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Issue Date: January 2012

Most Interesting People 2012: Michael Bloom

Michael Bloom

Cleveland Play House artistic director, 61

/ Artistic advantages / Bloom says the move to the Allen Theatre gives the Cleveland Play House the kind of flexibility and state-of-the-art facility the organization has been wanting for years. “You can’t be a top-tier theater without it, and that’s our vision. ... The second stage is one of three completely flexible theaters in the country. It will allow us to do amazing things and attract talent from all over the country.”

/ Season opener / The Cleveland Play House welcomed audiences to its new home in September with The Life of Galileo, which Blooms calls “a very heady, challenging piece of theater,” and will cap the season with the mid-April production of In the Next Room, or the vibrator play. “Before he left, [Plain Dealer theater critic] Tony Brown said it’s an audacious season, and I think that’s right.”

/ Career choices / Bloom originally thought he’d end up being a lawyer. “My first year in undergraduate school, I was a political science major, and I got a D in statistics. That pretty much told me I should be looking elsewhere.” The Hartford, Conn., native had a mentor that introduced him to theater. “You find a social network with a group of people who are working together to build one thing, and that really appealed to me greatly, the collaborative process.”

/ A mentor himself / When his career took him to Los Angeles, Bloom began mentoring and met Jose Alvarez (the man in the photograph Bloom is holding). “I was his mentor for 3 1/2 years. Our job was to get him to stay in high school and go to college, and not only did he do that, but he’s teaching in the elementary school he went to as a kid.”

/ Living in the moment / “I look for material that’s relevant to the community and our times. Theater is about the present moment. It’s about sitting in the same space with a bunch of actors, and it’s about the present. It’s not about the past. It’s not about the future.”

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