Dinner and a show in emerging Lakewood

By Daryl Rowland
Special to the Beacon Journal

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Rebecca Pitcher in a scene at the Beck Center for the Arts production of She Loves Me, that runs through October 20, 2013 on the Mackey Main Stage. (Kathy Sandham)

lakewood: If you’re in the market for dinner and a show, this neighborhood just west of Cleveland offers a charming low-key alternative to Playhouse Square.

Lakewood’s Beck Center for the Arts’ current production, She Loves Me, is a musical from 1963, whose plot will be recognized as the romantic storyline from The Pina Colada Song and the movie You’ve Got Mail: Sparring co-workers Georg and Amalia develop pen-pal relationships that turn out to be with each other. The music and lyrics are by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, who would collaborate the following year on Fiddler on the Roof.

Cleveland Scene Magazine described the production as “so charming you want to take it out to the movies and then buy it a big dinner … its music is so inventive and lyrical you just want to lay back in it like an audio hammock.”

The Beck Center for the Arts, opened in 1976 by a troupe that dates back to the 1930s, has featured many popular plays and musicals, including a recent run of Spamalot, the Monty Python-inspired sendup of the Holy Grail Legend, and Hairspray, the musical based on the John Waters movie.

The show runs until Oct. 20. Ticket prices range from $10 to $29. See www.beckcenter.
org for information and tickets.

The Lakewood neighborhood is emerging as a lively entertainment destination. Not unlike Ohio City, Lakewood has become a rallying point for young professionals, artists and foodies and a magnet for suburbanites who drive in for weekend fun, said Lakewood City Planner Bryce Sylvester.

Travel & Leisure recently included Lakewood among its top 10 “Coolest Suburbs Worth a Visit,” noting not only its entertainment and food, but also its charming homes, access to downtown, safe neighborhoods, and quality education.

The dining options in Lakewood are wide. Melt Bar and Grilled has long been famous for its original and inspired takes on the grilled cheese sandwich. A new addition is Eddie Cerino’s Casual Italian, whose eponymous food is moderately priced and served in a grand space with high ceilings and a warm family-friendly atmosphere.

Chef and owner Eddie Cerino comes from a storied restaurant family and wanted to create “an inviting space to share old family recipes and my updates on the classics.”

There are many other options within a five-minute walk of the Beck Center. At VOSH Lakewood, you can catch some blues, jazz and Motown after or before the show. If you are in the mood for something sweet, you can grab a scoop of all-natural and mostly local “American Gelato” at the Sweet Spot.

For a bit of culture or to walk off your gelato, you can visit GV Art and Design, where you can view original artwork and design by one of Northeast Ohio’s hottest artists. Owned by the Vlosich family, GV shows the Etch-A-
Sketch art of famous sports figures created by George Vlosich, who became nationally known after an appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s TV show.

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