToldCLE event)

After my yoga class this past Friday night, one of my students came up to me. At the end of my classes, I always say “let me know if you have any questions.” Expecting a yoga question, I was slightly thrown when she asked me “what did you think of ToldCLE?”  And in one of those rare moments of my life, I was speechless.

If you’re not familiar with ToldCLE, Told is a “live storytelling event in Cleveland, Ohio. At each live show, featured storytellers and audience members take the stage to tell a story around the evening’s theme.” (from their website, toldstories.com)

My previous ToldCLE event experience was via the Ohio Blogging Association gathering at Deagan’s Kitchen & Bar in April for our own private blogger event. My blogger gal pal coordinated that meet up with ToldCLE’s founder, Dave Sabol, in order for a fun evening where getting up in front of a room of familiar faces was no big deal.

But then a few months later, Dave reached out to me to see if I was interested in being one of the featured speakers at the August Told public event. I said “yes” before I had a chance to really think about what I just got myself into.

As extroverted as I am, it may be hard to believe that I get incredibly nervous about public speaking in formal settings. Even after years of performing as a child and after earning my Bachelor of Arts in Theatre, the stage fright that I developed upon my arrival at Baldwin-Wallace College still slightly lives with me and appears when a podium and microphone are in my future.

Dave would share that the theme of the evening would be “Vindicated” and encouraged all to consider moments of their lives when they either were vindicated — or when they were on the opposite side i.e. “I was wrong.”   I had to admit I struggled at first — I’m not one to shove it in someone’s face with a “ah ha, I’m right!”  I chewed and chewed on the theme trying to figure out the POV that would give me the inspiration to stand (terrified) in front of that crowd on August 12th at Market Garden Brewery.

ToldCLE Vindicated

And then it came to me: what if my tale was about the exact thing I was trying to overcome by participating in this event? My ToldCLE story of persevering my stage fright took shape quickly. Armed with witty antidotes, a few family and friends as audience members and a healthy amount of nerves, I was as ready as I was going to be.

Much like many things I fret over, my six minutes flew by as the very supportive Told audience smiled, laughed and even applauded as I triumphantly said that Told was giving me another opportunity to take a progression in overcoming my stage fright. And how glad am I that I did!

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The rest of the evening was filled with amazing, mostly hilarious, tales of vindication — a school teacher’s encounter with a student, a high schooler auditioning for the Lakewood Rangerettes, a higher education employee having the last laugh over her boss, and fellow feature speaker Jack Ricchiuto’s tale of that time he was robbed at gunpoint, leaving us all with my favorite quote of the night:

That evening, Dave shared that the September ToldCLE gathering would be crossing the Cuyahoga River to head east to Coventry for a FREE workshop and performance double header as they partner with Lake Erie Ink on Friday, September 18th. The free workshop at Lake Erie Ink headquarters will start at 6:30pm with a performance at 8pm at the B Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade. Save the date and be there, CLE!

LONG STORY SHORT: I finally found the words to answer my yoga student that Friday night — Told is incredibly special. We’re lucky to have Dave and friends coordinating such a unique opportunity for Clevelanders to develop the skills around and enjoy an art form like storytelling. This is a “must attend” event (in my opinion) and I highly encourage you check out a Told event soon — you may even find yourself behind the microphone sharing your own story.

Many thanks again to Dave & ToldCLE for this opportunity. Keep up-to-date by following @toldCLE on Twitter and visiting toldstories.com, and RSVP for the September 18th performance here.

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