Author Archives: Holly

This cast photo is a true testament to the brilliance of Michael Thomas' staging and Aaron Nicolas' lighting.

10 Reasons to Support the Arts this Year

The pandemic has taken a toll on arts organizations and performers around the world. Content has gone online, which is great to continue valuable missions, but not so great when most organizations utilize over 60% of ticket revenue for operating budgets and performers have lost their salaries.

As stated in ArtsBlog from Americans for the Arts, “The arts are fundamental to our humanity. They ennoble and inspire us—fostering creativity, goodness, and beauty. The arts bring us joy, help us express our values, and build bridges between cultures. The arts also are a fundamental component of a healthy community—strengthening them socially, educationally, and economically—benefits that persist even in difficult social and economic times.”

In 2020, please consider supporting the arts as much as you can. And, if you need a reason why, here are 10 of them.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Demolition of the Rainbow Mortgage Building

In our last blog, October 2019 was noted as an intense month for the Renaissance – tons of events and productions. One event… a monumental event…will never be forgotten – the demolition of the Rainbow Mortgage building.


This once majestic building was taken down on October 30, 2019 to a crowd of Renaissance Performing Arts and Little Buckeye Children’s Museum supporters in camaraderie for the future of The Imagination District.

The Imagination District is the brainchild of Mike Miller, CEO of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association, and Fred Boll, Executive Director of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum. The collaboration of the two organizations will create the area known as The Imagination District. In September 2018, The Renaissance opened the Black Box Theatre (Theatre 166.) This venue is located directly next to the future home of Little Buckeye Children’s Museum on Park Avenue. The future is bright for this alliance – one of the many plans for Theatre 166 is to hold educational activities and performances specific to children from the museum.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: The Last Five Years

October 2019 at the Renaissance was intense. We had the very popular Sweeney Todd, the Mayoral Debate, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra’s “Family Pops,” and the Family Film: The Nightmare Before Christmas. Rounding it all out was the intensely personal and intimate production, The Last Five Years, in Theatre 166.


For those who may not know The Last Five Years, this musical has only two cast members: Cathy (portrayed by Matti-Lynn Chrisman) telling her story backward while Jamie (portrayed by Ryan Shreve) tells his story chronologically. These two 20-something New Yorkers fall in and out of love over the course of five years, and the characters only meet once throughout the musical (at their wedding in the middle of the show.) This emotionally powerful and intimate musical was a great triumph for both actors, as well as for Director Ryan Shealy.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street was our first production of the season in Theatre 166, and it sure brought the house down! The initial showings were so popular that we had to add extra to accommodate the many people who desperately wanted to see it!


This production was an amazing vision from Artistic Director, Michael Thomas. And, it ended up being one of the most photogenic of the year’s productions.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Bohemian Souls

The Mansfield Symphony Orchestra is a very important part of the Renaissance Performing Arts Association. Founded in 1930, the Mansfield Symphony is deeply rooted in our community. It was the merging of the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra with the Renaissance Theatre in 1997 that created the association we have today – Renaissance Performing Arts.

Each season, the Mansfield Symphony Orchestra holds six concerts. Three concerts are called “Masterworks” which highlight famous and classic symphonic repertoire, and three concerts are called “Pops” which honors more popular compositions.


The first concert in the 2019-20 Season was titled “Bohemian Souls” for the compositions performed on the concert – Missy Mazzoli’s Sinfonia (for orbiting spheres), the beautiful Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto with Spanish virtuoso, Francisco Fullanaand Dvořák’s Symphony No. 8, which was composed in honor of his election into the Bohemian Academy of Science, Literature and Arts.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Honoring Joe Diffie

This third installment of our blog series, “Pictures Say A 1,000 Words,” is diverting from its course of highlighting the 2019-20 Season at the Renaissance.


This past weekend, country music legend, Joe Diffie passed away from COVID-19. The Renaissance was fortunate enough to have him grace our stage just a season ago. As was his trademark style, the show had the theatre rockin’ and near a thousand of his fans had the time of their lives. The following photographs are a way to pay our respects to this extraordinary artist.

