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Ninth Annual AMETEK Tree City 5K for United Way of Portage County Set for July 7

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The annual AMETEK Tree City 5K benefiting the United Way
of Portage County will take place on Saturday, July 7. Kent
State is a sponsor of this year's event.

The ninth annual AMETEK Tree City 5K benefiting the United Way of Portage County will take place on Saturday, July 7. The race, which is part of the annual Kent Heritage Festival, raises funds for more than 40 health and human service programs in the community. Kent State University is one of several sponsors of this year’s race.

“The Tree City 5K continues to grow in popularity every year, attracting top runners throughout the country,” says Steve Kleiber, president and CEO of the United Way of Portage County. “Funds raised during the event transform lives in the community and help make Portage County a better and healthier place to live and work.”

The Tree City 5K race goes along a scenic, point-to-point course that begins at the Kent State University Dix Stadium, runs through the Kent Campus and ends in the city of Kent.

Runners can pre-register for the race online until June 29 by visiting Interested participants can also register in person on July 5 from 5-7 p.m. at 157 Lounge, 157 Water St., in downtown Kent, or on July 6 from 4-8 p.m. at the Kent Dairy Queen, 1443 South Water St. Pre-registration both online and in person costs $20. Runners can also register on the day of the race for $25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Kent Dairy Queen or from 6-6:45 p.m. at race check-in.

Check-in on race day will take place from 6-6:45 p.m. at Dix Stadium. The race will begin at 7 p.m., and the race course will close at 8 p.m. Awards will be given to the top three male and female runners overall, and prizes will be given for runners in different age groups.

An after party, sponsored by Yuengling Light, will take place at the 157 Lounge in downtown Kent.

For more information about the race, including parking and shuttle information, the full schedule of events, the course map and more, please visit

For more information about the United Way of Portage County, please visit

Posted June 18, 2012

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School of Music and The Cleveland Orchestra Partner for 45th Annual Kent/Blossom Music Festival

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Pianist Spencer Myer instructs a student quartet during t
he 2011 Kent/Blossom Music Festival.

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival is an advanced training institute operated by Kent State University in cooperation with The Cleveland Orchestra and Blossom Music Center. This summer intensive program presents public performances by distinguished artist faculty and talented young musicians. The festival is under the direction of Kent State faculty members and esteemed musicians Danna Sundet (oboe) and Keith Robinson (cello).

Celebrating its 45th year, this program, which has developed an international reputation, began in the hands of legendary figures George Szell, Aaron Copland, Louis Lane, William Steinberg, Rudolph Firkusny, Rafael Druian, Lynn Harrell, Maurice Sharp, John Mack, Robert Marcellus, Myron Bloom, and many others of equal reputation.

The program primarily draws college-age students who are eager to work with the highly-revered faculty made up of current members of The Cleveland Orchestra, faculty members from Kent State’s Hugh A. Glauser School of Music and other acclaimed musicians. This year, nearly 150 audition tapes were submitted for the 43 available slots. These young artists travel from around the globe to participate in the yearly summer tradition to celebrate and perform great chamber music. Students develop professional skills through personal study and classes with visiting master artists, members of The Cleveland Orchestra and Kent State faculty. A focus on major works of the chamber music repertoire is augmented by studies in orchestral repertoire and techniques and solo master classes. Participants also attend open rehearsals and concerts of The Cleveland Orchestra.

“We have students traveling from as far as Taiwan and Japan, but also boast some of Northeast Ohio’s best student musicians from the Cleveland Institute of Music, Oberlin and Kent State’s School of Music,” says co-director Sundet.

The festival culminates with the “side by side” concert where the students perform at the Blossom Music Center with The Cleveland Orchestra. This year, the concert takes place on July 28 at 8 p.m. A pre-concert at 7 p.m. features the Kent Blossom Chamber Orchestra and will be led by James Feddeck. For tickets to this concert, visit

The public is invited to enjoy free concerts presented by the various student ensembles known as the Chamber Players’ Concerts. These concerts provide the students an opportunity to perform in front of a live audience, and take place in Ludwig Recital Hall in the Music and Speech Building on 1325 Theatre Dr., on the Kent Campus. The Chamber Players’ concerts are free and open to the public.

Series I
Friday, July 6, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 7, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 8, 2:30 p.m.

Series II
Friday, July 20, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, July 21, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 22, 2:30 p.m.
Sunday, July 22, 7:30 p.m.

