Broadway In Akron

        The lights start to dim, the pit starts playing the opening number, and you start getting butterflies in your stomach as the curtain rises and the stage is brought to life. You would think I’m talking about New York and the famous Broadway. But what if I told you I was talking about Akron’s own E.J. Thomas Hall?

The University of Akron and Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio have partnered to continue the series known as Broadway in Akron. Broadway in Akron is kicking off its third year here at E.J. Thomas Hall, with the first show of the season being six time TONY award-winning show, Kinky Boots. With music written by Cyndi Lauper and book written by Harvey Fierstein, this musical is sure to have you dancing along in your seat,  in awe of the performers doing back flips in six inch stiletto heels, and even shed a few tears.

Nathan Mortimer, the chief financial officer here at Akron, said that he wanted to prove that Akron is a lover of art by having this series come back to Akron.

Gina Vernaci, Playhouse Square’s Executive Producer, announced on October 11, 2017 that there were 2,109 season ticket holders for this year’s Broadway in Akron series of shows.

“It continues to grow every year!” she stated while looking out into the crowd as applause echoed through the hall.

Looking around, one can see people of all ages in attendance. Kelly Unger, a student here at the University and avid musical lover, spoke about what having this program means to her, “I think it’s a great partnership between the Cleveland Playhouse and Akron. The prices for tickets are amazing and it makes these award-winning shows more accessible to students and the Akron community.”

The shows scheduled for the rest of the year are Dirty Dancing, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, and Jersey Boys. Show times and prices can be found at or, go to, and type in the show that you are looking for to purchase tickets.


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Zips Upset Broncos in Sunday Showdown 14-13

By: Benjamin Verbel

The Akron Zips went on the road this week to face the Western Michigan Broncos. The Zips looked to slow down a Broncos offense that had a high scoring 71-68 win against Buffalo last week.

The game was delayed and then rescheduled due to lightning and flooding concerns. The first quarter started off with a Zips drive that lead to a 13 yard touchdown by Thomas Woodson to his Tight End Kobie Booker.
Akron brought more points to the board in the second quarter with a one yard run into the end-zone by Senior back Manny Morgan to cap off their drive. Morgan earned every touch with a 4.4 yard average on the ground.
Western Michigan matched Akron with a run-heavy game plan. They averaged 4.6 yards with five featured players. They totaled at 244 yards on 53 carries.
Bronco’s Josh Grant booted a 49 yard field goal to give them a 14-3 score before the second half.
Western Michigan receiver D’Wayne Eskridge was a big contributor for their offense. By the end of this match up he had a total of 100 all purpose yards and a 50 yard TD from Jon Wassink. At this point WMU was getting involved in the flow of the game and Josh Grant gave his team another three points with a 35 yard field goal.
Akron came out with a win after holding onto the lead they built in the first half. The Zips brought defense that didn’t break to this game with the likes of Defensive back Alvin Davis and Junior Linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III.
Both teams came out of this week with a 4-3 record. The Zips are currently on a 3 game winning streak. Akron will be the away team in a match up against the Toledo Rockets on Saturday, October 21st at 12:00 p.m.

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Zips Drop Close One to Troy, 22-17

By: Deontae Shahid

The Akron Zips were on the road this weekend to face off against the Troy Trojans. The Zips came into the game a 15.5-point underdog and were looking to pull off the upset. The Zips covered the spread but were unable to knock off the Trojans losing 22-17.

The Trojans fumbled on their first drive of the game which was recovered by the Zips. Akron turned the turnover into three points and looked to continue to play well in the beginning of the game.

The following drive for the Trojans would result in a touchdown after they picked up a key fourth down conversion that could have kept the pendulum swinging in favor of Akron. Troy would drive down the field again with the help from some Akron pass interference penalties to kick a field goal and put them up 10-3.

Troy would score another touchdown in the first half but miss the point after. Akron had a couple of chances to put more points on the board but would hurt themselves in two separate occasions.

Thomas Woodson threw an interception in the end zone while in Troy’s red zone. On the final drive before halftime, the Zips were in position to score again. After a holding penalty stalled their offense on the Troy seven-yard line, Tom O’Leary would miss a field goal with the time expiring to end the half causing for the Zips to go into halftime down 16-3.

