Thursday, February 20, 2014


Cleveland Play House
February 14-March 9, 2014
216-241-6000 or go to

Bob Abelman

Like so many biographical dramas, Daniel Beaty’s “Breath and Imagination” attempts to truncate a remarkable life into a 90-minute one-act play.  By doing so, it veers toward the melodramatic and leaves only an indelible impression in lieu of a complete and robust story.  But, my, what a life and what an impression!

To see a full review of this show, read Bob Abelman's article here.

Roy Berko 

"BREATH AND IMAGINATION" is an ideal offering for Black History month.  It exposes the audience to an African-American who deserves recognition, spotlights the horrors of racism, highlights musical sounds not commonly seen on theatrical stages, while illustrating a script developmental scheme that allows for history to be portrayed in a non-traditional mode.   This is a show well worth seeing!

To see a full review of this show, read Roy Berko's blog here.

Howard Gollop

"Breath and Imagination," ably directed by May Adrales, is so intrinsically theatrical, one might think it would be too intellectual and abstract at first. Yet Beaty's play is flowing and embracing. It's accessible like one of those early-color MGM musical bios, but far more educational.  An integral facet of American classical music almost forgotten is at last well remembered.

Mr. Gollap's on-line reviews are only available to subscribers of the Chronicle-Telegram

Mark Horning
“Breath and Imagination” combines great theater, song, dance and acting into a strong moral tale concerning the evils of segregation and the Jim Crow Laws of the not too distant South.  It is a show that all races should share together and learn from.  Elijah Wood channels the soul of Roland Hayes in this not to be missed production.
To see a full review of this show, read Mark Horning's blog.

Andrea Simakis

In one of his final numbers, [Elijah] Rock [as Roland Hayes] delivers a spiritual with tears streaming down his cheeks, and the words of Hayes mother echo in that performance.  That alone is enough to make this critic stand, clap her hands and say, "Amen."

To see a full review of this show, read Andrea Simakis' blog or visit here.

Art Thomas

This is a showpiece for three remarkable performers, and The Play House has them in gifted musicians who give a glimpse into the life of the largely unknown Roland Hayes. The concert singer achieved fame in the 1930's but his family were victims of the Jim Crow laws of then racist Georgia.  

Click here to read the complete review at WestLife