CLE History Comes Alive – John Thobaben & Frank Smith


Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties

  • Venue:Supper Club
  • Showtime:7:00 pm
  • Doors open:5:00 pm
  • All Ages, Free Admission, Dining Reservations Required
Street Actors for John D. Rockefeller & Alan Freed




Doors open at 5:00pm, with the storytelling beginning promptly at 7:00pm

  • Weekly series combining great food with great stories about Cleveland’s past
  • Pre Fixe 3-course dinner option just $20
  • This week’s menu:
    • Beef Barley Soup
    • Chicken Rockefeller
    • Peaches and Cream


    Story topic this week…

    CLE History Comes Alive
    Take a Hike offers free, guided walking tours of five distinct historical neighborhoods in downtown Cleveland. These entertaining and educational tours feature actors and actresses portraying important Clevelanders from the past. You may “meet” John D. Rockefeller, Garrett Morgan, Frances Payne Bolton, Alan Freed and others while exploring your city in a whole new way. For this Cleveland Stories panel, we are joined by street actors Frank Smith (DJ Alan Freed) and John Thobaben (John D. Rockefeller).


    John Thobaben Bio

    John Thobaben has been performing on various stages throughout Northeast Ohio for the past 35 years. Among his favorite roles are Big Daddy from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Emile Dubeck from South Pacific. Additionally, he has appeared in numerous commercials and has had a few small roles in small movies. His favorite roles have been interactive. These have included various murder mysteries, a yearly gig in an Underground Railroad reenactment and. of course. playing John D. Rockefeller for the Take a Hike program. Additionally, he would like to thank his wife Linda for her eternal patience.


    Frank Smith Bio

    Frank Smith (and as he was known on Cleveland radio in the 1990s: The Minister of Rock & Roll, Connoisseur of Cult, Prince of Pop, Dean of the Scene and The Second Hardest Working Man in Show Business – Luther Heggs) was a co-host of the “Becker & Heggs” show on WWWE & WTAM in 1990-1991 & 1995. Luther would also grace the airwaves of WGAR (pre-cowboy hat era) and WAKR, the station that legendary DJ Alan Freed would start at in the 1950s. By 1991, Luther would be on the air at Cleveland’s #1 rated Oldies station – WMJI Majic 105.7. He would remain there until 1999. At Majic, Luther became known for the inside stories on R & R and would broadcast live from the Rock &Roll Hall of Fame studio and the yearly Majic Moondog Coronation Ball concert. His live interviews with performers included such legends as Mary Wilson of the Supremes and the Father of R &R Chuck Berry!

    Frank is an Exhibit Preparator and Docent in the Curatorial division of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, working directly with the rock and roll artifacts and touring VIP guests while relating the history and stories of the exhibits on display. You may also have seen Luther/ Frank on the streets of Cleveland portraying the Legendary DJ Alan Freed for the Take a Hike program.

    The goal of the Cleveland Stories Dinner Party is to bring to life some of the fun, interesting stories about Cleveland’s past – from sports, to rock ‘n roll, to Millionaire’s Row, — the series will focus on tidbits from Cleveland’s past that will really thrill the audience. The Music Box is presenting this series in partnership with the Western Reserve Historical Society’s new Cleveland History Center. We think the Cleveland History Center is one of the most important museums in Cleveland. An unknown gem that Clevelanders should know more about, and support. It is the only museum in Cleveland dedicated to preserving and documenting the history of Cleveland. The Cleveland History Center includes two mansions, the Crawford Auto Aviation Museum, Chisholm Halle Costume Wing, Research Library, Kidzibits Hands-On Gallery, rotating exhibitions, and the Euclid Beach Park Grand Carousel.

    See all Cleveland Stories dates here.


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