The Kent/Blossom Music Festival also highlights its esteemed faculty members by offering a professional concert series known as the Faculty Concert Series, which includes five concerts, from June 27 to July 25, and features performances by high-profile musicians from The Cleveland Orchestra and faculty from the Kent State University Hugh A. Glauser School of Music. Almost all of the performers in the Faculty Concert Series serve as faculty for the 43 students attending the summer chamber music intensive.

All Faculty concerts take place in the Ludwig Recital Hall on the Kent Campus. Parking is free. General seating tickets are now available online. New this year are the five-concert and three-concert season subscriptions, which are currently available online at Special introductory pricing is $40 for the five-concert series (that is a $7 per ticket discount) and $33 (a $4 per ticket discount) for the three-concert series. Single tickets are also available online or at the door for $15 for adults, and $5 for students under 18 or with a valid college ID. Visa, MasterCard or Discover are accepted both online and at the door.

The following is the 2012 Faculty Series program schedule:

Wednesday, June 27
Magical Mozart!
Miami String Quartet with Jerry Wong performing Mozart Duo in B flat, Mozart String Quartet in G major and Mozart Piano Quartet in G minor

Monday, July 2
Passion, Personality and Energy!
Miami String Quartet with Jerry Wong performing Joan Tower “Incandescent,” Mendelssohn Quartet in F minor and Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor

Wednesday, July 11
Romance and Rhapsodies
The Cleveland Orchestra Piano Trio and Friends:
Peter Otto, Richard Weiss, Joela Jones, Stan Konopka and Danna Sundet performing, Clara Schumann: Three Romances, Loeffler Two Rhapsodies and Brahms B Major Piano Trio

Wednesday, July 18
Luscious Evening of Music
Cellist Mark Kosower with Pianist Jee-Won Oh performing Berteau Sonata in G major, Beethoven Sonata in D major, Cassado Suite for Solo Cello and Brahms Sonata in F major

Wednesday, July 25
The Winds of the Cleveland Orchestra
Marisela Sager, Jeffrey Rathbun, Daniel McKelway, Barrick Stees and
Richard King performing works by Rathbun: Phases for Woodwind Quintet, Dring: Trio and locally acclaimed composer Griebling-Haigh.

For more information, visit or call 330-672-2613.

Posted June 18, 2012

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Panelists Announced for Live Presentation of NPR’s Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me!

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A live presentation of award-winning news quiz show
Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! will take place on June 28 in

Panelists have been announced for a live presentation of NPR’s Peabody Award-winning Wait Wait... Don’t Tell Me! on Thursday, June 28, at 7:30 p.m. in the State Theatre at Cleveland’s PlayhouseSquare.

The popular, fast-paced news quiz challenges panelists and listeners with a series of games based on current events. Host Peter Sagal and official judge and scorekeeper Carl Kasell, will be joined on stage by Alonzo Bodden, Kyrie O’Connor and Mo Rocca. Along with competing for points, the panel’s role is to assist in making light of the week’s news. Favorite segments include, Who’s Carl This Time?, The Limerick Challenge, Not My Job, and the final panelist lightening round.

Tickets are now on sale through the PlayhouseSquare box office. For tickets, call 216-241-6000 or 866-546-1353, or go online at

The live show in Cleveland is co-hosted by 89.7 WKSU and 90.3 WCPN ideastream. The event will be taped and edited for broadcast on NPR stations nationwide the weekend of June 30 and July 1. WKSU airs the program Saturdays at 11 a.m., and it is heard on 90.3 WCPN at 2 p.m. on Sundays.

Now in its 14th season, Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! uses headline stories from across the country and around the world as the fodder for questions for an hour of laughter. At home listeners compete as well – anxious to earn the coveted prize of Kasell’s voice on their home answering machine or voicemail. Special treats and games keep the theatre audience laughing as well.

Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is a co-production of NPR and WBEZ-Chicago. With a weekly national audience of 3.2 million people, the show ranks second to only Car Talk on a list of NPR’s most highly rated weekend programming. This is the second time Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! will be live in Northeast Ohio. WKSU presented the program at the Akron Civic Theatre in 2003.

ideastream is a public service, multiple-media organization with a mission to strengthen our communities by providing distinctive, thought-provoking programs and services that enlighten, inspire, educate and entertain.

