Monday, May 21, 2018

Cleveland Musical Theatre and Miles J. Sternfeld…two entities with a mission

Miles J. Sternfeld is in a big rush for theatrical success.  The 23-year old, who graduated from Orange in 2013, is not the regular theatre nerd.  He’s not interested in being the next big star.  Instead, he has set his sights on being a successful producer and director.

So far his credits have included being a production assistant on Broadway for “Finding Neverland,” producing and directing “The Who’s Tommy” for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and a CLE production of AIDA; being the CEO/Founder of WERK WITH BWAY; being the Director of Programing of Making It On Broadway; and is undertaking the development of Cleveland Musical Theatre as its Founding Artistic Director.

WERK WITH BWAY is a program run in New York.  It offers week-long or weekend intensive experiences related to a Broadway show in which master classes are offered.

This summer’s New York WERK programs are “Anastasia Intensive” (June 18-22)—faculty includes Max von Essen (Gleb in “Anastasia”), Derek Klena (original Dimitry in “Anastasia”) and Dustin Layton (dance captain for “Anastasia”).  “Waitress Intensive (July 9-13)—faculty includes Jamibeth Margolis (casting director), Morgan James (“Motown,” “Godspell,” “The Adams Family”), Caitlin Houlahan (Dawn in “Waitress”), Miles Sternfeld (Artistic Director, Cleveland Musical Theatre).  “Phantom Intensive” (July 30-August 3)—faculty to be announced.
For information go to:

Cleveland Musical Theatre “is a non-profit professional theater company that produces newly developed and re-imagined musical theatre, featuring Broadway and Cleveland artists with emerging talent, and offers educational programs.  By serving as Cleveland's only Equity theatre company devoted to musical theatre, CMT seeks to push artistic boundaries and redefine Cleveland as a national arts destination.”

The organization plans to present two shows a summer.  They are looking at new pieces, to revising shows, and to reimagining works.

As Sternfeld stated in a recent interview, “As a young artist I want to develop a home for professional actors in Cleveland to help them develop a career.”

Cuyahoga Community College East’s newly refurbished Mandel Arts and Humanities Center is serving as CMT’s production home.  How were the arrangements made?  Sternfeld shared that “we first approached CCC after “Tommy” [which performed at CCC] about joining forces.  We proposed offering internships for the college’s students and special Tri-C ticket prices.  After our premiere season, we plan to establish the organization as the college’s official partner.”

This summer’s offering is the reimagining of “Jane Eyre.” 


“Jane Eyre” is a musical drama with music and lyrics by composer-lyricist Paul Gordon and book by John Caird, and is based on the novel by Charlotte Brontë. The musical premiered on Broadway in 2000.  It ran 36 previews and 209 performances and was nominated for five Tony Awards.

The story centers on Jane Eyre, a strong-willed young lady, and her search to find independence as she deals with her cruel Aunt Sarah and her cousin John, being shipped off to Lowood School for Girls, being hired as a governess where she meets Edward Rochester, and finding love.

Why is CMT doing the script?  Sternfeld shared, “I was actually unfamiliar with the piece.  I was working with a student on one of the show’s songs and immediately fell in love with the music.  I was intrigued and started to dig into the novel.  I realized after reading the original play script that it would benefit from doing a smaller version of the show.  I contacted the original writers and they were keen to revise the show as a chamber version.  We had a reading in New York, followed by a developmental lab in Cleveland, and are now holding Cleveland and New York auditions for the full production.” 

“We will continue to work on the piece during the Cleveland run, but the majority of the structural changes and new songs were done during our readings and labs.”

The Cleveland production, which will run from August 31-September 9, will have a cast of 10.  It will feature direction by Sternfeld, music supervision-orchestrations by Brad Haak, choreography by Martin Céspedes, scenic design by Gabriel Firestone, costume design by Sydney Gallas, lighting design by Benjamin Gantose, sound design by Carlton Guc, and casting by Jamibeth Margolis.

Where does “Jayne Eyre” go after Cleveland?  “We have lots of ideas.  There is some interest from commercial producers to remount the piece.  Streaming is also a possibility but no decision has been made yet.   Regardless, the show will be re-licensed and become the new version.”

In addition to the “Jayne Eyre” staging in Cleveland, there will be an audition masterclass and college audition prep intensive. 

Where will CMT be five years from now?   Sternfeld “hopes that it will have done more works like “Jayne Eyre,” have developed new and exciting theatre for local and national audiences, all with Cleveland as the incubator.

Miles J. Sternfeld’s five-year projection?  If multi-award winning choreographer Martin Céspedes, who works closely with Sternfeld, is correct, “Miles possesses that rare theatrical trifecta:   work ethic, instincts, and a director’s eye.  That, combined with a keen sense for collaboration, elevates and excites the room around him.”  That should pay off and Sternfeld will be a well-known member of the local and national theatrical community. 

Sternfeld, himself states, “Five years from now I hope that I will still be hustling.” 

Tickets for “Jayne Eyre” can be purchased at or by
calling (800) 595-4849.