Spotlight on Education

Playhouse Square is now taking reservations for our 2017-2018 Spotlight on Education program featuring Rent, now celebrating its 20th Anniversary.

What is Spotlight on Education?

Spotlight on Education is a program designed for middle and high school classrooms to experience Broadway shows through an educational lens. For select shows in our KeyBank Broadway Series, we offer added-value opportunities that meet state curriculum standards, including two in-classroom workshops conducted by certified teaching artists and discounted tickets to the selected Spotlight on Education show.

"My absolute favorite aspect was the seamlessness of our students' experiences. The whole was even greater than any of the parts. Students read and discussed the book, participated in the workshops, and attended that amazing, mesmerizing production."


- Melanie Wightman
Director of Teaching and Learning, Fairview Park Schools


This season's featured show:

March 6 - March 25, 2018
part of the KeyBank Broadway Series

In 1996, an original rock musical by a little-known composer opened on Broadway… and forever changed the landscape of American theatre. Two decades later, Jonathan Larson’s RENT continues to speak loudly and defiantly to audiences across generations and all over the world. And now, this Pulitzer Prize and Tony® Award-winning masterpiece returns to the stage in a vibrant 20th anniversary touring production. A re-imagining of Puccini's La BohèmeRent follows an unforgettable year in the lives of seven artists struggling to follow their dreams without selling out. With its inspiring message of joy and hope in the face of fear, this timeless celebration of friendship and creativity reminds us to measure our lives with the only thing that truly matters – love.

In addition to discounted tickets to Rent, we will work with you to schedule two in-classroom workshops to complete your performing arts experience. Our certified teaching artists will visit your classroom prior to and after your performance to conduct exercises to further enhance your curriculum. Packages start at $45 per student and include pre and post-show workshops and ticket to RENT.

Meet Your Teaching Artists:


Johnathon L. Jackson

Johnathon L. Jackson is a father to two beautiful boys, Isaiah and Harlem, and husband to Imani. He is a very accomplished content creator across many platforms. He has appeared in films like Captain America: The Winter Soldier and A Father's Love, an official selection in film festivals domestically and internationally. He is also the writer and director of plays published and produced in Cleveland and another in Washington DC's National Black Theater Arts Festival, Crying Out For You and the Night In Question respectfully. As an educator, he has been teaching in some capacity for the last ten years. Starting at Kaiser Permanente as a student teacher through their theater arts program. He has spent the latter part of those ten years as a theater teacher at Cleveland School of the Arts.


Melissa Therese Crum

Melissa is Cleveland based performer, director, writer and educator. Crum currently holds a position as a Staff Teaching Artist with Playhouse Square and is passionate about arts education and its role within our growing community. Recently Crum served as Education Associate at Dobama Theatre, and has been a Teaching Artist with Cleveland Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater, The Musical Theatre Project, and Cleveland Public Theatre’s Brick City Program. Melissa recently received the Nord Family Foundation Playwright Fellowship through Cleveland Public Theatre, where she and co-creator Caitlin Lewins will develop an original musical, Everything Is Okay, (And Other Helpful Lies). Melissa studied Directing Devised Theatre and Theatre Creation under the tutelage of Raymond Bobgan, and holds a BA in Theatre Arts from Cleveland State University. 

Your Questions, Answered:

Why should I choose a Spotlight on Education experience for my classroom?

What is included in the experience?

Spotlight on Education program includes a study guide, pre-show workshop, ticket to the show and a post-show workshop. Workshops are held onsite at the school and led by Playhouse Square certified teaching artists. 


Does the Spotlight on Education program achieve Common Core State Standards?

Yes. Spotlight on Education program is designed to meet Common Core State Standards. The 2017-2018 KeyBank Broadway Series selection, RENT, meets the following standards: 

  • Drama/ Theatre Grades 9-12
    2012 Achievement Levels I-III for Responding and Reflecting:
    Level I: 1RE, 2RE, 4RE, 5RE
    Level II: 1RE, 2RE, 4RE
    Level III: 2RE, 3RE, 4RE, 6RE
  • English Language Arts Grades 9-12
    2012 Achievement Levels for Speaking and Listening and Reading Literature:
    SL 1a, 1b, 1c, 1d
    RL 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 
  • Music Grades 9-12
    2012 Achievement Levels I-III for Creating (CE), Producing and Performing (PR), and Responding and Reflecting (RE):
    Level II: 3CE, 8CE, 4PR
    Level III: 2RE, 3RE

When are pre- and post-show workshops available?

Pre-show workshops can be scheduled from February 26 through March 16, 2018. Post-show workshops can be scheduled April 9-27, 2018. You will be able to request three date and time options for each workshop, and we will work with you to confirm your date. Workshops will be scheduled on a first-come, first-serve basis once your 20% deposit is received.

How do the workshops fit into the school day?

Workshops are used to enhance the student’s learning experience. Therefore, workshops are placed in accordance to the teacher’s bell schedule. On average, a maximum of six workshops are held with breaks placed intermittently for the teaching artists. 

What space is needed for this program?

Workshops can take place wherever a maximum of 30 students can move around freely (classroom, stage, multipurpose room, etc.). Workshops should be conducted in the same room throughout the day to assure workshops start on time. 

What is the recommended class size for this program?

Workshops are designed to accommodate a maximum of 30 students. Larger classes are subject to additional fees.

How do I pay for this program?

A 20% non-refundable deposit is required at the time of booking. Final payment is due the first day of the pre-show workshop.

Schools are responsible for acquiring funding for Spotlight on Education program. Schools in the past have looked to education foundations such as Martha Holden Jennings Foundation and used community resources such as Rotary, Kiwanis, community foundations, etc. to assist in funding this program. 

To schedule your class, or for questions:

Call Beth Baker directly at 216-640-8604 or fill out the contact form below.