For more information about WKSU, visit

Panelist Bios:
Alonzo Bodden is an international headliner, having performed comedy shows for audiences worldwide. Since winning season three of Last Comic Standing, Bodden has quickly made a name for himself. He hosted numerous shows on the Speed and Travel Channels - including 101 Cars You Must Drive and America’s Worst Drivers - and produced a one-hour comedy special for Showtime, Who’s Paying Attention? He can also be seen as a host of the new ITV show Inside the Vault. He is single, likes jazz and, of course, long walks on the beach (as long as that doesn’t mean getting in the water). Find a link to his Who’s Paying Attention? podcast at

Kyrie O’Connor is deputy managing editor/features at the Houston Chronicle and writer of the daily blog MeMo on the Houston Chronicle website. Before becoming a Texan by choice in 2003, she was assistant managing editor/features at The Hartford Courant in Connecticut. Her articles and book reviews have appeared in newspapers nationwide, and in Commonweal magazine. She devotes her time to tending an epileptic 120-lb. chocolate Lab, supporting a bad soy latte jones and downloading transgressive ringtones onto her celly. She is aesthetically, but not morally opposed to the inside-out Reese‘s peanut butter cup.

Mo Rocca is a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning with Charles Osgood and the host of The Tomorrow Show with Mo Rocca on He has appeared on almost every cable network, including Telemundo, where he wowed audiences in a small, but pivotal role in the hit telenovela Amor Descarado. He appeared on Broadway in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. His book, All The Presidents’ Pets, blows the lid off the White House’s deepest, darkest secrets.

Posted June 18, 2012

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Porthouse Theatre Kicks Off 2012 Season with a Grand Slam of a Musical – “Damn Yankees”

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Porthouse Theatre kicks off its 2012 season with the musical
comedy “Damn Yankees.”

Porthouse Theatre, the outdoor, professional summer stock theatre located on the grounds of Blossom Music Center, kicks off its 2012 season with “Damn Yankees” on June 19-23 and 26-30 at 8 p.m. and June 24 at 2 p.m. For tickets, call 330-672-3884 or visit

“Damn Yankees” is the perfect musical comedy that both theatre and sports enthusiasts will love. The story centers around real estate agent Joe Boyd, who, one night, is up late grumbling that if his favorite team, the Washington Senators, just had a “long-ball hitter” they could beat the “damn Yankees.” Enter sleek car salesman Applegate, who is really the devil ready to wheel and deal with Joe Boyd’s soul. With some pursuasion, Applegate wins and Joe Boyd becomes the newly discovered baseball prodigy Joe Hardy. Suddenly, fans have the slugger they need to win the pennant, and baseball season is starting to look up.

Winner of seven Tony Awards including Best Musical, “Damn Yankees” is set in Washington, D.C., during the 1950s – a time when the New York Yankees dominated baseball. With words and music by Richard Adler and Jerry Ross, and a book by George Abbott and Douglass Wallop, “Damn Yankees” features songs such as “Heart,” “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Shoeless Joe From Hannibal Mo.”

“This show is like an Indians game I remember in the late ’90s with Jose Mesa on the mound with a full count, two outs and bases loaded – audiences won’t know what hit ‘em,” says Terri Kent, director. “I am so thrilled to be directing ‘Damn Yankees’ because it is just such a fun show.”

“Damn Yankees” is directed by Kent, the theatre’s well-known artistic director, whose work at Porthouse includes “Chicago,” “Bye Bye Birdie,” “The Music Man,” “Dames at Sea,” “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Oklahoma!,” just to name a few. Most recently, Kent directed “A Chorus Line” at Kent State University and “Quilters” at Weathervane Theatre in Akron. Last year at Porthouse, audiences were treated to Kent returning to the stage as Dolly Levi in the ever-popular “Hello, Dolly!” Kent, who is a full professor, also serves as the coordinator of the musical theatre program for the School of Theatre and Dance at Kent State.

Kent teams up with Music Director Jonathan Swoboda, who often serves as a featured keyboard artist for Mannheim Steamroller. Swoboda has served as music director for more than 75 theatres and touring companies. He also served as resident music director at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in California. He is currently on faculty at Kent State’s School of Theatre and Dance.

Choreography for “Damn Yankees” is by John R. Crawford, who has been involved with Porthouse since 1993. “My choreography for this show, while original, is inspired by both the original Fosse choreography and the 1994 revival’s choreography by Rob Marshall,” Crawford says. Other Porthouse shows he has choreographed include “The Music Man,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Oklahoma!” and “Hello, Dolly!” He has choreographed professionally for Porthouse Theatre, the Northeast Ohio Dance Ensemble and Dance & Company in Virginia. Crawford performed professionally as a dancer and actor with the Richmond Ballet, VCU Dance Company, Kings Productions, Busch Entertainment Corporation, Ann Vachon/Dance Conduit, Porthouse Theatre and the Leaven Dance Company. Crawford serves as the dean of Kent State’s College of the Arts, which encompasses the schools of Art, Music, Fashion, Theatre and Dance and the Kent State University Museum.