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Frozen Jr.

The second “Pictures Say A 1,000 Words” blog is about our wildly popular show, Disney’s Frozen Jr. This production is from the MY Theatre troupe.


For those who may not have heard of MY Theatre before, it has a wonderful back story. The youth group is led by Director Dauphne Maloney, who started it in 2006 with the first production in a church. In 2013, she brought the group to the Renaissance and began a lasting collaboration. MY Theatre is open to students ages 5-18 and its mission is to support students in gaining theatre experience in a nurturing environment, as part of a large production.

Frozen Jr. set records for MY Theatre attendance. Just take a peek at the Jeff Sprang Photography photos of the production and you will see why!

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Pictures Say A 1,000 Words: Matilda

The Renaissance first opened in 1928. It has seen the Great Depression of 1929, the Great Recession of 2008, and It weathered the storm of becoming an X-rated movie house in 1979 resulting in closure due to public outcry.

The Renaissance Theatre originally open as the Ohio Theatre.

The Renaissance Theatre originally opened as the Ohio Theatre.

The Renaissance (like ALL not-for-profit performing arts organizations) is now facing its greatest challenge in the history of its existence with COVID-19. Over 60% of our operational budget comes from ticket revenue, and with doors closed we are currently at zero. However, all of us here at the Renaissance have hope. We have hope that soon this pandemic will be under control and our doors will once again be open to provide our community first-rate performances. No matter what genre of the performing arts you love, we have it – Broadway, Symphony, Country through Rock, Comedy –  we will bring it back to you!!

This blog is the first of many called “Pictures Say A 1,000 Words.” We are releasing these twice a week with pictures from this season’s performances with hope they will remind you of the wonderful experiences of the past, and hope for more in the near future.

First up is our 2019 summer musical, Roald Dahl’s Matilda. We can’t thank Jeff Sprang of Jeff Sprang Photography enough for these pictures, and all of the photography from our shows!

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Message from our President

In accordance with Governor Mike Dewine’s March 12th Executive Order, we have postponed the following events and are working to reschedule:

  • Rock of Ages, March 14th and 15th

  • Mansfield Symphony Orchestra “Mash-Up” concert on March 21st

  • Mansfield Symphony Youth Strings “Spring Concert” on March 22nd

  • Neos’ Carmina Burana on March 28th

  • Daniel Tiger Live! April 2nd

Information on the rescheduled dates for these performances will be distributed as soon as it becomes available. We are cognizant of the impact that cancelling or postponing an event has on our patrons, particularly those who may not be able to attend a rescheduled event. With this in mind,  patrons who have purchased tickets to a cancelled or postponed event will be contacted directly by a member of our Box Office staff to discuss their options.

As a not-for-profit organization, we rely heavily on ticket revenue to support over 60% of our operationsso we do not take the decision to cancel or postpone performances lightly. There is no doubt that the cancellation of this month’s performances will put a significant financial strain on the Renaissance. In addition, as a professional producer, orchestra, and venue, the effect of changing our schedule is far-reaching: the cancellation of just the two weekends listed above represents the loss of a paycheck for 89 performing artists. 

“Creativity takes courage,” Matisse said. These are challenging times for all of us. In the midst of it, we see the opportunity to come together (but at a safe distance!) and show the true power of the arts, and we’ll be doing just that in the coming days. Stay tuned to our social media pages for this exclusive content.

Despite the challenges presented by the current pandemic, providing a safe environment for our patrons, performers, volunteers, and staff is always a top priority for the Renaissance – even more so today. We remain committed to upholding the highest standards in every arena and grounded in our mission to provide the enduring power of arts entertainment and education to our community.  Like so many others, we are taking this unprecedented situation one day at a time, so it is our hope that no further cancellations will need to occur, and that “the show will go on” sooner rather than later! 

Thank you for your support, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Chelsie Thompson, President, Renaissance Performing Arts