News & Announcements

CSU, Playhouse Square Present 2nd AHA! Fest

Featuring Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Maureen Dowd, Derek Hough

Cleveland State University and Playhouse Square will celebrate the worlds of books, theater, music, art, dance and ideas in downtown Cleveland on June 7, 8, and 9 at the second annual Arts and Humanities Alive! (AHA!) Festival. Visitors can have their own AHA! moments during the multidisciplinary Fest which features a free all-day book fair, bestselling authors, two hit stage productions and internationally known artists. Tickets are on sale now! AHA! is made possible thanks to a generous gift from former Clevelanders Myra and Darwin Smith.

The daylong Book Festival in the KeyBank State Theatre lobby kicks off the festivities Thursday, June 7. It will feature music and spoken word performers, book signings and tents by local and national publishers and community organizations. Free parking will be available all day for the event.

AHA! headliners will include NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who will discuss his latest book Becoming Kareem in a presentation at the Key Bank State Theater that is presented in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Public Library. Former Dancing with the Stars champion Derek Hough will present two community dance workshops to individuals of all ages and skill levels and actor and activist Hill Harper headlines CSU’s Arts Education Day Luncheon with an inspiring story of how the arts made him who he is.

“The first AHA! Festival was a tremendous success with over 3,000 attendees celebrating the best of the arts and humanities,” says CSU President Robert M. Berkman. “The second annual edition promises to be even better with an incredible selection of speakers and performers who will entertain and inspire audiences of all ages.”

The fest will also feature talks by Pulitzer Prize-winning, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, former New Yorker cartoon editor Robert Mankoff, astrophysicist, novelist and PBS personality Janna Levin and bestselling author Fredrik Backman (A Man Called Ove). Al Letson, host of the NPR show Reveal, will also appear in Reveal Live: The Center Will Not Hold in partnership with ideastream. A staged reading of the hit play Love Letters will be presented by married couple U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Pulitzer Prize winner Connie Schultz, while a young adult production of Raymond Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 will make audiences consider the true power of books. The Fest’s musical presentations will include a performance by ChamberFest Cleveland and a multi-night production of Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, in collaboration with Cleveland Playhouse.

Former National Endowment for the Arts Chair John Frohnmayer is the Festival's curator, acting as host and discussion leader, while Cleveland State University President Ronald M. Berkman and Tricia Berkman are co-honorary chairs.

For additional information or to purchase tickets visit the AHA! Website.