The production team is rounded out with scenic design by local designer Ben Needham. Lighting Designers Cynthia Stillings, who serves as the producing director of Porthouse, and Jakyung Seo, faculty member at Kent State, will co-design. Sound design is by Brian Chismar, a recent Kent State graduate of the School of Theatre and Dance theatre technology program. Costume design is by Janine Evans, who joins Porthouse Theatre from Milliken University in Illinois.

The cast includes five actors belonging to the Actors’ Equity Association* as well as 18 actors as part of the ensemble and cast.

MaryAnn Black* of Copley stars as the seductress Lola. Black is a familiar talent at Porthouse, having starred in such shows as “Chicago,” “Dames at Sea,” “The Music Man,” “Sweet Charity,” “Guys and Dolls” and “Oklahoma!” She toured with the Broadway touring company of “A Chorus Line.” Her television credits include regular appearances on “Three’s Company,” her own ABC sitcom “Sugartime” and several Jane Fonda workout videos.

Marc Moritz*of Cleveland Heights as Joe Boyd. Moritz originated the role of Talk Show Host in the Broadway production of the Stephen Sondheim/Hal Prince musical, “Merrily We Roll Along.” He is the founder of Giant Portions Improv Company and has performed and taught at Second City. He most recently appeared as Al Lewis in “The Sunshine Boys” at Porthouse Theatre.

Mary Anne Prevost* of Cuyahoga Falls as Meg Boyd. Prevost last performed at Porthouse in 1980 in the role of Kid in “The Roar of the Greasepaint.” She has performed Off-Broadway with the New York Gilbert and Sullivan Players, with Joe Namath in “Bells Are Ringing” and as a back-up singer with country legend Eddy Arnold. TV and film credits include “Duplicity,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent” and the Season 2 promo for “True Blood.”

Rohn Thomas* of Kent as Coach Benny Van Buren. Thomas was most recently seen as Merchant in the Great Lakes production of “The Taming of the Shrew.” He also appeared in “The Ides of March” with George Clooney and Ryan Gosling. Other film and television credits include “The Shawshank Redemption,” “Welcome to Collinwood,” “The Mothman Prophecies,” “The West Wing,” “Sudden Death,” “Telling Lies in America” and many others.

Eric van Baars* of Cuyahoga Falls as the devilish Applegate. Van Baars is well-known to Porthouse audiences having starred as “The Music Man,” Felix in “The Odd Couple,” Herod in “Jesus Christ Superstar,” Will Parker in “Oklahoma!” and so many more. Van Baars also has appeared at Radio City Music Hall, Great Lakes Theater Festival, Walnut Street Theatre, St. Louis Repertory Playhouse and Beck Center for the Arts.

Porthouse Theatre features free parking and allows patrons to bring in picnics (including alcohol) to its grounds to enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, for which the theatre grounds abut. A covered picnic pavilion is available for reservation at $2 per person or free for subscribers and is based on availability. There is also a concession stand of light snacks and beverages. Many picnic tables are available for everyone’s enjoyment at no cost.

Porthouse Theatre is located on the grounds of Blossom Music Center at 1145 W. Steels Corners Road. Tickets are available by calling 330-672-2497 or 330-672-3884, Monday through Friday, from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by visiting to purchase online. Subscriptions are currently on sale and range for adults from $63 to $90 and for seniors from $54 to $90 for the three-show package. Student pricing is available as well, and group tickets are available for groups of 20 or more.

Single tickets range from $25 to $33 for adults and seniors, and $17 to $20 for students. The box office is located on the Kent State campus in the Music and Speech Center on the corner of East Main Street and Horning Drive in Kent.

The box office accepts personal checks, Visa, MasterCard and Discover. Special rates for groups of 20 or more are available, as are student rates. Call 330-672-3884 or visit for details.

The rest of the Porthouse season includes “The World Goes ‘Round,” a cabaret of Kander and Ebb songs from such shows as “Chicago,” “Cabaret” and “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and runs July 5-21.

The season closes with the beloved musical “The Sound of Music” by Rodgers and Hammerstein, running July 26-Aug. 12.

Posted June 18, 2012

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