The Zips continued to let red zone opportunities go to waste in the second half of the game. The Zips first possession of the second half resulted in a Woodson fumble after they drove all the way down to the Troy 19-yard line.

Akron would score a touchdown on their next drive after the Zips defense forced a turnover on downs. Woodson hit Kwadarrius Smith for a 29-yard touchdown pass putting the score at 16-10. Woodson and Smith would later connect on a 42-yard pass on a crucial third and long. Warren Ball would find the end zone on a 4-yard run on fourth down to put Akron up 17-16.

Late in the game, Troy would drive all the way from their three-yard line to score a touchdown with a minute and six seconds left to play. Troy failed to convert the two-point conversion giving the Zips a chance to win with a touchdown but sealed the game after a Woodson interception.

Akron was not able to capitalize on penalties by Troy who had 16 penalties for 159 yards in the game. The Zips had 12 penalties of their own for 100 yards continuing their penalty problems on the season.

Ball played well rushing for 112 yards and a touchdown. Woodson completed 20 of 40 passes for 268 yards, with one touchdown and 2 interceptions. Smith caught four receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown in the second half.

The Zips dropped to 1-3 on the season so far. The Zips will start their Mid-American Conference play against the Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday, September 30th at 6:00 p.m.

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Ball Breaks Out in 52-3 Win Over Golden Lions

Following a 52-0 throttling at the hands of Penn State last week in Happy Valley, the Zips looked to rebound this Saturday in their home opener against the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions.

Warren Ball, who had missed almost all of last year after suffering an injury in the opener against Wisconsin, got the Zips offense off to a lightning fast start. Right after ripping off a 21-yard gain, Ball once again bounced off would-be tacklers on his way to a 12-yard touchdown run to make it 7-0 Zips.

The Akron defense, who was at the mercy of Penn State’s offense last week, asserted itself early in this one with 2 quick 3 and outs. The latter would help set up good field position for the Zips, as quarterback Thomas Woodson would find AJ Coney for a 15-yard strike to make it 14-0 Zips.

Ulysees Gilbert, who was a non-factor last week, made his presence known in this one. Early in the 2nd quarter, Gilbert picked off Golden Lions quarterback Brandon Duncan and took it 30 yards back to the house for a Zips touchdown. Warren Ball would also add another touchdown run, this time from just 8 yards out. The Zips would dominate the rest of the way in the first half, carrying a 31-3 lead at halftime.

The second half would play out like the first as it was all Zips. In the 3rd quarter, Akron would receive more insurance from their running backs. Warren Ball would cap off his day with another 8-yard scoring plunge, and Van Edwards (who came in to replace Ball) would also scamper in from 12-yards out for a score. The defense would continue to give Pine Bluff fits as Akron held a 45-3 lead after 3.

In the 4th and final frame it would be Deltron Sands finding the end zone for the Zips as he ran it in for a score from just 1-yard out. This would cap the scoring for the evening as the Zips would go on to win 52-3.

The Zips outmatched Pine Bluff in every facet, as expected. Akron took care of business as heavy favorites, outgaining the Golden Lions 464-168 in total yards. The Akron run defense, which was outside of the top 100 last year, held Pine Bluff to just 47 yards on the ground. Quarterback Brandon Duncan was also flushed out of the pocket all day and could not establish any sort of rhythm. He would finish with 12-23 passing for 105 yards and 2 interceptions.

Thomas Woodson, after really struggling last week in Happy Valley, had a much better performance this time around. He would go 15-21 passing 166 yards and one touchdown before backups Kato Nelson and Robbie Kelley came on to relieve him.

The Zips will be back home in action next Saturday when they host the Big 12’s Iowa State. Kickoff is set for 12 PM at Infocision Stadium. The team will be honoring Jason Taylor’s admission into the NFL Hall of Fame.

Offensive MVP: Warren Ball- 20 carries for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns. Ball found running lanes early and often and never slowed down. It was his first multi-touchdown game as an Akron Zip.

Defensive MVP: Ulysees Gilbert- 10 tackles, one of those for a loss, and one interception that turned into a pick six. Gilbert is expected to really anchor the defense this year so this is a promising performance from him after a quiet week last Saturday at Penn State.

