Ray McNiece ‘Johnny Appleseed’
Ray McNiece will perform as “Johnny Appleseed” at the Steele Memorial Bandstand at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 21. Wearing the legendary pot on his head, McNiece brings John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed) to life in a lively and believable presentation.
McNiece will use participatory storytelling, songs and movement activities to describe Johnny Appleseed’s personal history, his life in pioneer Ohio, the distribution and importance of apples in frontier life and the varieties and usage of apples in our own times. History comes alive in this fun, family-friendly presentation.
McNiece will also lead a poetry workshop at 1 p.m. on the Pavilion West Deck and share out at 4:30 p.m. on Walnut Plaza. Journey with McNiece through the many ways of expressing poetry, including narrative, dramatic and lyric. Participants will write short poems, learn performance techniques and perform their own poems. Pre-registration is not required.
McNeice has earned a national reputation through his solo theater pieces, poetry and music shows. An educator, he has captained two National Poetry Slam Championship teams and shares his “edutaining” children’s shows and workshops across the country.
McNiece, a Cleveland resident, has authored 11 books of poems and monologues and CDs. Among many awards, he has received a Creative Work Force Fellowship and held residencies at The Cuyahoga Valley National Park and the Jack Kerouac House.
He is currently Poet Laureate of Cleveland Heights. In 2021, McNiece received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Cleveland Arts Prize.
He has toured in Italy twice and in Russia, where he appeared on “Good Morning, Russia” and performed at the Moscow Polytech and the Russian Poets’ Hall of Fame.
McNiece is also an accomplished actor and has appeared in plays at Ensemble, Dobama, Cleveland Public and Cleveland Playhouse theatres. He was an original cast member of the improv comedy Flanigan’s Wake.
McNiece will also conduct two poetry workshops earlier in the day at 1 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on the Pavilion West Deck.