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Salazar Tosses Gem, Lindor Walks it Off in Cleveland

If you are a big fan of offensive baseball with teams trading home run for home run all game long, this Saturday night in Cleveland was not the night for you. Unless of course your next favorite thing is free baseball. In which case, you would have loved this one.

Danny Salazar, a crucial piece of the Indians rotation in 2016 (minus the postseason) had been sidelined for the past month and a half dealing with a shoulder injury. His last start was on May 27th and his last MLB appearance was June 3rd. He would go toe to toe with Blue Jays ace Marcus Stroman who entered the contest with an impressive record of 9-5 and a 3.10 ERA.

Salazar set the tone early (and I mean EARLY) by striking out the side to start the game, doing it all on 12 pitches. Out of those 12 pitches, 11 were fastballs, and absolute heaters at that. Salazar would continue to torch batters all game long, moving his fastball around the zone with ease and topping out at 98 MPH. Not too shabby for someone who hadn’t pitched in a major league game in over 30 days. When Danny did decide to feather in some off-speed stuff, it was nasty. Blue Jay hitters were chasing changeups and sliders out of the zone consistently en route to a 8 strikeout performance for the Dominican right hander.

“It was very impressive”, said Tribe manager Terry Francona. “He came out throwing strikes, he had velocity, he attacked. That was really impressive”.

The Tribe offense would strike first in the bottom half of the 4th, as with runners on the corners and only one away, Edwin Encarnacion hit a screamer towards Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson who did not field it cleanly, allowing Michael Brantley to reach second base and Francisco Lindor to score. Donaldson did not receive an error on the play, rather, it was ruled a fielder’s choice as Encarnacion was thrown out at first.

Toronto would not answer until the 8th frame. With Salazar cruising but still only on his first start back from injury, Terry Francona decided to pull Danny (who was only at 85 pitches and seemed to have complete control of his fastball still) in favor of reliever Andrew Miller. Toronto first baseman Justin Smoak would clobber the first pitch thrown by Miller, depositing the ball into the right field seats to level things at 1.

The Tribe would put runners in scoring position in both the 8th and 9th, but were unable to convert. Toronto also had their chances at the dish but could not score anyone, sending the game to extras.

In the end, it would be none other than Francisco Lindor who played hero for the home faithful. Frankie found a pitch to his liking, literally just as the rain had started up again downtown, and sent an absolute rocket to right that was a no doubter the second he made contact. Lindor would trot around the bags with that enormous smile and receive a friendly assault from his teammates at home, giving the Indians a 2-1 win to even the weekend series up. The homerun was good for Lindor’s first walk-off long ball in his career, and fans certainly don’t expect it to be his last.

“I wasn’t trying to win the game, I was just trying to get on base!” said Lindor in his post-homerun interview, acknowledging Brantley and Ramirez, due up after him, both as top 3 hitters in the league. “I finally got the barrel to the ball”.

The biggest gripe fans had was the decision to pull Salazar (evident by the number of angry phone calls you could hear on the radio on the way home from the game), however, when you pull a guy who hasn’t started in 30+ days for arguably the most reliable bullpen setup guy in the game, it’s hard to fault that. One would much rather have Danny Salazar come playoff time than lose him over a late game injury in mid-July because he got pushed too hard.

The final line for Marcus Stroman would be 1 earned run on 5 hits with 7 strikeouts and 5 walks through 7 and 2/3 innings. For Salazar, it was 0 earned runs on 1 hit with 8 strikeouts through 7 innings. Bryan Shaw would receive the win despite a cascade of boos from the fans when he entered the game (I guess we all hate the guy with a 1.20 ERA???) and Toronto reliever Danny Barnes would be hit with the loss. Shaw is now 3-4 on the year while the loss dropped Barnes to 2-3.

The unsung heroic play of the game (excluding the walk-off here) came from Michael Brantley in the 9th. Jose Bautista would send a towering fly ball to the track and left, giving Darwin Barney (the runner on first) the idea that he could tag up and move to second to get in scoring position. Brantley fired a laser from the track right into the glove of Jose Ramirez who would lay down the tag on Barney, a crucial double play that really got the momentum back in Cleveland’s favor after it had been deflated by Justin Smoak.

The Tribe will look to win the series tomorrow as Corey Kluber will square off against J.A. Happ of the Blue Jays at 1:10. Check out the link below to re-watch Frankie’s walk-off blast! (Courtesy of

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